Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
ReGeneration Movie Poster Image
Rousing docu encourages teens to think, question, and act.
  • NR
  • 2012
  • 80 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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

Positive Messages

ReGeneration explores possible reasons for why teens aren't more involved in the world and the issues it faces. It urges teens not to be apathetic about debt, money, war, and many other current troubles, asserting that even one voice or one small gesture can make a difference. (The movie's website has some helpful hints.)

Positive Role Models & Representations

Interviews with many positive role models, from the great thinker Noam Chomsky to the rock band Sound Tribe Sector 9, whose members rejected offers to sign with major labels so that they could keep performing the way they liked. Many teens in the movie discuss their own ideas about many of today's problems, and though few answers are reached, the discussion may encourage others to speak up as well.


Some brief disturbing images are shown during montages, roughly the same kind of thing that can be seen on the news -- i.e., quick images of war, poverty, street violence (with some blood), and the aftermath of disaster (the Hurricane Katrina crisis). Discussion of the war in Iraq and how it's represented on television.


Language is very infrequent, but "s--t" and "a--hole" are both used once.


Many brands are shown briefly as part of montages, but it's all part of a discussion about the cause and effect of consumerism. No products are being advertised.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that ReGeneration is a Ryan Gosling-narrated documentary that explores why today's youths seem so apathetic and cynical about the world's problems. Many theories are formed, and a few solutions are offered, but the gist is to encourage questioning the status quo and to assert that one voice can make a difference. There are a few violent images of the kind you might see on the evening news (war, poverty, street violence, the aftermath of disaster, etc.), as well as a couple of salty words ("s--t" and "a--hole"). But none of the content is gratuitous, and any teen of high school age could and should see ReGeneration.

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What's the story?

Directed by Phillip Montgomery and narrated/produced by Ryan Gosling, REGENERATION analyzes some of the problems going on in the world today -- including war, climate change, stagnating wages, debt, and more. It wonders why, if things weren't even this bad in the turbulent 1960s, are today's teens so complacent and apathetic? The film suggests that media saturation is a huge culprit. Interviewing experts, artists, parents, and teens, ReGeneration doesn't offer very many specific solutions to the problem it poses, but it does encourage teens to understand what's going on and speak up. The smallest effort may make a small difference, but no effort at all will change absolutely nothing.

Is it any good?

With ReGeneration, Montgomery has created a well-rounded documentary. She goes straight to the top with experts like Noam Chomsky and personalities like Talib Kweli and deconstructs the way that people -- and especially teens -- absorb information from the media. According to the movie, this information is mainly just advertising of some kind. So, though teens think they can be happy by buying stuff, it only makes them feel emptier, and they don't know why.

When faced with today's problems, an entire generation has no idea how to respond. After getting sharp opinions and ideas from the experts, Montgomery's sympathetic camera goes to the teens and to two young parents, who barely even have the ability to understand their feelings, much less figure out what to do. While ReGeneration may not be able to offer any specific help, it does leave off on a positive note, saying that change is possible -- and attainable -- if people simply do something, even something small.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about a healthy media diet. If the media is responsible for getting kids and teens not to think about world issues, how can critical thinking be encouraged?

  • What are some of the solutions ReGeneration suggests? What are some other possible solutions to the problems the movie mentions?

  • Does the movie make you feel hopeful or pessimistic? Why?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love making a difference

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