Coming-of-Age in Films

Mud…Beasts of the Southern Wild…This is England…A River Runs Through It…Stand by Me…Platoon…400 Blows…A Rebel Without a Cause…The Wizard of Oz….

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I am a sucker for an artful novel or film depicting the genre of the Bildungsroman. Listed above would be some examples of my favorite choices in film. When a young protagonist goes through a series of trials and loses innocence and then achieves enlightenment, it is a fascinating experience in film. To witness that precocious youth who has the ability to endure hardship and metamorphose into something wiser and compassionate seems a more impressive feat than watching adults in film.  A reversal of roles takes place. The adults are childish and foolish. The youth tries to make sense of his or her flawed world and learns something about the meaning of life. That irony, when the young are wiser than their elders, captivates me.  

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There are a multitude of coming-of-age films from which to choose. Which one grabbed your heart? What’s the message that rang true for you?

16 thoughts on “Coming-of-Age in Films

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  1. Lars and the Real Girl has stuck with me, in recent years – it’s very different from the type you mentioned, in some ways, but Lars is just so earnest and artless, and his family and friends are so kind. I guess, now I think of it, it’s kind of a Bildungsroman for a community rather than an individual.

    1. I have been wanting to see ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ I”ve heard it’s smart and the cast is great. Gosling is always good on the screen. I think you bring up an interesting perspective–another reversal? The community is the “child” that grows up? Cool.

    1. Hi Keith! Glad you came by. Yes, and MUD is an outstanding coming-of-age. I watched it again last night and thought Tye Sheridan sooo awesome as well as in Tree of Life. Now there’s a youngster, like C.Bale, who I predict will rise to great heights.

    1. Missed this Indy film, but will put it on the Netflix queque….This is England is awesome for me because it reminded me of my tour of duty in the UK in the 80s. It’s wonderful….

    1. The b/w version of Lord of the Flies is really awesome when they are deep in the jungle and the camera closes in on the flies on the head of the pig. Awesome stuff. Very creepy. Nice example 🙂

  2. Hi Allen! Thanks for jumping into the archives. 🙂 Awesome choice to pick Scent of a Woman. I think it a great example of coming of age. As is Summer of ’42. Haven’t seen Racing with the Moon.

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