coming-of-age films are a testament to the never-ending negotiations of adulthood. In the plethora of teenage clickbait films and high school romances, a great coming-of-age film defines the zeitgeist of its time and the anxieties surrounding youth culture. These can be funny, heartwarming, crushingly sad, or all of the above, and the genre itself is destined to never grow out of style. What follows are some of the best coming-of-age movies to watch so far and the best coming-of-age shows worth viewing right now.
Part 1: What Does Coming-of-Age Mean?
In general, “coming of age” refers to the period in a person’s life when they make the transition from the innocence of childhood to the maturity of adulthood. Keep in mind, the specific time when coming of age occurs can vary from person to person. Virtually, what does coming of age mean, all cultures and societies have an idea or concept for “coming of age.”
Coming of age is such a universal human experience that numerous films, stories, and novels depict it. When famous people write autobiographies or memoirs, they often focus on this period of their lives as well. Maybe you know that coming of age is a genre of movies and books.
Part 2: Best Coming-of-Age Movies to Watch So Far
Read on for our list of the best coming-of-age movies of all time.
◎ 1. Mean Girls
Year of release: 2004
Duration: 1h 37m
Stars: Lindsay Lohan, Jonathan Bennett, Rachel McAdams
Mean Girls is one of the best coming-of-age movies. The film satirizes teen politics of cliques through Cady, a new student in her high school seeking validation from the most popular group, The Plastics. The film does not shy away from the brutality of being bullied and the peer pressure of fitting into conventional groups among teenagers, which makes it one of the most discussed coming-of-age films in the 21st century.
◎ 2. (500) Days of Summer
Year of release: 2009
Duration: 1h 35m
Stars: Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Geoffrey Arend
(500) Days of Summer is inventive in its narrative, as the film recalls a blurry relationship spanning over 500 days between a romantic and a cynic. Tom looks for the ideal lover in an emotionally detached Summer as they gradually change into completely different human beings. The film challenges the notions of romanticism and chances as it ends with an abrupt anti-climax, concluding the mystery of love to coincidence.
◎ 3. The Breakfast Club
Year of release: 1985
Duration: 1h 37m
Stars: Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald
This coming-of-age movie explores a few hours in the lives of five high school students in detention. It fictionalizes a social experiment on group behavior where the teenagers eccentric to each other are compelled to confront their weaknesses. The film holds a cult status and grows in significance with time as the issues of identity and groupthink remain relevant to teenagers across cultures.
◎ 4. Reality Bites
Year of release: 1994
Duration: 1h 39m
Stars: Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Janeane Garofalo
Reality Bites, starring Ethan Hawke, Winona Ryder and Ben Stiller, rightfully captures the zeitgeist of its time with its witty dialogues and a soundtrack that complimented the essence of postmodern youth culture in Houston. This coming-of-age movie included songs by U2, Crowded House and Lisa Loeb among others, making it a great playlist capturing the urban soundscapes of the 90s.
◎ 5. Moonlight
Year of release: 2016
Duration: 1h 51m
Stars: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes
Moonlight, this coming-of-age movie, is a hard-hitting drama of a young black boy named Chiron as he deals with his family trauma, sexuality and masculinity in various phases of his life. The film is exemplary for its dramatic cinematography and powerful performances that channels the anxieties of growing up homosexual in a disturbed black neighborhood.
Part 3: Best Coming-of-Age Shows Worth Viewing Right Now
Coming-of-age series revolve around young characters who navigate the tumultuous path from adolescence to adulthood, grappling with a myriad of life issues along the way. Now you can also check out our lists of best coming-of-age shows worth viewing right now.
◎ 1. The Summer I Turned Pretty
Year of release: 2022-
Season of series: 2
Stars: Lola Tung, Christopher Briney, Gavin Casalegno
The love triangle is merely a jumping-off point to better understand these flawed characters and the people around them. Outside of Belly’s coming-of-age journey, there is her brother, encountering a rude awakening on race and class, and their mother who is fresh from a divorce. Everyone has their own thing going on in this series, so it’s easy to feel invested in their fleshed-out failures and triumphs.
