Top 10 Coming-Of-Age Films

Coming-of-age films

Only yesterday I was the girl playing on my father’s lap, I was the girl dreaming of going off to Hogwarts, I was the girl racing my bicycle on busy roads, I was the girl struggling with mathematics, I was the girl drooling over my first crush, I was the girl confused and ambivalent and 20 years went by. I just thought there would be more. More fun, more drama, more achievements. At some point, you stop growing up and start ageing. It is hard to realize when you transform from the tiny creature, struggling to stand up to a sturdy adult, struggling to walk through the crowd.

The period of transition is strange and interesting. In genre studies, a coming-of-age story is a genre of literature and film that focuses on the growth of a protagonist from youth to adulthood. The Coming-of-age is often a topic of fiction, in the form of a coming-of-age story. Coming-of-age stories tend to emphasize dialogue or internal monologue over action, and are often set in the past. The subjects of coming-of-age stories are typically males in their mid-teens. It is especially prominent in literature and films and focuses on the protagonist’s psychological and moral growth, and thus character change is extremely important.

Coming-of-age films

Here’s a list of some groundbreaking dramas that have beautifully captured the metamorphosis.

10. The Spectacular Now

Sutter Keely is a high school senior, charming and self-possessed, he’s the life of the party, loves his job at a men’s clothing store, and has no plans for the future. He is also a budding alcoholic. His girlfriend, Cassidy, unable to cope with his alcoholism and lack of ambition, decides to dump him. Drinking to numb his pain, Sutter is woken up on a stranger’s lawn by Aimee Finecky, a girl who wears no makeup and reads science fiction and manga during her free time, a girl who changes his life. This American comedy-drama moves through phases of carelessness and nonchalance to that of solemnity and self-discovery. With a “uniquely irresistible” Mike Teller and Shailene Wooldley as “a perfect repertoire of nervous giggles and awkward mannerisms” together giving out their “absurdly natural performances”, The Spectacular Now is a one of those rare and soulful teen movies that you are sure to love.

9. Slumdog Millionaire

He is a penniless eighteen-year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India’s “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” But when the show breaks for the night, suddenly, he is arrested on suspicion of cheating. It is surprising how an uneducated urchin could know so much? Jamal Malik recounts in flashback how he knows the answer to each question, each one linked to a key event in his life. This gripping 120-minute drama explores love, hatred, revenge, luck where the story switches between different periods (childhood, adolescence) of Jamal. This modern-day ‘rags-to-rajah’ fable won the hearts of the audience and critics alike and went on to win eight Academy Awards, also seven BAFTA Awards.

8. Say Anything

A highly responsible valedictorian begins dating an irresponsible and carefree brat only to discover that there’s much more to life than just perfection. This 1989 romantic comedy is heartfelt and entertaining with some charming performances and real emotions. In 2002, Entertainment Weekly ranked Say Anything as the greatest modern movie romance, and it was ranked number 11 on Entertainment Weekly ’s list of the 50 best high-school movies, it also established John Cusack as an icon for left-of-center types everywhere.

7. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

“If you carry eagerness in your heart then you are living, if you carry dreams in your eyes then you are living … learn to live freely like the wind, learn to flow freely like the river … embrace every moment with open arms, see a new horizon every moment with your eyes … if you carry surprises in your eyes then you are living, if you carry eagerness in your heart then you are living”. It’s a compelling story of three friends embarking on a trip which ends up being a journey of self-discovery for each of them in different ways and forces them to re-evaluate their lives. As the site desimartini.com puts it, ZNMD is indeed a feel-good film with a glittering star cast, amazing camera work, funny dialogues and exploding chemistry between the three leads which gives the viewers an enjoyable experience.

6. Dil Chahta Hai

The film is set in modern-day urban Mumbai and Sydney, and focuses on a major period of transition in the lives of three young friends who discover that post-collegiate life will test their tight-knit bond. The movie is partially based on writer-director Farhan Akhtar’s diaries on his trips to Las Vegas, his 1996 month-and-a-half long stay at New York, and a storyline narrated to him by a friend. Other parts of Dil Chahta Hai were adapted from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. A rare treat from the world of Hindi Cinemas, this comedy-drama film with it’s excellent music and picturization is like a breath of fresh air.

5. Little Manhattan

“Love is an ugly, terrible business practiced by fools. It’ll trample your heart and leave you bleeding on the floor. And what does it really get you in the end? Nothing but a few incredible memories that you can’t ever shake. The truth is, there’s gonna be other girls out there. I mean, I hope. But I’m never gonna get another first love. That one is always gonna be her.” That’s the beauty of first love, happens once in a lifetime. Little Manhattan depicts the story of ten-year-old Gabe’s realization that girls can be pretty and nice to be with and the one responsible for this recent thought of his was Rosemary. New York City is the most romantic place in the world even if you’re only 10 years old and falling in love for the first time. That’s what young Gabe discovers as he pursues the object of his affections, his classmate Rosemary Telesco. The romantic comedy is about life, love and the Big Apple, as seen through the eyes of a fifth-grader.

4. Harry Potter Film Series

They all started off as 11-year old cute and hesitant wizards, curious, witty and energetic with fear in their mind but abiding courage in their heart. With each passing film the theme became darker and richer while the characters experienced deeper emotions of love, friendship and reliance together giving them the audacity to overcome their arch-enemy Lord Voldemort. Harry Potter is a feature film series based on the Harry Potter novels by author J. K. Rowling. The series is distributed by Warner Bros. and consists of eight fantasy films beginning with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) and culminating with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011).

3. Blue is the warmest color

Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, this French romantic coming-of-age drama film is raw, powerfully acted, honest and deliciously intense. It is an elegantly composed and emotionally absorbing film about Adèle Exarchopoulos, a French teenager who discovers desire and freedom when a blue-haired aspiring painter Seydoux enters her life. The scenes are explicit and passionate and might seem inappropriate to some, but the depiction of the excitement of first love, the physical contact, the exhilarating feeling, followed by quarrels, disappointments, difficulties, infidelities, then break-up and painful re-connections have been beautifully documented.

2. The Wonder Years

It is an American television comedy-drama which depicts the life of Kevin Arnold who recalls growing up during the late 60s and early 70s; the turbulent social times make the transition from childhood to adulthood unusually interesting. He experiences love, hate, drama and the full range of trials and traumas that comes in just about everyone’s life, along with his best friend Paul and sometimes-girlfriend Winnie. While the show was running in the late 80s and early 90s, it received numerous accolades for “pushing the boundaries of the sitcom format and using new modes of storytelling”.

1. Boyhood

Sprawling over a period of 12 years Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason. Boyhood charts the rocky terrain of childhood like no other film has before and is both a nostalgic time capsule of the recent past and an ode to growing up and parenting. It captures the change one goes through while growing up, the circumstances, which shapes up a person’s character, his ambitions and thoughts. The film was shot intermittently over an eleven-year period from May 2002 to October 2013. It was declared a landmark film by many notable critics, who praised its direction, acting, and scope.

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