In his “Forever Young” dispatch from True/False 2012, critic Eric Hynes noted:
Viewed in a certain light, Only the Young’s attractive cast, hip subculture, and sunny California setting, could work alongside MTV’s reality soaps. But you won’t find any typecasting here, no genre boxes, no preconceived notions of youth imposed upon the subjects—or at least none that the supremely articulate characters wouldn’t cop to on their own. For Garrison, Kevin and Skye (who, at 16, has an emotional intelligence that outdistances pretty much everyone I know), fashion is fun but not defining, religion is relevant but hardly central, and class is negotiated but not exactly transcended. Co-directors Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet are both in their early 20s, just a few years removed from the experiences of their subjects, this age proximity serves to repel intergenerational objectification as well as “state of the youth” sloganeering, freeing the filmmakers to make a movie out of what and how they see. They frame on-camera parries as deadpan two-shots, playfully score slow-mo skate-stunts to classic soul (because why the hell not), and never stoop to exclamation when ellipses work just fine.
Also covering the Fest, Hammer to Nail’s Michael Tully boldly announced “after only one viewing, I’m ready to file Only The Young in the all-time coming-of-age canon”. And T/F associate programmer Chris Boeckmann, collecting his thoughts on the film, declared Only the Young “one of the most exciting documentary debuts of the past decade”.
But please, don’t take their word for it. See Only the Young below.