This drama is so, well, dramatic that one has to wonder if some events and decisions would’ve happened if the cameras had not been around.  Still, everyone is so emotionally invested in every turn it’s clear that each experience is real.  So real, in fact, that objectionable content is fairly consistent throughout (see below), giving the film an ironic trait of being the type a lot of parents wouldn’t want their kids to see even though their kids likely live it every day (especially if they attend a public school).  

And so while the parental decision may be difficult, I’ll at least offer this benefit:  American Teen could very well drive home the lessons parents want their kids to learn most.  Teenagers may not be able to see their own faults or recognize their own strengths, but seeing them in someone else (as they can here) could be what opens their eyes to both.


  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Numerous instances of underage drinking, smoking, and partying.  No illicit/illegal drugs.
  • Language/Profanity:  All levels of profanity and crude/sexual language throughout, including two uses of the “F” word.  Also cruel/abusive language between teenagers. Consider this film verbally uncensored.
  • Sex/Nudity:  Some instances of sexual experimentation (such as girls kissing), although no nudity is seen or acts explicitly shown.  Vulgar sexual words and graffiti are also used.
  • Violence/Other:  No major physical violence occurs, although mental/emotional abuse does occur between teenagers.  Nothing “objectionable” from a visual standpoint, but the emotional toll is depicted.

Jeffrey Huston is a film director, writer and producer at Steelehouse Productions in Tulsa, Okla.  He is also cohost of the "Steelehouse Podcast,” along with Steelehouse Executive Creative Mark Steele, where each week they discuss God in pop culture. 

To listen to the weekly podcast, please visit or click here.  You can also subscribe to the "Steelehouse Podcast” through iTunes.