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

If there is one thing I love and can go on and on about for hours, it’s movies. In high school, I decided to make a grand list of all the movies I needed to watch before I graduated. Long story short I watched them all and wound up stumbling into my favorite genre, “coming of age movies.” There is something about seeing the growth of a character right in front of you that’s inspiring and wills you to figure your own life out. So, I am now sharing some of my favorite films in hopes you all will fall in love with them as much as I did (trust me, you will).

The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

This movie follows Nadine (Hailee Steinfield) through a particularly tough year of high school. Her former best friend and brother start dating, leaving Nadine feeling more alone than ever. Not to mention the boy she likes suddenly starts showing interest in her. Throw in a more than confusing relationship with her mom and that one more than supportive teacher we all wish we had, I think this movie embodies everything your teenage years are about. Complete and utter chaos and punches you just have to roll with.​

The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)

In 1970, 15-year-old Minnie begins her own awakening due to the fear that she is unattractive and will never lose her virginity. She begins an audio diary to track her journey. Eventually, she begins an affair with her absent mother’s boyfriend, Monroe. While I haven’t done anything Minnie had, throughout the movie, I could see a lot of myself and other women in her. Often when we aren’t secure in ourselves, we tend to look for validation in others. Minnie essentially struggles with this the entire movie as her relationship with Monroe makes her feel even more self-conscious because he obviously can’t commit to her in the way she initially wants. To make matters worse, the boys at school tell her she’s too “passionate” to have casual relationships with (yawn). While the events throughout this movie are definitely wild and not exactly for the faint of heart, the message is worth all the crazy things that happen.​

Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008)

The movie adaptation of the books by Louise Rennison follows Georgia, a 14 year who is slightly obsessed with getting a boyfriend (more specifically, the sex god Robbie) and having the perfect 15th birthday party. If you have seen this movie, then you very much remember the iconic scene of Georgia running home in an olive costume while “She’s So Lovely” plays in the background. While this isn’t exactly what 14 looked like for me, it was surely a great laugh when I needed it. Having rewatched it recently, I will say the tone of the movie is 2008 and lacks a whole lot of feminism. However, it does perfectly embody the boy craziness and overall awkwardness that come with being 14. This movie also gave us the pop perfection that is Ultraviolet by the Stiff Dylans (that is still not on Spotify. Disgraceful I know).​​

Dumplin (2018)

A plus-sized daughter of a former beauty queen, Willowdean, decides to sign up for their town’s pageant in protest. While in public Willowdean seems confident in herself. However, we can see how uncomfortable she is with herself and the thought of someone else being interested in her, behind the scenes. Willowdean was formerly backed by her plus-sized Aunt Lucy who acted as her number one cheerleader and fan of all things Dolly Parton and loving herself. However, after Lucy passed away Willowdean had no one to support her. This movie was one of very few movies that made me ball my eyes out last year. I loved to see a movie about a plus-sized woman that wasn’t about her losing weight or getting some guy to like her. While there is a love interest, Willowdean’s arc isn’t centered around him and what he thinks of her. It’s about the women of the movie and how this pageant affects all their lives.​

Book Smart (2019)

Two high school seniors and best friends, Amy and Molly, realize they spent their whole high school career playing safe while everyone else had fun. Determined to have an action-packed night before graduation and to make a name for themselves, the pair decide to go to a party held by one of their classmates and pursue their respective crushes. The movie had to go on the list despite it being the most recent of all the movies I mentioned before. To date, I have watched it three times, and it has been equally funny every time. The comedy is great, but what was most captivating to see was two girls whose character arc and journey weren’t solely about losing their virginity or getting the guy/girl. The story is really about their friendship and who they chose to be throughout their high school career.

Honorable mentions include:

  • Moonlight (2016)

  • Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

  • Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

  • Dope (2015)

  • Stealing Beauty (1996)

While my list is honestly much longer than this (I could go on forever), these are definitely a few I think everyone should see. I tried not to list all the ones bound to make you cry but let’s be honest, if you’re not crying, is it really a good movie?

Anaya Mitchell is a Marketing major with a minor in Public Relations. She embodies love for all things fashion, pop culture, beauty, true crime, and binging TV series'.
Her Campus Drexel contributor.