We had James Dean in the '50s and John Hughes in the '80s. But the 2000s and 2010s have provided us with some great coming of age stories as well.
It’s been a popular narrative of books (aka the bildungsroman) that has adapted to films quite well. We see a young protagonist mature out of an age of innocence, as they learn some darker truth about life and enter maturity. They may not be 18 yet but they have ‘come of age’.
Inspired by 'Eighth Grade', out in cinemas this weekend, here are seven such movies released from the year 2000 on, which whether you feel young for your age or old, you should really make it your business to see:
1. 'Almost Famous'
15-year-old William wants to be a rock journalist and he gets a golden opportunity when he meets the band Stillwater, who he becomes enthralled by, and Rolling Stone magazine hires him to write an article about them. Out on the road with the band, William does a hell of a lot of growing up.
Breathless in pace and littered with genuine, flawed, human characters, 'Almost Famous' stays with you long after viewing.
2. 'Billy Elliot'
While his father and brother protest in a miners’ strike, preteen Billy (Jamie Bell) is, unbeknownst to them, taking up ballet. Faced up against social stigmas and economic hardship, Billy pulls through thanks to help from his teacher Mrs. Wilkinson (Julie Walters) and a passion for dance.
The story is warm-hearted and good-humoured. At the core of it is a simple, timeless message of knowing what you love and following your dreams.
3. 'Blue is the Warmest Colour'
High school student Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) feels unable to relate to her classmates. Her life completely changes when she meets the enigmatic Emma (Léa Seydoux), a blue-haired aspiring painter who she starts a relationship with and eventually moves in with.
'Blue is the Warmest Colour' captures sexual awakening and the heartache of love in a way that has rarely been captured on the big screen.
This revolutionary film was filmed between 2002 and 2013. It actually tracked actor Ellar Coltrane, who plays protagonist Mason Evans, Jr., as he aged from six to eighteen. Beloved by audiences, praised by critics, and showered with awards, this epic is not only about what it means to be young. But what it means to be human.
High school student Juno MacGuff (Ellen Paige) is pretty shocked when she discovers she’s pregnant. She decides to put the baby up for adoption but that means nine months of hell in her already dysfunctional home and high school.
Starring Alison Janney, J.K. Simmons, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman, all of whom give top-notch performances, 'Juno' is funny and touching, quirky yet relatable. Plus its soundtrack is class.
6. 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower'
Based on Stephen Chbosky’s novel (who also wrote and directed the film), The Perks of Being a Wallflower depicts the experiences of junior high school student Charlie (Logan Lerman) when he befriends two senior students named Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller).
The three leads give dazzling performances, and the story is completely engrossing.
Animation can often portray stories in ways that live action can’t. Such is the case with 'Persepolis', which is based on Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical graphic novel (Satrapi wrote and directed theadaptation). Set against the backdrop of the Iranian revolution, it follows a girl growing up in political turmoil who is introduced to a whole new world as she becomes increasingly ingrained in western culture. Visually enticing, funny and moving.