When we think about getting older, many of us tend to sigh and shake our heads with a sense of regret that life as we know it will never fully be the same. When we moved from that strange period of being teenagers to the transitional period of young adulthood, there were mixed feelings that ranged from happiness to confusion.
The coming of age period in an adolescent’s life is one that is strange and uncomfortable but filled with promise. When going through adolescence ourselves, we often feel as though we are alone in the emotions that we feel, but this is far from true. Since the early 1930s, films and books have told stories about young people going through young adulthood, and there are quite a few that have captured this period of time beautifully.
In this article, we will take you through four of the best coming-of-age films.
Here are the top 4 coming-of-age films:
This brilliant film was directed by Greta Gerwig and starred Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Timothée Chalamet, and Beanie Feldstein. It is set in the early 2000s and depicts the story of a young high school girl and her challenging, strained relationship with her mother. Aside from portraying complicated family dynamics and the relationship between parents and their children, Greta Gerwig’s screenplay and skillful direction show us what it is like to go through the difficult period of leaving childhood behind and taking cautious steps towards the unknown world of adulthood. We love this film because of how accessible it is to younger audiences and how it is also a fantastic example of good filmmaking.
Our second pick is Almost Famous, starring Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Frances McDormand. Even without a stacked cast, this film does an excellent job of showing you how challenging it can be to move into the world of adulthood while still trying to retain a sense of innocence and childhood. This movie follows William Miller (played by Crudup), a 15-year-old boy who longs to be a music journalist. After he gets the chance to write for Rolling Stone magazine, he goes on tour with the fictional rock band Stillwater. Almost Famous is a pop-culture staple among many, and we’d argue that the reason for this is because of how the main protagonist rebels against the constricting rules of his mother while also trying to retain a sense of naivety and innocence.
Call Me By Your Name is one of the best coming-of-age movies we’ve ever seen. It starred Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer and was made back in 2017. This film is set in the early 1980s during summer in Italy and depicts the blossoming relationship between Elio and Oliver. Oliver is a postgraduate student who arrives in Italy to help Elio’s father with his paperwork; his father is an archaeology professor who hires a student every summer. Elio feels an attraction towards Oliver but does his best to hide how he feels. As their attraction becomes mutual and eventually evolves into a romantic relationship, they must figure out what their future holds as Oliver’s departure from Italy looms closer. We love this film because of the way that it portrays young love, yearning, and the fears that come with being in a relationship. While Call Me By Your Name has drawn criticism in recent years about the age gap portrayed between the two main characters, we’d recommend that you watch this film through the lens of looking at it as a portrayal of youth and yearning.
Our final pick is Mistress America, directed by Noah Baumbach, starring Greta Gerwig and Lola Kirke. This film is about a young woman named Tracy Fishko (played by Kirke) who is struggling to find friends and herself in New York City as she navigates life as an English literature student. When she finds out that her future step-sister Brooke (played by Gerwig) also lives in New York, Tracy befriends her and eventually starts to become an active part of Brooke’s life. This movie accurately portrays the experience of being a freshman in college; you are trying to carve out an identity for yourself while also trying to figure out what that identity is at all. We’d recommend that you watch this film without thinking too much about what you’re going to get out of it because it’s a fun and quick movie to watch when you want to sit back and relax.
In this article, we took a long look at four different coming-of-age films. We loved these movies because they all portray young people in varied ways, without making their protagonists seem alone or silly in their youthful experiences. If you’re a movie buff, you might have already seen a couple of the movies that we recommended, but either way, we’d definitely recommend them all!