Netflix has a number of coming of age teen movies in their line up.
It’s a movie genre we’re all familiar with: awkward teen faces life challenges that change them for the better by proving to them that we’re all a little awkward. OR weird. Or sad. Or misunderstood. Or whatever.
And, it’s one we all love because it depicts experiences we can all relate to: secret crushes, unrequited love, friend drama, body image issues, that stupid pimple that literally popped up right on the middle of your forehead the night before senior photos.
We’ve all been there, we all get it, and watching others go through it makes me all…
Personally, the teen movies, with their coming of age, everything is possible vibe, are my favorites to watch—first love being discovered, friendships tested being tested, people changing. They always leave you with this sense of hope for the future and faith in humanity that is largely devoid from day to day life.
We all have our all-time favorite coming of age teen movies—Sixteen Candles, Clueless, Super Bad, Pretty in Pink, The Sandlot—and I love seeing Netflix keeping the genre alive with contemporary flicks today’s teens, and their parents, can sink into on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
What to Watch on Netflix: 5 Teen Movies the Teenager in You Will Love
*THERE MAY BE SPOILERS BELOW. DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU!*
The Edge of Seventeen
The Edge of Seventeen is a coming-of-age dramedy about Nadine, awkward, 17, grieving her father—the only person in her family she felt truly close to–who died unexpectedly. When she discovers that her brother is hooking up with her best, and only friend, Nadine starts to spiral out of control.
Responding to her newfound loneliness and reacting to what she perceives to be the ultimate betrayal, Nadine makes a lot of bad choices, including sending her crush a pretty raunchy message that leads to an unfortunate experience.
On the bright side, Nadine turns out to not be as alone as she thinks. She builds a relationship with fellow awkward teen (whose crush she happens to be), Erwin, finds support from her similarly cynical teacher, Mr. Bruner, realizes that the people she thought were out to get her are just trying to do their best, and ultimately makes a lot of discoveries about herself, her family, life, and love.
While I initially found Nadine and her teenage dramatics exhausting, immature, and somewhat unrealistic (I mean, my kids aren’t gonna throw a not going to school tantrum and get away with it), she grew on me throughout the film as I began to relate to a lot of her struggles.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Based on the novel of the same name, this is one of my favorite teen movies of all time! And it’s not just because I have a girl crush on Lana Condor and a regular I’d-totally-lick-your-face crush on Noah Centineo. It’s because it’s cute and fun and sweet and relatable and it made you want to awkwardly fall in love with the cool, popular dude at school all over again only to have him actually love you back this time.
For those who’ve yet to see it, it follows Laura Jean, a teen girl wedged between two sisters—the older one going off to college as the movie begins, and the younger one who is her clearly cooler and better socially adjusted—being raised by a single dad after losing their mother to illness.
Laura Jean, over the course of her adolescence, writes love letters to a set of boys—one is her bestie and current boyfriend to her older sister, and one turns out to be campus heart throb, Peter Kavinsky—that are never meant to see the light of day.
The letters are leaked and the story heats up, leading to a fake romance between LJ and Pete, that grows into something neither of them expected causing other secrets to be uncovered, relationships to be tested, and angsty teen emotions to be made a little more real than we remember them being.
It’s a laugh, sigh, cry flick and I am on the edge of my seat waiting for part two to be released.
Sierra Burgess is a Loser
Another Noah Centineo gem, this one is a modern take on the classic tale, Cyrano de Bergerac. The story follows a pudgy-ish, band geek high school girl who basically Catfishes the quarterback of an opposing high school, a dude she thinks is out of her league, into thinking she’s some hot, popular chick.
As shameful as that sounds, don’t blame Sierra alone for setting these events in motion—the popular girl she’s pretending to be is in on the entire thing—and she is actually funky, fresh, and independent in ways that are refreshing while also being insecure all of us at times.
As it turns out, MR. QB is just a nice guy who likes people for who they are, and everyone in this movie learns a lot about stereotypes and keeping it real. Sierra even discovers popular, skinny, hot girls have things going on in their lives that aren’t awesome proving the grass though trim and perfectly landscaped, is not always greener on the other side.
The Spectacular Now
An oldie but goodie on my favorite teen movies list, The Spectacular Now came out back in 2013.
It’s about Sutter—Mr. Popularity, turned lost loser thanks to a recent breakup with his school’s “It” girl, and Aimee—shy, nice girl who stumbles across a drunk, passed out Sutter one morning while working her paper route.
The two form an unlikely friendship that quickly blossoms into a totally-saw-that-coming, but probably never gonna work romance as the two discover that they may not seem to have a lot in common on the surface, what’s inside isn’t all that different after all.
Their relationship is beneficial to them both in different ways and seeing them grow and support each other through the various expectations, challenges, and hurdles life throws at them is touching and entertaining.
The film is a great reminder that we all wear masks and you never know what someone is dealing with, or how you can help them, until you get to a place where you trust each other enough to take the masks off. Then, you can see their true beauty.
Based on the fact that he’s made me watch this no less than three times, this one didn’t just make my best teen movies list, it also made Dude 3’s best of the best list for sure.
He, like everyone else, fell in love with Willowdean (aka Will), the young protagonist of Dumplin’—the embarrassing nickname her mama won’t let her shirk off—struggling to come to terms with the loss of her beloved Aunt Lucy.
Lucy as Willowdean’s mentor and bestie shared everything from her love of Dolly Parton to her plus-sized body positivity with her. When Lucy dies unexpectedly, Will is left with only her best friend, and her mother who has always lamented that her daughter didn’t follow in her pageant princess ways.
Will struggles to find her way at first. But, never one to shy away from a challenge, Will channels her Aunt Lucy’s fortitude and decides to compete in the exact pageant her mother is currently presiding over. She inspires other girls to compete in the pageant as well and, with new friendships formed and closed-minded naysayers to prove wrong, Will, her band of pageant misfit friends, and some unlikely sidekicks in drag go on an adventure to self-discovery that is as touching as it is entertaining to watch.
Into more than teen movies? Check out this list: What to Watch on Netflix: Top Picks of 2018