A Part of You: 10 Similar Movies You Cannot Miss

In Netflix’s ‘A Part of You,’ debut director Sigge Eklund portrays a tale of grief, love, loss, and growth through pain, told through the eyes of a 17-year-old teenager, Agnes. After the young girl loses her older sister, Julia—someone she looks up to and aspires to become like—to a tragic car crash, Agnes has to learn to cope with the insecurities, struggles, and overwhelming emotions of her turbulent adolescence. Plucked from her daily existence and thrown into the deep end, she bounces from one difficult path to another as her sorrow and grief threaten to throttle her before she has a chance to navigate her pain and live up to her sister’s memory.

A tale showcasing the dark underbelly of teenage naivety, the Swedish coming-of-age film tackles themes of identity, memory, the unintended consequences of our actions, and the existential upheaval that follows a tragedy. Agnes’ love and loss provide a nuanced emotional backdrop for a movie that examines our connection with our loved ones. It poignantly delivers a heartfelt narrative brimming with sensitivity for complex topics. If such somber tales of personal reflection, reminiscence, nostalgia, and grief are something you relate to, here are 10 movies like ‘A Part of You’ that hit you right in the feels.

10. Remember Me (2010)

 

Remember Me‘ is a romantic drama directed by Allen Coulter that focuses on Tyler Hawkins, a young man with a strained relationship with his father, haunted by a family tragedy. After getting into a fight, Tyler is arrested and meets Alyssa “Ally” Craig, a New York University student whose mother was killed in a mugging 10 years ago. The two form a deep emotional bond, while Tyler, under pretenses, feels he’s stringing Ally along. As their relationship blossoms, they confront their internal struggles and try to purge themselves of their demons.

While a family tragedy connects Tyler and Agnes, their ways of dealing with their pain make their stories receptive to everyone. Tyler’s estranged relationship with his father and his love for Ally resonate with the mother-and-daughter relationship portrayed between Agnes and Carina and the love between her and Noel. The two films paint a complex picture of their characters and the things they hide beneath the surface. It is always hard to understand what people are suffering from when passing by them on the street, and ‘Remember Me’ makes that claim elegantly.

9. Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)

Blue is the Warmest Color,’ also titled ‘La Vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2,’ is a French romantic drama directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, which follows a young woman, Adele as she navigates a winding path of self-discovery while trying to ascertain her identity and sexuality. Adapted from Jul Maroh’s graphic novel of the same name, the story depicts Adele’s transformative turn in life after she meets a university art student with blue hair, Emma. The two explore their feelings of love while poignantly delving into their desire, intimacy, passion, and fragility. Her relationship with Emma opens doors that she had never imagined, proving to be a catalyst for growth within her.

The element in common between ‘A Part of You’ and the French drama is their subtle, understated tone. They never go overboard with emotional or sentimental deliveries of passion; instead, both films have a great understanding of letting their viewers engage with the underlying complexities of a scene. Adele is every bit as intriguing and well-drawn a character as Agnes. Her growing pains are driven through a prism of longing rather than grief, as is the case for the teenage protagonist of the Swedish film. “Blue is the Warmest Color” is a stark, bittersweet exploration of the painful act of growing up and how our choices have catastrophic results attached to them.

8. Call Me by Your Name (2017)

In ‘Call Me by Your Name,’ a precocious young teenager, Elio, who lives in a remote Italian villa, comes face-to-face with the dangers of raw infatuation when an American graduate student, Oliver, stops by to assist Elio’s father in their countryside home. Initially unresponsive to Oliver’s attempts at friendship, he confronts his adolescent crush on the senior student by masking it in hatred and annoyance. Set against the backdrop of an idyllic Italian countryside, the pair explore their tender, delicate feelings of desire as Oliver’s time to leave gets closer and closer. The romance drama was adapted from André Aciman’s 2007 novel of the same name.

