10 Movies Like Turtles All the Way Down You Must See

In ‘Turtles All the Way Down,’ director Hannah Marks brings John Green’s emotionally resonant tale of love and mental illness to life. Isabela Merced leads the cast as Aza Holmes, a 16-year-old grappling with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Alongside her are Cree Cicchino and Felix Mallard, adding depth to Aza’s journey. When Aza reconnects with her childhood crush, Davis, she embarks on a poignant exploration of love, friendship, and the unyielding battle against her intrusive thoughts.

John Green’s cameo as Aza’s gym teacher adds a personal touch to the film. As Aza navigates the labyrinth of her condition, audiences are drawn into a heartfelt narrative that explores the power of hope and young love amidst adversity. If you crave more signature John Green-core stories where tragedy and love coincide to make or break a person, check out these 10 movies like ‘Turtles All the Way Down.’

10. Please Stand By (2017)

‘Please Stand By’ is a heartwarming drama directed by Ben Lewin, featuring Dakota Fanning, Toni Collette, and Alice Eve in lead roles. The film follows Wendy, a young woman with autism, who escapes her group home to submit her Star Trek script for a competition. As she embarks on a journey filled with challenges and self-discovery, Wendy’s passion for writing serves as a catalyst for personal growth and empowerment. Similar to ‘Turtles All the Way Down,’ the movie explores themes of resilience, identity, and the pursuit of creative expression amidst the challenges of living with a neurological condition, resonating with audiences seeking poignant and uplifting stories.

9. Midnight Sun (2018)

In ‘Midnight Sun,’ Bella Thorne portrays Katie, a teenager with a rare condition that confines her to the shadows, unable to experience the warmth of the sun. Directed by Scott Speer, the film follows Katie’s journey as she tries to live through the obstacles of her life and condition, including her burgeoning romance with Charlie (Patrick Schwarzenegger). Their love story unfolds against the backdrop of Katie’s condition, illuminating the challenges and triumphs of living with a unique perspective. Akin to ‘Turtles All the Way Down,’ the movie delves into themes of resilience, connection, and embracing life’s uncertainties, offering a heartfelt exploration of love and self-discovery.

8. All the Bright Places (2020)

From the pages of Jennifer Niven’s book, ‘All the Bright Places‘ follows Elle Fanning’s Violet Markey, a young woman struggling with grief and depression following the death of her sister. Directed by Brett Haley, the film follows Violet’s journey as she forms an unexpected bond with Theodore Finch (Justice Smith), who is dealing with his own set of mental health issues. Together, they embark on a transformative journey across Indiana, exploring hidden wonders and confronting their inner demons. Echoing the themes of resilience and self-discovery found in ‘Turtles All the Way Down,’ ‘All the Bright Places’ offers a poignant portrayal of love, loss, and the healing power of human connection.

7. Almost Friends (2016)

Freddie Highmore stars and shines in ‘Almost Friends,’ which follows his character Charlie, a young man dealing with the mess of adulthood while still battling the challenges of his small-town life. Directed by Jake Goldberger, the film offers a refreshing take on the coming-of-age genre, blending humor and heartache as Charlie pursues his dreams and wrestles with his relationships.

Amidst the quirky characters and charming settings, ‘Almost Friends’ looks into themes of ambition, friendship, and self-discovery, resonating with fans of ‘Turtles All the Way Down’ who appreciate authentic storytelling and genuine human connections. With its blend of humor, heart, and relatable struggles, ‘Almost Friends’ serves as a reminder that the path to adulthood is often paved with unexpected twists and turns.

