˗ˏˋcoming-of-age movies that made us feel seenˊˎ˗

hi read me !

tell me abt the coming-of-age movie that made u feel seen and what u love abt it!!



edit: article’s been published! 


lil note: i'm a writer for an online mag called lithium. our next issue is about representation, so i'll be compiling some of ur answers in a lil article to be released some time next month. if u don't want ur answer to possibly be included, just indicate so in ur comment; but if u do wanna be considered then include ur name & age & location (only if u're comfortable sharing!!) YAY

  • The Edge of Seventeen

    The Edge of Seventeen

    ★★★★★

    i watched this on my seventeenth birthday as some kind of baptismal for the new me (when you're 17 you're this unbearably melodramatic), and frankly i wasn't the same person when it finished. there's something about hearing thoughts you didn't even realize you had out loud; like you're in middle school again and your secrets have been spilled and your life is over but not really, because apparently you're not the only one. you're not the only one who thinks this way, feels this way. nadine's speech at the end will never not feel like a stab in the chest and a warm embrace. teenhood is hard, but everyone goes through it, after all.

    -- andrea, 19, philippines

    the edge of seventeen for me too — nadine is sooooo relatable, and a lot of what she said and did and how she acted felt painfully close to how i feel. her monologue at the end made me cry throughout — it was someone else putting my thoughts into words — and the simple thing of her being included in a group finally was everything to me. the movie was incredibly cathartic & it felt sort of magical to be seen!!

    --…

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  • Eighth Grade

    Eighth Grade

    ★★★★½

    i had never truly understood the concept of "feeling seen" until eighth grade

    -- valentina, 17, uruguay

    Eighth Grade was one of the first times I saw a young socially awkward girl on screen portrayed so accurately. The movie made me uncomfortable because I related so much to Kayla’s anxiety, but I also felt seen because of it.

    -- corina, 18, us

    I experience heavy amounts of anxiety that coincidentally started in middle school and seeing Eighth Grade gave me a feeling of catharsis like no other. I relate to Kayla so much that, as corny as it might sound, it makes watching the movie feel like looking at myself through the screen.

    -- April, 19, Washington state

    this movie made me feel like a little girl all over again, not knowing how to behave, not having enough autonomy to decide how by yourself, always guiding by others. i feel this movie, the awkward situations in get in to. it’s the most real movie about adolescences without stereotypes i’ve ever saw. i kinda love it.

    -- jessica, 24, brazil

  • Skate Kitchen

    Skate Kitchen

    ★★★★½

    It's so sweet and earnest, and feels like a documentary because all of the actors are real skaters who are friends

    -- sagan, 15, ontario

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  • 20th Century Women

    20th Century Women

    ★★★★

    for the vibes and the uniquely feminine perspective

    -- sagan, 15, ontario

    i think the most i'd ever felt seen was when watching 20th Century Women, which i felt was formative for me during the time when i was realizing i was trans. the way these women operated and talked, and how they viewed the world differently and had their own grace and beauty, it was something i knew i wanted to have and be, and something i already was feeling. i could relate to Jamie because i was a teenage boy growing up surrounded by women, but outside of Laurence Anyways, it was the movie that truly made me realize i was a girl. i saw so much more of myself in the women than the men, and so much more of what i wanted to be.

    -- lizzy, 16, US

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  • Lady Bird

    Lady Bird

    ★★★★½

    for using an old formula but still being so fresh and sweet

    -- sagan, 15, ontario

    lady bird, for me, was maybe the first time I’ve ever felt truly “seen” on screen. i felt more exposed, honestly. it came out right at the end of my senior year of high school, and I was struggling with the same things lady bird was, feeling the same way she did, and had felt all her life; like escaping was the only way to be happy. watching it now, I can still relate with the idea of finally getting out of the place you so desperately needed to leave for so long, and then looking back and realizing that you were so consumed with leaving, you never really looked around and appreciated what you had when you had it 💗💞

    -- cassie, 19, USA

    the relationship with her mom is probably the thing i can relate the most, seeing that kind of dynamic is somehow cathartic and so satisfying.

