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Lime Top Five Coming of Age Movies
In honour of our Bright Young Things issue; here's a selection of films about the teen to adult transition
Despite many ethnicities and cultures retaining ceremonies and traditions to celebrate a young person's transition from childhood to adulthood, there's a wide selection of films that broach the coming-of-age subject with surprising dexterity.
THE BREAKFAST CLUB (1985)
Dir. John Hughs
Quintessentially, this movie is a one-stop shop for all teachings of teenage angst and adolescent romance.
It's full to the brim with stereotypes and quotable one-liners straight out of the 80s and unashamedly oozes hairspray and bleached denim. It sits firmly within the affectionately named 'Brat Pack' genre which consists of films about teenage love and social cliques in 1980s American high schools (also look out for St. Elmo's Fire and Pretty in Pink).
A moving and funny, massively character-driven piece that answers all your questions if you ever wanted to know what a princess, a geek, a goth, an athlete and a criminal all get up to on a Saturday morning detention.
BOYZ IN THE HOOD (1991)
Dir. John Singleton
The following extract appears on screen before the opening scene.
"One out of every 21 black American males will be murdered in their lifetime. Most will die at the hands of another black male."
John Singleton's classic set in South Central LA, 1984 depicts the lives of a group of childhood friends growing up in an LA ghetto. Often painful to watch and executed with stark realism, it was nominated for Best Director and Original Screenplay at the 1991 Oscars. Singleton was both the youngest person and the first African-American ever to be nominated for the award. The themes of absent fathers, the importance of positive male role models and friendship run throughout the film and are dealt with responsibly and creatively by this groundbreaking director.
GOOD WILL HUNTING (1997)
Dir. Gus Van Sant
Everyone loves it when Robin Williams plays it 'straight'. Perhaps his turn in One Hour Photo was a little too straight but it's performances like this in Good Will Hunting where he flaunts his natural flair, that illustrate his ability to find the most personal and poignant part of a story and drive it home with such brio and sensitivity. Penned by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon and staring the dynamic duo too, it tells the story of a young troubled mathematics genius who chooses to work two blue-collar jobs. He meets a therapist who helps him make the most of his gift and understand his place in life. Kleenex alert! Number of dry eyes in the house = zero.
Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN (AND YOUR MOTHER TOO) (2001)
Dir. Alfonso Cuarón
Set in Mexico in 1999, we are regularly reminded of the country's changing political landscape due to the end of a 71-year reign by the Institutional Revolutionary Party and the rise of the Christian Democratic Party.
This colourful road movie follows two teenage boys (Julio and Tenoch) and an attractive older woman (Luisa). They embark on a journey across Mexico to a fictional beach called La Boca del Cielo (Heaven's Mouth). Along the way there are several revelations and encounters and we learn that Luisa is withholding a secret that the boys will learn only when their adventure comes to an end.
There are at least two or three controversial scenes and one in particular that you probably wouldn't want to watch with your parents in the same room.
AN EDUCATION (2009)
Dir. Lone Scherfig
Raised eyebrows to the ready for the 'nuts and bolts' of this heart-stopping story set in 1960s suburban London; Jenny a vulnerable 16-year-old studying for her Oxbridge exams is manipulated and seduced by David a playboy nearly twice her age.
Jenny's parents welcome the stranger into their homes and even allow him to whisk their daughter off to Paris for a 'dirty' weekend. Carey Mulligan's Jenny flutters naively through this story of sex abuse and class shame beautifully against the colourful period backdrop and we are resolutely reminded that 'bad guys' living on the edge of society don't always appear with compulsory props like lollipops or dirty raincoats.