5 Astounding Coming-of-Age Movies for Teen Boys

Ah, it’s Friday night again. For some unbeknownst reason, your teenage son doesn’t have plans for the evening, so you order takeout and plan on renting a movie or two. But before you stream the typical gorefest/action blockbuster, why not try something a bit different?

These five films all have something your teen can (secretly) relate to. His macho side will get its dose of language and action, but on the down low, you’re actually instilling some deep and meaningful life lessons. The best part? You don’t have to say a word! (Everyone knows awkward convos are the ultimate teen repellant… )

Billy Elliot

2003, R

Set in 1984, Billy Elliot shows how the life of an 11-year-old boy (Jamie Bell) is forever changed one day when he stumbles upon a ballet class during his weekly boxing lesson. But Billy is a coal miner’s son, and his broken, working class family doesn’t take kindly to their youngest’s unusual new vocation – especially his macho father and elder brother. Facing strong opposition, the boy becomes obsessed with being the best, and with the help of his dance teacher (Julie Walters) he does just that. This is a good movie for showing that even the most unorthodox pursuits can be life-affirming and mind-changing.


2013, PG-13

Fourteen-year-old best friends Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), make an amazing discovery on a remote island just off of the Arkansas Delta near where they live: it’s a big wooden boat resting in the branches in a tree. When they climb the tree they see it’s inhabited by a mysterious man called Mud (Matthew McConaughey). He makes them promise to keep his presence a secret, which spells adventure for the boys – but little do they know their new friend has a dangerous past that’s about to catch up with all of them. This is a good movie for exploring whether a checkered past can be expunged by acts of good later in life.


2014, R 

Set in rural Texas, Joe depicts the hard-scrabble life of a hair-trigger tempered ex-con named Joe Ransom (Nicolas Cage), who is barely keeping himself together. Then he meets a hard-luck 15-year-old, Gary (Tye Sheridan), who reminds him of himself, and Joe transforms into a fiercely-loyal and warm-hearted protector. This is a good movie to show that even in the most dire situations, the least-emotionally equipped people can find the inner strength it takes to rise above.

This Boy’s Life

1993, R

Based on the memoirs of Tobias Wolff, this harrowing yet moving true drama is set in the 1950’s and stars Leonardo DiCaprio. Toby and his mother, Caroline (Ellen Barkin) are always on the move, trying to stay one step ahead of trouble. They eventually settle in Washington state, where Carolyn marries a man named Dwight (Robert DeNiro), who appears to be a good husband and father… but only until the ink of the marriage certificate dries. Dwight soon reveals himself as an abusive, controlling man so intense that Tobias has no choice but to confront him head-on. This is a good movie for showing that while bullies come in all shapes and sizes, they can be overcome.

Nowhere Boy

2010, R

This is a sensitive and emotionally fraught chronicle of John Lennon’s early years, before he formed The Beatles. It’s set in his adolescence and focuses on his relationship with his stern Aunt Mimi who raised him, and his absentee mother Julia, who re-entered his life only to be taken away at a crucial moment. This is a good movie for showing that in spite of crushing blows, if you have drive and determination, you can accomplish anything.

Which one of these films will you be watching with your teen? Share with us!

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