"I never wish--I always forget to," says Delia, one of seven New York girls whose youth is chronicled over three years in director Jenny Gage's marvelous new documentary All This Panic. She is holding a dandelion, and, as its seeds blow off, the scene underscores a key theme of the film--that adolescence, while beautiful, is wildly precarious. As Gage shifts from intimate verite to dreamlike shots of the wide unknown beyond Brooklyn's shores, she captures a spectrum of coming-of-age stories: Delia struggles with first-day-of-school fashion hysteria, uttering the line that gives the movie its title; Sage, who's black, muses over the lack of diversity at her private school; and reluctant lesbian Olivia contends with coming out. "I'd have to deal with it for the rest of my life," Olivia says. "Maybe one day it'll make me happy." It's during these wistful moments of uncertainty--and hope--that All This Panic resonates with the teenager in all of us.
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