A coming-of-age film that portrays the pain of unrequited love, pain, loss, and teenage confusion, there are references to ‘A Part of You’ through its intimate portrayal of Elio’s journey of self-discovery. Both films have a microscopic level of detail when depicting the struggles of their characters in the most human and profound way possible. Elio’s conversations with Oliver feel as if you’re dropping into an intimate conversation you shouldn’t be privy to. There is honesty in how the grief depicted in the Swedish drama is replaced by Elio’s deep, unmet longing for Oliver and how he can do nothing about it except suffer in silence.

7. Never Let Me Go (2010)

‘Never Let Me Go’ is a romance drama directed by Mark Romanek, which centers on three childhood friends, Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth, whose lives get entangled with one another as they grow up. Brought to the screen from the pages of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel of the same name, the story is about a love triangle developing between its three central characters and how it affects their choices going forward. Set in a dystopian world where human clones are raised for organ donation purposes, the film explores the inevitability of death through the perspective of a human tale of connection and meaning.

Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth are the heartbeat of this coming-of-age drama. Not unlike the three-way relationship between Agnes, Noel, and Julia, ‘Never Let Me Go’ is a complicated and messy tale of how human life is ultimately fragile and unpredictable in its trajectory. An overriding aspect of both movies is the obsession with the unintended consequences of our choices and how the repercussions can be brutal and harsh. The mistakes Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth make as young fledglings are mirrored in Agnes, Noel, and Julia. Unfortunately, those mistakes have heavy costs and have the potential to destroy many lives.

6. Aftersun (2022)

Directed by Charlotte Wells, ‘Aftersun‘ is a coming-of-age drama following a young father, Calum, and his daughter, Sophie, on their travels to a Turkish holiday resort. Featuring a dual timeline narrative — showing the vacation and adult Sophie’s memories — the film takes a dive into Calum’s internal struggles as seen through young Sophie’s eyes. As father and daughter bond on the trip, their relationship and its surrounding implications are explored by both versions of the daughter: the one looking back and the one who saw her father for what he was in the present.

Exploring the fallacies of our memory and how we think of our loved ones, ‘Aftersun’ is a complimentary must for the tale about grief showcased in ‘A Part of You.’ With Sophie’s memories of Calum being pivotal to the emotional heart of the narrative, one can’t help but be reminded of the memories Agnes holds of her sister Julia. Both reflect on their loved ones with a sense of wistfulness and things they might have done differently had they got the chance to do so.

5. Our Little Sister (2016)

‘Our Little Sister’ is a Japanese drama directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, which tackles a story of sisterhood and forgiveness. After receiving news of the death of their father, three sisters, Sachi Kōda, Yoshino Kōda, and Chika Kōda, who live together in a traditional house in Kamakura, Japan, discover they have a younger half-sister, Suzu, who they invite to live with them after she passes out from school. As the four start living together, their bonds deepen while sparking self-discovery, emotional growth, and healing within each of them.

The film was adapted from Akimi Yoshida’s manga series ‘Umimachi Diary.’ Portraying a quiet, uneventful story of familial structures and the complexity they hold, ‘Our Little Sister’ explores the intricacies of the sisters in similar fashion to the Sigge Eklund directorial. With each of them perceiving the world differently and having disparate personalities, it harkens back to the clash of personalities between the boisterous Julia and her timid younger sister. ‘Our Little Sister’ is a deeply personal story that reflects on the bonds that tie us together and how their strength is determined by our honesty.

4. Like Father, Like Son (2013)

In ‘Like Father, Like Son,’ another Hirokazu Kore-eda directorial, Ryōta Nonomiya, a successful architect, finds himself in a troubling position when he discovers that his six-year-old son was switched at birth with another family’s son. Shocked by this revelation, Ryōta and the other family have to make the difficult choice of either abandoning their biological sons or to exchange the kids and grow to love them over time. As they ponder on their choices and the difficult road set ahead of them, they must also come to terms with their limitations and flaws and rise from them as best as they can.