    -- Alan, 20, argentina

    it’s already listed here but, what the hell, no coming of age film could ever possibly represent me quite as accurately as lady bird does. unless, of course, there’s a…

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  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    ★★★★★

    for making everyone with different problems feel seen

    -- sagan, 15, ontario

    ah the orignal! i watched this when i was thirteen and was just diagnosed wirh depression and had never seen myself more in a film the nervos staring the hurt charlie feels the point where he is at destruction and cant tell anyone? all me. i watched this five times in a week as seeing me on screen was overwhelming and i had never felt so validated.

    -- ethan, 17, uk

    as cheesy as it is, i feel like this movie and the book hit me at such a vital point in my life. i remember writing about how much i loved the movie at any given opportunity in writing class. i think it was one of the first movies i ever watched that really dealt with mental illness that felt actually relatable and not detached to the audience. i felt so connected to charlie when i heard him speak about being both happy and sad at the same time - as a thirteen year old at the time, i didn't think that was possible.

    -- amanda, 17, cali, usa

  • But I'm a Cheerleader

    But I'm a Cheerleader

    It’s not a very common coming of age story but watching it and still being in the closet, I felt like I wasn’t alone in the world. It became a film that I would watch anytime I felt alone or upset. My teen years were saved because of this film.

    -- Noelle, 28, Las Vegas, USA

  • Whisper of the Heart

    Whisper of the Heart

    ★★★★½

    it made me fall in love with love all over again. Not only that but it shed light on what one wants to do in life and questioning of what you want to do is what you’re really good at. I’ve been struggling my whole life figuring out what I want to be and who I am. The movie showed me that passion isn’t enough in order for you to achieve that, but patience and practice should balance it out.

    Sincerely, a 17-year-old from the Philippines.

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  • Booksmart

    Booksmart

    ★★★★½

    amy's entire arc for sure, her awkwardness & dorkiness & general journey, and also just generally the sort of allowing yourself to get out of a shell and get to know your classmates beyond just stereotypes & caricatures and allowing yourself to be you and let other people be them??? if that makes sense???? idk!!!

    -- nirica, 21, india

    booksmart is the movie that's made me feel right in every single decision i've made since getting to where i am today. the entire time i watched, i could just feel the waves of secondhand embarrassment rolling off your back, and every scene wasn't so much a sucker punch as it was a lovetap. there is a side to youth that is simply raw and reckless inhibition, and as someone that's class of 2019 just like amy and molly, i get why they're so impulsive and so ready to make mistakes. after what feels like a lifetime of rules, it's instinct to want to break the chains and reveal the girl that's been dying to see the sun ever since she realized who she really was and what she really wanted, way past the stereotypes and the rumors and the cliques. this is the…

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  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off

    Ferris Bueller's Day Off

    ★★★★★

    For me it was Ferris Buellers Day Off. John Hughes gets a lot of credit for the coming of age genre and rightfully so. But the status of his movies doesn’t come from their depiction of reality. It comes from his ability figure out what us teens really want, but could never have, and giving it to us in the best way he can. I never found any of his movies realistic but I always fantasized about being in them, having complete control over my life and not being dominated by my parents will. And Ferris Buellers Day Off is the eppitimy of that, a kid taking control and outsmarting all of the adults so he can do what he wants to without having to worry about what the adults want. Living in a very controlling home that meant a whole lot to me when I saw it at 14 and it still means a lot even when I’ve just graduated high school. Other movies can show us out reality but I’ve never seen a coming-of-age movie that so deftly taps into our fantasy.

