'The age or occasion when one formally becomes an adult' - Coming of age is the often dramatic, challenging or amusing journey to adulthood. A 'rite of passage' that everyone undergoes in their own unique, comical and momentous way;
Unfortunately, we can never again experience the triumphs and failures of growing up, reaching adulthood and gaining responsibility. A coming of age movie, however, provides the closest opportunity for us to relive this experience. The variety in the genre is quite notable; there are comedies, dramas, romance and many others. So what makes this genre so popular? Perhaps it's the use of lovable adolescent characters. Or the humorous and endearing storylines filled with excitement, hope, fear and discovery. Or is it because we can all somehow relate to these experiences and the genre provides an emotional, nostalgic and amusing opportunity to reminisce?
In celebration of the release of Kiwi legend Taika Waititi's new film, Hunt For The Wilderpeople, in UK cinemas September 16th, we take a look at our favourites in the coming of age genre.
Hunt For The Wilderpeople - Taika Waititi (2016)
Defiant young city kid Ricky has had a difficult upbringing, jumping between foster homes and heading towards juvenile lock up. But the wayward boy finds his place in the world after undertaking on an adventure with his cantankerous foster uncle.
Based on the book Wild Pork and Watercress by Barry Crump, the pair are forced to put aside their differences in a hilarious and heartfelt adventure.
Stand By Me - Rob Reiner (1986)
Arguably one the best of all times, Stand By Me is a tale of four young teenagers who set out across Oregon in search of the body of a missing boy. Although not the most cheerful of storylines, the teenagers' journey to find the dead body is symbolic of an emotional and physical climb into the realities of adulthood. Centred on friendship, anybody watching is reminded of their own poignant friendships while growing up and how those friendships have shaped them as a person.
The Breakfast Club - John Hughes (1985)
From John Hughes, The Breakfast Club is a coming of age drama following five high school teenagers with few social similarities. However, during a 9 hour school detention the characters forget their differences and undertake a journey of transformation and human connection. Learning about each other and themselves, they break away from stereotypes and form a new group 'The Breakfast Club'.
American Pie - Paul Weitz/Chris Weitz 1999
The classic comedy American Pie is a story centred on a group of teenage friends who engage in a pact to lose their virginity before they graduate. The journey provides many obstacles and the characters' awkwardness and anxiety on the issue is hilarious throughout.
Boyhood - Richard Linklater (2014)
Filmed from 2002 - 2013, Boyhood invites the audience into the world of a young boy (Mason) and documents his physical and emotional growth through adolescence. Watched through the eyes of Mason, the daily challenges of growing up are seen in a film like never before.
Hunt For The Wilderpeople will be released in UK cinemas from 16th September 2016.