While parenthood isn’t a major theme in ‘A Part of You,’ Corina’s abandonment of her daughter Agnes during a crucial period of mourning is a dereliction of duty that she regrets and tries to rectify in the film. That same regret is tenderly and poignantly explored in the Japanese film through the profound ethical dilemma presented to the parents as they must decide the fate of their children. Delving into the essence of what it means to be a parent, and the burdens that come with it, it is deeply moving story with intimately painted character portraits of a complex set of people whose lives have been entangled by something arbitrary and painful.

3. Manchester by the Sea (2016)

‘Manchester by the Sea’ is a profound drama that explores the weight of grief and its lasting effects on people and their loved ones. Directed by Kenneth Lonergan, it tells the story of Lee Chandler, a janitor who has to move to his hometown, Manchester-by-the-Sea, after the sudden death of his brother, Joe. After arriving in his old haunt, Lee is amazed to learn that he has been put in charge of Joe’s son, Patrick, as his legal guardian. Undertaking this monumental task and understanding the responsibilities of parenthood in the process, Lee is devastated by his struggles and the tragedy that once destroyed his family.

An odyssey of emotional and personal recognition, the Lonergan directorial and ‘A Part of You’ take their cues from the same deep-rooted trauma within their characters. The people inhabiting the grief-stricken worlds of both films are normal, ordinary people faced with a dark, harrowing event that blots their lives going forward. Agnes is a young girl whose sister has just abandoned her, and in many ways, Lee’s journey is the same. Once familial bonds are ruptured and our unassailable guilt, remorse, and trauma pour out, there is no blocking it from damaging everything around us. And that’s exactly where ‘Manchester by the Sea’ shines.

2. Norwegian Wood (2010)

A story about grief and how it moves from person to person like a tree spreading its roots far and wide, ‘Norwegian Wood,’ is a somber exploration of love, loss, and memory. Directed by Tran Anh Hung and adapted from the pages of Haruki Murakami’s novel of the same name, the film follows Toru Watanabe, a young serious man who is haunted by his best friend’s suicide from his school days. Toru’s life gets more complicated when he becomes entangled in a messy love triangle with Naoko, his passed away friend’s girlfriend, and the bubbly Midori, who is full of life.

Touching on similar themes and premises from Sigge Eklund’s feature debut, ‘Norwegian Wood’ is a stark and somber look into grief and how we process it. Like Agnes, Toru is torn between his memories of his old friend and the sweet seductive allure of a future where he can simply put everything behind without feeling anything. Grief tears apart both protagonists as they grapple with the weight of their emotions and the pain that stings even after the tragedy that struck them has passed into memory. It even has a similar view on relationships, as Toru and Naoko’s shared loss sparks their romantic interest, something Agnes and Noel can attest to.

1. Atonement (2007)

‘Atonement’ is a romantic British drama directed by Joe Wright, following a young couple whose lives are shattered by a misunderstanding in pre-World War II England. The film is an adaptation of Ian McEwan’s 2001 novel of the same name and centers on a young precocious girl, Briony Tallis, who is jealous of her older sister, Cecilia. All because she is the object of affection for Robbie Turner, her crush. As Briony’s vivid imagination runs rampant, she makes up a lie and falsely accuses Robbie of a crime he didn’t actually commit. With the lives of the three characters on a knife edge, an older Briony has to confront the guilt of her actions and try to piece back the lives of the young couple she destroyed.

In the British drama, the relationship between Briony and her older sister Cecilia is encapsulated in its entirety in the feelings of jealousy portrayed between Agnes and Julia. Like Agnes fantasizes about Noel, Briony has an innocent crush on Robbie. However, those feelings of nascent attraction lead Briony to do something she regrets for the rest of her life. Both movies make a point of their poignant narrative of love, loss, and primarily, the unintended consequences of our actions. As the protagonists grow and evolve through the story, they constantly make bad choices that push them further down the well. But it is those mistakes which make them so utterly and devastatingly human.

Read more: Netflix’s A Part of You: Is the Movie Inspired by True Events?

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