11 Coming-Of-Age Movies About Students’ Struggle

Becoming an adult is a struggle, and it is a universal struggle that transcends borders and boundaries. Of course every coming-of-age experience is unique, but we all share similar issues of increased responsibilities, acceptance, love, looking for purpose, etc. That’s why watching movies in this genre can be so cathartic and relatable.

And students do have a lot of struggles. College is the first time for many things: living on your own for the first time, taking on new financial responsibilities, new relationships, and studying in a new environment. Lots of students have to navigate part-time jobs, social life, and all the numerous college deadlines. Sometimes everyone needs a breather and a stay-in night with a good movie.

However, it is possible to find time even with the busiest curriculum. For example, you can get online homework help on Writepaper.com and finally have a day off. Whether you need to rest or do some other priority tasks, you can trust your essay or research paper to professionals.

And while the homework is taken care of, you can enjoy one of these amazing coming-of-age movies.

Dirty Dancing

If you are into classics, there is hardly a more iconic film in this genre. It is about Francis “Baby” Houseman and her discovery of the world around her and herself. One summertime trip with a family shows her how little she knew about her own life.

And, of course, it is a romantic story with lots of dancing and sexual awakening. On the other hand, the film deals with such struggles as making decisions.


This one is not as well-known as the previous one, but it is also incredibly good. Daisies is directed by Věra Chytilová, a representative of the CZECH New Wave of experimental film. It is a surrealistic narrative that combines drama and comedy together. The plot revolves around two young girls that share the same name, Maria. They see that the world is spoiled and decide to be spoiled too. They pull pranks and reject common femininity tropes.

The film also deals with political discourse and critics of authoritarianism.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

On a lighter side of the genre, there is this recent and well-made piece. It is all about the first-times – air in your face while driving, a first kiss, or a song that is just about you. It follows the story of three friends; each of them dealing with their own struggles.

Although the pace is light and the general feel is fresh and adventurous, there are some darker themes explored. These are depression, homophobia, anxiety, and the inability to feel that you deserve love. But it shows that young adults can be brave in the face of the future.


Coming-of-age movies do not have to be all dramatic. They can be fun, just like Clueless. Of course, not everyone will relate to the struggle of being extremely rich. But beneath this layer, there is a great depiction of adolescence. And it is based on Jane Austen’s Emma, of course. But in a classic 90s Beverly Hills-type of setting. It is funny, glorious, and over-the-top sometimes.

10 Things I Hate About You

Of course, it is a classic romantic comedy with Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles. But it is also a modern take on the play by Shakespeare and a relatable movie on young adult struggles. It is a touching and powerful narrative about faking and being true to oneself.

It deals with themes of acceptance by peers, connections, and understanding. But it also shows what it takes to accept oneself.


The Oscar-winning film captures the life of Chiron, the main character who grows as the audience is watching. It depicts three chapters of his life – from a child living with a drug-addict mother, his first sexual experience as a teenager, and his life as a grown man. The film covers serious topics of homosexuality, violence, loneliness, empathy, and kindness.

Rebel Without a Cause

It is one of the most well-known movies starring James Dean. And it is a classic coming-of-age picture about three angsty teenagers. There are conflicts with parents, love, fight, and car cares. And lots of nihilism that is still relevant. Overall a great watch and a legendary piece.

The Graduate

The first year after college can be extremely challenging for recent graduates. The only thing students cared about was college, but now that it is over, what is next? What does one have to do now with their new life? This film tries to answer these questions in an honest manner.

Dustin Hoffman plays the main character caught in this crisis. What does he want to do? Sit all day chilling? Start an affair? What does this adulthood even mean? Everything starts to feel permanent and important. It is a powerful and thought-provoking piece any student needs to watch.

Y Tu Mamá También

It is not a typical road-trip film and it is not a typical coming-of-age piece. Yet, it is a fascinating story about two 18-year old guys and one woman that randomly decides to travel with them to the beach.

This trip transforms all three of them. It is about finding a direction in life, wanting to run away, and discovering yourself.


Juno is quirky, aesthetically pleasing, yet so touching. At the first glance, the plot is about teen pregnancy and maturing much faster than one should. But on the other hand, it is a stunningly weird piece about staying true to yourself no matter the struggles.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

When adulthood is around the corner, it might be the last time to truly rebel. The main character feels it coming and decides to skip school and have a true day off to enjoy those last days of freedom.

Of course, it is about taking responsibility. But it is also about having fun, as if you don’t, you might miss out on the real greatness of life.

Honorable Mentions

Because of the popularity of this genre, there are many more excellent films one article can hold. After all, there are so many stories to share and relate to. Here are some other top choices to consider:

  • Picnic at Hanging Rock;
  • Breakfast Club;
  • Real Women Have Curves;
  • Lady Bird;
  • Boyhood;
  • Boyz n the Hood;
  • Spirited Away;
  • The Chocolate War;
  • The Tree of Life;
  • Rushmore;
  • American Graffiti;
  • Lucas;
  • Easy A;
  • Precious;
  • Dope;
  • The Edge of Seventeen;
  • Eighth Grade;
  • The Diary of a Teenage Girl;
  • An Education.

Although sometimes coming of age is painful, it is a natural process that everyone goes through. Watching a great film can help to come to terms with some issues and take life for what it is. It also helps to feel less isolated in those experiences and even might provide some answers. 

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