◎ 2. Chewing Gum
Year of release: 2015-2017
Season of series: 2
Stars: Michaela Coel, Danielle Walters, Robert Lonsdale
Chewing Gum, the coming-of-age series follow the life of Tracey Gordon, a 24-year-old woman living in a London housing estate, who is eager to explore her sexuality and break free from the constraints of her strict religious upbringing. Although Tracey may not be as young as Devi, her story remains amusing, relatable, and wonderfully laid-back. Like Devi, she is a girl on a journey of self-discovery, navigating through the messiness of life.
◎ 3. My Mad Fat Diary
Year of release: 2013-2015
Season of series: 3
Stars: Ciara Baxendale, Dan Cohen, Jodie Comer
16-year-old Rae Earl struggles with many things: severe mental illness, a distorted body image, and less-than-ideal home life. In an attempt to redefine herself and pursue the teenage dream, she reconnects with her estranged friend. It’s sure to be nostalgic to those who grew up in that era, while also doubling as a finely-aged portrait of a simpler time to the rest of us.
◎ 4. Paper Girls
Year of release: 2022-
Season of series: 1
Stars: Camryn Jones, Riley Lai Nelet, Sofia Rosinsky
Paper Girls starts slow and gives us a lot to process at the onset. That said, the show is at its best when it centers on its mundane leads, the titular paper girls. These 12-year-olds are confused and anxious and awkward and lonely—preteen girls on the brink of adolescence. It’s the perfect watch for people who enjoy fares like Back to the Future, E.T., and Stranger Things.
◎ 5. Sex Education
Year of release: 2019-2023
Season of series: 3
Stars: Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson, Ncuti Gatwa
Sex Education is a show worth immersing yourself in. It cleverly combines wit, coming-of-age drama, and friendship, while also addressing matters of sex in a more serious manner. It offers a nostalgic glimpse into the teenage drama of high school for those seeking a reminder and simultaneously provides educational content on topics related to sex and beyond.
Part 4: How to Download Coming-of-Age Films/Series Online?
Are you tired of being limited to watching your favorite coming-of-age films only when you have an internet connection? Do you wish you could download coming-of-age movies to watch them anytime, anywhere, even offline? Well, you’re in luck because we’ll be introducing you to the best video downloaders that allow you to download various videos with just a few simple clicks.
CleverGet All-In-One supports downloading up to 8K videos, live streaming, and even paid services from 1000+ websites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch.tv, HBO Max, Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, Hulu, Apple TV+, U-NEXT, etc. Additionally, it has a built-in browser feature that allows you to browse the internet without leaving the program. It's an ideal solution for those looking for a hassle-free way to download their favorite videos from the internet.
Here we take the module of CleverGet — CleverGet Video Downloader as an example to show you how to download coming-of-age films/series online. Fisrt, free download and install this program on your computer. Then follow the guide below.
- Enable users to download online videos, movies, TV shows, live streams, etc. from 1000+ websites.
- Detect M3U8 links intelligently with an inherent browser to download videos.
- Download 8K video and audio at 320 kbps without quality loss.
- Support to download TV series episodes of all/certain seasons in batches.
- Download online video to MP4/MKV/WEBM or other available popular formats.
Step 1: Set output directory
Kick off CleverGet on your computer after the installation, click the three-dot icon on its top-right corner, and then open the "Settings" option to pop up detailed settings panel. Under the "General" tab, you can set output directory in the "Save Video To" box and change other settings. Finally, click the "Save" button
Step 2: Play back the target coming-of-age movie/series within CleverGet
Copy and paste the target coming-of-age movie/series link into the address bar. Then play it within CleverGet, and it will automatically parse the video url.
Step 3: Choose video for downloading
Once CleverGet successfully parses the target movie/series, it will list all available download options to you in different resolutions, frame rates and sizes. Choose the right one you want to download before you click the blue “Download” button to let CleverGet start downloading online movies. You can check downloading process or downloaded task at the right sidebar.
See? It's quite simple to download coming-of-age films from websites whether you want to download videos for offline watching while you are on a train, bus, or airplane. Sometimes online tools may no longer provide services due to a lot of reasons, so a stable and safe video downloader like CleverGet All-In-One is perfect for you!