Relatable coming-of-age movies

Life lessons in high school movies


Climactic scene of 10 Things I Hate About You. Photo courtesy of Plugged In.

Coming-of-age is a popular movie genre which focuses on the growth of a character through a particular phase of their lives, often throughout high school. Many BHS students can relate with this genre because of the timelessness of issues faced in their adolescent years. Below is a list of must-see coming-of-age movies that may resonate with many BHS students.

The 1999 teen romantic comedy-drama 10 Things I Hate About You is a modern twist on William Shakespeare’s late-16th-century comedy The Taming of the Shrew. Cameron is the new kid at school who, like every guy at Padua High School, falls for the it-girl Bianca. However, Bianca is in a dilemma. First, a family rule forbids her from dating until her unpopular, rebellious, boy-hating older sister Kat gets a boyfriend of her own, writes Rotten Tomatoes. Second, it is not Cameron she wants to date, but Joey who is the narcissistic, but cute rich-boy. To get a date with Bianca, Joey begs bad boy Patrick Verona to date Kat. On the sidelines, however, Cameron is still trying to seek out Bianca’s affection. This comically-chaotic and heartfelt movie embodies high school romance through a humorous storyline. BHS students looking for a laugh, as well as a lighthearted emotional punch will thoroughly enjoy this movie.

In the 1986 American teen comedy movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Ferris Bueller is a senior in high school who, like many students have once done, fakes being sick to skip school for a day. Accompanied by his two friends, Sloane and Cameron, Ferris steals his dad’s car, talks his way into a fancy restaurant, and joins a random parade. After his spontaneous and exciting day, the Odyssey, an American media site, says that the film ends with Ferris Bueller’s quote, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.” As students in a large school, BHS students may be overwhelmed by the fast-paced nature of high school. Ferris Bueller’s quote is an apt reminder to BHS students to slow down and appreciate the little things in life, instead of stressing over a math test.

In the hit 80s movie The Breakfast Club, five teenagers are required to spend their Saturday in detention. The Breakfast Club is the story of , “a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal.” Despite their drastically different cliques, they learn to understand each other and form a deep bond. Junior Safyque xRichardson appreciates the concept and theme of this movie because “it accurately depicts what happens when personal lives and social lives collide.” This teen movie explores high school stereotypes to show that they are meaningless and to encourage the viewer to move past them. With over 3,000 students at BHS, friends can be found in the most likely places when people set aside their differences.  

In the 2012 movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Charlie struggles to deal with his freshman year of high school after a tragic past haunts him. With no friends, high school became a dreaded place for him. However, Charlie is soon befriended by two senior students who change his complete outlook on life. NPR writes that Charlie assists them with their problems: SATs, college applications, and difficult romances. In return, his friends introduce him to the concepts of friendship, love, music, and other thrills that high school often brings. Over the course of a year, Charlie overcomes his depression and becomes more confident. The themes in this candid high school movie can connect with any BHS student who felt like they are on the outside looking in. It can also serve as a reminder to students that there is always hope and light at the end of a dark tunnel.

Coming-of-age movies are not always about the superficial things in life. Rather, they are about a character’s journey through the twists and turns of their adolescent years. Amid the light-hearted storylines, there is always a deep meaning or lesson the movie is trying to convey that BHS students may relate to.