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Thursday, October 22, 2020

8 timeless coming-of-age dramas

Coming-of-age dramas are nostalgic, full of learning and sometimes can serve as great pieces of cinema.

Written by Anvita Singh | New Delhi | Updated: May 5, 2020 1:30:17 pm
james dean and hrithik roshan (Left) James Dean in a still from the movie Rebel Without a Cause and Hrithik Roshan in Lakshya.

Coming-of-age movies are a rarity in Bollywood. As far as Hollywood is concerned, coming-of-age movies (serious or otherwise) have been produced since decades. In this listicle, readers will find select coming-of-age dramas from the Hindi as well as the US film industry.

Rebel Without a Cause

The movie that cemented James Dean’s status as the bonafide Hollywood star was released a month after his death. This 1955 Nicholas Ray directorial dealt with the issues of parenting and the chaos and confusion felt by youngsters.

Say Anything

john cusack John Cusack in a still from Say Anything.

Diane and Lloyd are in love. But her father stands in their way as he believes that Lloyd will never be worthy of Diane’s affections. She is brilliant; he is average. But he is also passionate about her. And in the middle of finding their way to each other, they also find themselves. Say Anything stars John Cusack and Ione Skye in the lead roles. Bonus: a classic romantic track “In Your Eyes” by master musician Peter Gabriel. You can watch the movie on YouTube.

About a Boy

Nicholas Hoult and Hugh Grant feature in this sweet, well-meaning adaptation of Nick Hornby’s book of the same name. A young boy lives with his depressed suicidal mother, but things take a U-turn when he crosses paths with the good-for-nothing couch potato Will Freeman (Grant). The performances are top-notch but what steals the show is the witty and sparkling writing by Hornby. About a Boy is available for streaming on Netflix.

The Spectacular Now

Sutter and Amy could not have been more different. She’s an introvert and he is the popular school kid. However, an unexpected camaraderie and relationship begins to blossom between the two after they are briefly introduced. Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley star in this underrated drama. You can watch the film on YouTube.

Lady Bird

lady bird Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird.

She calls herself Lady Bird, and she is bored of her small town. This Oscar-nominated movie was Greta Gerwig’s solo debut as a filmmaker. It starred Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf and Timothee Chalamet among others. The film’s plot mainly tackled the relationships Lady Bird shared with those around her. You can stream this heartwarming comedy on Netflix.


While Dil Chahta Hai might be the more popular Farhan Akhtar directorial, this Hrithik Roshan and Preity Zinta coming-of-age drama was somehow more realised and heartfelt, as far as I am concerned. It might rank lower on the wholesome entertainment factor, but Lakshya was a mature effort in filmmaking. Bonus: great music and some stunning camera work by Christopher Popp. Lakshya is available for streaming on Netflix.

Wake Up Sid!

Ayan Mukerji was never able to surpass the brilliance of his directorial debut. The Ranbir Kapoor and Konkona Sen Sharma movie was not only a coming-of-age tale about its lead characters, but also about how their love for each other matured as they came to know the other better. Great performances and a tight script make this film immensely watchable. You can watch it on YouTube as well as Netflix.


This tale of small ambitions nurtured by small-town people was told effectively by Vikramaditya Motwane in his directorial debut. It featured Rajat Barmecha, a captivating and terrifying Ronit Roy, Ram Kapoor and Anand Tiwari among others. The music was also top-notch, thanks to Amit Trivedi. Udaan can be streamed on Netflix and YouTube.

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