    -- Ethan, 17, Missouri

    My parents insisted i watch this film when i was around 12…

  • Stick It

    Stick It

    although it's pretty silly it is actually a great look on how important sisterhood is and how you can change things with protest

    -- sagan, 15, ontario

  • Midnight Cowboy

    Midnight Cowboy

    i dont think i had ever seen internalised homophobia adressed in such a raw way. looking at his face and seeing how angry he got at being called what he was... i felt that the way in which he couldnt let himself be happy that he had to fight it off because of how much he hated himself wad something which lied closer to home than i will ever admit

    -- ethan, 17, uk

  • Rocketman

    Rocketman

    ★★★★

    seeing elton john go from a happy innocent man to a depressed swearing monster was unimaginably painful and relatable to see how much others words and hatred towards you can mess you up really genuinely touched a nerve as i had never seen it portrayed to this extent on screen and by the end i was bawling

    -- ethan, 17, uk

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  • Thunder Road

    Thunder Road

    theres a scene at the start of this film when cummings is sobbing infront of his family at the funeral and he is trying so hard to keep it in but whenever he speaks it comes out aggresive and croaky to the point where it looks like he is gagging for air every time he speaks and though it is hilarious to watch i wasnt sure whether i could laugh or cry because whenever i wanted to keep in a mental breakdown thats how it felt and how the film depicts grief is so real

    -- ethan, 17, uk

  • Alita: Battle Angel

    Alita: Battle Angel

    i have never seen a transgender storyline being portrayed accuratly and i have sourced far and wide to attempt to find it and though alita isnt intentionally trans its way of expressint gender dysphoria and expressint how ir feels to be in the wrong body was earthshattering the pain and confusion she feels looking at herself was me for a very long time.

    -- ethan, 17, uk

    Hey as another trans person, I’m gonna have to go with Alita as well! It may not have been intentional, but the movie spoke to me in a way that none others really have as far as I can remember. It really tackles the struggles that us in the community go through really well, and in such a way that my heart felt heavy while watching. It’s truly great. We deserve more movies like it, most trans movies are pretty awful and aren’t really all as relatable as they think they are(I don’t blame some of the more popular ones for being popular, cis people don’t identify with the actual hardships so they don’t know how ill represented they are sometimes), especially to actual trans people. I was always a big fan of the manga, and I love the movie so much, not even just for how it appealed to someone who has been a fan for a long time, but for how it appealed to me as a trans person.

    -- sam

  • Mommy

    Mommy

    ★★★★★

    i was always an angry kid for a very long time and i didnt know how to express it and i still dont even after intensive therapy. it always felt like a cosnrant fire and one little push could make it go and this is what was shown here. because looking back at this time i told myself i was a bad kid and that i should feel ashamed yet watching this and seeing someone so filled witu anger yet passion and youth i realised back then and like him i was a kid and it wasnt my fault even if it felt like it was.

    -- ethan, 17, uk

    Mommy was the most emotional roller-coaster I've ever been on. A story about a young boy troubled by ADHD and autism which is now something that I myself can relate to as my sister is going through changes with these. The past few months have been a struggle and a challenge for my parents, especially my mum on which it is taking a toll on her. Watching this film I saw myself in Kyla, the outsider who comes in to try and resolve the issues. Something that I defiently feel like I can relate to as I am one of the only people my sister can calm down and actually talk to sometimes. Going through the experience that is this film really helped put things into perspective and helped my understanding of what she is going through. It wholeheartedly deserves its place as my all time favourite film!

    -- Blair, 18, Scotland

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  • A Silent Voice

    A Silent Voice

    i recently attempted to make amends with my siblings as i realised how much i hurt them during certain points as i have been filled to the brim with guilt with how i have treated them and seeing another guy also cope with the same thing was assuring i was doing the right thing

    -- ethan, 17, uk

  • Blade Runner 2049

    Blade Runner 2049

    The notes for this film reportedly contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    i had just been diagnosed with autism when i first saw this and always had the feeling and idea that i was different to everyone else that i was alien almost i always saw myself as seperate yet when i got a diagnosis i tried not to relate to that tellint myself it wasnt real even when it explained everything. the last shot of goslings character finding he is not human and lying on the floor with snow falling on him made me sob for days because i saw myself so much. i had felt so disconnected with everyone and seeing it shown on the screen was incredibly overwhelming and somethint i cannot place into words. it felt like the entire film was leading to that moment and when it did it truly hit me.

    -- ethan, 17, uk

  • Swiss Army Man

    Swiss Army Man

    ★★★★½

    i remember the exact day i watched rhis and i remember walking down to the dinner table andjust crying and crying. i was in an incredibly difficult time then where i was incredibly suicidal and felt like i had no reason to live this film gave me one because i felt like both characters were differenr sides of me and i had to embrace both and rhat was by living.

