RR Films: Coming of Age

The UK government is proposing that we be allowed to delete on-line evidence of adolescent shenanegans to save us future embarrassment. How sweet of them; it’s good to know they care…not enough to provide sufficient funds for education and mental health care, obviously, but enough to make it seem like they have some control over the tech companies we blithely give our personal secrets to.

But adolescent shenanegans are part of growing up, surely? Maybe you don’t need the video record of them plastered on the walls of time forever but they are part of the adult you become. Please feel free to recount your (embarrassing) youthful escapades but I’m more interested in films about such episodes, in the context of growing up and becoming an ‘adult’. I’m picking an Austrian film I raved about in 2011, Atmen (Breathing), about a troubled teen who finds a sense of purpose through a work-experience job at a morgue. You see him mature in front of your eyes.

What coming-of-age films would you recommend?

29 thoughts on “RR Films: Coming of Age

  1. I will nom the 2009 film, An Education, starring the wonderful Carey Mulligan, and based upon the memoirs of journalist Lynn Barber. Set in the early 60s, Carey Mulligan’s character is a teenage schoolgirl who gets picked up, romanced and seduced by an older man, who introduces her to an adult life way beyond her years. She discovers that he is a con artist, but when he proposes marriage she leaves school, only to find out that he is already married.

  2. Well, Americans are pretty good at this sort of thing. I have never seen the John Hughes films. Otherwise still spoiled rotten for choice, and sticking to the teen years, I’ll go for Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

      • Beat me to it … that would have been my first recommendation. Did you watch Everybody Wants Some, Linklater’s sort of university days version of D&C? I quite enjoyed it (although all the students looked about 25-30).

        • No i didn’t, but it looked like a goodhearted film.

          Did you have after school specials in the UK? I may be way off base here because i had never seen any of them, but i always had the impression that John Hughes films were like after school specials. Which is probably why i couldn’t be arsed to see any of them. I saw Eminem’s 8 Mile and afterwards i thought it seemed like one of those too.

      • Oh my. I totally love that film (& soundtrack) so double donds from me. Remember going with some friends to the cinema to see it. They really didn’t get it. Came out saying “what was that about? Nothing happened” it was then I realised I actually had v little in common with them…. Great film

  3. Several great films would qualify –
    1) Kes – directed by Ken Loach in 1969 this is a one-off classic about Billy Caspar, a working class boy from Barnsley who has nothing in his life other than his “pet” kestrel which he trains up to fly to a lure. Unfortunately his elder brother, who is a complete bastard, doesn’t share Billy’s love of kestrels and Billy learns a hard truth about life !
    2) Diner – a 1982 film by Barry Levinson that follows the adventures of a group of twenty something schoolfriends in Baltimore in 1959 just as one of them is about to get married. This is a brilliant ensemble comedy that launched the careers of Steve Guttenberg, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon and Ellen Barkin ! The scenes set in the diner are particularly brilliant.
    3) The Four Hundred Blows – Truffaut’s first film is a wonderful evocation of what it was like growing up in the Paris of the 1950s. Antoine is a troubled boy, unpopular both with his parents and teachers, he plays truant a lot and eventually drifts into a life of petty crime ending up in borstal from where he escapes at the end of the film. The street scenes shot in Paris are superb, giving a real feel for the times

  4. I’ll go for Juno. A great film starring Ellen Page and Michael Cera about a geeky pair who end up growing up quickly when she gets pregnant. The sound track is amazing. Her parents in it are awesome – I wish I was that cool. It’s available real fav that I’m happy to watch whenever it’s on no matter that I’ve seen it several times

  5. coming of age eh: blood and wolves; abandonment and pain

    1 – In the company of wolves
    2 – Walkabout
    3 – Valerie and her week of wonders [VALERIE A TÝDEN DIVŮ]
    4 – Ginger Snaps

  6. Most films that I thought of are taken but maybe 2015’s Mustang would count. About orphaned sisters in Turkey who are kept at home (and away from school) by their grandmother and uncle when accused of enjoying the company of boys too much.

    Home is turned into a kind of “wife factory” against which the girls rebel in various, mostly secretive, ways.


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