5 Female-Centred Coming Of Age Movies You Have To Watch

All the feels.

Growing up is hard, messy, and full of bad decisions that seemed like a good idea at the time – that’s why coming of age movies are so damn good.

Growing into a functioning adult woman is daunting, and these movies put the mistakes, awkwardness and good stuff right at the centre.

These are the coming of age movies with female protagonists you should definitely watch.

#1 Party Girl (1995)

Coming of age movies don’t have to be about teenagers. Mary is an immature party girl (hey that’s the title!) who learns to be an adult after her godmother forces her to work at the library. Ah, 90s plots.

This one is definitely of its time, but Parker Posey’s likeable performance and quotable dialogue keep it fresh. The best lesson? Personal growth doesn’t come naturally. A fact I remain bitter about.

#2 Ghost World (2001)

In a nutshell, Ghost World is about growing up and growing apart. Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) are cynical best friends who could make Daria look optimistic. But after they start to pursue different interests in their final year of high school, a rift develops between them. Suddenly, being ironic all the time is just lame.

It’s sad when high school friendships don’t go the distance, but Ghost World is just off-kilter enough that you won’t feel down afterward, only a little wiser. And for adaptation purist, the graphic novel it’s based on, by Daniel Clowes, is worth checking out.

#3 An Education (2009)

Maybe it’s just me and my love for classy British period films, but An Education is really damn good. Ever fallen hard for someone and made questionable choices? Then this is for you.

The London and Paris of the 1960s the movie depicts will make you ache for a time machine. Just make sure you land far enough away from Jenny’s (Carey Mulligan) predicament. Boy does she make some bad choices. But of course, just as any good coming of age movie will tell you, you can make mistakes – just make sure you learn from them. Stay in school, kids.

#4 The Edge Of Seventeen (2016)

This one brings the laughs while being ever so relatable. Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) feels her life spiralling out of control when her best friend starts dating her older brother . A brother who definitely does not look like he goes to high school, by the way.

It’s sharply written, well-acted and wildly entertaining, so the real question is: why haven’t you seen it yet? And if you have: why haven’t you made your friends watch it? Stop reading this and watch it is my point.

#5 Lady Bird (2017)

In the interest of full disclosure, this movie is on here because I cried during it. As a young person, I have never related more to any piece of media. Lady Bird gets all the details right; down to shopping for formal dresses, fighting with your parents and feeling like you’ve failed before you’ve begun. All the experiences you had in high school are rendered in vivid detail, and its, uh, a lot if you’re as sensitive as me. This little movie is a must if you like good things.

Have fun reliving the moments you experienced before you became the enlightened person you are now. Who most definitely isn’t making terrible choices. Because you’re a functioning adult. Ahem.

Ally is a uni student who is shockingly good at remembering facts no one cares about involving TV shows and films. She also writes a bit.

(Lead image: Lady Bird/Focus Features)