The following is by no means a hard reliable statistic, but I strongly believe that 99.5 out of 100 teenagers feel insecure about themselves, or about where their young lives are heading, at some point during their pre-adult years. And there’s no comfier blanket than seeing someone else on screen experience and deal with the same issues as you, and (most often than not) overcoming them.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
John Hughes defined the essence of teen movies, directing classics like Ferries Bueller’s Day Off and Sixteen Candles. The Breakfast Club though is the definite must-watch from his repertoire. With memorable performances and a quick-witted script, it’s hard to believe that this whole comedy-drama takes place during one Saturday morning of detention.
Beautiful Thing (1996)
My first of two LGBTQ films in this list is a British drama not many people know about. Set in a poor London estate, two childhood friends grow close and are forced to conceal their relationship from the judgmental environment surrounding them. Endearing to say the least, this tear-jerker paved the way for other relatable gay movies that don’t need to rely on promiscuity or overdone drama to grab attention.
Spirited Away (2001)
Hailing from Studio Ghibli, a.k.a. Japan’s answer to Disney, comes one of the best animated features ever made. Chihiro is a young stubborn girl forced to move house with her parents, who stumbles upon a fantastical world of spirits and embarks on an unforgettable journey of survival and self-exploration. It’s nearly impossible to explain what Spirited Away is about without eliciting confusion, so you truly have to watch it to understand it and ultimately love it.
God Help The Girl (2014)
An endearing British musical set in the sixties about a girl who wants to become a famous singer, but is simultaneously suffering from an eating disorder. Uplifting and poignant, we watch as the lead character faces extreme highs and lows in the best way possible - through song.
The Edge Of Seventeen (2016)
Teen comedies are usually cringe-worthy, but The Edge Of Seventeen is an undeniable breath of fresh air. Hailee Steinfeld shines as a high-schooler struggling with all her relationships, especially those with her overpowering brother and depressed single mother. I went into this one expecting the typical, yet it was everything but typical.
Call Me By Your Name (2017)
I also really enjoyed Lady Bird following all its awards-buzz, but Call Me By Your Name is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and emotionally-charged movies I’ve witnessed in a long time. Emerging actor Timothee Chalamet stars as a 17-year old holidaying in Northern Italy who sparks an unexpected but gorgeous romance with an older man. Mesmerising from start to finish in every single way, this masterpiece truly deserved to win Best Picture at the Oscars.
Skins UK (2007-2013)
If you’re more of a TV series fan, you ought to check out the original British version of Skins. Featuring an extremely talented cast of youngsters, some of whom have grown up to become renowned actors like Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) and Nicholas Hoult (X-Men), Skins is as raw and harsh yet entertaining and relevant as teenage TV shows get. Its 7 seasons manage to tackle everything from addiction and sexuality to spirituality and integrity. Let the binge-watching commence.
Johann Agius is a fourth year law student who is currently the CEO of Insite after fulfilling the roles of Public Relations Officer and External Relations Officer in previous years. He joined Insite as a writer and photographer in 2013 and was elected in the executive for the first time a year later.