"17 And Life Doesn't Wait"
Thoughts | Eli Sagner
Maureen Judge’s most recent documentary “17 And Life Doesn’t Wait” closely follows the lives of three young women navigating their last year of high school, providing a detailed account of their preparation and experiences transitioning into the “adult world”. The three vignettes the film is composed of follow the subjects Mich, Audrey, and Kiki and are shot in Toronto, the GTA, and Sanford, Florida respectively. Through each of these three vignettes the film shares the reality of life for the three young women coming from varying classes and walks of life to comprise a picture of the overarching reality of the current day life and pressures of young adults, as well as the pervasive effects and obstacles of being a young woman navigating a patriarchal society.
The film focuses primarily on the pressures and responsibilities of impending adulthood, whether that be the responsibilities of a relationship, living completely independently, the hyper-competitive college application process, or even athletic scholarship recruitment. More specifically, Judge uses their lives to portray the reality of these processes for women displaying the effects of living in a society impacted by a gender divide. This is conveyed through this film via presentation of varying expectations imposed on sons and daughters, male and female students, and simply young adults in general.
The first subject the film follows is Mich, a student at the Oasis Skateboard Factory, an alternative learning establishment in Toronto. Having been kicked out of her family home, Mich lives alone and independently supports herself, functioning in the film as a representation of the responsibilities of transitioning to adulthood as a young woman of lower socioeconomic class.
The second subject Judge documents is Audrey, a UTS student, as she deals with the pressures of the competitive nature of the application and acceptance to Ivy League colleges and universities, as well as the familial expectations and pressures driving her academic career. Hailing from the GTA but living downtown with her younger sister in an apartment paid for by her family, Audrey’s story additionally serves as an insight into the difference in expectations for a young woman of upper-middle socioeconomic class.
The final subject the film follows is Kiki, a basketball player at Seminole School in Sanford, as she is scouted and prepared for being recruited to a university for an athletic scholarship. Living with her family in an upper echelon Sanford neighbourhood, Kiki is an example of the expectations of a young woman of high socioeconomic class and can be juxtaposed with the two other vignettes to provide an account of the expectations and pressures of young women of all walks of life.
Through not only having diversification of economic class amongst the subjects of the documentary, but additionally presenting a varying spectrum of race, ethnicity, family backgrounds, and life ambitions as well, the film gives representation to the reality of life for young women of all walks of life. Ultimately, Maureen Judge’s “17 And Life Doesn’t Wait” uses an amalgamation of the lives of individuals to create a narrative relatable to all.
17 And Life Doesn’t Wait will premiere tonight September 19th at Innis Town Hall (SOLD OUT), followed by a Q&A and Panel Discussion with the director and film subjects, moderated by Nam Kiwanuka.
You can catch the online premiere on September 26th on tvo.org.