15 Must-See Coming Of Age Movies Of 2015
The coming-of-age movies 2015 had some common themes of loneliness, alienation & human connection attached to them. There were also stories that anchored a protagonist(s) freeing away from the shackles of the society, leading their own way into solace. As I look back, I find an array of films that somehow touched the theme of liberation, respectability & maturity. Here are 15 such films that touched my heart and made me feel alive.
Céline Sciamma’s all-girl cast reminds us how wonderful it is to belong, even if it’s for a short period of time. Girlhood is about Marieme (Karidja Touré), an Afro-French teenager growing up in the slums of Paris. She has been notified that she just might not be worthy enough for a vocational school. She begs, she requests as she knows the darkness that subsides her when she goes back home and the violence that she just can’t shrug off, is around the corner. Girlhood is not your usual French film. It doesn’t show the beauty flowing away. The girls find themselves a hotel room in order to dress up and make themselves feel pretty. And yet it scores past a million other films that don’t feel right in the heart.
15. The Diary of a Teenage Girl
The Diary of a Teenage Girl is an honest, often rebellious and sexually charged account of Minnie (Ben Powely) and her heedless affair with her mother’s 35-year-old boyfriend as she struggles to explore her creative intellect that doesn’t let her draw and write her inner self. Marielle Heller’s film examines Minnie and her overflowing emotional rebellion of not understanding the right path to sexual relief. Featuring a mesmerizing performance by supporting players including Kristen Wig & Alexander Skarsgård.
Hashvardhan Kulkarni’s Hunterrr is about a man-child obsessed with sex. Its often seen that people discard the film considering it to be just another sex comedy, which it isn’t. The humor in Kulkarni’s film borderlines crass humor & gives us an honest account of a man who is so obsessed with sex that he can’t seem to get out of a self-made ditch. He wants to fall in love but his inability to shed off his lust towards the opposite sex simply wouldn’t let him. Anchored by a strong central performance by Gulshan Devaiah, Hunterrr is about Mandar Ponkshe & his tale of falling in lust. Dipped in the right kind of nostalgia, Kulkarni’s film is a sex-addicts journey from the age of 14 to 35. Basically it’s one of those coming of age movies of 2015 that takes up later blooming, quite literally.
13. The Goob
A reckless, claustrophobic tale of a kid trying to live his life on his own terms whilst not being allowing to do so. The Goob has a terrific soundtrack to support Guy Myhill’s eye for presenting the known emotions in a very restrained manner. The film is about a boy on the cusp of adulthood. It’s about how hard his life gets when he doesn’t get to do things the way he intends to. To top that, he has a mother who doesn’t have a sense of right and wrong, a step-father whose wind-blasting sexual endeavors are not doing him any good either.
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12. Sleeping Giant
While thematically similar to The Kings of Summer & Hide Your Smiling Faces, Andrew Cividino’s Sleeping Giant follows Adam (Jackson Martin) on his quest to wake up from a giant sleep where he batters down and feels the various ups and downs of teenage years over a very long and hot summer holiday. Sleeping Giant is about growing up in all its reality and cruelty. Its a dark, often heart-breaking tale about three teenage boys as they grow rebellious in all the wrong ways.
11. A Brilliant Young Mind
Though occasionally manipulative, Morgan Matthew’s film is tender, sweet, and immensely satisfying. A Brilliant Young Mind is about Nathan (Asa Butterfield) who is socially awkward but extraordinarily intelligent. As he counts down numbers to give them respect he can’t seem to transcend his love for numbers to his love for the people close to him. The film subtlety mixes the crowd-pleasing elements putting them all up in the right formula and the result is mesmerizing.
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10. Virgin Moutain
Fusi (Gunnar Jónsson) is an obese, 40-year-old, who lives with his mother, plays with his gadgets and gets immensely touchy when it comes to re-enacting his precious World War II tank battle set-pieces. The film is about his life as he finds himself a new mate & eventually falls in love with a woman he genuinely likes. Featuring an extraordinary performance by Gunnar Jonsson, Virgin Mountain warms, dislodged, and crushes your heart in equal measures.
