Young adults tend to get a pretty bad reputation when it comes to their film choices. We’re stereotyped as only enjoying predictable rom-coms and the latest unnecessarily-violent blockbuster. In reality, cinema is important and there’s a huge demand for creative cinematic experiences amongst young adults; the largest target audience for some of the top grossing films of all time such as the Harry Potter franchise and recent James Bond films has been 16-28s.
In my opinion, it tends to come down to what you decide to go and see. Sometimes you’re in the mood for a predictable Kate Hudson rom-com, and that’s perfectly dignified – as long as you know it’s a predictable Kate Hudson rom-com. The really intriguing and compelling pieces of cinema come from emotionally driven storytelling, which can be found in both independent and mainstream film, if you look for it.
Everyone has a film that they feel a deep connection with, something almost unexplainable. For me, that film is Lone Scherfig and Nick Hornby’s An Education. I identified with the main character’s frustration with mainstream education and the temptation of another life beyond academic walls. The story was told so intelligently and realistically that it was impossible for me not to fall in love with it. The piece’s maturity restored my faith in a path to university and the life I wanted for myself.
Like An Education the latest coming-of-age drama is Me Earl and the Dying Girl which follows three unlikely friends, one of whom is terminally ill, and how they make their own films to escape from their real lives. The Diary of a Teenage Girl is arguably even more similar to An Education (just swap the 60s for the 70s) in that it epitomises the conflicting emotions every teenager experiences. If you’re in the mood for something more gritty but still coming-of-age based, Dope fits the bill with compelling characters growing up in California amongst drugs and gang culture.
The films you watch when you’re young tend to shape your opinions on the films you see as you get older. So next time you find yourself with a choice of films, pick something different, take a leap of faith, I guarantee it will always pay off.
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