December 31, 2018  (Web Review)

In My Room

(2017) 70 min. DVD: $300. DRA. Film Platform ( PPR.

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

Video diaries posted by a half-dozen youngsters on YouTube provide the raw material for Ayelet Albenda’s documentary, which offers an insightful portrait of adolescent life that might even shock some of the subjects’ parents. Editing together posts made over several years, In My Room follows several kids whose problems at first seem fairly normal—a boy agonizing over a breakup with his girlfriend, a girl striving to win attention for her music. But other stories quickly become more dramatic. Sierra confronts the reality of an unplanned pregnancy, finding support from followers while also debating with herself online about the choices facing her before coming to a decision that will inevitably disappoint some. Rachel struggles with bulimia, tracing her course of treatment and the attitudinal changes she undergoes. Another girl questions her female identity, and her entries follow her gender transition step-by-step. And Arieh is a young boy fascinated with cosmetics, whose excited observations about makeup go viral. Some of the postings are relatively lighthearted, but most are sobering and at times heart-wrenching, especially since the makers also include comments from viewers, some supportive but others critical, either asking embarrassing questions or offering negative feedback (Arieh, for instance, is inevitably queried about his sexual orientation). Taken together, the excerpts Albenda has chosen for In My Room present a thought-provoking view of the stresses that teens face coming to terms with the realities of growing up. Recommended. Aud: C, P. (F. Swietek)