3 ‘coming-of-age’ movies I wish I’d seen 10 years ago

3 ‘coming-of-age’ movies I wish I’d seen 10 years ago

I dislike being 25. Getting ID’d becomes more embarrassing (especially when they think it’s fake), you’re too young and inexperienced to be in a middle-weight job which means you’re underpaid and not taken very seriously by clients, yet you’re getting too old to shamelessly rely on your parents all the time. You’re stuck frustratingly between being qualified, satisfied and self-dependent. I miss having fun without having to pay the price for it afterwards, too.

I’m also jealous of the fact that younger generations have got it much easier than I had. Teenagers have social networks, mobile phones and laptops with broadband which takes the pressure off having to make new friends and keep in touch with existing ones. Remember how scary it was having to call your crush or knock on their parent’s door to ask them if they were allowed out? Terrifying! I remember having to wait until 6pm to use BT Internet for free and even then I’d have to wait for my turn on the computer and tolerate the tediously slow speeds. Did you know that some exam boards actually let kids use ‘text speak’ in their essays/answers?! Yep – no need to learn quality grammar kids, there won’t be any jobs left for you anyway! Shops now make grown-up clothes and shoes in small sizes – I really hate that part the most. And even toys for babies are inspiring these days – this Christmas I’d be more than happy to receive Toys ‘R’ Us vouchers (and that’ll make Christmas even more fun if I avoid telling Rick why I’m filling the spare room with baby toys…).

Anyway, to add to my shortcomings, I’ve seen 3 brilliant films this year that I really wish I’d seen a decade ago. I was a very reserved and well-behaved child (compared to most of my classmates) and I was constantly worrying about the future. I remember being scared and avoiding trouble more than I remember having fun or getting into trouble. Sometimes I think I really wasted those opportunities.

So, to all of you (especially those young enough to still be rebellious and carefree) I highly recommend watching the following 3 movies. I will give a brief description (without giving away vital plot points, hopefully) and will highlight some moments that I feel missed out on when ‘coming of age’…

1. The Kings of Summer (2013)

[IMDB link]

I'd like to thank the beautiful Lucy Eldridge for bringing this movie into my life. The main character in this story is a teenage boy called Joe, backed up brilliantly by his best friend Patrick and their hilarious tag-along - Biaggio. While living with their individual parents, who are somewhat struggling to understand these Testosterone-fulled boys, they decide to build their own house in the woods and plan to survive on their own throughout the summer. No rules, no parents, no worries. Sounds epic, right?! And it is...

The direction in this film is amazing and I think the location and props simply add to the wonder that is created. Deep fields, tall trees and sun-flares galore, these boys are old enough to look after themselves but young enough to enjoy a good dance/play/build fire montage. And I became very jealous. The scenes with cool music and slow motion dives into lakes are by far the best parts of this film, making it my top recommendation today.

What I love about these three friends is that; even though loads of people talk about running away - they actually did it. Watch it right now!

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2. The Way Way Back (2013)

[IMDB link]

This film focuses on Duncan - a boy who is stuck on an awful beach holiday with his love-sick mum, her overbearing new boyfriend and a load of the boyfriend's loud/drunk friends. You start to feel so frustrated for Duncan; in many scenes it seems that he's the only sane one there. He's walked all over, constantly talked-down to and is pushed out to become an outsider. I literally cursed at the screen in frustration at one point, yeah - I get pretty into films. Duncan is slowly forced to explore the local area by himself, for his own sanity, and makes an unlikely friend in a local food place. This friend (Owen) owns a water park down the road and has the same maturity level as Duncan, despite being a couple of decades older. Owen treats Duncan like an equal which allows him to come out of his shell - finally.

The best part of the film, for me, is a scene where Duncan confronts his mum, who is acting like a complete wet flannel. There have been many times when I've wanted to ask one of my parents what the hell they were thinking but Duncan does it so well, the entire film is worth watching just for that scene.

It's heart-warming to see a young kid grow in confidence, once he's in the right environment and the cast are fantastic. I highly recommend it.

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3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

[IMDB link]

Stephen Chbosky wrote The Perks of Being a Wallflower and it was published as a novel in 1999. This means I could have been inspired this story many years ago, pre-self-wisdom. Sigh. However I'm very glad I got to see the film.

Charlie is a teenager with a haunted past, who narrates his story to his diary. It becomes clear that he requires medication to stabilise his mind and the film slowly reveals flashbacks from his troubled memory. Charlie is a freshman who becomes friends with a group of seniors at school, who show him loads of new experiences. They take him to house parties, they hang out at football games and they go driving together. Being a huge introvert, Charlie isn't always sure how to act in social situations - accidentally eating a hash brownie is a particularly funny example - but then he does also make much bigger mistakes that cause him some serious damage.

My favourite part of this movie is when Charlie is pressured into a relationship by his friends. He finds himself suddenly trapped, being bossed around by a girl that he's not really attracted to. There are many cringe-worthy moments but it adds to the charm of the story. I'm still reading the book and loving the extra details missed in the film. Watch it if you can!

(Image credit)

Strangely, I've noticed that each of these films has a teenage boy as the lead role! But I could still relate to so many of the emotions and events that take place. If anybody knows of a similar kind of film but with a female role, I'd love to know about it?

Happy viewing guys!

  • Spadge

    Top 10 ‘coming of age’ films:
    1. Little Miss Sunshine
    2. The Kings of Summer
    3. The Way Way Back
    4. Into The Wild
    5. The Amazing Spider Man
    6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
    7. Princess Diaries
    8. Hesher
    9. Big
    10. ET

  • James Egan

    Challenge accepted!

    1. The Breakfast club

    2. Scott Pilgram Vs The world

    3. Garden State

    4. The Last Kiss

    5. Shaun of the Dead

    6. Dead Poets Society

    7. Adventureland

    8. Boyz n The Hood

    9. Almost Famous

    10. Moonrise Kingdom

    :D

  • rosie ablewhite

    I don’t know about top ten but these are kind of coming-of-age, with girls in mind! ‘Juno’ ‘Mean Girls’ ‘The First Time’ ‘Sisterhood of the travelling pants’ ‘Elizabethtown’ ‘Adventureland’ ‘Easy A’

  • James Egan

    Pitch Perfect?

  • Martin ♕

    Thoughtful post – and a lovely, accurate adage to growing up and working as a 20-something. Sigh.