17 And Life Doesn't Wait
‘A couple of days ago, I came to the realization that like, wow…I’m OLD…like high-school old…Within a couple of months my future is going to be just blown up, and put right in front of me…’
17 And Life Doesn’t Wait paints a lively, candid and emotionally charged view of life through the eyes of three teen girls. Described by critic John Doyle of The Globe and Mail as "wonderfully nuanced and at times heartbreaking", the film catches the young women in their final year of high school, as they experience the impact of the outside world, their impending independence, and the conflicting expectations and overwhelming anxiety that so often come with being a girl.
It delves into the teens’ attitudes, actions and goals, as they dream about the future, and discover their passions and anxieties. While these smart, sassy, and tenacious young women may hail from diverse walks of life, each has the ambition to continue with her education, and meet her challenges head on, and in her own way.
Meet Kiki, an African-American high school basketball star and middle class summa cum laude student, with a twin brother who doesn’t excel like his sister. Kiki struggles with the responsibility of balancing her dreams, and the sacrifices she must make for her brother’s future.
Funny, forthright and vibrant, Mich is a young artist, who’s estranged from her mother, on welfare, and struggling with the loneliness of living on her own. She’s trying to come to terms with her sexuality, the repercussions of a recent sexual assault, and finding love, acceptance and a new home.
Math and science whizz, Audrey, who at first glance seems to have it all, straddles a delicate balance between two worlds – the independence of living and going to school downtown, and the expectations of her suburban Asian-Canadian parents. She’s driven to please, yet struggles with her own desires, eventually learning some hard lessons from disappointment.
Shot over nine months, the film captures the girls’ laughter, challenges, victories and struggles. We watch them grapple with family, university acceptances (or rejections), compete for scholarships, engage in the perennial primping for senior prom; digest the devastation of the Parkland massacre; graduate, and confront issues around sexual identity, suicide and assault.
17 And Life Doesn’t Wait is an entertaining and thought-provoking documentary that reveals the subjects’ frustrations and success, and their ability to discover and define themselves, and to move ahead in their lives.