Jul 17, 2017 | By Marian Park
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I’ve had a strange obsession with teen movies long before I was old enough to see PG-13 movies. To this day, there is still something alluring about teenage films, which usually centre on young adults falling in love, and more often than not, getting into a lot of trouble. Though I am now in my mid-late twenties, I’m not only teen-sized but my obsession for teen movies still remains. Plus, as WGSN’s Youth Culture Editor, I research, analyse and write about teens every day. So, it’s no wonder I jump at every opportunity to hit the local movie theatre for a youth-focused flick.
Here are five new teen films that should be on your radar:
1. American Honey:
British filmmaker Andrea Arnold’s latest project, American Honey, offers a colourful portrait of contemporary American youth, with nods to Larry Clark’s 1995 indie hit Kids. With a cast led by Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough and breakout star-on-the-rise Sasha Lane, American Honey centres on a group of teens who sell magazine subscriptions during a cross-country road trip. The film has a unique narrative structure, sequenced into episodic moments that capture the spontaneity of the road trip, as Lane’s character comes into her own.
2. White Girl:
This debut feature-length film by Elizabeth Wood has been called controversial for its provocative portrayal of two white teenage girls. Played by Homeland’s Morgan Saylor and actress cum artist India Menuez, White Girl recounts the last weeks of summer before the two 19-year-old girls start their second year at college. In the film, we witness the friends move into an apartment in Ridgewood, Queens and the recklessness (think sex, drugs, debauchery) that ensues as they take in all that New York City offers.
3. Boys in the Trees:
Boys in the Trees is a hypnotic fantasy drama that takes us back to Halloween in 1997. Directed by Australia’s Nicholas Verso, the 90’s centric horror film tells the story of high schoolers, Corey, Jango, and their skater gang, the Gromits. In the film, a shared journey takes two teen skaters on a haunting trip down memory lane, where their dreams and fears become blurred, and a twisted dystopia emerges as their new reality.
4. West Coast:
Set in a small French village, West Coast tells the story of a group of teen boys who dress and act like American rappers (think baggy pants, gold chains, and flat brimmed caps). After a student provokes them in English class, the “gangstas” plot to crash his party and seek revenge. This hilarious coming of age story has dark undertones, as the boys cause some small town trouble.
5. Your Name:
Your Name, Japan’s number one anime film right now, tells the story of a teen boy from Tokyo and a teen girl from the outskirts who suddenly swap bodies. Both teens are curious: they swap bodies several times and enjoy taking the reigns of each other’s lives as a natural disaster looms in the background. The director Makoto Shinkai is said to have taken inspiration from Japan’s deadly earthquake in 2011.
Young Ideas is a new column by WGSN’s Youth team. Expect all things young, cool and fresh.
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