The years of growing up when you are too old to be a kid, yet young to be an adult is perhaps the most confusing time of life. Coming of age films capture all the chaos and adventure of those mad years. Here are a few films from the genre that are amazing in their portrayal of life’s most exciting times:
School is a time for hard work and study, but it is also the time to have all the fun you can! This is the story of two girls, high school prodigies, who realize that all the academic laurels they earn make no sense if they forget to enjoy their time. So they decide to hit the most happening year-end party and things turn really crazy. This is a fun film about two young adults who are just taking a break from being responsible. We have all been there, haven’t we?!
A loud, racy film about a young teenager, American Honey captures all the chaos of becoming an adult. It follows a girl who is confused, curious, and aimless – something that teenagers bring with them for all of us. The story is deeply immersive in her world that is full of music and a constant search for a sense of belonging. The narrative brings out what teenage feels like to most women, and how clueless they often get given that it is also an age when they are most restricted by parents and society at large.
Call Me By Your Name
This is a whirlwind of a romance between a 17-year-old boy and his father’s research assistant. The story is a welcome change in terms of its portrayal of a gay romance in the most beautiful manner. When a teenager and an adult fall in love, the dynamics are bound to be turbulent. The boy in all his confused teenage mental state experiences a longing so pure that it guides his emotional and sexual coming of age in the most unexpected ways. Watch this film to have your heart squeezed out by some exquisite romance.
In her final year of Catholic school, Christine changes her name to Lady Bird in her search for reinvention like most teenagers. She has a year of college to get through and the plot comes alive with all the classic elements of a coming of age story like romance, friendships, fitting in, conflicts with family..etc. The film is entertaining and also very representative of the in-betweens that teenagers often presents us with. It is a complicated age in terms of the physical and emotional changes a person goes through and the film portrays all of those confusing feelings with a subtle sense of understanding.
Set in a remote Turkish village, this is the story of five young orphaned sisters and their struggles of growing up in a conservative neighborhood. Themes of sexuality, acceptance, and social confirmation that women experience are dealt with in the film. The plot is rife with depictions of how society treats young women differently and imposes a certain moral code on them while their male counterparts live a more free and unsupervised life. The film is very relatable and real owing to its honesty of emotions and that makes it a very fulfilling watch.
Adapted time and again in different versions, there is no other story more coming of age than Little Women, a novel by Louisa May Alcott. This is one of the oldest and most classic versions of the film that tells the story of four sisters as they navigate their lives and ambitions. The film depicts how women are often taught to downsize their intelligence to suit the egos of their male counterparts and how sometimes being married becomes the most important identity of women. Those who try to swim against this tide are doomed to an isolated life that is characterized by loneliness and a constant conflict between being free and giving in.
The Spectacular Now
Based on the age-old trope of a young bookish girl dating a high school bad boy, this is a film that treats the subject in a very different manner. The passion of the young sweethearts is so real and innocent that it will make you want to go back to your own school love. There is something undeniably charming about naïve young adults falling in love and the fact that they are opposites only adds to it. Watch this film to be reminded of the beauty of young love and the ways in which it sparks excitement like none other in teenage minds.
Boyhood is a coming-of-age film that literally explains how nothing major happens in these years of growing into an adult from a teenager. It follows the protagonist for 12 years and is filmed at different locations over time to document his life as an adolescent. The filmmaking technique is unique and explores the patience it requires in life to accept change, grow as a person, and brace through experiences that are new and sometimes uncomfortable. Filled with brilliant performances and beautiful music, this is a film that is a must-watch for lovers of the coming-of-age genre.
Teenage is often characterized by unmanageable temper for most youngsters. This is the story of a teenage girl who always loses her temper and is trying to climb out of her chaotic high school life. She accidentally steps into the boxing ring one day and gets hooked to the sport. The controlled display of aggression in the ring helps her feel anchored and to tame her own anger in personal spaces. The film depicts how she uses the sport as a personal tool to help herself out of her turbulent teenage life.
Rebel Without A Cause
This is a film that explores the lives of suburban middle-class teenagers. The film explores themes of decay of purpose among the youth, problematic parenting patterns, and conflicts between generations. The narrative tries to bring forth an excellent commentary on how the young are treated in lesser elite communities and how their aspirations are often limited by their social status. The consequences of capitalism on young minds is also a theme that overarchingly appears throughout the plot.