27 Best Coming of Age Movies on Netflix (March 2024)

Being in the stage of life that we millennials, and especially the 90s kids, are in, coming-of-age is probably the one sub-genre in cinema that is the most alluring, simply by being highly relatable. The genre’s universal appeal stems, despite the cultural and geographical differences, from stories of children evolving into teenagers or teenagers evolving into adults, essentially embodying the same essence everywhere.

As humans, as we grow up, everything seems new, and it is a time of discovery. The transition is essentially what it’s all about: the first relationship, the first kiss, the first heartbreak, the first sexual contact or discovery, the first feeling of responsibility, the first feeling of leaving something behind: it’s an age of firsts. Luckily for us, Netflix has a long line-up of such films, which is also a testament to the genre’s popularity. The films range from cult classics to dramas with depth to simple-natured teen comedies, all in the same vein of growing up.

27. Hard Feelings (2023)

Coming of age was never more confusing. ‘Hard Feelings’ follows two best friends/schoolmates, Charly (Tobias Schäfer) and Paula (Cosima Henman), who are undergoing a weird change that allows their genitals to talk to them. Often called puberty, this change is taking a huge toll on their minds as they are wondering about stuff they thought they never would, including about each other. For how long will they have to endure this? Well, things are just getting started. Directed by Granz Henman, ‘Hard Feelings’ is a pretty funny comedy drama that you can watch here.

26. Moxie (2021)

Amy Poehler’s directorial prowess hits hard and leaves a lasting impact in ‘Moxie.’ This empowering film confronts high school sexism head-on, tackling issues from degrading lists to the unchecked privilege of certain individuals. Hadley Robinson, as Vivian, stumbles upon her Gen X mom’s feminist zines, igniting a spark to launch her underground zine. Operating anonymously, Vivian’s publication fearlessly exposes the misogyny entrenched in her school, sparking a revolution against rape culture and chauvinism. Poehler masterfully delivers a punchy narrative that resonates, making ‘Moxie’ not just a film but a rallying cry against societal injustices and a celebration of grassroots change. You can watch it here.

25. No Hard Feelings (2023)

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Andrew Barth Feldman, Matthew Broderick, and Laura Benanti, No Hard Feelings’ is a nice film that shows a 19-year-old introverted Percy (Feldman) trying to grasp his newfound coming-of-age feelings of adulthood after his rich parents hire a woman to help him come out of his shell. This woman is 32-year-old Maddie Barker (Lawrence), who takes up the job because she is in desperate need of money. Since Maddie is the first female that Percy has come so close to, their dynamic is bound to be complex. To see how things turn out for both of them, you can watch ‘No Hard Feelings’ right here.

24. Boy Erased (2018)

In ‘Boy Erased,’ Lucas Hedges portrays Jared, who is sent to conversion therapy by his parents upon confessing his attraction to other young men. Loosely inspired by Garrard Conley’s memoir, the film weaves tales from various conversion therapy camps beyond Conley’s account. Amidst the harrowing journey, Jared, with clarity, recognizes the program as little more than torture. When his mother aligns with him, Jared bravely asserts his true self, fighting for a liberated future. An impactful exploration of self-discovery and resilience, ‘Boy Erased’ stands among Netflix’s finest coming-of-age dramas, shedding light on the strength found in authenticity and the pursuit of personal truth. You can watch it here.

23. Along For The Ride (2022)

Adapted from Sarah Dessen’s novel, ‘Along for the Ride‘ centers on Auden (Emma Pasarow) spending her final summer pre-college with her estranged father (Dermot Mulroney) and his new wife (Kate Bosworth). Departing from the typical coming-of-age narrative, Auden’s journey isn’t about becoming more adult; it’s about rediscovering her inner child. Raised by academics, she’s always been mature and focused on academics. However, in the coastal town of Colby, Auden finally connects with her peers, embracing newfound experiences like dance parties and learning to ride a bike, marking a transformative summer of self-discovery and the joy of being a carefree teenager. You can watch it here.

22. The Last Summer (2019)

Directed by William Bindley, ‘The Last Summer’ offers a vibrant coming-of-age mosaic, intertwining the lives of a diverse group of high school graduates. The ensemble cast, including K.J. Apa, Maia Mitchell, and Tyler Posey, embarks on a transformative journey filled with love, friendship, and self-discovery during the pivotal summer before college. With a tapestry of relatable characters and authentic narratives, the film delves into the universal themes of navigating change, forging identity, and embracing the uncertainties that accompany the transition to adulthood. ‘The Last Summer’ paints a vivid portrait of the bittersweet beauty inherent in the liminal space between youth and maturity. You can watch it here.

