Some Essential Coming Of Age Movies To Warm You Up For Love, Simon
And hopefully a few you haven't seen yet.
We've linked up with 20th Century Fox to mark the release of Love, Simon, in cinemas March 29. After an in-depth look at the film's soundtrack and its importance as a queer coming of age story, our final piece will serve as a nice little primer before you catch it at the movies.
Yesterday saw the release of new coming-of-age comedy/drama Love, Simon, directed by Greg Berlanti (Dawson's Creek) and based on Becky Albertalli's novel of the same name. And while the film recounts the story of 17-year-old Simon Spier as he comes to grips with being gay and how to actually tell those close to him, its story is universal and relatable to people of any identity. We've seen it and loved it, and while it remains to be seen if it'll go down in history as one of the all-time great coming-of-age films, we get the feeling future discussions on the topic will find it hard not to have a place for Love, Simon on the list.
To get you in the mood we've picked 10 of our favourite coming-of-age films, some recent, some not so recent, and hopefully one or two you haven't seen yet:
STAND BY ME
You can't talk about coming-of-age films and not mention Stand By Me, directed by Rob Reiner and based on legendary horror writer Stephen King's novella The Body. The plot is a faily simple one - four kids go on a mission to find a dead body of a missing child - but as the old cliche goes, it's not about the destination, it's about the journey. With a cast that includes a young River Phoenix and future (kinda) stars Jerry O'Connell and Corey Feldman, it's one of the all-time greats.
Being a blog that talks about music a lot, it would be remiss not to include Cameron Crowe's semi-biographical account of his days as a young rock journalist for Rolling Stone, Almost Famous. From Philip Seymour Hoffman's awesome turn as a jaded journalist, to the hilarious narcissism of Stillwater and Patrick Fugit (remember him?)'s wide-eyed protagonist, it's a slightly fantastical insight into what rock'n'roll was like back in the day, and you should definitely have seen it by now.
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR
Dismissed (or very warmly embraced) by some as just that foreign movie with the lesbian sex scenes in it, Blue Is The Warmest Colour is actually an incredibly heartbreaking tale of young love (again regardless of sexual preference). Both lead actresses are incredible, in particular newcomer-at-the-time Adèle Exarchopoulos, as the film documents the rise and fall of their intense relationship. One of the best portrayals of a relationship breakdown ever committed to film, it's a hard watch at times, but brilliant.
KINGS OF SUMMER
This is one that kinda gets missed when it comes to great coming-of-age films, which is sad because it's legitimately great. Funnily enough the lead actor from Love, Simon, Nick Robinson, also stars in this, a film about three friends who basically go off into the forest and just hang out for ages. It's not that simple of course, and we get the feeling out of all the movies on this list you probably haven't seen this one - so go do it!
From one you might not have seen to one you probably definitely have, while Superbad is mostly remembered for being a part of the whole Judd Apatow-era of comedies starring the same bunch of guys all the time, it's actually a super sweet coming-of-age film. The dick jokes and McLovin and Seth Rogen and Bill Hader's cops might make you forget as much, but at its core the movie is about two great friends struggling to come to terms with growing up.
DAZED & CONFUSED
Before he was a tortured True Detective, Matthew McConaughey was David Wooderson, a loser who hung out with kids way younger than him from the fictional high school in the film Dazed & Confused. Even though this Richard Linklater film is set in 1976, the kinda kids it depicts in their final week of high school are pretty recognisable to anyone in a similar situation. Hilarious and relatable, like the best kinds of coming-of-age movies - Linklater has a tonne of 'em up his sleeve if you wanna dig back through his filmography.
A weird and fantastical movie from Guillermo del Toro filled with insane design and moments of horror that in reality works as (among many things), a beautiful portrayal of what it means to grow up for young protagonist Ofelia. Much like we remember Superbad for the gross-out comedy stuff, it's hard to forget the stunning creatures that exist within Pan's labyrinth, but the overall story it tells goes much deeper.
A far more traditional coming-of-age film, but one we reckon gets overlooked a little, is Adventureland. Starring a still pretty fresh Jesse Eisenberg and a forever downtrodden Kristen Stewart (who's basically become one of our generation's finest young actresses - don't @ us), it's an accurate look at what the fuck one is supposed to do once they get out of high school. It's directed by Greg Mottola who also did Superbad, but it's a very different film, and one that in a lot of ways we love more.
Alright so if you haven't seen Kings Of Summer you've likely never even heard of this one, but it's a great - if at times very challenging - watch. It concerns 18-year-old Helen, who likes to use vegetables for pleasure and doesn't really care for personal hygiene. The gross-out stuff is a bit of smokescreen though, as it's really one girl's journey to discovering herself and growing up (just a little), while tackling a variety of taboos and social issues. Not for the faint of heart, but definitely worth your time.
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Last but definitely not least is a film everyone was talking about last year (alongside Lady Bird, which is a definite honourable mention for this list), Call Me By Your Name. Based on the 2007 novel of the same name by André Aciman, the film is set in 1983 Italy, where a 17-year-old falls in love with his father's work colleague. Another film that will one day be recounted alongside many as one of the all-time greats of coming of age films and queer cinema.
Love, Simon arrives in Australian cinemas on March 29 through 20th Century Fox. Watch the film's trailer below: