When one talks about the coming-of-age genre, films like The Breakfast Club (1985), Sixteen Candles (1984), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), and Boyz N the Hood (1991) never miss a mention. While Hollywood never ceased producing films of the genre, coming-of-age masterpieces have recently been garnering much critical acclaim. While times and themes have changed, these narratives are still as relevant, truthful, and inspirational as the genre itself. Here are some of the coming-of-age films that future generations most probably will remember this one for.
Lady Bird (2017)
Greta Gerwig’s solo directorial debut tells the story of 17-year old Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (played by award-winning actress Saoirse Ronan) as she goes through self-discovery, complex relationships with friends, family, and lovers, and, last but not the least, college applications. This description might make Lady Bird seem like a mundane film, but its story resonates with its viewers, regardless of age.
Call Me by Your Name (2017)
Based on André Aciman’s 2007 novel of the same name, the film is about Elio Perlman (played by yet another award-winning actor, Timothée Chalamet) and his whirlwind summer romance with Oliver (Armie Hammer), his father’s graduate-student assistant. Both heartwarming and heart-wrenching, this film is as poignantly beautiful as it gets.
Edge of Seventeen (2016)
Seventeen-year-old Nadine Franklin (played by Hailee Steinfeld) is an introverted eccentric high school student who finds it hard to cope with her best (and only friend) dating her more popular brother (to whom she is distant from), her awkwardness with the boy she likes, and dealing with others in general. An interesting and amusing dynamic in the film is that of Nadine and her teacher and unusual confidant, Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson). Don’t be fooled by the lightheartedness of the movie—because spoiler-alert, it’s quite a tear-jerker, too.
Based on the unpublished semi-autobiographical play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney, the film chronicles Chiron (played by Alex Hibber, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes) from being a young boy to a man—who throughout his life has experienced emotional and physical abuse, and his journey towards discovering his true self, specifically his sexuality. This gripping and moving film definitely deserves all the hype and awards it garnered.
Your Name (Kimi No Nawa) (2016)
Directed by Makoto Shinkai, the 2016 Japanese animated film depicts the unusual yet captivating tale of two Japanese high schoolers who swap bodies. Mitsuha Miyamizu is a teenage girl from the rural town of Itomori who seeks to live beyond her provincial life, whereas Taki Tachibana is a teenage boy who lives in the bustling city of Tokyo. As their bodies swap with each other, they live out and eventually transform each other’s lives. Whether you’re an anime fan or not, you’ll most probably be struck by this movie.
Love, Simon (2018)
Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) is a closeted gay teenager who bonds and later fails in love with another closeted gay classmate through online chatting but has yet to find out the identity of the latter. Problems ensue when he is blackmailed to be outed by someone who had access to his chatroom. The film is based on the novel titled Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.