When driving off to the sunset doesn’t only take learning and time but also losing childhood and the various dreams that ever surrounded it. Mustang is a 5 girl account seen through the youngest eyes. Slipped under the rug of secularist, adult cruelty is an ode to liberation. It also peels off the various layers of devilish hypocrisy and in its couple of unrelated scenes, it just overpowers the central theme and becomes a totally visceral experience.
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8. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
This coming of age film is about cinematic expression, about knowing the world in all its weird and beautiful forms and also about fitting into that ladder that takes you to your aim. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is the right kind of funny, right kind of sad and the right kind of thought-provoking film. It’s the kind of film that more teenagers should see. Just so they understand the human condition, also studying the various layers of life sketched around three characters so charmingly.
7. Tu Dors Nicole
Lafleur’s film is slight and striking. The monochrome helps the viewer to focus on the sense of the things that go around the mainframe. It basically follows Nicole through her various labors of tired, endless, sleepless montages. Its surrealistic dream-like realism makes way for a whale-like a burden on you. The protagonist feels like she is trapped in a summer that lasts forever and her eyes that just wouldn’t shut up for a second of frustrating relief.
A woozy, energetic, and hilarious comedy about the geeks who go gangsta on the world. Lased with the dopest soundtrack & a razor-sharp screenplay, Dope chronicles the life of Malcolm (Shameik Moore) a 90s hip-hop geek who rides BMX bikes & has a band whose name rhymes with a popular biscuit. Watch his life give him a topsy-turvy as he understands that not being able to fit in is essentially a blessing in disguise.
5. The Tribe
Love and hate need no translation. So does Miroslav Slaboshpitsky’s film. There are no words spoken and there are no subtitles for the ones that are conveyed through gestures. And yet the film is so powerful in places that it feels you can’t close your ears hearing someone hammer a piece of Iron for eternity. The Tribe is a horrific look into the life of a kid who gets sucked into a world of violence and patriarchy. It is one of those brutally violent films that traces its footsteps right up to the credits and shuts the door on your face. Has to be one of the best coming of age movies of 2015 and one of the better films of the decade.
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Killa (The Fort) is a nostalgic trip down memory lane. It accounts the life of Chinmay (Archit Deodhar) whose mother has been recently transferred to a village in Konkan. The film takes us through thick and thin as Chinmay has to learn to accept that things wouldn’t go the way he plans and that adjusting to the situations is the most necessary step he can take. Avinash Arun‘s film is beautifully shot and it manages to capture the innocence and emotion of the young one in exact implications.
3. Mistress America
Another incredibly charming, fast-paced oddball comedy about people who are surrounded by failure. It’s interesting how Noah manages to show the failing nature of his characters in such a subtle manner. While Mistress America is mostly about Brooke (Greta Gerwig) whose ambitions and authenticity get muddled up in the disorienting world of New York City, it was also about Tracy (Lola Kirk) who never seems to stop to look around at the various things she is failing at. Its a retrospective on the life of two women trying their best to grasp upon the moving land, learning to accept and understand each other and themselves in the process.
An unsettling, disturbing & absolutely devastating film about the dog-eat-dog world. Aching its premise to the underbellies of Delhi, Titli was about escapism from a series of self-confused muddled relationships leading the disarranged self to the extremes. It was about selfish dreams & about the pigs who just want to stay in the dirt, leading the other baby pigs on the same scribbled pathway. A coming-of-age film about a butterfly fluttering its wings in the raw dust that hails the survival of the fittest.
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Breathe works on all fronts. It’s a psychological drama that outweighs its contents. There are glimmers of identity crises, depression, jealousy, isolation & crippled physical & mental trauma. While it glides unflinchingly through its running length it keeps you engrossed in the excellent compositions of carefully knitted scenes. Breathe has a rather evil approach to some of its most tender emotional conflicts, leaving no space for it to sound overly profound. Hence, making it equally impact-full.