Have you ever tried talking to your teen about all the responsibilities they’ll have to take on as an adult only to have them shrug off another “lecture”? Well, we’ve procured five films that depict coming-of-age stories pertaining to some of the hard realities that kids will eventually encounter.
Instead of trying to reprimand your teen for not listening or getting into a shouting match about how they need to start taking the future seriously, they might respond better to a film that you can watch together and talk about as a family. We hope these films timely films serve as useful entertainment for the family and inspire your teen to reflect on their lives down the line.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Into the Spider-Verse is about Miles Morales, a kid from Brooklyn who assumes the mantle of Spider-Man after his predecessor is killed in action. However, there’s a twist: when the Kingpin of New York creates a device to pull beings from parallel dimensions, Miles comes into contact with five other versions of the spider-based hero. As they look for solutions to get back home, each one attempts to teach Miles how to follow in the footsteps of those who have come before him. Although the stakes are high, the pressure of meeting everyone’s expectations, including those of his parents, might prove to be too much for the newbie to handle.
This animated film is perfect for young adults who are starting to take on more adult responsibilities. Because many teens face upcoming college applications, entering the job market, and more frequent demands to be self-sufficient, they can often feel pressured to get it right. This pressure, however, can lead teens to imitate other successful peers or mentors and take up a path that just doesn’t work for them. We’ve all got challenges, but it’s only by realizing that he’s got to do things in his own way that Miles eventually succeeds.
Troy Carmichael, a nine-year-old girl who lives in a Brooklyn building packed with an eccentric group of tenants, slowly begins to understand the responsibilities that her mother takes on in order to run the family. Carolyn, the woman in question, works full time as a schoolteacher, supports her husband’s struggling music career, and has to constantly oversee that her five children tend to their own meagre contributions to the house. When tragedy befalls the family, Troy is left to consider her role as a black woman and an adult who has to fight to keep things running.
This film is great for teens who take their guardian’s efforts for granted because it demonstrates just how much work it takes to provide for a family and survive in a harsh capitalistic environment. For teens, it’s important to witness what happens when they have to rely on themselves for all the basics that their parents provide.
Jonah Hill’s directorial debut explores what life is like for a depressive loner living in Los Angeles. In the film, 13-year-old Stevie needs to get out of his low-income house and escape his abusive older brother. Lucky for him, he’s taken in by a local skater group and taught their ways of independent entrepreneurship and riding for personal freedom.
This drama offers teens the demonstrative value of non-normative kinship structures for people facing depression and loneliness. If teens are having difficulty relating to their peers or feel like they don’t have a place to express themselves at home, it might be useful for them to view family dynamics that aren’t often depicted in popular media. By simply accepting people for who they are, the skater group is able to exhibit maturity and comradery beyond their years, despite their understandable frustrations and outbursts.
This film is also important for teens to learn about growing up because the initiative and hardship that the gang faces. When the kids don’t have access to decent learning and home environment, they must hustle to make a living for themselves by planning for the future, investing in their interests, and prioritizing their needs over their wants.
Best friends Amy and Molly do everything by the book. They’ve joined every academic club. Every weekend is dedicated to studying. Every waking moment is dedicated to getting into the best colleges. So why is that slackers and partygoers have received acceptance letters to Yale and Harvard as well?
Booksmart examines the last-ditch effort of these two students to live life to the fullest before they graduate. Charging through a night of social cliques, bad hallucinogens, and romantic risks, Amy and Molly learn that work isn’t everything. When adults only emphasize the importance of preparing for the future and teens are expected to grow up too fast, they lose the practice of well-rounded living. Directed by Olivia Wilde, this comedy is great for teens to understand that, while it’s important to take your responsibilities seriously, it’s just as important for adults to live life with self-care and the occasional indulgence as well.
Moonlight tells the story of Chiron, a gay black boy who must fend for himself when the world is unaccepting of who he is. Apart from finding a mentor (for a brief period of time) in the neighbourhood’s local drug dealer, Chiron is shown only one instance of love in his life. When he is either left or deeply betrayed by the few folks who love him for who he is, Chiron adopts a quiet personality that carries him through the loneliness of being gay in the black community.
When Chiron encounters his childhood friend later on in life as an adult, he’s met with surprise at how “hard” he’s become. Because of Chiron’s life experiences, having to take care of himself in difficult circumstances, an all-encompassing stoic exterior seems like the only logical outcome. This film is important for teens to watch because it sheds light on the value of love and community. Without these essential aspects in place, teens can run the risk of becoming estranged or even occluding others from happiness.