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Here are 5 movies you must watch to understand your 20s

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

Being in your twenties is a lot of things: it’s freeing, because you’re probably starting your first job, and you believe you are THE KING OF THE WORLD (or Queen) as said by Leo Dicaprio. It’s messy and uncertain because you don’t actually know what you’re doing, how to do it, or why you’re doing it. It’s the time to transform thoughts into action, so you can do everything that you ever dreamed. It’s time to meet new people, discover new perspectives, learn new things, cry, and smile at the same time. Basically, it’s time for everything and a little bit more.

With that said, you are starting to understand yourself, the world, the people in it, and everything around you. It can be overwhelming (it actually is), but we can find in movies, TV shows and books the point of view of people who have already passed through this and can show us that everything will be okay, or at least accept that even if it’s not the way we imagine, it will be worth it. So here is a list of movies to understand your 20s:

1. Reality Bites (1984)

With Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Ben Stiller and Jeneane Garofalo, the movie is about four friends, recent college graduates who live in Texas. Each one of them has inspirations, and dreams, and wants something, but as the title says “reality bites” and they realize that “the real world” is not that easy. The film shows that not everything goes according to plan, but sometimes you have to go through a period of uncertainty to find your path.

2. Frances Ha (2012)

Directed by Noah Baumbach and starring (the great) Greta Gerwig, the film (which is black-and-white) follows her journey as an aspiring dancer in New York, and her friendships, relationships and career choices. She struggles with the lack of stability, the stagnation of her career, the fact that everyone is moving on and she doesn’t know how to do so. And the narrative is about her every day, the little things, the mundane things that we actually live.

3. Little Women (2019)

Directed by Greta Gerwig and a classic in my opinion, the life of four sisters who have different perspectives and are trying to find their place in the world, trying to understand themselves and to support each other, even if they don’t agree or understand the other’s choices. It goes through the ups and downs of life, and how everything changes as we grow up. And has one great monologue about being a woman.

4. Tick, Tick…Boom! (2021)

It’s a biographical musical about Jonathan Larson, actually, as the film says “is the true story of Larson. Except for the parts Jonathan made up” (and stars Andrew Garfield). Jonathan feels the pressure to be successful before he turns 30, and he wants a theater career – not so easy – which impacts in every aspect of his life: his relationship with himself, his girlfriend and his friends. This results in the “tick, tick” of the title, which is the clock of life running inside his head that can anytime explode. It’s the feeling that you want to do everything, but time is running against you. Besides, the movie has a great cast and a phenomenal soundtrack.

5. The Worst Person in the World (2021)

It’s a Norwegian movie and it’s divided into chapters, and the prologue itself resonates with the life of a person living in their mid/late twenties. The protagonist, Julie, simply does not know what she wants to do in her life in the future, but also does not know what she is doing right now. She is uncertain, but at the same time, confident. She decides on a career path and changes at the last minute. She makes decisions and doubts them. One of my favorite quotes is “I spend so much time worrying about what could go wrong. But what did go wrong, was never the things I worried about”.


I’m just gonna throw a bunch of movies that I think also fit in: The Graduate (1967), Before Sunrise (1995), Amelie (2001), Post Grad (2009), Mistress Americana (2015), Columbus (2017), Unicorn Store (2017), Shiva Baby (2020), Look Both Ways (2022). 

I believe (and hope) that you can find comfort – at least a little bit – in this list of movies, and remember that this is not an individual experience. Your parents went through the uncertainty of their 20s, such as your grandparents and your friends, who are passing this alongside you. It’s the time to doubt your choices, be scared and excited about everything and so much more. 


The article above was edited by Camila Lutfi.

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Beatriz Martins

Casper Libero '26

Journalism major, fangirling about Taylor Swift and passionate reader.