Every film genre brings something precious to its dedicated fans. Action movie lovers are looking for adrenaline and impressive composition of fight scenes. Horror fans seek the harsh shock and fear when something horrific unfolds. Of course, there are no hard lines between the types of sensations that different types of movies offer their viewers.
Those seeking a new perspective on life or a welcome surge of nostalgia will find solace in films in the coming-of-age genre. Often centered around children, teens and young adults, these stories explore the pain and joy of that elusive line between adolescence and adulthood. Everyone who has ever lived has encountered this boundary many times in their life, and those who have ever thought positively about change may find that these films have a lot to say. Here are the best coming-of-age movies of the 2000s.
9 Bring it on
A formulaic conspiracy could not be stopped Bring it on one of the most iconic teen movies of the early 2000s. Come for the witty, wacky humor and stay for the high-energy camaraderie and rivalry between these lovable cheerleaders. The film shouldn’t be taken too seriously or read too much to embrace politics — it’s a raunchy high school comedy that’s doing well alongside a slew of other early 2000s comedies. The film was so successful that a sequel is currently in development.
8th mean girls
One of the absolute high school movies mean girls is led by a cast of characters so iconic that those lines of dialogue are still being quoted nearly two decades later. The transition between groups of friends accurately captures the pitfalls of friendship in early adolescence when loyalty and social influence rule the schoolyard. Lindsay Lohan’s stages of confusion and growth mingle in an uplifting and honest account of how hard it is to be a teenager.
7 Crazy Friday
Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan create the ultimate unsynchronized, destructive mother-daughter duo, and the body-switched narrative was most compelling in films like Crazy Friday. Half the fun is watching the actors struggle to fit into each other’s bodies with their unique idiosyncrasies and mannerisms. It’s not a challenging conclusion or a genuinely new idea, but rather a series of emotional beats that will warm the heart if taken with a grain of salt.
6 Donnie Darko
This film moves on the nebulous borderline between audience favorite and cult film. It’s unlikely that most younger viewers will have seen it, but its ideas and execution as a coming-of-age film are worthy. A mentally disturbed teenager begins to experience end-of-the-world hallucinations while navigating the difficulties of being a reserved introvert in a high school environment. It’s a bit surreal and defies easy explanation, making it a film that deserves time to think after the credits have rolled. Donnie Darko is a treat for the active imagination. As the film’s following grew in the years following its release, Rumors of a sequel began to circulate.
5 Find Nemo
The phenomenon of Find Nemo saw a steady decline in the 2010s, but for many years after its release it was considered one of Pixar’s greatest works. Following the adventures of a lost clownfish and his father’s journey to find him, there is a wonderful parallel narrative about the need to let go as a parent and the journey to independence as a youngster. Well-animated, memorable characters carry this film through its run, and two decades later it’s still a heart-warming story.
This black and white animated film about a girl growing up during and after the 1979 Iranian revolution is based on a famous graphic novel of the same name. Marji, the main character, grows up in a troubled time of political turmoil, losing the stability she once knew in her family life. Persepolis is not for the faint of heart, although its emotional weight makes the story’s moments of lightness and beauty feel all the more poignant and fleeting. The film was controversial enough to be convicted by certain officials in Iran.
3 School of Rock
Rocker Dewey Finn tricks his way into a substitute teacher gig and is tasked with honing the musical talents of this classroom of kids to rebel against the harsh and uncompromising vision of life forced upon them by their parents. in an unusual twist, School of Rock is as much a coming-of-age story for a witty group of kids as it is for the middle-aged rocker played by Jack Black. The love and freedom of rock music, presented through Jack Black’s vision, is the transformative element for each of the main characters and the children’s ensemble.
Teenage pregnancy stories are a complicated narrative to bring to screen, but Elliot Page’s portrayal of young Juno MacGuff in Juno creates a welcome warmth and lightness. As she must decide what to do with the baby, she is caught in the confusion of being a high school student and carrying the immense burden of what to do with the life growing inside her. Through a series of challenging encounters with various would-be parents, she finds peace with her situation and comfort in the love of her best friends.
1 spirited away
This animated film puts a fantastic twist on how humans grow and adapt to changing circumstances. Chihiro, a young girl who accidentally crosses a barrier into the spirit world, is asked by various mythical characters to complete a series of quests so she can find her way back home. There are few studios that infuse their work with as much raw imagination as Studio Ghibli, and none that makes the quality of “wonder” so real that it seems it could be touched, especially in a film like spirited away.
Following the theatrical success of Scream last month, Paramount is continuing the franchise with Scream 6.
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