    -- ethan, 17, uk

    Swiss Army Man's themes of shame and repression made me finally confront the shame I've felt as a young queer person, to the point that I finally decided to come out as trans to family. My life has been immeasurably better ever since.

    -- Selena, 22, California :o)

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  • Amélie

    Amélie

    ★★★★★

    i don’t think i’ve ever related to a character more than i do with her. it’s so fascinating to watch a movie about someone who’s shy and introverted like me, and to be able to see the world through her eyes. i have anxiety and agoraphobia, and watching amelie try so desperately to connect with the world around her through small gestures that are uniquely her makes me feel seen in such a profound way.

    -- eely, 24, atlanta

  • The Way Way Back

    The Way Way Back

    Plenty of coming-of-age films have made me feel seen, but a big one for me was The Way, Way Back.

    It's fairly simple (although more nuanced than it's received credit for), but it resonated with me deeply. I watched it for the first time, and several subsequent times, over the course of the summer I (thought I) first fell in love, and the summer I started to grow into my own person. It's a tender portrait of finding who you are, at a young age, and at a time when you're starting to figure out how life works. Who the people your parents, the adults around them, and everyone else you meet during that delicate period of development are. How heavy the influence everything has on you is, and trying to balance it with who you believe you are already. It's a funny, cathartic, empathetic story of how we all shape ourselves — in the wake of adolescence, and in the face of those who tried to shape us.

    -- Andrew, 17, Dallas, TX

    Every single scene of that movie kind of happened to me in one way or another and it was truly crazy seeing like three or four years of my life in one film.

    -- valentín, 16, argentina

  • The Miseducation of Cameron Post

    The Miseducation of Cameron Post

    ★★★½

    I've never been through conversion therapy but the film uses its setting and the three main characters to beautifully talk more generally about queer people banding together to form communities in a hostile environment. Also the line "lesbian tastes and old people tastes run parallel" feels like it's just reading me to shit so there's that

    -- steph, 20, manchester, UK

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  • I Killed My Mother

    I Killed My Mother

    ★★★★

    -- syanarchy

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  • Love, Simon

    Love, Simon

    ★★★★★

    -- Liz, 16, east coast of the US

    it was when I took over for my family, this movie will always mark my life and I thank you very much for it💖💖

    -- otha

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  • Little Women

    Little Women

    -- liz, 16, east coast of the US

  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

    Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

    ★★★★½

    -- Liz, 16, east coast of the US

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  • Pride

    Pride

    ★★★★½

    I love seeing Joe’s journey coming to terms with being gay, and how he comes to feel not only accepted but loved by the LGBT community, and the people around him. He learns that although his family may shun him, he doesn’t need them and he can create a family of his own. I also love that it shows the side of being LGBT that is protesting, and not just the individual stories, but the bigger picture of the gay rights movement. It also has a fab soundtrack of gay 80s bangers, which I’m always a fan of!

    -- emily, 17, england

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  • Whale Rider

    Whale Rider

    My heritage is Polynesian/Hawaiian and Italian, but the Polynesian part is the more prominent and probably most notable. And being a young kid, there was very little Asian representation to begin with, and even less for someone that’s not your typical “Asian.” My parents rented this when we were younger, and to finally see a little kid that had the same complexion and hair as me was so surreal at the time. And it was the first time that I could learn about my heritage in a film instead of relying on asking my dad about it. Until watching this movie, the closest characters I had was Lilo from LILO & STITCH and a Disney Channel Original Movie character that I can’t remember (which says a lot all things considering). I hold this movie so dear to me, because even to this day there isn’t that much representation for Polynesian/Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders as I would like.

