Part ethnography, part cautionary tale, NORMAL ADOLESCENT BEHAVIOR is an eye opening movie, mainly because it feels rather realistic—which in turn makes it scary as hell. For one, the kids look and act like high schoolers. (No thirty years olds here!) The cast also has lots of talent and great chemistry together. When they sit around just talking it feels very natural and when they then move to more promiscuous activities it almost feels like a normal extension of their friendship, not some condemnable dirty act. You can also thank writer/director Beth Schacter for bringing a sense of maturity to the film. The teens are portrayed in a non clichéd manner; they’re smart, school leaders, don’t drink or do drugs, and compared to the other partying kids shown in the movie, they’re fairly tame. And while the subject matter is risqué, the content isn’t exploitive (though Amber Tamblyn getting spanked is pretty hot.) DVD CLINIC on JOBLO

The Reviews

Variety Ronnie Scheib

A remarkably assured directorial debut, a high school senior must choose between her lifelong best friends (and sexual partners) and a callow new love interest who jealously demands emotional exclusivity… a wholly unsensationalistic, supremely lucid…Neither gross-out puberty comedy nor teenage angstfest, this sprightly, fascinating coming-of-ager is strongly character-driven.

Ain’t It Cool News, Drew McWeeny

…It’s got something to say. It’s got real weight. This isn’t just some teen romance, and because it plays rough, it might actually generate some valuable dialogue between parents and their sexually active teens… it’s the way Schacter handles the scenes of the group of kids together that really makes me think she’s a director to contend with. She doesn’t make them out as weirdos or thrill-seekers, and she doesn’t scold them. To these kids, this is what love looks like. This is the family they know…Everything’s handled with a delicate touch, and that’s a testament to Schacter’s sensibilities. As debut films go, this is one to be proud of. Bryan Whitefield

A big part of the film’s strength is its ability to capture the constant uncertainty of that age where emotions are so raw they’re electric and everything hurts. The universal experience of being a teenager seems to have helped jump the generation gap between director and actors as the film is able to paint an authentic portrait of youth with the knowing wisdom of an adult. In that sense, you can’t help but think of the films of John Hughes, particularly Pretty in Pink, where you see on screen all the things that kids really go through with added depth and a consideration that puts it well outside the usual mindless representations of teens usually coming from Hollywood.

DVD Talk Kurt Dahlke

Normal Adolescent Behavior is an exceedingly smart and psychologically open-ended drama. Cosmetically a cross between Larry Clark’s Kids and Sofia Copolla’s The Virgin Suicides, Normal Adolescent Behavior does much more with writer/ director Beth Schacter’s material. Gloss, glam and prurience are (at times dubious) icing on a complex cake. Searing performances drive home a timely gaze at the difficulties adolescents face in an increasingly insular, judgmental and fractured society. What does it mean to bond, to make friends and to feel love, as these things become seemingly more meaningless and transitory. As Wendy and friends must do, you’ll have to make up your own answers, and see if they fit.

Pop Entertainment Jay Jacobs

Normal Adolescent Behavior features a star-making, awe-inspiringly brave central performance by a spectacular young actress who was best known for a TV role. In Thirteen it was Evan Rachel Wood formerly best known as the anorexic daughter on Once and Again. Here the revelatory performance is supplied by Amber Tamblyn…in many ways it’s kind of old-fashioned. It’s not cheerfully amoral like, say, Larry Clark’s Kids and yet it is an intriguing look at the changing morality of today’s teenagers. Whether you take it as a cautionary tale or just an anthropological study depends on your place in that world.

The Auteurs

If one makes a list of the most talked about movies of this years Tribeca Film Festival no doubt Beth Schacter’s directorial debut, bold coming-of-age drama ‘Normal Adolescent Behavior’ comes at the very top of the list. The biggest strength of the movie is the fact that the director, honestly and explicitly exhibits the complex and often disturbing lives of the modern teenagers without the need of any sugar-coating like the way Hollywood cinema most often does. Almost no one gets judged in the movie, which makes us see everyone as a real person as oppose to a stereotype.

click to download The Shooting Script

by clicking to download you agree that you are over 18 and/or have permission of a parent or guardian to read this script which is the basis for an R-rated film and contains sexual content and adult language.

i don’t think words can hurt you.  i do think your parents could sue me if i don’t warn you. xoxo Beth

Julia Garro, Edward Tournier, Stephen Colletti, Amber Tamblyn, Kelli Garner and Raviv Ullman on the set of NAB Photo by Julia Sherman

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