It seems like every new film festival cycle offers an endless supply of coming-of-age stories, usually centered on wayward teenagers or developmentally stilted twentysomethings. It’s that second category that we’re thinking about of late, what with Lynn Shelton’s continually delayed Laggies finally hitting theatres this week. It’s a subject undoubtedly ripe for cinematic analysis of all kinds, as there’s rarely a more stressful transition in one’s life than the one in which the training wheels of adolescence are removed and you’re more or less shoved headfirst into the deep end of human existence and told to swim.
In observance of this process, and in keeping with the long-running tradition of the subgenre, our staff took a look back at 10 other essential coming-of-age stories about that particularly stressful time period. It’s a varied list, a sometimes asynchronous list, a lily-white list (they’re the notable 10 we thought of, so feel free to add your own in the comments), and a helpful guide to a kind of movie often written off as whiny or purposeless. So enjoy our staff’s choices of 10 essential movies about growing up, growing laterally, growing backwards, and everything in between.