Nights In

Our top 10 coming of age films

When you’re on a tight student budget, a pricey trip to the cinema isn’t always on the cards. But with online streaming now readily available, we can easily catch up on the classics. 
Some films stay with you for a long time after you’ve watched them; that lasting effect is something familiar to us all. Whether you resonate with a character’s situation or simply just want to have a good laugh (or cry), it’s those films you’ve watched over and over that you never get sick of. These films are usually of the timeless coming-­of-age category. 
Here’s our list at of ten must­ see classics that will have you longing for more.
The Breakfast Club So if you didn’t just automatically fist pump into the air and start singing
Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me”, you need to get out from the rock you’ve been living under and watch this John Hughes masterpiece. 
The date was Saturday, March 24, 1984 and a jock, a princess, a criminal, a basket case and a brain were all serving a day’s high school detention – a day filled with classic one­liners, deep and meaningful conversation and a great impromptu dance number. It won’t disappoint.
A Guide to Recognising Your Saints This one is gritty and highly entertaining although not heard of by many. It won Best Director at Sundance in 2006 and trust me when I say, it will have you hooked from the word go. 
It’s dramatic and emotional, as well as having great performances by Shia La Bouef and Robert Downey Jnr, who play the young and older Ditto, who’s life turned out very different from his peers in 1980s Queens, New York.
The Way Way Back This has a real summery vibe to it and is certainly a bona fide coming-­of-
age flick. It’s relatively new, released in 2013 and is a film I really enjoyed. 
It features Duncan,played by Liam James who begins to work at a water park near his mother’s less than desirable boyfriend’s beach house. It has Steve Carell in a very different role to the hilarious ones he is well known for (excluding of course his Oscar-nominated portrayal of John du Pont in Foxcatcher) and is definitely a shoe­in for this list.
Running on empty This stars the late River Phoenix and I featured it because everybody (or at least I hope everybody) has watched the unforgettable Stand By Me, but perhaps not his other work. It isn’t quite on the same level as Stand By Me but definitely is worth a watch – it is, after all, the performance Phoenix was nominated for an Oscar for. 
It’s about a boy whose parents are on the run after they bomb a weapon laboratory in protest of the Vietnam War in the early 70s.
Danny ­ who’s played by Phoenix ­ is sick of his fugitive lifestyle and so we watch him fight to have his own independence and try to lead the life of an average American teenager.
Clueless Cher Horowitz is the reason tartan mini­skirts will always be acceptable. She is every girl’s inner voice – who doesn’t experience “an overwhelming sense of ickiness” every once in a while? It is a witty, fun movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. This one is definitely one of my all­time favourites and makes this list because it captures the essence of being a teenage girl – absolutely Clueless.
Back To The Future I’m not sure which Marty McFly made cooler, skateboards or DeLorean DMC­12s, but it would simply be a sin not to give this film a nod. Enough said.
Say Anything Starring John Cusask and Iona Skye, the famous line “I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen” comes straight out of this romantic­ comedy. This is the coming-­of-­age love story that has every girl waiting for the guy who will stand outside her window with a boombox*
*Disclaimer: That is figuratively speaking. Girls may actually freak out and that thing about giving you a pen? They might just give you the road.
Easy A This is a fantastic modern­ day take on The Scarlet Letter (read by all American High Schoolers, a bit like a­ ‘How Many Miles to Feckin Babylon’ or indeed, the trusty ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ in Irish Secondary Schools.) 
Emma Stone fakes a one­night stand to help a friend in need who is bullied for his sexuality. However, things begin to get a bit out of hand when other boys beg for her services and she becomes labelled as easy. I watched this film about twenty times with my housemate one weekend and we both agreed it deals with all the drama and pressures on teenagers in a very funny and entertaining way.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower I preferred the book, but still have to recommend this film.
Logan Lermann plays Charlie, an unassuming freshman in High School who befriends some older students (Emma Watson and Ezra Miller.) However, not everything is fine and dandy in Charlie’s world and this is certainly a film that will make you both laugh and cry. A must­ see.
Almost Famous ­This is exactly what a coming­-of­age film is all about. It centres around a young teenager, Will, who lands himself the chance to write for Rolling Stone magazine, going on tour with a band that is indeed Almost Famous. He falls in love, discovers what life on the road is really like and without a doubt, comes ­of­ age. This film is my favourite performance by Kate Hudson as the fabulous Penny Lane and you will wish you were there with them singing Elton John’s Tiny Dancer on that tour bus forever more once you give this film a most­deserved watch.
Photo Credit: Twitter @_idek_oops