15 Must See Coming Of Age Films Of 2015
Coming-of-age: the attainment of prominence, respectability, recognition, or maturity.
The films of the year 2015 had some common themes of loneliness, alienation & human connection attached to most of 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.
Girlhood | Director: Céline Sciamma.
Céline Sciamma‘s all girl cast reminds us how wonderful it is to belong, even if its 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 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 | Director: Marielle Heller.
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.
14. Hunterrr | Director: Hashvardhan Kulkarni.
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.
13. The Goob | Director: Guy Myhill.
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. Its about how hard his life gets when he doesn’t get to do things the way he intends to. To top that, the 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.
12. Sleeping Giant | Director: Andrew Cividino.
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 batteres 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 | Director: Morgan Matthews.
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. Read Complete Review.
10. Virgin Moutain | Director: Dagur Kári.
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, dislodges and crushes your heart in equal measures.
9. Mustang | Director: Deniz Gamze Ergüven.
When driving off to the sunset doesn’t only takes learning and time but also losing a 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.
8. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl | Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon.
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. Its 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.