Entries Tagged 'Coming of Age' ↓

parsley days

This quirky look at 20-something life begins where most movies end: with the perfect relationship. Here, secretly pregnant Kate, a bike mechanic, is living with Ollie, a man so endearing her lesbian friends claim he’s a lesbian trapped in a man’s body. The movie follows Kate as she struggles over whether to breakup with Ollie, while simultaneously attempting to induce abortion by eating massive amounts of parsley. Kate is surrounded by neat friends, a herbalist, a performance artist, a pair of 70-something lovebirds, and a lot of bicycle enthusiasts. And like any good Canadian movie, the canoe is a character unto itself. [canada, 2001]

life is sweet

An early film by Mike Leigh, champion of working-class British life, this often hilarious portrait of a slightly off-beat family. Dad’s dream, much to the chagrin of his family, is to own a chip wagon. The teenage twin daughters can’t stand each other. One twin who refers to everyone as “fascist” is also a border-line anorexic. Jane Horrocks [Little Voice, Career Girls] is perfect as the fascism obsessed teen. Believe it or not, this is a wonderfully uplifting film, and true to it’s title, life is sweet. [uk, 1990]

angel at my table

Jane Campion’s film is based on the true story of New Zealand’s most famous poet Janet Frame. As a child the awkward, shy, yet insightful Janet didn’t fit in which lead her to being misdiagnosed as schizophrenic, and committed to a psychiatric hospital where she endured electric shock “therapy.” However, Janet endured, was finally released and began winning poetry awards and international acclaim. Although ultimately uplifting this film is quite heavy in places, and is quite long since it was originally a television series. Make sure you’re prepared to spend the time and emotional effort when you see it. [nz, 1990]

the incredibly true story of two girls in love

A quirky, light-hearted tale of first love — only here it’s between two young girls. In a nice stereotype switch, Randi is a wrong-side-of-the-tracks white girl who lives with her granola-eating aunts while the graceful Evie is a wealthy black girl who lives in a manicured neighbourhood and is enroute to Harvard. The film moves fast, and Go Fish director Maria Maggenti, ably depicts the goofy excessiveness of teen love without getting political. [us, 1995]

welcome to the dollhouse

Director Todd Solondz sure understands what it’s like to be an awkward, annoying, and oblivious 11-year old girl. This film is so real it’s painful. As Dawn “Weiner-Dog” Weiner, Heather Matarazzo grumpily stumbles around puberty, while her tutu-wearing younger sister charms everyone. Guaranteed to bring back all scenes of humiliation from your childhood. [us, 1995]


In this powerful yet quirky celebration of mother/child love, a single mother and her mute, grief-stricken mute daughter, Amy, hide out from child welfare. When eight-year-old Amy starts to hear music and responds by singing, it’s the stuff movie magic is made of. [australia, 1997]

whale rider

Pai, a young Maori girl teaches her seaside community about family, leadership and faith in this magical tale that seamlessly blends myth and reality. When a fractured family struggles to keep itself together after suffering a tragic loss, the grandfather trains all the young boys in martial arts and mysticism in hopes of finding a new leader. Meanwhile Pai, banned from the sessions because she’s a girl, trains in secret and succeeds in invoking the legend of the Whale Rider. [New Zealand, 2003].

the journey of natty gann

The Journey of Natty Gann ideal for 12-14 year old girls. During the Depression Era, motherless-Natty is left with a neglectful and somewhat abusive caretaker while her Dad goes West to make money cutting lumber. Natty has to run away and spends the entire movie traveling west by train and walking. She has lots of adventures and throughout the movie, she is tough, smart, and makes her own decisions. She befriends a wolf who was being used in illegal dog-fights. Great movie for girls. I highly recommend it. [review by mother T.A. Lane] [us, 1985]

mystic pizza

Two sisters and their best friend come of age while working at the pizza parlour in their small hometown of Mystic, Connecticut. This is Julia Roberts debut movie and she displays her trademark horsey charm as a small-town girl who takes up with a wealthy young man. Since this is pre-stardom for Julia, the film is actually more of an ensemble piece with strong performances by the other two leads, Annabeth Gish and our favorite, Lili Taylor. An intelligent film for the tween and teen set. [us, 1988]

national velvet

Any horse-crazy young girl knows the story of the piebald long shot that wins the Grand National Steeplechase. A 12-year old Elizabeth Taylor stars as Velvet, a young girl determined to race her horse in the biggest of all races. When no other jockey is available, Velvet breaks the rules and races herself. Also starring Mickey Rooney as her trainer, and Angela Landsbury as her boy-crazed older sister. A must see for those in the horse-obsessed years. [us, 1944]