Coming of age films – boy`s or girl`s thing

Coming of age filmsYesterday I was given a link to an article in Newser titled Gals Need Great Coming-of-Age Flick, Too .   It dealt with the matter that while there is an abundance of coming of age movies with boys – the one with girls in the main role are pretty scare . I have noted that myself – but being a boy I have never really felt the need to see what girls are going trough while they are growing as it would be a bit hard to relate their experiences with my own. In fact a better illustration of this phenomen is to be find in another article titled Where’s Our Stand By Me?” published in Jezebel .  A short quote from it :

“The relationships shared between the boys seem so real, so true. You forget that you’re watching young actors; you feel as if you really get to know what it’s like to be an adolescent boy. Yet there isn’t really an equivalent for girls”

Is there a good coming of age movie that focuses on girls – at least half as good as the classic Stand by me, will you be interested to see it or read its review ? is open to new challenges – don`t be surprised if we find , watch and review some great coming of age titles with a female lead – you can only help us find them.

Have you ever wondered why there are not that many coming of age films with girls ?

Related posts : The Ultimate coming of age movie list , Meme : coming of age movies, Top 5 Coming of Age Films for Girls

Blogger, cyclist , entrepreneur , music lover and film critic.


  1. 1. Until the last two generations, girls have lived a domestic lifestyle, not venturing far from home. Girls tended less to have adventures.

    2. In the last two generations, all children have been locked up at home due to the stranger panic sweeping the Western world. The space for adventures is much less than it once was.

    3. When focusing on girls, stories tend to be about danger and threat, rather than adventure. Girls are always victims of something or other.

    4. Girls are interested in social drama, not adventures.

    Consequently, girls coming of age will tend to be

    1. Stuck in a domestic space: home, school, shopping mall, etc.

    2. Involve dangers to innocence.

    3. Involve Mean Girls-like scenarios.

    1+2+3 = dull and dreary.

    Compare, to take one example, My Life As A Dog. It is about a boy, but the girl character is very interesting and has a lot to do because the story takes place before the Stranger Panic, when boys and girls could develop their own autonomous childhood worlds.

    But another important reason: fewer female directors.

    Perhaps with more female directors, we will get more and better girl centered coming of age films.

    Unfortunately I think female directors are addicted to the girl as victim trope. With very few exceptions, they can’t seem to overcome it. (One exception: the film Innocence by jSDJFLEWKNFGL@ NLDSKJVSLDKVJs DVKJLL#@KJ$VLKSDFJ VLSKJ#$LKJVSKLVJ <- her actual name.)

  2. I am a teacher who is looking for a ‘based on a true story’ film about girls growing up and achieving great things. I know “October Sky” does the same job for boys, but I can only find fictional ‘coming of age’ films for girls. I’m looking for one which is sort-of true, as I think it would have more impact. Perhaps I haven’t looked hard enough.

    • Hi Georgi, That was quick – a reply within 5 mins! Thanks for the suggestion – I’ll keep up the research. It’s disappointing that it is so hard to find a film – I’ve found lots of lists “10 best/ worst/ coming of age etc” but none really which purport to be non-fictional. I’m hoping there is at least one – unless film-makers don’t feel the genre has an audience. That would be a shame and a sad indictment! Cheers, Gary

  3. I enjoy watching coming-of-age films about boys, but as a woman, I find I can usually better relate to movies about young female relationships.
    In regards to what Ikarus said, I think you don’t have many grand adventure-type movies starring girls because the female coming-of-age experience tends to be more intimate. I’d say Is-slottet is a great example of this — very quiet, subdued, and poignant. Je suis le Seigneur du Chateau, while not a girl movie, has a very female sensibility in that it explores young relationships between members of the same sex, and all the complex feelings that it brings all at once — longing, jealousy, obsession, hate, etc. I love these types of romantic movies, whether they revolve around boys or girls or both, but I have to say for me there is a particular magic in young girls’ friendships. Especially if they end tragically.

    • Thank you for the wonderful comment ! Je suis le Seigneur du Chateau`s director Régis Wargnier is women – and I have no doubts that her directing style brought the female sensibility you mentioned . You seem to prefer sensible dramas – which happen to be my genre of choice as well. Since this article was written I discovered a web- site that focuses exclusively on female coming of age films . You may be interested to visit it :

  4. Hello,
    i am looking for a particular coming of age movie that was made in the late 80s/early 90’s. It is about a tweenage boy who is bored with his surroundings. then his aunt comes to stay with his family- she is brassy blond, smokes and drives a convertable and there is speculation as to what is really in her hat box (could it be her ex husband’s head?). It is set in the 50’s/60’s. I don’t remember who any of the characters or actors are. I only saw it a few times and LOVED it. Any help with finding this gem again would be greatly appreciated.

  5. Here in the US it's the exact opposite from the rest of the world. Coming of age movies and television having girls as the main characters is much more common. Usually these characters are much more confident then the male characters and even go so far as to portray the boy characters as stupid or immature. This almost always seen as humour. I think it's very sad!

  6. I tend to agree with you Ikarus. Probably that`s why we have people like Joseph Heller who said ” When I grow up I want to be a little boy ” . I guess with man the the reliving of the boyhood experience makes the coming of age movies so popular. I found some titles with girls that can be categorized as a coming of age in an article titles : ” More Coming of Age Sleepers: Girls against Boys ” check it out

  7. One comes to mind. Old enough to be a classic. Puberty Blues,an Australian film made in 1981. Teenage girls usurping the waves from their surfer boyfriends. Represented something of a cultural change as young women declared their rights to their own identities beyond being adornments for their boyfriends.

  8. This certainly is an interesting topic… but, referring to any comparison between the genders, the male gender just offers more room for those special “Coming-of-age” films that we all know. Talking about “Stand by me”, there is no doubt that such a film will only work with male characters. Since here we have a portrait on how boys actually are: adventurous, full of energy and with the love to team up in small groups – to discover their environment. Girls just behave different here, I guess. Or take the overall “boyish” topics that are often thematized in those films… soccer, building tree houses, mountainbiking et cetera – things that mainly happen outside or in the nature and that are often done by boys only. Such as the overall “children and animal” movies (especially with dogs) – girls have totally different interests. But it is not like there are good “Coming-of-age” films with boys only… besides, I have not seen many yet; and I am not as interested in them – the thing with the comprehensibleness you already mentioned. Right now I can only think about “Pan’s Labyrinth”, which had a girl in the leading role indeed – and is a really good and fantastic movie on a war-related topic. Or, take “Secret Garden” – a really good children’s flick with a young girl as the main character. Or “Matilda”, a story about a genius little girl. Or “The golden Compass” – I personally disliked this flick, but it is definitely one piece that can be labled as a real “girl’s coming of age”. Or “Bridge to Terabitia” – but then again, the boy and girl roles are equally important here. Maybe someone could add some titles to this list… since there certainly are many more good ones ;-)

    Greetings, Ikarus


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