Make Me Young: Youth Knows No Pain

Movie review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Make Me Young: Youth Knows No Pain Movie Poster Image
Docu about youth-obsessed culture tackles image issues.
  • NR
  • 2010
  • 88 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

While the documentary is nonjudgmental in its approach to its subject, it captures many negative, attitudes toward aging. It definitely raises serious questions about society's values when it comes to looks, body image, and more.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Many of the interviewees equate looking good on the outside (usually with the help of a plastic surgeon) with feeling good on the inside. Many fear that if they don't look young, they'll be lonely, invisible, and ignored by society. Cosmetic surgeons' wealthy lifestyle is also discussed.


Lots of graphic scenes of surgical procedures, ranging from images taken in Vietnam of severed and bloody limbs to gaping holes made during cosmetic surgical procedures.


Several scenes of non-sexual nudity: pre- and post-surgery images of bare buttocks and breasts; a cancer survivor allows her reconstructed breasts to be filmed as the doctor examines her; a cosmetic surgery patient lifts up her shirt in front of the camera to show how her new breasts look. The need to look good in order to “fall in love” or find a partner is often discussed.


The word “bulls--t“ is audible.


The movie references publications like Allure magazine and popular cosmetic surgery-related television programs like Dr. 90210 and Nip/Tuck. The inventor of ZO anti-aging cream and the representative for Allergan Inc. (a Botox manufacturer) are also briefly featured.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Visible cigar and cigarette smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this documentary about America's attitudes toward aging raises serious questions about issues like body image and self-confidence. Some of the interviewees have undergone a wide range of cosmetic procedures in order to look younger indefinitely; there are some potentially disturbing images of both graphic surgeries and war casualties. Non-sexual nudity includes pre- and post-surgical images of bare bottoms and breasts; there's also a bit of swearing and some smoking.

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What's the story?

YOUTH KNOWS NO PAIN follows creator/narrator Mitch McCabe, the daughter of a plastic surgeon, as she embarks on a two-year journey that explores pAmerica’s obsession with looking -- and staying -- young. McCabe travels around the country interviewing medical professionals, journalists, and experts in the anti-aging industry. She also spends time with people who've gone to extraordinary lengths to look younger than they actually are. Throughout it all, McCabe wrestles with her own insecurities and the impact that her father’s profession has had on her own feelings about taking measures to make herself look better.

Is it any good?

This unsettling and revealing film addresses society's interesting and at times disturbing attitudes about aging. Sadly, most of the people featured in the film seem to equate getting older with being lonely, invisible, and/or ignored. That's why they're willing to spend thousands of dollars on anti-aging products and subject themselves to painful cosmetic procedures, from Botox injections and laser peels to liposuction, tucks, and other major surgeries.

The film sometimes comes across as a little disorganized as McCabe attempts to pull in her and her father's personal stories while simultaneously showcasing an eclectic range of people who seem to be waging their own personal crusade against looking old. Endless interviews with people who knew her father, home movies, and images of various surgical procedures also make the film a little too long. But it definitely addresses important themes and highlights some rather worrisome ideas about how society seems to be desperately putting off the inevitable.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the media impacts the way people feel about getting older. Do advertisements, music videos, and fashion magazines create an unrealistic/unattainable image, or do they simply reflect what people want to see?

  • Do you think the media can cause someone to develop a negative body image or eating disorder? Why or why not?

  • Hop do you feel about getting older? Do you see anything wrong with getting plastic surgery if you don't like how you look as you age? What are the pros and the cons?

Movie details

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