    -- brandon, 27, florida

  • Call Me by Your Name

    Call Me by Your Name

    ★★★★★

    I think the coming-of-age film that made me feel seen was Call Me Bye Your Name. I had never really questioned my sexuality until I saw CMBYN, much like Elio, I was straight and totally cool with that. But once I saw this film, something deep inside me just made itself known to me, and I realized that there’s so much more that we don’t know about ourselves and the only way to experience that sensation of discovery is to find that special someone/something that makes us feel something we never thought about before. CMBYN made me comfortable in knowing that maybe I’m straight but also maybe I’m bi, I don’t really know yet and that’s such a miraculous part of life is how it surprises us in multiple senses.

    -- owen, 16, US

    Call Me By Your Name hit me really hard because the first time I saw it (and read the book), I was just starting to understand my sexuality. I went and saw it with my good friend who I had a crush on and the scene where Futile Devices plays and there’s basically just a bunch of light leaks on the screen, I just started sobbing because I realized she wouldn’t ever know how I feel. Timotheé Chalamet’s performance encapsulates exactly how it feels to be overwhelmed by longing, confusion, and love as a teenager.

    -- corina, 18, us

    Call Me By Your Name made me hurt inside for days. Being a bisexual person in a really strict family, it hurt to know how things could be.

    -- sebastian

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  • The Breakfast Club

    The Breakfast Club

    ★★★★★

    -- lizy

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  • Moonrise Kingdom

    Moonrise Kingdom

    ★★★★

    -- lizy

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  • Heathers

    Heathers

    ★★★★★

    I really related to both Veronica and William, Veronica for her personality and William for the experience he went through.
    I, unlike my sister, am not the type to want to leave my hometown. I have too many friends and memories here, but I applied for an art school about 6 hours away and I got in. This art school replaces your last two years of high school, so while all my friends get the full high school experience with each other, I only get half that.
    Soon after getting accepted, I went on a field trip with my school choir to St. Louis. I had a moment of realization while on that bus, is that I really love it here. But, realizing that I was leaving home, I decided to make the fullest of that experience. I made great memories, I got a scar on my lip playing laser-tag, and it turns out I’m pretty okay at Smash Bros Ultimate. And while on the way home, and everyone was talking and playing Cards Against Humanity, I turned on Tiny Dancer by Elton John.

    -- Matthew, 16, U.S

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  • Almost Famous

    Almost Famous

    ★★★★

    I really related to both Veronica and William, Veronica for her personality and William for the experience he went through.
    I, unlike my sister, am not the type to want to leave my hometown. I have too many friends and memories here, but I applied for an art school about 6 hours away and I got in. This art school replaces your last two years of high school, so while all my friends get the full high school experience with each other, I only get half that.
    Soon after getting accepted, I went on a field trip with my school choir to St. Louis. I had a moment of realization while on that bus, is that I really love it here. But, realizing that I was leaving home, I decided to make the fullest of that experience. I made great memories, I got a scar on my lip playing laser-tag, and it turns out I’m pretty okay at Smash Bros Ultimate. And while on the way home, and everyone was talking and playing Cards Against Humanity, I turned on Tiny Dancer by Elton John.

    -- Matthew, 16, U.S

  • Just Charlie

    Just Charlie

    Just Charlie and Saturday Church are both incredibly relatable for me because of the gender dysphoria the protagonists in each go through, and it felt wonderful to finally feel seen as a teenage trans woman through a film, let alone presented in such a respectful way.

    -- april, 19, washington state

  • Saturday Church

    Saturday Church

    Just Charlie and Saturday Church are both incredibly relatable for me because of the gender dysphoria the protagonists in each go through, and it felt wonderful to finally feel seen as a teenage trans woman through a film, let alone presented in such a respectful way.

    -- april, 19, washington state

  • Frances Ha

    Frances Ha

    ★★★★½

    frances ha, mainly bc of "i'm so embarrassed, i'm not even a real person yet." i watched this for the first time when i was 22, fresh out of college. i didn't know what i was doing. i felt so grown up but not really, like a tall child. i didn't feel like a real person yet. it's been 2 years since then and i'm as lost & confused as ever, but watching this always makes me feel like everything's gonna be okay.

