American Girl (film)

American Girl is a 2002 American comedy-drama film directed by Jordan Brady and starring Jena Malone, Michelle Forbes, Brad Renfro, Alicia Witt, and Erik von Detten. The film premiered on October 16, 2002 at the Austin Film Festival. It was later released to DVD on January 11, 2005 under the title Confessions of an American Girl.

American Girl
DVD cover
Directed byJordan Brady
Produced byJena Malone
Stavros Merjos
Yoram Pelman
Adam Rosenfelt
Chad Snopek
Sheila Wurmser
Written byScott Sandoe
StarringJena Malone
Erik von Detten
Brad Renfro
Alicia Witt
Music byAmotz Plessner
CinematographyDavid Hennings
Edited byShawna Callahan
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
October 16, 2002 (2002-10-16)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States


Rena is a suicidal teenage girl whose father is serving a long prison sentence. The boy she likes only uses her for sex and other teenage girls tease her relentlessly.

Rena and her family travel to the father's prison for the annual family picnic. Things seem to be going just fine, but he eventually becomes abusive and angry. Rena's brother Jay, who is secretly gay, wanders off to tour the prison with another inmate named Buddy. Rena's half-sister Barbie sneaks off to the conjugal visit trailers and engages in sexual intercourse with her stepfather (Rena's father), unbeknownst to the family. After this activity is witnessed by Buddy and Jay, the other inmates watch as Buddy makes her squeal like a pig in exchange for not reporting it to her mother. Jay and Buddy bond, and when the tour is over they secretly kiss passionately.

Rena tells her dad that she's pregnant, news which the father does not handle well. When Rena's mother later discovers that her husband is having an affair, they get into a physical fight. When the guards see this they attack him and he stumbles backwards and falls on Rena. Rena rushes to the bathroom, finding that she's bled, and lost the baby. She breaks a picture frame and uses the glass shards to slit her wrists, but Jay saves her just in time.

Rena's mother (Madge) and the children realize that the father is abusive and that continuing to support him has been holding the family back. Rena realizes that her "fond" memories of her relationship with her father were self-delusions. Madge announces that she is moving the family to Florida. Rena tells her boyfriend about the miscarriage and when he expresses indifference, she causes his prized car to drive into a swimming pool. The end shows the family leaving home for Florida, with Rena's now ex-boyfriend running through the yard screaming at her.


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