6. Words on Bathroom Walls (2020)

In the heartfelt drama based on Julia Walton’s eponymous novel, ‘Words on Bathroom Walls,’ we follow the journey of Adam, a high school student navigating the challenges of living with schizophrenia. Directed by Thor Freudenthal, the film explores Adam’s struggles as he tries to maintain his sanity while also attempting to lead a normal life. Charlie Plummer’s Adam finds solace in his passion for cooking and his budding romance with Taylor Russell’s character Maya. As Adam battles his inner demons, ‘Words on Bathroom Walls’ paints a poignant picture of resilience, love, and the power of acceptance. Through its authentic portrayal of mental illness and the importance of support systems, the film offers a compelling narrative that is bound to draw in people who liked ‘Turtles All the Way Down.’

5. 50/50 (2011)

Both ’50/50′ and ‘Turtles All the Way Down’ are inherently about the complexities of living with a serious illness, offering insights into the human experience. In this Jonathan Levine directorial, Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) confronts his diagnosis of cancer at a young age, navigating the emotional highs and lows with the support of his best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen) and his therapist (Anna Kendrick). The film deftly balances moments of humor and heartache, capturing the essence of resilience and the importance of friendship in times of adversity.

4. The Art of Getting By (2011)

‘The Art of Getting By’ and ‘Turtles All the Way Down’ share a common thread in their exploration of teenage angst and the struggle to find meaning amidst life’s challenges. Directed by Gavin Wiesen, ‘The Art of Getting By’ follows George (Freddie Highmore), a disaffected high school senior coming to terms with existential questions and the fear of mortality. As he forms a bond with Sally (Emma Roberts), George confronts his inner turmoil and learns to navigate the complexities of adolescence. With its authentic portrayal of teenage struggles and existential themes, the film aligns with ‘Turtles All the Way Down’ seeking insight into the human condition.

3. To the Bone (2017)

‘To the Bone’ and ‘Turtles All the Way Down’ converge in their candid exploration of mental health struggles, particularly focusing on characters battling with psychological disorders. Directed by Marti Noxon, ‘To the Bone’ follows Lily Collins’s character, Ellen, a young woman living with anorexia nervosa. As Ellen embarks on a journey of self-discovery in an unconventional treatment program, the film looks into themes of identity, acceptance, and the quest for inner peace. Just like ‘Turtles All the Way Down,’ ‘To the Bone’ provides a raw and true portrayal of mental illness, shedding light on the troubled waters of individuals struggling with internal demons.

2. It’s Kind of a Funny Story (2010)

‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story’ serves as a great alternative for those seeking a narrative akin to ‘Turtles All the Way Down,’ thanks to its heartfelt exploration of mental health challenges and coming-of-age themes. Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the film is adapted from Ned Vizzini’s novel of the same name. It features an ensemble cast including Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, and Emma Roberts, all adding ingenuity to the movie with their performances.

The plot centers on Craig, a teenager struggling with depression, who checks himself into a psychiatric ward where he forms unexpected connections and discovers profound insights about life and self-acceptance. Like ‘Turtles All the Way Down,’ the film unpacks the layers of mental illness with sensitivity, offering viewers a heartfelt and relatable portrayal of personal growth amidst adversity.

1. Along for the Ride (2022)

Along for the Ride‘ invites viewers on a poignant journey reminiscent of the introspective themes explored in ‘Turtles All the Way Down.’ Written and directed by Sofia Alvarez, the film draws inspiration from Sarah Dessen’s novel, capturing the essence of teenage self-discovery and emotional exploration. As Auden and Eli battle the conundrums and hardships of growing up against the backdrop of a sleepy seaside town, audiences are encapsulated in a narrative that is wrapped around themes of identity, belonging, and the pursuit of authentic connection.

With standout performances by Emma Pasarow and Belmont Cameli, ‘Along for the Ride’ offers an endearing portrayal of youth battling with inner turmoil and the universal quest for acceptance and understanding. For fans of ‘Turtles All the Way Down,’ this film serves as a must-watch, providing a resonant depiction of the challenges and triumphs of floating through the tumultuous waters of adolescence and self-discovery.

Read More: Turtles All the Way Down: Is White River High a Real School in Indianapolis?