They say that you can learn so much about a person based on the movies that they like. And in our case, we gravitate towards movies that inspire and reflect the youth’s journey into adulthood. Here are 20 of our favorite coming of age movies in the past 20 years.
Dope is about Malcolm, a high-school genius who wants to go to Harvard, and his ‘90s hip-hop-obsessed friends that accidentally gets involved in a drug exchange gone wrong. It’s hilarious, yes, but the social commentary will leave you thinking about it even after the credits.
Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)
Starring Lea Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Color is one of those films that will be hard to forget. It’s about self-discovery, raw honesty and the joys and pains of your first relationship all rolled into one. crush. Yeah, you’re welcome.
Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl (2015)
Not a lot of Young Adult novels get the same treatment as this movie. Somehow, the Me, Earl and the Dying Girl movie is much more vibrant than the book version. Blame it on the spot-on casting or the color grading, but the charm really is in the story. It’s like The Fault in Our Stars but without the forced quirkiness
The Sisterhood of the Night (2014)
Ever wanted to be part of a barkada in school so bad? The Sisterhood of the Night tells the tale of one exclusive girl gang that is rumored to be a satanic cult. It hits the sweet spot between Mean Girls, Charmed and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Loyalty never looked so scary.
The Way He Looks (2014)
The Way He Looks tells the story of a blind boy and his best friend. Of course, they eventually fall in love but their journey will give you all the warm, fuzzy feelings you need for the holidays. A definite must-see.
Most people watch this movie to see what the fuss is all about. Shot over a span of 12 years, Boyhood may just be Richard Linklater’s most complicated film yet. It illustrates the raw journey and growth of Mason (Ellar Coltrane). It’s a little weird seeing a boy grow up in front of your very eyes. It makes you think about the growing up you still need to do.
Charlie Bartlett (2007)
2 Broke Girls’ Max, Iron Man and Star Trek’s Pavel Chekov in one movie? Don’t mind if we do. Starring the late Anton Yelchin, Charlie Bartlett is a story of a high-school student who transferred to a public school after having troubles of fitting in. It sounds typical but the soundtrack is motivation enough to check out the movie.
Kings of Summer (2013)
It’s like Where the Wild Things Are but older and cooler. High-school student Joe runs away from home to build his own tree house in the middle of the woods. No parents, no school and plain old fun. It’s a story of brotherhood and growth on one’s own terms.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2013)
Aside from the stellar soundtrack, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is just one of those movies that will stick with you. Like all the other young adult films released in recent years, it also got the Hollywood treatment. Starring Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller and Emma Watson, this movie will go down as one of the most important coming-of-age films (and books) to date.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
The color grading of the movie gets a lot of appreciation from regular Tumblr users to film critics, but it’s the story that really gets me every time. It’s about young love and the impulsive decision that comes with it. Don’t even get us started on Tilda Swinton.
Men, Women, and Children (2014)
You can learn something new from Men, Women and Children every time you watch it. It’s about growing up in the age of the Internet and how our lives affect our parents and friends. The intro is unforgettable and this might be Ansel Elgort’s best performance yet.
American Pie (1999)
You’d be lying if you say that American Pie has never influenced your teenage life in any way. You know the words to Stacy’s, er, Stifler’s Mom and you’ve probably watched this without your parents knowing. Watching this movie is like a rite of passage for teenagers.
“A part-time lover and full-time friend” is what we don’t want to be with that one best friend that we want to take it to the next level with. Aside from the cute soundtrack care of The Moldy Peaches, it also introduced us to the wonderfully awkward duo of Ellen Page and Michael Cera.
Looking past the whole Instagrammable-ness of this movie, Submarine is quite charming. It’s like that odd little peanut in your collection that’s always dying to get your attention during cold, lonely nights. Blame it on Alexi Murdoch.
Little Birds (2012)
Forget Winona Ryder; Juno Temple is the new icon for troubled teenagers. It’s a story of survival in the midst of growing up and the pressures surrounding it. It’s not like your typical suburban movie.
The Virgin Suicides (1999)
Yes, The Virgin Suicides is very “aesthetic goals.” But what really sets the movie apart is the story and sheer sensitivity towards experiences like suicide. It’s a classic tale of sisterhood and the pains of growing up.
McLovin’ probably appeared in one of your online profiles when the movie came out. Superbad is kind of like an adventure version of American Pie. You have your crass and cringy humor and adventures we can only wish to experience as teens.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Aside from the super adorable little Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine is — at least for me –– the road trip film. Watch out for the heartbreaking twist at the end; you’ll appreciate your blessings so much more.
Almost Famous (2000)
This is where we got all our cool music. I don’t know about you but when Zooey Deschanel told me that someday I would be cool, I believed it. This movie is about following your passions and working towards it no matter how much people around us forbid us from doing so. And I think that’s an important lesson to learn.
Mean Girls (2004)
Because: duh. Mean Girls is an iconic film that transcends generations. Some people watch it because of the golden one-liners, some watch it just to keep up with the quips people make in reference to this movie. And of course, to see Lindsay Lohan at her best state.