10 greatest coming-of-age movies that aren’t The Breakfast Club, ranked

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10 greatest coming-of-age movies that aren’t The Breakfast Club, ranked

The most endlessly quotable high school movie of all time, period. Lives were changed — specifically the lives of Millennial gay men, and women. There isn’t a huge amount of plot, it’s basically what it says on the tin — Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried being unfathomably cruel to one another, while Amy Poehler tries fruitlessly to roll back the years as the Cool Mum — and that’s what we love about it. It does tap into something timelessly true that other coming-of-agers have been traditionally averse to: just how evil teenagers, not least teen girls, are to one another. Points for realism!

2. The Graduate (1967)

Dustin Hoffman is caught up in a web of ambivalent inertia and Mrs. Robinson’s pantyhose in Mike Nichols’ The Graduate, which has been devastatingly relatable since it first premiered in the late ‘60s. Its Simon & Garfunkel scored opening scene has been endlessly referenced and parodied, by The Simpsons and Quentin Tarantino (see: Jackie Brown) alike: Hoffman stood on an automatic walkway, going everywhere and nowhere, towards an uncertain future that will lead him to Anne Bancroft’s legs and, eventually, the back of a bus with absconding bride Elaine (Katherine Ross), where the cycle resets.

1. Raw (2016) & Titane (2021)

We’re making an exception to the “film-per-filmmaker” rule, here, because director Julia Ducournau’s two feature films to date should be considered together. The young anti-hero of Raw is a vegetarian girl who discovers a taste for flesh, eventually human flesh; Titane‘s central subject is a psychopathic young serial killer with a large cochlear implant who becomes pregnant to a car. You can appreciate, then, why Ducournau has been lazily labelled a “provocateur” or “body horror extremist,” or compared to the likes of David Cronenberg or Gaspar Noé, even if to do so only scratches the surface of her corporeal curiosities.

She is a richly empathetic filmmaker who uses her works to get into the weirdness of growing up. Or more pertinently, growing into, and exploring our bodies: our queasy metamorphosis, the bulging of muscles and sprouting of hair and warts, strange smells and sticky residues escaping our bodies. Titane, especially, zooms in on how we witness these changes within ourselves, and how we wrestle with our bodies way beyond adolescence, and adulthood — right to the grave.

First published on gq-magazine.co.uk

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