Watch a film at the right point in your life, and it has the capacity to transform you. But, apart from inspiring content that changes the way we look at life, there's a different kind of connection we feel with characters who we see grow up and embrace adulthood in front of our eyes. Now, think Lone Scherfig's An Education (2009), Luca Guadagnino's Call Me By Your Name (2017), and even Satyajit Ray's 1957 drama Aparajito, where the themes of iconoclasm, critique of existing structures and adulthood in general, are portrayed beautifully by young actors. To indulge yourself in a movie-watching experience that's mesmerising and entertaining in equal measure, pick one of the following coming-of-age dramas this week.Boyhood (2014)
“At some point, you're no longer growing up; you're ageing. But no one can pinpoint that moment exactly," said Richard Linklater, who is known for his humanist, thought-provoking coming-of-age films. If we go by his words, and classic work Boyhood, it's the passage of time that best witnesses this transition. While directing (and writing) the movie, Linklater stuck with his vision. Boyhood was filmed over 12 years—he would call the young cast for a few days every 365 days to carry out the shoot, and then again after 12 months or so, when they would have a changed curve of the jaw and a growing beard, perhaps. The story of Mason—a six-year-old boy at the start of the film, and 18 at the end—is not just about the joys and pitfalls of his life, but also his amending vision as well as laughter, tears, family meals, parties, fights and everything he experiences in between.
Available to buy on Amazon Prime VideoLady Bird (2017)
The comedic coming-of-age drama is, loosely, an autobiographical tale set in Greta Gerwig's hometown of Sacramento, California. It centres around Christine McPherson (Saoirse Ronan)—who calls herself Lady Bird—and her senior year at high school. While she is ambitious and longs to study in a “city of culture”, her dreams are restrained due to her family's financial situation and, well, the grades. Still wilful, she soon infiltrates a group of rich kids, begins to work at a coffee shop, and dates a Francophile named Kyle (Timothée Chalamet). Frequently switching parallel storylines, Gerwig's directorial debut makes for an artistically-inclined film, much like Lady Bird herself.
Streaming on NetflixThe Graduate (1967)
As the New Republic reported upon the film's release back in 1967, “The Graduate gives some substance to the contention that American films are coming of age—of our age." One of Mike Nichols' magnum opuses, the film spotlights the themes of adultery, iconoclasm and forced marriages, among others, that not just capture the experience of a young adult dealing with his questionable indulgences and love interests, but also the true spirit of a society that was grappling with similar themes as a whole. The plot revolves around young Benjamin, who falls in love with an older, married woman, Mrs Robinson. As the story progresses, he is inclined towards Elaine, Robinson's daughter, instead. The complex development raises eyebrows—and while Mrs Robinson is divorced by her husband, Elaine and Benjamin fight their families to stay together.
Available to buy on Amazon Prime VideoChhichhore (2019)
One of the most relevant and true-to-reality movies of recent times, Chichhore is the story of seven college students who, despite being tagged as ‘losers’, put in all their effort to win a sports championship against their fellow students. The tale is being told in flashback to Anirudh's (Sushant Singh Rajput's) young son who commits suicide for not receiving his desired exam results. The inspiring and emotional, yet humorous saga will give you a glimpse of carefree college days and serve a much-needed perspective.
Streaming on Disney+ HotstarLakshya (2004)
Farhan Akhtar's Lakshya sort of revamped the cinematic experience in 2004, when comedy-dramas and love stories had been on top of the charts for a while. The story zooms in on the journey of an aimless young man Karan Shergill (Hrithik Roshan) who eventually gets selected into the Indian Military Academy, with support from his friend Parvesh and student activist girlfriend Romi (Preity Zinta). Although laidback and insincere at the beginning of his training, Karan emerges a changed, disciplined man after a turn of events—which also leads the ambitious Romi to fall in love with him all over again.
Streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime VideoAn Education (2009)
With disillusionment, idealisation and the harsh realities of adulthood as its central themes, the Oscar-winning movie chronicles the upper-class life of Jenny (Carey Mulligan). Although the teenager's affluent upbringing has been quite sheltered, she is an inspired—albeit naive—woman who wants to fly out to study at the Oxford University. Her life turns upside down when she meets David (Peter Sarsgaard) and gets romantically inclined towards him. That's when the harsh reality comes in.
Available to buy on Amazon Prime VideoDead Poets Society (1989)
“Just when you think you know something, you have to look at it in another way. Even though it may seem silly or wrong, you must try,” John Keating (Robin Williams) announces as he asks his students to stand on a classroom desk and look at the situation from a different perspective, quite literally. An impactful take on curiosity, art and life, Dead Poets Society takes the viewer through the elite prep school life of a group of young adults, who inspired by their professor, reinstate the unsanctioned Dead Poets Society, which Keating was a member of himself, as a student. The film is known for the rebellious, creative and visionary bent of the plot.
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