From teenagers navigating the awkward quarrels of puberty to young adults who can’t quite figure out how to maneuver through life, coming-of-age films offer necessary lessons to live by. Known for centering intimate and authentic narratives, this genre uses the power of nostalgia to capture a spectrum of life experiences that viewers of all ages can find relatable.
Here’s a close look at coming-of-age films with Texas connections that are sure to leave you inspired:
Conceived by Houston native, film director and screenwriter Richard Linklater, Boyhood is an epic tale set in a small Texas town that follows the life of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his family. From road trips and dinners to school dances and fights, the film captures the journey of growing up through the eyes of a six-year-old. Documented over the course of twelve years (2001-2013), the film is striking in its intimate and enduring scope. Upon its release in 2014, Boyhood received tons of praise including an Oscar for Supporting Actress, along with both a Golden Globe and British Academy Film Award for Best Film.
Filmmaker and University of Texas at Austin alum, Annie Silverstein’s underrated film, BULL spotlights an intergenerational collision between a troubled teenager and a middle-aged cowboy living on the fringe of American society. The film is set in an abandoned subdivision west of Houston and follows 14-year-old Kris (Amber Harvard), who is forced to grow up quickly and navigates a challenging upbringing while her mother is imprisoned. Kris begins to forge a friendship with her neighbor, a Black cowboy named Abe (Rob Morgan) who exposes her to the world of bull riding in an effort to steer her away from a path of delinquency. Although they were united by a dangerous sport, the two inspire each other to make the most of their lives. The film initially debuted at Cannes Festival in 2019 and has received acclaim from film critics around the world.
Miss Juneteenth (2020)
Set in Fort Worth, Miss Juneteenth trails Turquoise Jones (Nicole Beharie), a single mother and former beauty queen who works tirelessly to cover the fees for her rebellious daughter Kai (Alexis Chikaeze) to enter a local scholarship pageant. Written and directed by Fort Worth-born filmmakerChanning Godfrey People, the film celebrates Black womanhood and Southern culture while paying homage to her experiences of a pageant that has been held for decades. Miss Juneteenth’s 2020 release commemorated the 155th anniversary of the Juneteenth holiday and swept the festival circle with wins from SXSW, BlackStar Film Festival, the 2021 National Board of Review, and Satellite Awards.