10 Movies for Boys of All Ages

To cherish the art is to conquer the chaos of fleeting moments and discover the world’s dimensions. Lately, the visual art of motion pictures has been dedicated to such a task. Movies, even those with high budgets, are becoming more and more truthful and determined to solve life’s biggest mysteries. Human existence, in all its complexity, horror and brilliance is lately being honored on screen with poignancy and warmth.

Since The Graduate, film writers are indebting us with heartwarming coming of age stories. The genre has already established itself with motifs like first encounters with the world outside the family nest, sexuality, love and friendship. It’s just that the importance of these motifs never really recedes. With every new period of our lives, we confront new turning points from which we have to grow onward. Being unfamiliar with them, we are approaching these breakthroughs with child-like naivety. From this point of view, coming of age actually never stops. And these 10 movies irrefutably prove so.

Into the Wild

Into the Wild

Based on a true story, Sean Penn’s Into the Wild presents the odyssey of discovering one’s self. As noticeable in a particular scene from the beginning and in the entire story arch, the movie has been strongly influenced by themes present in escapist literature, writers and characters that have been searching for meaning beyond society. To leave everything behind in order to find archetypal connection with the self, God or nature is the big topic for novelists like Leo Tolstoy and Henry David Thoreau, explicitly, and others devoted to simple living and environment, such as Jack London. Following the idea of individual growth and achieving the sole entity with no interconnection with others, represented by family and community, the journey of the main character, 22 year-old Christopher McCandless, is divided in five chapters, expressly named My own birth, Adolescence, Manhood, Family and Getting of wisdom. The epilogue, whether it’s taken as pessimistic or life-altering, is a young man’s insight into such idea, gained at the end of the road. Happiness is only real when shared is the late acknowledgment. Ultimately, the need for abandonment of social regulations, roaming and roads that lead south is a need of every contemplative young man. If not extreme, the fulfillment of this need is, indeed, getting of wisdom. It’s the prerogative of every youth hungry for experiences and meaning.

Big Fish

Big Fish

The relationship between an oversensitive boy and an uncaring feather is a common literary topos, with many possibilities for execution. The inversion of this construction is what makes Big Fish one extraordinary experience. Written in two narrative lines, the movie reveals the story of the father’s illness and the tale of his ripening, with both converging into heartening magic realism. The father’s advice on life is a powerful and overwhelming affair. Instead of the direct instructions, William Bloom has to deal with surreal and completely mad stories of his father’s young life. Sadly, these tales of life’s most enchanting trifles and grand revelations carried forward from the impassioned father to the skeptical son won’t reach their aim until the very end. It’s becoming fairly obvious that the son is becoming the father, and it’s the final chapter of the story that’s going to be his epiphany. In order to regain the belief in life’s allure, the son has to be confronted with his most undeniable realness, mortality. While telling his stories, Edward Bloom himself becomes one, consequently achieving not eternity (because that would be too simplified), but the ability to swim on. Not to be dried out is to exist in a full plenitude of soul and imagination. And that’s the final advice to the sons, elementary, but often forgotten.

The Spectacular Now

The Spectacular Now

With a tendency of falling into the cheesy and insincere patterns, and the power to overcome such traps, The Spectacular Now is the authentic little marvel of the coming of age genre. It’s most remarkable how likable and promising Sutter Keely, with his crooked smile and a rebel heart, haven’t been reduced to a single dimension of seducing girls and attending parties, precisely because of the fact that those are his prime interests. Introspective and unquestionably intelligent, this high school senior chooses to dive deep into the well of the moment, to love, drink and feel. With such a hypersensitive mindset and, it’s important to underline, an absent father, the boy is predetermined to delinquency and trouble making. Adolescent alcoholism, being a big topic of the story, is not solved with colossal, life-changing events or affecting and overused lines, but with little steps and apprehension. Often, the most inspiring and monumental stories are the simplest ones, and this is something this movie confirms with finesse. There is a genuine, yet unrevealed beauty in adulthood, however unspectacular it is, and that’s what awaits Sutter Keely. To get a grasp of it, he absolutely necessitates his magnificent now, in which he would burn fiercely and brightly.

Beginners

Beginners

Here. Here is simple and happy. With little phrases, Beginners is the moving uptake on how much our love lives are being influenced by our parents. Our abilities to mature and love selflessly are being nurtured through their kisses, late night arguments and personal choices. Challenged by his father’s death, Oliver, already a grown up man, is encountering a vague, undefined state of incompleteness and perplexity. Once his diseased father comes out of the closet to reveal his true sexual orientation after 44 years of a seemingly happy marriage, Oliver is left with tangible impossibility to find his place in the uncertain reality of relationships and love. It’s relevant that Beginners is not a story of dealing with homosexuality, but a story about understanding that our parents are sexual beings, too. In fact, it seems like the curious case of his father’s old age choices has been a fortunate opportunity for Oliver to truly learn about fulfillment and exaltation that love can materialize. After both of his parents passed away, he cannot dodge the inevitable emotion of sharing and heartbreaks, but at the same time, he embraces beauty, and stays hopeful. Coming to such points, we are all beginners.

