Movies to See before You Graduate from High School

Movies to See before You Graduate from High School

Michael Howarth


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Most teens love to watch movies—whether a young adult fantasy or the latest comic-book-to-screen adaptation. Alongside the usual summer blockbusters, though, are more down to earth fare, movies that best define what it means to be an adolescent. Such films provide insight and depth into the challenges and issues that many teens experience as they move from childhood into adulthood.

Movies to See before You Graduate from High School, Michael Howarth examines sixty coming-of-age films that are essential viewing for teenagers. Whether serious or silly, scary or profound, the films discussed here comment on the trials and tribulations of adolescence. Each entry provides a plot summary, identifies key themes, and includes other useful details such as running time and MPAA rating. Most important in each entry is the “gist” section—a relaxed and informal discussion of the film’s merits and why teens should add it to their viewing list.

The films discussed here span five decades, but many of the titles are recent features that contemporary teens will appreciate—from
Easy A and Edge of Seventeen to Lady Bird and Love, Simon. The films also represent a range of genres, including comedy, horror, animation, and drama. Additional elements include classic lines of dialogue, “double feature” suggestions, and more than 30 photos. And with five dozen titles to choose from, some teens will want to catch up as soon as possible! Movies to See before You Graduate from High School is the guide to some of the best films for young adult audiences.


Michael Howarth:
Michael Howarth is associate professor of English at Missouri Southern State University. He is the author of Under the Bed, Creeping: Psychoanalyzing the Gothic in Children’s Literature ( 2014) and a work of fiction for young adults, Fair Weather Ninjas: A Novel (2016).