Growing up is never easy. But there are certainly different ways it happens, and different lengths of time it takes, that depend on factors both biological and social. I'd like to highlight some recent films that portray coming of age in its 21st century "rough and tumble" cinematic articulation. What these movies have in common is a glorification and romanticism of a sensuality emerging amidst severe psychological unrest in lower-middle class groups.
American Honey Star, an orphan living in Oklahoma, finds a rag-tag team of others also struggling with the aftermath of broken family life and joins them on an adventure within the American Midwest. Lasting friendships are formed even within the grasp of poverty, petty jealousies and failing dreams.
City of God In Brazil, a place riddled with violent crime, one boy finds surprising solace in the art of photography, which is linked to his forced witnessing of the cruelly aggressive lives of his companions.
Lady Bird is a story about a daughter and mother's relationship during the hard phase of one's departure from the nest. The ins and outs of Catholicism, the importance of best friends and the serious and ridiculous acts of rebellion against our mothers are on full display in this hilarious and heart-rending film.
On the Road Adapted from Jack Kerouac's classic novel, this film further dramatizes the Beatnik subculture of the 1940s - 1950s. For all the sex, drugs and rock and roll, there's a lot to say about a cynicism that yearns for social stability, too.
Requiem for A Dream Based off of the powerful novel by Hubert Selby Jr., Aronofsky's masterpiece is a brutal depiction of what happens when young people never find their niche (of people and in the world generally) and end up succumbing to drug addiction.