    -- saiqa, 24, bangladesh

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  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

    ★★★★

    As weird of a choice it may seem, this is a film that really got to me on a very personal level. Sometimes, I'm a very selfish person and often push the people closest to me away, because I think they don't know what I'm going through. It wasn't until I saw GOTG 2, and it opens my eyes of how broken and selfish I was (which I connected so much in Peter and Rocket's situations), and I start to learn to become a better person both to myself and the people around me with a sense of kindness and embracing of who I am, despite my flaws. Which was something I needed a lot during my first year of college, and I'm getting better, partly because of this film.

    -- haydn, 20, albany, ny

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  • Superbad

    Superbad

    ★★★½

    -- valentín, 16, argentina

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  • Kicking and Screaming

    Kicking and Screaming

    Kicking and Screaming definitely hit me hard. It really represents how it feels being in that limbo between closing a chapter and starting a new one. Those who where close to you for so long start to drift away but you are still stuck in the old times. At the end life just keeps going.

    -- Karla, 20, Chile

  • Moonlight

    Moonlight

    ★★★★★

    -- jamie

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  • Dead Poets Society

    Dead Poets Society

    It made me realize that I'm more than what my parents want me to be and that shyness/fear can't get in the way of me getting the absolute most out of life. I also love poetry and want to be a writer so I connected to every character in some way.

    -- claire, 16, long island

  • Ordinary People

    Ordinary People

    ordinary people; when he blames himself for his brothers death and for his own trauma that completely changed my perceptive of how i view my trauma since i dealt with that for an incredibly long time and convinced myself i could have pushed him off more i coule have been more assertive yet i didnt so its me. seeint somebody cope with PTSD like i did and blame themselves when it was clearly not their fault made me realise i shouldnt be doing it either. it changed a lot.

    -- ethan, 17, uk

  • The Diary of a Teenage Girl

    The Diary of a Teenage Girl

    ★★★★½

    A wonderful adaptation of one of my all-time favorite books. The Diary of a Teenage Girl is brought to life on film. It is raw and vulnerable. The cinematography and production design are ensnaring. The cast and script are superb. The story is universal.

    Beautiful and twisted. Both this movie and this book make me feel less alone and more understood. The Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures easily won a slot on my shelf of favorite books. Rarely does a work of literature so genuinely reflect the human experience. It left me feeling down-right voyeuristic. Not because reading it is to witness her sexual exploration, which it is, but because it feels as if I have actually found the diary of a lonely, young woman and have chosen to spy on her private thoughts and personal growth. She feels absolutely real. Her voice is strong. Her perspective unique. Curious, bright, funny, slightly mean -- it is easy to love Little Minnie and natural to root for her. I was taken back to my own teenage years when I traversed the same messy obstacles. Through Minnie's narrative, relive the necessarily painful experiences of dealing with…

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  • Napoleon Dynamite

    Napoleon Dynamite

    -- Dr_Mabuse

  • Stand by Me

    Stand by Me

    Stand By Me was the main one for me when I was younger. I’d never seen any piece of media treat 12 year old boys with as much respect as Stand By Me and it really got the friendship angle right.

    -- Michael Gannaway

  • Boyhood

    Boyhood

    I watched it at a rlly strange time in my life, having the feeling of wanting to escape from the current teenage situation I was in not really because it was particularly terrible, but rather because I was reaching out for something else, something different. I found the culmination of the movie when he finally makes it to UT and moves to Austin to be really romantic in that sense. Ironically, later that year my family was uprooted and moved to Austin, and I realized how much I was actually comfortable in the shitty small town I was in, and how terrified I was of change. Anyways I wound up at UT Austin too in the end, and now this movie feels a bit like a prophetic full circle for me personally. Also it’s a pretty good movie objectively, but that’s my lil personal connection.

    -- Hailey, 20, Austin

  • The Inbetweeners Movie

    The Inbetweeners Movie

    The Inbertweeners Movie, while not being on the same level of quality as many of the other films on this list and not reaching the same heights of the TV series it's based on, is still highly relatable to most British teenagers including myself. Everyone has that one friend who bullshit's, everyone has or has known someone hung up over an ex, everyone's done something embarrassing to win someone back and everyone has fallen out with a mate over a small thing.

    -- boggy