Critic Reviews



Based on 9 critic reviews provided by
And yet that is what is so very remarkable about the film: In a slim 72 minutes, it heart-tethers us to these teenagers, paying tribute to their unique and private selves while allowing the audience to see its own reflection in them.
Not much of real significance happens, which makes Only The Young feel a bit slight, even at a mere 70 minutes. At the same time, though, every hint of direct conflict threatens to break the spell, in part because the film's secret subject is adolescent self-consciousness.
Slant Magazine
Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims refuse to use their subjects as test cases for any sort of larger thesis.
The film thwarts any pat expectations you might glean from the town's bad economy and these checkered backgrounds. The teenagers are refreshingly gentle and clean-living; they don't drink, they don't swear and they certainly aren't having sex. All three are religious, a fact that is neither emphasized nor underplayed.
Village Voice
Only the Young captures the lyricism of late childhood and the bewilderment of the road ahead. As for the skate footage, it's shot for pure glory and for all the world, like Wild China or Blue Planet, beautiful beings struggling in exotic habitats: abandoned houses, red-gold bluffs, and run-down mini-golf courses.
If Mr. Tippet and Ms. Mims weren't such accomplished visual stylists, you might even think that the teenagers shot the documentary themselves, which explains both its appeal and its limitations.
At times, the film's lyrical drift shades into incoherence, spackled with globs of free-floating voiceover and Larry Clark-like indolent moments. It's both lovely and frustrating, at least until hard times lay bare the gulf between Skye's fractured family and the boys' more stable lives.
Only the Young rarely coalesces into anything more meaningful than a casual collection of moments. Maybe that's the point.
A charming, aimless film about the aimless. It plays like a nuanced MTV reality show (an oxymoron, perhaps, but you get the idea).

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