21. Finding ‘Ohana (2021)

‘Finding ‘Ohana’ is a coming-of-age escapade that blends Hawaiian charm with an exciting quest for identity. Director Jude Weng takes us on a journey with a group of kids, uncovering family secrets and hidden treasures against the stunning backdrop of Hawaii. As they navigate the challenges of the hunt, these young adventurers discover the importance of heritage, friendship, and self-discovery. Filled with heart, humor, and a touch of cultural exploration, ‘Finding ‘Ohana’ captures the essence of growing up, making it a delightful and meaningful cinematic voyage for audiences of all ages. You can watch it here.

20. An Easy Girl (2019)

‘An Easy Girl,’ directed by Rebecca Zlotowski, is a provocative coming-of-age film that navigates the complexities of female autonomy. The story follows Naima (Mina Farid), a young woman caught between hedonistic desires and societal expectations during a summer in the French Riviera. The film artfully explores themes of self-discovery, relationships, and societal judgments with a nuanced perspective. Mina Farid’s compelling portrayal and Zlotowski’s directorial finesse create a bold cinematic experience, offering a candid exploration of a young woman’s journey toward independence and understanding in a world that often oversimplifies and judges female choices. Feel free to stream it here.

19. Enola Holmes (2020)

Enola Holmes,’ directed by Harry Bradbeer, is a delightful mystery-adventure film that introduces audiences to the teenage sister of the famed detective Sherlock Holmes. Millie Bobby Brown shines as the titular character, Enola, embarks on a quest to find her missing mother (Helena Bonham Carter) while outsmarting her famous brother Sherlock, played by Henry Cavill. The film blends elements of mystery, humor, and feminism as Enola defies the societal norms of Victorian England. The dynamic performances, engaging plot, and clever storytelling make ‘Enola Holmes’ a refreshing and empowering take on the classic Holmes universe, catering to a new generation of detective enthusiasts. You can watch the movie here.

18. All Together Now (2020)

‘All Together Now,’ directed by Brett Haley, is a heartfelt coming-of-age drama based on the novel “Sorta Like a Rock Star” by Matthew Quick. The film follows Amber Appleton, portrayed by the talented Auli’i Cravalho, a resilient and optimistic high school senior facing numerous challenges, including homelessness. The ensemble cast features Carol Burnett as Amber’s supportive mentor and Fred Armisen as her drama teacher. ‘All Together Now’ delves into themes of friendship, resilience, and the pursuit of dreams, painting a touching portrait of a young woman navigating adversity with grace. Haley’s direction, combined with Cravalho’s compelling performance, makes the film a poignant and uplifting coming-of-age story. You can watch it here.

17. Dude (2018)

Another typical high school Netflix original rom-com, ‘Dude, joins the ranks of ‘To All the Boys I Have Loved Before’ and ‘Sierra Burgess is a Loser,’ but provides nothing new. The film is about a series of firsts faced by a group of four high school girls and how they come to terms with it, growing up in the process. Usually, in a list of finer films, it would have either not made it or my advice would have been to skip it, but as I said before, Netflix is able to dominate the landscape when it comes to coming-of-age high school romcoms. You can watch the movie here.

16. The Kissing Booth (2018)

The second one in the series of run-of-the-mill Netflix romantic comedies, ‘The Kissing Booth’ is about a teenage girl and how she must choose between her crush, who she shares a kiss with at a kissing booth, she sets up during the school carnival, or her friend and their pact that forbids her from having a crush on each other’s siblings. The outcome is inevitable and predictable, as are the proceedings as young Elle navigates her way through high school love. A very passable film at best if you have the taste for the kind. You can watch the movie here.

15. Sierra Burgess is a Loser (2018)

Another less superior addition to the list of Netflix original romantic comedy films on this list, and both of them, safe to say, are in more or less the same vein, albeit this one is comparatively a more by-the-books take. Sierra Burgess is considered a loser in school, and when a case of mistaken identities pits her against the most popular girl in high school, the two must struggle to work together to win over their crushes. I am not all with its dividing ending which kind of sends the wrong message, but this film scored quite the numbers for Netflix when it was released. Side note: this film stars Noah Centineo, too. You can watch the film here.

14. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ is typical teenage mush, albeit an extremely popular one at that, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with being that if you have a taste for it. The Netflix film sure wasn’t looking to get nominated for film awards, and it plays out as such: mostly harmless, entertaining stuff. The film is about a teenage girl who privately writes a letter to every guy she has had a crush on, only to have the letters by herself. Her love life is thrown into the wind when the letters are posted, and all of the boys she has ever loved before confront her about it. You can watch the film here.

13. The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)

Apart from being an amazing travel film with virtually all the “life-changing” quips of the sub-genre present, ‘The Fundamentals of Caring,’ a film that stands true to its name, is based on the 2012 novel, ‘The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving’ by Jonathan Evison. It tells the story of Trevor, a specially-abled teen who is unhappy in life and angry after his father left him when he was young. His caregiving is undertaken by a retired writer, Ben, played by the almost ageless and ever-charming Paul Rudd, as the story of the film involves the two undertaking an impromptu road trip, wherein they end up learning a thing or two about each other as well as the fundamentals of caring. One of the better Netflix originals in recent years, this one is a heartwarming experience yet tender and funny. You can watch the film here.

12. Alex Strangelove (2018)

Now, this is a teen comedy that I happened to love. Alex Truelove, the central character from a nice twist on whose name the film receives its title, is the perfect kid, with a great academic score and a great girlfriend, with a bright future ahead of him, until he encounters a charming gay kid and goes on an exploration of his sexuality. It is a liberating film, one that doesn’t take itself too seriously but at the same time knows what it’s doing. It’s funny and charming and ticks off all the boxes on what a perfectly watchable teen rom-com should be. Highly recommended, you can watch the movie here.

11. Carrie Pilby (2016)

If you need a nice break from the kind of coming-of-age films stated earlier, most of them dealing with high school transformations and journeys, ‘Carrie Pilby’ should be the answer to your search. The film is about the titular character, a child prodigy and Harvard graduate residing alone in New York City when her therapist makes her a list of tasks to increase her social interaction and bring her out to the world. The tasks include making friends, getting a job, going on a date, taking care of a pet, and so on. As she fulfills them one by one, her views on love, life, sexuality, and the world overall begin to change. A breath of fresh air and one of my personal favorites in the sub-genre, ‘Carrie Pilby,’ pits great, funny writing with a winning performance from Bel Powley. You can stream the film here.

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10. Udaan (2010)

Growing up in a conservative town in India is quite different from growing up in the States, and while Bollywood rarely does quality movies on growing up, ‘Udaan’ would certainly top that list for me if there were enough to make a list, that is. Featuring a winning performance from Rajat Barmecha and Ronit Roy, who is terrifyingly cruel as the authoritarian dad, and a beyond extraordinary score by Amit Trivedi that is the soul of this film, ‘Udaan’ is a heartfelt ode to your days in school and what it felt like leaving your friends behind and starting a completely new life for those who can relate. Exceedingly well done, Vikramaditya Motwane! Feel free to watch the movie here.

9. Tall Girl (2019)

Starring Ava Michelle, Griffin Gluck, Sabrina Carpenter, and Paris Berelc, ‘Tall Girl’ is a teen romantic comedy directed by Nzingha Stewart. As the name suggests, the movie centers on Jodi, the tallest girl in high school who has been struggling with bullies and insecurities for years. However, when her eyes fall on a handsome foreign exchange student, she falls madly in love with her. Although she has tried to avoid any attention all her life, Jodi finally gathers the courage to be more vocal about herself and learns that she is not limited by her insecurities in any way. Feel free to watch the movie here.

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8. The Half of It (2020)

Alice Wu’s ‘The Half of It’ is a coming-of-age teen drama movie that centers upon themes like the nature of love and acceptance. The Leah Lewis and Daniel Diemer-starrer revolves around friendless student Ellie Chu, who earns a few quick bucks by helping her classmates with her homework. The straight A-student is approached by Paul Munsky, the inarticulate football player who wishes to express his love for his crush, Aster Flores, through letters. While Ellie is more than happy to help, she finds herself in a constant state of conflict as she falls for Aster as well. With Paul depending on her, does Ellie decide to keep her feelings to herself? Or does she risk opening up about her love? You can watch the film here.

