Sometimes watching a movie you can really relate to is just what you need on a cozy night in. In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, there’s a character for everyone to identify with, most notably the awkward Charlie (Logan Lerman). He’s struggling to fit in at school and latches onto Sam (Emma Watson) and her stepbrother Patrick (Ezra Miller), though nothing will ever be easy. Based on the book of the same name by Stephen Chbosky, what follows in this film is a raw take at how hard a teenager’s life can be and how much you may not know about a person — or yourself. If you watched it and loved it and want to continue a coming-of-age discussion with your teens, you’ll undoubtedly want to add more movies like The Perks of Being a Wallflower to your family movie collection.
Upon the movie’s release in 2012, Roger Ebert wrote in his review of the film’s relatability, “All of my previous selves still survive somewhere inside of me, and my previous adolescent would have loved The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Ebert added of the coming-of-age film, “The movie confirms one of my convictions: If you are too popular in high school, you may become so fond of the feeling that you never find out who you really are.”
And therein lies the magic in most of the movies on this list: At their core, they’re about figuring out who you are and how that kind of growth doesn’t come without a few growing pains.
Movies Like The Perks of Being a Wallflower
1. The Duff (2015)
The Duff is all about not fitting in. Duff stands for designated ugly fat friend, and it’s a role no one in high school ever wants. Unfortunately, every friend group seems to have one, but rather than accept it, Bianca (Mae Whitman) is determined to overcome it and show her classmates why it’s so wrong to be so cruel to each other.
2. The Fault In Our Stars (2014)
This movie is also based on a beloved book and will absolutely tug on every single one of your heartstrings. It’s impossible not to feel emotional while watching a movie about two teenagers (*spoiler alert*) dying from cancer. Much like the characters in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the teens in The Fault in Our Stars share all their emotions with viewers and make you laugh just as much as they make you cry. It’s a powerful movie that you won’t soon forget.
3. The Breakfast Club (1985)
No list of teen movies is complete without the teen movie. The Breakfast Club is the John Hughes-helmed story of a group of teens in Saturday detention who form an unlikely bond despite their dissimilar backgrounds. It’s a touching coming-of-age story of understanding people you never knew, only to realize that perhaps you’re not as different as you thought.
4. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, this movie beloved by millennials shows the two sides of high school — when you’re cool and when you’re not. But even if you’re not cool, you can still fall in love and have a pretty decent time. Plus, Heath Ledger plays the outcast heartthrob, and we’ll never say no to watching that.
5. (500) Days of Summer (2009)
Though the characters in (500) Days of Summer aren’t teenagers, they’re still people on a journey of discovery. After Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) gets dumped, he looks back at his 500 days with Summer (Zooey Deschanel) to try to figure out what went wrong and, in the process, finds himself instead.
6. The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
Like Charlie in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) also struggles with fitting in and navigating life as a teenager. In this coming-of-age movie, she also learns how hard it can be when your friend starts to get popular when you don’t — plus Nadine’s friend starts dating her older brother, so it’s just all kinds of tough and relatable.
More Coming-of-Age Movies Like The Perks of Being a Wallflower
- The Art of Getting By (2011)
- Crooklyn (1994)
- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)
- It’s Kind of a Funny Story (2010)
- Ladybird (2017)
- Easy A (2010)
- Cooley High (1975)
- Juno (2007)
- Boyhood (2014)
- Rushmore (1998)
- Moonlight (2016)
- Booksmart (2019)
- House Party (1990)
- The Half of It (2020)
- The Way, Way Back (2013)
- Ruby Sparks (2012)
- The Inkwell (1994)
- The Book Thief (2013)
- The Spectacular Now (2013)
- Dream Boy (2008)
- The Wood (1999)
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