5 Movies Like ‘Diary Of A Teenage Girl’ To Complete Your Coming-Of-Age Viewing List

The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015) proved to be one of the few coming age films in recent years to portray the exploration of sexuality in a smart, sensitive and funny manner. In Marielle Heller’s debut film sex is treated with stark honesty and originality. The character’s naivety, awkwardness and enthusiasm all feel real.

There is a plethora of movies that attempt to depict the teenage experience and all too often they succumb to cliché and cheesy sentimentality. However, there are many films that give adolescent anguish the right amount of attention and broach the subject of teenage sexuality with maturity and humor.

If you enjoyed The Diary of a Teenage Girl, here are 5 movies that take a similar approach to adolescent exploration.

An Education (Lone Scherfig, 2009)

Carey Mulligan’s break out role in An Education as 16-year-old Jenny sees her navigate the trepidations of growing up. But like The Diary of a Teenage Girl it treats the coming of age story with tact and a certain quaint romanticism.

As Jenny becomes involved with an older gentleman she is enthralled by the possibilities of adult life. We journey along with her as she encounters the complications that come with adult life and makes decisions that will dramatically shape her future.

It is brilliant portrait of a girl’s ascent into womanhood that features outstanding performances from Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard.

Palo Alto (Gia Coppola, 2013)

Teenage angst and aimlessness combine in this adaptation of James Franco’s short stories.

The movie is spearheaded by a convincing performance from Emma Roberts, who is able to depict both the monotony and excitement of high school life. As Robert’s April struggles with her attractions we delve into the lives of the Palo Alto inhabitants.

The debut feature length film from Gia Coppola depicts adolescent troubles alongside those of adults. There are examples of stereotypical teenage nihilism throughout but there is also a willingness to convey the worth and importance of exploring these common adolescent experiences. Coppola treats the formative experiences of her characters with sensitivity and neglects to trivialize their struggles for purpose and affection.

The Spectacular Now (James Ponsoldt, 2013)

Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller star as an unlikely couple in this sensitive teenage romance that rejects typical romantic conventions. The pair, Sutter Kelly and Aimee Finecky, meet at time where both are contemplating what to do with their lives.

The film eschews the sentimentality that ruins a lot of coming-of-age films and serves up a character driven story that deals with the problems of drinking, motivation and attraction.

Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold, 2009)

On an estate in Essex fifteen-year-old Mia drifts through life without purpose. After being expelled from school, her life is given new meaning when she is encouraged one day by her mother’s boyfriend to pursue her interest in dancing.

With great performances from Katie Jarvis and Michael Fassbender, Fish Tank provides a thought provoking and stark portrayal of adolescent struggles in Britain. The film tackles themes of sex and helplessness and pulls no punches.

The To Do List (Maggie Carey, 2013)

As the pressures of college life loom eerily in the near future, Brandy Klark decides to take matters into her own hands and confront her sexual inexperience.

Brandy, played by the comic oddity Aubrey Plaza, tasks herself with various things to do so that she won’t make a fool of herself when she goes to college. Hilarity ensues as she navigates the newly uncomfortable world of sex and she begins to struggle with feelings for one particular boy.

The To Do List is fresh and quirky and generous with its moments of awkwardness and humor. It is buoyed particularly by a great performance from the ever-hilarious Aubrey Plaza.

Check them out for yourself!

If these films appeal to you be sure to check them out. Of course these are only a few of the films that have successfully tackled adolescent sexual angst and self-discovery. There a host more such as ‘Adventureland’ and ‘Young & Beautiful’ that are worth seeking out.

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