by Dan Trachtenberg Preythe last opus of Predator franchise, has taken the world by storm. Transformation of a franchise which had felt stale for decades, the film about a fierce and skilled Comanche warrior protecting her people from a mysterious Predator works as a coming-of-age film away from the genre’s usual tropes.
The cinema has seen a few non-mainstream coming-of-age movies, and the world is a better place for it. Whether it’s because they belong to another genre that you don’t usually see in these stories, like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verseor because they bring an unusual touch of maturity to the genre, like Rawthese movies are usually some of the most impactful coming-of-age stories.
The Iconic but Unhappy Queen of France – ‘Marie Antoinette’ (2006)
Biopic coming-of-age movies aren’t particularly common, but Sophie Coppola proven wrong with his movie Marie Antoinetteabout the eponymous French king (played by Kirsten Dunst) from her marriage at 15 to her reign as queen at 19.
Much more than a faithful account of the life of Marie-Antoinette, the film is a sort of modern-looking parable, full of anachronisms and classical music followed by post-punk. It’s a unique and refreshing take on not just the period biopic genre, but coming of age as well.
The Title Says It All – ‘Super Dark Times’ (2017)
When audiences think of the coming-of-age genre, a dark tone and a disturbing narrative probably aren’t the first things that come to mind, but super dark times uses them to tell the story of a couple of teenage best friends who fall down a rabbit hole of paranoia and violence after a horrific accident.
Destined to become a modern cult classic, the film takes time to build its story, but it’s well worth it thanks to the great cinematography, Kevin Phillipsfantastic direction and the engrossing third act.
A film hungry for controversy – ‘Raw’ (2016)
Julia Ducournau innovative horror movie Raw follows Justine (Garance Marillier), a teenager from a family where everyone is a veterinarian and a vegetarian. But when she is forced to eat raw meat, Justine’s true self begins to form.
You wouldn’t expect a film about a vegetarian-turned-cannibal to be a relatable tale of adolescence, but Raw somehow manages to be that and more. Though it’s hard to stomach, Ducournau’s use of body horror to explore femininity and pleasure is a sight that has to be seen to be believed.
Swedish horror at its finest – “Let the Right One In” (2008)
In this Swedish horror/fantasy drama, Oskar, a lonely twelve-year-old boy (Kare Hedebrant) befriends his neighbor Eli (Lina Leandersson), a mysterious girl whose arrival coincides with a series of equally mysterious deaths, which convinces Oskar that his new friend is a vampire.
Modern vampire movies don’t have a great reputation but Leave the one on the right in might just be the best. Poetic, deep, sympathetic and surprisingly sweet, the film explores the importance of love in growing up with a lot of heart and personality.
More than a gimmick, a unique way to make a movie – ‘Boyhood’ (2014)
by Richard Linklater Childhood, one of his most acclaimed films, tells the story of a divorced couple trying to raise their young son, chronicling their relationship over a period of twelve years. The twist? The film also ran for twelve years, so audiences can see young Mason (Ellar Coltrane) grow before their eyes.
Childhood is more than just a fantasy film, however. It’s a character-driven coming-of-age story focusing on the more human parts of growing up, feeling especially authentic thanks to the fact that the characters actually age as the runtime progresses.
A Surreal Critique of Society and the Grotesque – ‘Daisies’ (1966)
This Czech surrealist masterpiece is extremely difficult to describe and equally difficult to recommend to friends. It’s an intentionally grotesque story about two teenage girls who decide to act as spoiled as they think the world is, embarking on a series of destructive pranks. It’s strange and disturbing, and its message is all the more powerful.
daisies has the courage to criticize modern society for what it does and not treat it as twisted and off-putting. It’s also the most bizarre celebration of young women’s femininity and the absurdity of coming of age.
More than One Wears the Mask – “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (2018)
Spider-Man is the perfect character to explore the coming-of-age genre in unique ways, as fan favorites prove No coming home and Spider Man 1 and 2. But perhaps no film adaptation of the character is as beloved as Into the Spider-Versewhere teenager Miles Morales tries to balance being a high school student and being a superhero.
A rousing and inspiring love letter to the character of Spider-Man as much as a thought-provoking coming-of-age tale of courage and heroism, Into the Spider-Verse is without doubt Sony Animation’s Best Movie to this day and worthy of its popularity.
One of the most disturbing WWII films ever made – ‘Come and See’ (1985)
It’s not just horror movies that can be scary and horrifying; this Soviet film about a boy who joins the Resistance fighters against German forces proves it.
In every sense of the term, come and seea real anti-war movie, succeeds in depicting the war as a veritable nightmare. The hardest part is having viewers see this hellscape through the initially innocent eyes of a child, played by Alexei Kravchenko in one of the most disturbing and heartbreaking acting performances never shown.
Tarkovsky’s Loosely Interconnected Memories – ‘Mirror’ (1975)
The semi-autobiographical masterpiece of cinema’s greatest poet, by Andrei Tarkovsky Mirror is a surreal, loosely structured film about a man who remembers his past while on his deathbed.
Mirror is a slow burner and hard to follow, but worth it. It’s so unique that it’s hard to put it into a definitive genre. Yet it contains enough coming-of-age elements to consider it one of the most beautiful, moving, and mystifying stories about growing up, aging, and the power of memories created throughout these processes.
Coming of Age with the Del Toro Touch – ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ (2006)
One of the best mexican movies of the century so far, At Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth is a dark fairy tale about Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), a 10-year-old girl living with her tyrannical stepfather and pregnant mother, who feels lonely until she explores a decaying maze guarded by a mysterious faun.
Full of compelling visuals, phenomenal performances, and the charm of del Toro’s unique directing style, the film is a gripping celebration of a child’s innocence prevailing over the senselessness of violence and war.
KEEP READING:11 non-horror movies that will bother you
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