Skip to main content

8 classic coming of age movies your teen will love

Coming-of-age movies can help make teens feel more comfortable about growing up and the confusing emotions they may feel about it. Handling teenage mood swings may suffuse a large portion of their lives – and ours, as parents. Whether they are in middle school or preparing for their high school senior year, these movies can show them prime examples of how to approach difficult situations with grace, humor, and maturity. Most of all, these films show them that they’re not alone on this journey.

Boyhood, 2014

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Truly unique, this movie follows actor Ellar Coltrane’s character Mason Evans, Jr. over 12 years. Literally. We witness Mason grow up over the years from an innocent 6-year-old to an adventurous college freshman. 

Throughout his boyhood, Mason faces various challenges like adjusting to his parents’ divorce, witnessing domestic abuse and alcoholism, experimenting with recreational drugs and alcohol, and facing fears about young adult life, among others. This movie is engaging, thoughtful, and magical not just because of its innovative format but through the universal themes woven into the script.

Clueless, 1995

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Clueless is a classic rom-com about rich girl Cher Horowitz who prides herself in helping the less fortunate, whether financially or popularity-wise. It also addresses teen frustrations like passing (or not passing) the driver’s license test, teen relationship troubles, sexual exploration, and social status.

Spoiler alert: After playing match-maker, Cher falls in love with her ex-step brother, which shows you can’t always control how you feel.

Spirited Away, 2001

Spirited Away
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This animated film takes place in the spirit world. The famous Studio Ghibli wrote this story about Chihiro, a 10-year-old girl who suddenly finds herself in the spirit world having to work, rebuild her identity, and save others. 

Spirited Away is great for pre-teens who might have qualms about moving to a new place or a new school. It teaches teens the value of hard work, kindness, and adaptability — and the film is beautiful to boot!

The Breakfast Club, 1985

The Breakfast Club
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This is another iconic film starring five misfits who have to spend detention together one Saturday. It speaks to teens of any generation with  its five quirky characters: The princess, the athlete, the brain, the criminal, and the basket case. 

Although some of these monikers sound unfriendly, the film beautifully demonstrates that no matter your background, you probably share some of the same troubles as others who seem different from you. More importantly, other people might paint you as something you’re not, but ultimately you get to decide who you are.

Moonlight, 2016

moonlight film
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This film is newer, but it’s already made a huge impact on many people. Moonlight follows Chiron, a confused black, gay boy through three stages of his life (played by three different actors) and the difficulties he faces.

It sheds light on some heavier coming-of-age themes like physical and verbal bullying, drug use and sale, and toxic masculinity. However, it’s a good movie for older teens and a good conversation starter about often taboo topics.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986 

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Image used with permission by copyright holder

One of the most iconic movies of the ‘80s and today, this is at the top of the list for many people. This movie is about Ferris Bueller, a high school senior who wants to have fun before graduation. He enlists his uptight best friend to take his father’s Ferrari out for a spin and consequently ends up totaling it. Ferris even sneaks into a parade all while the high school principal is gunning for him. 

Few films capture the angst of being constrained by laws that seem arbitrary, and sometimes even downright ridiculous to a teen. It acknowledges the importance of these rules and other regulations, but it encourages teens to not be afraid of challenging authority and embarking on their own life adventure.

The 400 Blows, 1959

The 400 Blows
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Cinema buffs are no stranger to this heartbreaking French film about a neglected boy who gets into trouble because of his absent parents. Too absorbed in their own lives, his parents indirectly lead Antoine into skirmishes with authority figures. He ends up in a juvenile home and runs away, with the final scene depicting him on the seashore, endless possibilities before him.

This movie demonstrates that adults are quick to label kids as troublemakers, but often there are underlying personal issues that contribute to these misdeeds. This film can be a good way to revisit your discipline methods with your teen and get their feedback on what makes a good role model.

Napoleon Dynamite, 2004

Napoleon Dynamite
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Finally, we have Napoleon Dynamite, a high school student who helps his best friend, Pedro Sanchez, run for class president. They beat impossible odds and somehow win the election. This offbeat, indie film portrays the importance of friendship, determination, and positivity through dry humor and charming characters.

The teen years can be daunting because suddenly you’re faced with more responsibility and choices, and coming-of-age films show that everyone goes through something similar. If anything, these films show your teen that even if they make one mistake after another, it’s OK — they can always get back up and try again. So get the popcorn and snacks ready for these cinematic gems on the next movie night with your teen!

How to make homemade bubble solution in 2 easy steps
Entertain your kids all summer with this easy and affordable bubble solution
Child blowing bubbles in a playhouse

It seems that everything is getting more expensive these days, especially when it comes to entertaining kids. Finding ways to keep the kids from boredom without breaking the bank can be challenging for any parent until they learn how to make homemade bubble solutions. Using homemade bubble solutions isn't only a fun way for adults and kids to spend the day, but it's also cost-effective. Once you learn how to make this easy and affordable solution, the fun will be endless.

If your kids love to play with bubbles and you're tired of running to the store every time they empty (or spill) a bottle, here's all you need to make a homemade bubble solution in two easy steps.
First, gather your ingredients

Read more
How to tie-dye shirts without a mess
How to do this fun activity without spending a ton of time cleaning up
A child wearing a tie-dye shirt

For parents, tie-dye may bring up images of the Grateful Dead. For kids, it's a fun combination of colors. Tie-dye took off in the United States in the late 1960s and early 70s, but the truth is, those cool swirls of colors on clothing and other materials have been around for quite a while, and not just at Woodstock.

Tie-dye is thought to have been a thing in other cultures for thousands of years with certain patterns identifying different regions. The earliest examples of tie-dye come from South America. Since the 60s tie-dye has been a mainstay in the U.S. and a popular pattern with kids and teens. Tie-dying shirts for kids is a fun DIY project and not as messy as you think. Here's how to tie-dye shirts for the whole family without making a huge mess.
How to tie-dye shirts with minimal cleanup

Read more
Indulge in nostalgia: 23 90s kids’ movies your own kids will love
Can't-miss 90s films to watch with your kids
Popcorn with sunglasses and movie tickets

Whether you plan a weekly movie night with the fam or do it monthly, it can be difficult to find an appropriate movie that appeals to everyone. Even with all the streaming services, finding a family-friendly movie can be daunting, especially if you have multiple ages sitting on the couch.

Thankfully, the 90s delivered an array of fun, quality movies that kids and teens will enjoy. It's also a fun way to revisit your childhood while sharing the flicks you used to love. So, if you're looking for 90s kids' movies to watch with your family, put these on the list.
Must-watch 90s kids' movies

Read more