Three Underrated Movies to Watch Over Fall Break

1. The Way Way Back

In this coming of age film, Duncan, an awkward fourteen year old boy, reluctantly spends the summer at his mom’s boyfriend’s house in Cape Cod. The boyfriend, Trent, condescendingly belittles Duncan, whose mother also lets Trent walk all over her. Wanting an escape from his unhappy home life, Duncan explores the town and eventually finds Water Wizz, a waterpark where he meets the employees. One of them, Owen, hires Duncan, and eventually becomes a father figure at a time when he desperately needs one. Under Owen’s mentorship, Duncan comes out of his shell, learning to talk to a pretty girl who he has a crush on and finding acceptance from the quirky waterpark staff. “The Way Way Back” movingly chronicles Duncan’s transition from a shy, timid boy into a young man who is ready to stand up for himself and his mother. The star studded cast includes Steve Carrell, Allison Janney, Anna Sophia Robb, Maya Rudolph, and Sam Rockwell, all of whom make you transition from laughing to crying within a minute. Evoking the awkwardness of adolescence in a relatable and nostalgic way, the film’s honest observations about family dynamics, growing up, and independence are sure to make you reflect back on your own teenage years.

2. Little Manhattan

This 2005 film tells the story of a ten year old boy’s first love. Gabe, played by Josh Hutchinson, has known his classmate Rosemary since kindergarten, but one day he begins to see her as more than a girl with “cooties.” All of a sudden, she is all that he can think about. As the two explore New York City, riding Razor scooters through Central Park and going apartment hunting downtown, Gabe begins to discover what love feels like. As Gabe’s parents struggle through a divorce, he wonders if love can ever last. His own romance also has an expiration date, since Rosemary is going to sleep away camp for six weeks. “Little Manhattan” is a film full of nostalgia, reminding you of childhood innocence when six weeks seemed like forever. Watching the bittersweet, heartwarming story unfold is a perfect way to relive the blissful simplicity of childhood.

3. Laggies

“Laggies” follows Megan (Kiera Knightly), who is ten years out of high school but lost in life. Her high school friends are getting married and having children, while she is still going back to her parents’ house for dinner. Despite being a trained therapist, Megan would rather work for her father, spinning a sign on the side of the road to advertise his business. When her boyfriend proposes, she basically runs away from adult life, befriending the sixteen year old Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz). She crashes with Annika and her dad, Craig (Sam Rockwell), giving herself time to find out what she wants to do with her life. As she spends time with her teenage friends, who she seems to have more in common with than adults, and develops a romance with Craig, Megan discovers what makes her happy. Megan’s story is relatable to many young adults who feel caught between adolescence and adulthood. Though not your typical coming of age film, “Laggies" is a light story about finding yourself at a time when you are already expected to have it all figured out. Full of humor without being laugh out loud funny, “Laggies” will make you feel better about not knowing exactly where you want to end up.