Who says reliving the most awkward years of your life can’t be fun?!
Ah, high school. Four years that’ll either make or break you. Some say it gets better, you know, as you climb the school hierarchy. Instead of prey, you become the predator, resting at the top of the food chain. But if the only way to describe this period of time is by envisioning freshmen as small naive birds, with the older kids as jungle cats hiding out in the bushes ready to go for the kill, then perhaps high schools have earned their reputation for being merciless (if you got the Mean Girls reference, you get a gold star)!
However, not all high school experiences are as dramatic as that. Sometimes the only nerve-wracking thing about graduating is that you have to move on to university. Suddenly the bland walls and dingy carpets don’t seem so bad after all. So, whether you’re avoiding filling out that college application, want to feel nostalgic about your note passing and young love days, or simply want to swoon over a totally unrealistic jaw chiseled 26-year-old playing the role of an awkward acne-prone teenage boy, I suggest you prepare the popcorn, slip into an old gym class T-shirt and watch these high school flicks.
Mean Girls (2004)
One cannot create a list of coming-of-age movies without including this iconic film. Following Cady, a homeschooler that is suddenly thrown into the world of public school, this film perfectly encapsulates how it feels to be a young gazelle in a watering hole surrounded by the jungle’s fiercest killers (seeing as I can’t stop with the references I’ll apologize in advance). But soon, with the help of some new friends, Cady will begin to understand how the social order of this setting works, using her parents’ background in zoology and the years spent living in Africa to dissect the complicated social scene.
However, as she transforms from gazelle to tiger, will she be able to pay the price of rising to the top of the food chain? While this film sends a rather important message, I would say the most significant thing you might learn from it is that on Wednesdays we wear pink!
The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
Now, this is the perfect movie to watch if you want to remember the truth about being a teenager. Without the gorgeous popular kids, the geeky nerds, the buffed jocks, all that’s left behind is Nadine, an awkward junior trying to navigate through her final years of high school with only her best friend at her side. But when their relationship ends, she is left alone, feeling more like an outcast every day. Perhaps what makes this film so different from various other coming-of-age pieces is how honest it is, realistically portraying how hard growing up can be.
Don’t be fooled; while this film will have you laughing till your cheeks hurt, the ride will also be emotional, with several serious topics being brought up. At the end of the 104 minutes, you’ll find yourself reminiscing about the teenager you once were.
Lady Bird (2017)
What would a pink-haired, strongly opinionated, short-tempered Catholic schoolgoer want more than anything? Well, the answer is quite obvious; to get as far away from her small Californian town as quickly as possible. Set during senior year, Christine ‘Lady Bird’ is determined to make it to the East Coast for university, desiring a completely different life than the one she currently has. As the year progresses and the relationships in her life continue to change and alter, she too changes, finally understanding just how hard growth can be.
While this film does include themes and subplot lines found in almost all high school movies, what makes it different is how real and simple it is, capturing the transformation from teenager to maturity and growth in a new, sometimes very emotional way.
Inspired bestselling Jane Austin novel Emma, Clueless follows Cher, a rich high schooler, in her endeavor to grow from adolescent to young woman. Much like Jane Austin’s protagonist, Cher believes that her matchmaking skills are unmatched. But that is not the only thing she is confident about. Deciding to take the new girl under her wing, Cher bestows her infinite wisdom on how high school operates, essentially creating a mini version of herself. But everything comes crashing down when she realizes even her matchmaking skills have a limit.
Filled with scenes many experienced as teenagers, from nervously taking a driving test to wanting desperately to get great grades, Clueless will definitely make you nostalgic. But will that make you want to go back to school? Ugh, as if!
Does a movie count as a high school flick if the story’s events take place during the last 24 hours before graduation? Well, whether or not you think so, you better get ready for the chaotic night about to begin. While the protagonists are two academic overachievers who’ve spent the last four years strictly on good behavior, noses in books to ensure getting into a good school, they make sure that they end their high school careers with a bang. After all, that’s the only thing they can do in an attempt to cram in four years of missed parties and typical teenage activities.
But will they be able to remain by each other’s side when they enter a world so different from the one they’re used to? Guess you’ll have to watch to find out!
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