Survival Mode: how the coming-of-age film is perfect for a pandemic

There have been jokes, some more serious than others, about the art that will come out of this time. How many novels about a fast-spreading disease are you betting on? Will Covid-19 be better suited to documentary or fiction? But the art I’m most looking forward to, and revisiting now, is the art made about teenagers going through it.

Physical school attendance, so central to the John Hughes movies of the 1980s, is up in the air for so many. Sports practice, theater clubs, mall hang-outs; the familiar neighborhood beats of a teenager’s life are more confined than ever. All of us have had to tweak our reality to make the best of invasive changes forced upon us during the pandemic. In a sense, it feels like we are all coming of age.

Teenagehood, though, is a particularly tricky time of transition, and we don’t yet know the half of how the pandemic is going to impact today’s young adults—and, by association, tomorrow’s coming-of-age films. But in the last two years alone there have been enough brave new entries in the genre, about young people so enlivening, that there’s both plenty for young film lovers to lose themselves in, and plenty for us slightly older folks to watch and learn from.

Read the full feature at Letterboxd

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