Candid Cinema

AFF ’28: ‘Cusp’ Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

In today’s society, there’s a failed connection when it comes to teenagers. From the perspective of an adolescent, they want to be taken seriously because they have been through their own trauma by the age of sixteen. Some parental figures do not understand that what they do or say can affect them in the long-run. In their debut documentary, Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt give audiences a glimpse into authentic American girlhood in Cusp. Over the course of one summer, they follow three spirited teenager girls as they go through their daily life.

What was the most fascinating aspect of this documentary is that, at such a young age, these young girls are suffering from so much mental trauma without anyone fully grasping what they are going through. The title of this documentary is effective because they are still teenagers, yet they are treated like adults in the worst way possible. These young girls have to grow up faster because of their living conditions with their friends and family. Whether they are verbally or physically abused, these teenage girls have to build up their strength in order to overcome certain issues.

It seems that it is always the next generation making the conscious change to be stronger than the previous one. These young girls understand the double standards and the misogynistic mentality that surrounds them. It’s heartbreaking to watch because they are addressing such strong issues that women face at a young age. After experiencing their own trauma, they go through an act of rebellion. These young girls were forced into adulthood; yet because of their age, they are still controlled by adults, who can’t even take care of them. It’s a vicious cycle and Cusp dives into every single aspect of living in a small military town in Texas.

Cusp is a very strong documentary about the perception of teenage girls and how they are unfairly treated. They are treated like children by their parents, yet have to deal with adult situations. It is a fine line that they have to walk across until they are eighteen and it is incredibly frustrating. Anyone can connect with these girls because, at some point, we have all been given more responsibility than we should have had at that age. The second girls develop into teenagers, the typical gender roles are pushed upon them and it’s more damaging than people realize.

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