Third Star

Third Star

With some dissimilar critiques, and slight but obvious problems with predictability and lack of intricateness, this movie is first and foremost an emotional expedition. If you love it first, and deliberate upon it later, Third Star will give you an hour and a half long heartbreak. Firstly, it will evoke every insane little moment, a spree or a fight you shared with your friends, every groundbreaking idea and emotional outburst of your youth. You’ll smile about all the times you’ve tried to do something important together, and terribly, ridiculously failed in the process. And then, it will rip your man’s heart out and crush it. There is a kind of awkward tenderness every guy friendship has. And that is what you’re going to see through most of the story. Clumsy hugs, timid declare of feelings, and tons of infantile, grade school jokes. Nevertheless, such friendships are often strong and profound, and very determined in the face of the crisis. The story’s crescendo is a lump in the throat experience. It all comes down to weighing how far would you go to follow your best friend. For hot-blooded hearts, the end of this group’s journey will be understandable, affecting and unsettling development.

Mr. Nobody

Mr. Nobody

The elaborate, branching narrative of Mr. Nobody is certainly an exciting one. With thrilling physics, poetic chaos theory and pronounced sci-fi moments, this movie is a glowing roller coaster. If you start to delayer it, the story comes down to an invincible problem of making a choice. While standing on a railway station, little Nemo is faced with the impossible decision. To choose between a separated mother and father is obviously a conundrum like no other to a little child. Standing at the intersection, Nemo is able to see a finale of every possible life stream he would lead from now on. The multiplication of choices forms the butterfly effect, and millions of separate, alternate universes around Nemo’s life. Absolutely consuming in its philosophy, Mr. Nobody is a piercing adventure of cause and effect.

50/50

50/50

At some moments, it feels like life’s total radiance has been poured into this movie. It’s a subtle, yet persuasive story about cancer, except, it’s hilarious. When great storytellers are trying to deliver a simple Life is short message, this is how they are supposed to do it. In its simplicity and quiet triumphs, life is a big mess of randomness, misfortunes and highs. And when you’re a twenty-something guy trying to beat cancer, it’s pretty much annoying. Once again, a guy friendship has been proven to be an inexperienced, instinctive structure of greatest value. Hysterical and simple-minded, 50/50’s Kyle is one insanely charismatic and surprisingly rich character (and who else to animate it then Seth Rogen?). Every laugh is cathartic, every curse necessary, and every emotion authentic and delicate. However habitual or expected, every phase of struggle with illness shown in the process is essentially and utterly human.

Boyhood

Boyhood

The long-awaited Boyhood is a story that literally grows with its characters. Being filmed for over 12 years, this incredible experiment is the exemplary epopee of growing up. Brilliant as always, Richard Linklater (loved for his work on Dazed and Confused and the Before trilogy), was not afraid to put all of his hard work into risky business in order to demonstrate, yet again, how inspiring the poetry of day to day life can be. Consistent in its realism, Boyhood may seem like an unscripted reality bite, a fragment taken from the neighborhood and observed very closely and with much compassion. Aware of the importance of time in storytelling, Linklater gave birth to this project back in 2002, with an idea of shooting a series of short movies that will eventually come together to form the unique feature-length film that will be the embodiment of the coming of age drama. Its main character, Mason was devised to be interpreted by the same actor from the age of six to eighteen. Apart from the accentuated theme of domestic abuse and alcoholism, this story is calm and ordinary as life can be. As a child of divorced parents, Mason divides his time between caring about a busy mother and an absent, but (as only Ethan Hawke can be) sympathetic and passionate father. Unpretentiously, Mason is the focal point of the entire microcosm of family dinners, parting of friends, jubilees, fights and first loves. With a very few words, Boyhood is the most genuine drama of the human condition.

The Kings of Summer

The Kings of Summer

Nothing is as wonderfully painful as the last great summer of our tender age. Back then, the world was big and paved with possibilities, revolutionary concepts were sprouting like grass, and things like love, sun, friendship or ocean were spelled with initial capital letters. We were grand and unstoppable, bound only by mutual promises. For each sentimental soul, that one summer is a sensation like no other, salty and opalescent, and wrapped up in haze. While rushing to be men, hunting in the wild and sleeping in the woods, boys are always going to be boys. The Kings of Summer is therefore a story of that last August, that stolen moment before irreversibly growing up. Liberated from all the rules and independent from all social institutions, this group of three unlikely companions will spend a month stealing beer, roasting quails and cooling their feet in the lake. A month to remember, indeed. Being something like modern-day Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Kings of Summer is simply magnificent in its charm.

Submarine

Submarine

With sexually confused parents and an apparent exposure to early British pop music, Oliver Tate is one of the loveliest lads seen on the movie screen lately. Madly in love, horrified in the anticipation of intimacy, and with a romantic stare into the horizon, Submarine’s hero is the quintessential gentle adolescent. His story of falling in love is the perfect little ode to an awkward age, marked by classroom daydreams, sentimental mix-tapes and nostalgic walks. As a true teenager, Oliver Tate is burdened with two issues of vital importance – improvement of his parents’ love life and loss of his own virginity. Being baffled with both, he’s reacting in the only possible way for a fifteen year old – by sorrowing in his bedroom and getting drunk. With a foretoken of an antihero, this quirky youngster is the absolute prince of Weltzschmerz.

Pavle Dinic
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