7. Let It Snow (2019)

Inspired by Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle’s novel of the same name, ‘Let It Snow’ is a Christmas romantic comedy film produced by Dylan Clark and Alexa Faigen. The Luke Snellin directorial focuses its attention on a small midwestern town that is hit by a snowstorm on Christmas Eve. By pure coincidence, the bad weather brings together several high school students who have plenty of free time on their hands to connect. While the following interactions bring some of them closer, others struggle with their love life, and the morning after Christmas Eve changes everything. Feel free to watch the movie here.

6. After We Collided (2020)

Roger Kumble’s ‘After We Collided’ is a romantic drama film that is based on Anna Todd’s 2014 fictional novel of the same name. The Josephine Langford and Hero Fiennes Tiffin-starrer follows Hardin Scott and Tessa Young, two madly in love couple that decide to part ways after differences between them appear too big for any kind of reconciliation. However, one month after it, drunk dialing by the latter leads to an unpleasant confrontation, and the two eventually end up having sex. The following morning, their old arguments sadly begin to surface as their complicated relationship hangs in the balance. Feel free to watch the movie here.

5. Through My Window (2022)

Inspired by Ariana Godoy’s novel of the same name, ‘Through My Window’ is a teen romance film that features talented actors like Julio Peña, Clara Galle, and Pilar Castro. The movie revolves around Raquel, a young adult who is madly in love with his next-door neighbor. Despite the many warnings from his family, he has not given up on her and continues to secretly keep a close eye on her. Never having the courage to start a conversation will not solve his problems, but does he have enough courage to express his feelings boldly and win her heart? You can watch the movie here. 

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4. To All the Boys: Always and Forever (2021)

Based on Jenny Han’s 2017 fictional novel, ‘To All the Boys: Always and Forever’ is a teen romantic comedy film that stars Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish, and Anna Cathcart. The third installment in the popular series follows Lara Jean, who is now in her senior year and has just recently returned from her Korean trip. Now, she faces several tough choices in her path as her complicated relationship with Peter has put her in a spot. Furthermore, she must also come up with her college plans while dealing with her emotional woes, for which Lara needs a clear career path, something she needs. You can watch the movie here.

3. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013)

This must-watch Hindi-language (Bollywood) coming-of-age drama has been directed by Ayan Mukerji. The film follows free-spirited Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor) and his group of friends, including Aditi (Kalki Koechlin) and Avi (Aditya Roy Kapoor), both of whom are equally frolicsome, and Naina (Deepika Padukone) who is the meek and quiet one of the lot. How the college-going friends separate when life calls and end up coming together during Aditi’s wedding only to clash with each other has been portrayed brilliantly with themes of family, friendship, love, dreams, and the very dynamic nature of life. With effective performances and soulful music, ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ offers a wonderful watch. You can stream it here.

2. The Florida Project (2017)

Directed by Sean Baker, ‘The Florida Project’ is sugar, spice, and everything nice. An A24 production, this ‘slice of life’ film, primarily about childhood, is set during summer and follows six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince), who lives in a budget motel with her unemployed single mom Halley (Bria Vinaite) in Kissimmee, Florida. The surrealism of childhood takes the shape of the world they live in as Moonee and her friends Scooty (Christopher Rivera), and Dicky (Aiden Malik) explore it in their wonderful ways but become an inconvenience for the motel’s manager Bobby (Willem Dafoe) who nevertheless loves them. Heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time, ‘The Florida Project’ is one of the best films that reminds the viewers of their coming-of-age by forcing them to think about the reality that the children are soon going to face. You can watch the film here.

1. Tamasha (2015)

This brilliant Bollywood rom-com goes beyond the traditional requirements of the genre to give us a film that is philosophical in a most colorful manner. Starring Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone, ‘Tamasha’ follows Ved and Tara, who meet in Corsica and spend days having fun together without revealing their identities. They go their separate ways and meet again four years later, but this time, Tara finds a different Ved who is all work and no fun. We then see Ved’s life journey from his childhood to adulthood which cost him his love for performance and turned him into a lost soul weighed down by expectations. How Tara helps Ved rediscover his true self is what follows. Directed by Imtiaz Ali, ‘Tamasha’ is a must-watch coming-of-age drama. You can watch it here.

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