Teen screen dreams
10 great movies about being a teenager.
Being a teen and going to movies have been synonymous since the first flash of a silent movie on a silver screen. Manouevering to sit next to the boy or girl you fancy, and finally, blissfully, cuddling up in the dark, are all part of the rite of passage.

And while we in the movie house find our way to adulthood in the darkness, on the screen our counterparts stumble through their stories, also in search of a sense of their adult identity.

Here are some of the movies I think depict that journey best.

The Breakfast Club – It’s Saturday morning detention, and the school is represented in microcosm – from the gorgeous sulky prom queen to the introspective weirdo. Funny and memorable, The Breakfast Club is the forerunner of many other ensemble movie moments where high school stereotypes collide.

Billy Elliot – finding your own bliss when your life seems mapped out for you by your father is a very real teen dilemma, depicting in many movies including High School Musical. But the grit and humour of a British script and director makes Billy Elliot unique in the genre as we follow a boy to his destiny as a ballet dancer.

Mean Girls – Funny, scary and full of one-liners, Mean Girls stars Lindsay Lohan at her most endearing. As the outsider desperate to fit in, she feels forced to act against her own instincts. It’s about peer pressure and – hilariously – revenge.

Sixteen Candles – Being a teen is embarrassing, but when your family forgets your most important birthday, things can scarcely be worse. That excruciating self-awareness of the teen years makes for humour and even a little pathos in this classic Molly Ringwald comedy.

Mermaids – Cher and Winona Ryder are a single mom and daughter who move from town to town, never quite settling down. But now Charlotte is 16 and wants a life and love of her own. The poignancy of a mother having to acknowledge her daughter as a woman in her own right makes this a DVD to seek out.

Weird Science – Teen boys, hormones and the world’s most perfect woman. It’s an hilarious combination, with a funny subtext about boys and what they really want.

Twilight – If only a gorgeous vampire would sweep me off my feet. Yup, the hunky sexy vegetarian bloodsucker Edward Cullen calls to the teen girl in all of us.

Juno – Pregnant at 16, all Juno wants to do is go back to normal. But she decides to go through the pregnancy to give the child up for adoption. The brilliant quirky humour, fabulous soundtrack and great performances give this surprising impact for such a simple story.

Pleasantville – Caught in a fictional world of black and white perfection, brother and sister Jennifer and David act like typical teens – they rebel. How they shake up this stiff world is a gorgeous metaphor for how the bravado of youth can be a catalyst for a change in traditional thinking.

Freaky Friday – Both versions of the movie do a great job of showing the gap between adults and their teens. A body swap means that mom and daughter get to see the world, and finally understand it, through each other’s eyes.

Because of my age, I favour  movies from the ‘80s, which I would call the heyday of the coming-of-age comedy. You will have your own ideas of which movies best depict those teen years. Add them to the comment box – let’s try for 100 great teen titles!

Are these the best teen movies? Add yours below.

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