The book-to-movie pipeline has always been popular in Hollywood, but nothing has taken to it like the teen movie genre. As the 2010s left the campy and over-the-top humor of the 2000s behind, the new decade opened itself up for more honest and raw stories, often based on the most popular coming-of-age novels of the last few years.
The result of this transition is ten years full of charming rom-coms, visually experimental and unique movies, and a whole lot of heartwrenching stories exposing the turmoil of adolescence.
10 Lemonade Mouth Centers Around A Band & Their Fight For Self-Expression
In 2011, Disney Channel adapted Mark Peter Hughes’ novel, Lemonade Mouth, into a teen musical starring Bridgit Mendler, Hayley Kiyoko, and Naomi Scott. Inspired by the iconic 1980s film, The Breakfast Clubthe story centers on five students who decide to form a band to overcome their struggles after bonding during shared detention.
Lemonade Mouth was praised for its music, young ensemble cast, and script. It was compared favorably to other Disney Channel Original Movies for its themes of empowerment and self-expression, and its pop-rock soundtrack, which managed to climb to fourth place on the Billboard Hot 100.
9 The Fault In Our Stars Is A Heartbreaking Romance Between Two Cancer Patients
Based on John Green’s popular book, The Fault In Our Stars follows Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as Hazel and Gus, two young cancer patients who meet in a support group and fall in love with each other. It premiered in 2014 at the Seattle International Film Festival and was a huge financial and critical success.
Woodley’s and Elgort’s performances were lauded as the best parts of the film adaptation, receiving multiple accolades, including Teen Choice and MTV Movie Awards. six years after its premiere, The Fault In Our Stars was re-adapted into a Bollywood production starring the late Sushant Singh Rajput.
8 Kick-Ass Follows The Lives Of Wannabe Superheroes
kick-ass blends black comedy with the superhero genre to deliver a story about a teenager who decides to become a masked vigilante to protect New York and ends up meeting others with the same ideals. The film starred Aaron Johnson and Chloë Grace Moretz as Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl, respectively, with Nicolas Cage taking on the role of Big Daddy, Hit-Girl’s father.
Based on the comic book series of the same name, kick-ass stands out amongst similar projects for its use of profanity, violence, and gore, akin to that of Watchmen. After gaining a significant cult following, a sequel titled Kick-Ass 2 was put in development and released three years later to mixed reactions.
7 Love, Simon Tells The Story Of A Closed Gay Student’s High School Journey
Love, Simon follows a closed gay teenager as he navigates through high school, friendships, and a crush on an anonymous pen pal. An adaptation of Becky Albertalli’s young adult novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Calendarthe film premiered in early 2018 and received critical acclaim for its modern take on the teen rom-com genre.
Love, Simon was widely praised for its handling of LGBTQ+ themes and representation, being recognized with a GLAAD Award in 2019. Its commercial success and widespread popularity across social media led to the production of Love, Victora Hulu spin-off centered around a new Latino student at Creekwood High.
6 The Edge Of Seventeen Centers On A Troubled Teen Who Struggles With Her Relationships
In The Edge of Seventeen, singer-actress Hailee Steinfeld plays a troubled high school junior named Nadine who struggles to make new friends and relate to her family. It also stars Disney Channel alumnus Hailey Lu Richardson as Nadine’s best friend, Krista, and Woody Harrelson as Mr. Brunner, Nadine’s teacher and advisor.
Despite a moderate success at the box office, the film received an overwhelmingly positive response from critics, who highlighted Steinfeld’s performance as her best yet. First-time director Kelly Fremon Craig, who also wrote The Edge of Seventeen’s script, won two critics’ awards for her work on the movie.
5 The Perks Of Being A Wallflower Explores Mental Health & Teen Insecurities
In 2012, Stephen Chbosky adapted his own coming-of-age novel, The Perks of Being A Wallflower, into a movie featuring Logan Lerman as Charlie, a depressed teen beginning his high school freshman year. At a football game, he befriends step-siblings Sam and Patrick, played by Emma Watson and Ezra Miller.
The Perks of Being A Wallflower was lauded for its depiction and exploration of mental illness, sexuality, and general teenage insecurities. The trio of main actors, in particular, received much praise for their honest and emotional portrayal of adolescence. The film won a GLAAD Award and was considered one of the best of the year.
4 Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Is A Visually-Stunning Story With An Outstanding Ensemble Cast
Set in Toronto, Canada, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World centers on the title character as he begins a relationship with a mysterious American girl named Ramona and must fight her seven evil ex-partners. It was written and directed by Edgar Wright and was a commercial failure upon its release.
The film is known for its visual and comedic style, which borrows heavily from video game aesthetics and the Scott Pilgrim comic. Its outstanding ensemble cast includes Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Brie Larson, and Chris Evans, among others. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World has attained cult status since its digital and physical release and is now one of the most popular teen films of the era.
3 To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Is One Of Netflix’s Most Successful Releases
Based on Jenny Han’s eponymous novel, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before tells the story of Lara Jean (played by Lana Condor), a high schooler who writes long letters to the boys she likes and then hides them in her closet. Other cast members include Noah Centineo as Lara Jean’s love interest, Peter, and Pretty Little Liars actress Janel Parrish as her older sister, Margot.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before debuted on Netflix in late 2018 and was an instant hit with critics and general audiences, who praised the rom-com for its cast and charm. Its staggering success prompted the streaming service to produce two sequels, one released in 2020 and another in 2021.
two Easy A Follows Emma Stone As A High Schooler With A Bad Reputation
Inspired by the nineteenth-century novel The Scarlet Letter, Easy A stars Emma Stone as Olive Penderghast, a seventeen-year-old whose reputation gets tarnished by a lie about her supposed promiscuity. Amanda Bynes, in her last film role to date, plays a devout Christian student who spreads the rumor throughout the entire school.
Easy A is best remembered for Stone’s and Bynes’ acting, good-natured comedy, and commentary on teen sex. The scene where Olive sings and dances to Natasha Bedingfield’s 2008 hit “Pocketful of Sunshine” became one of the most recognizable scenes in 2010s teen movies after going viral online.
1 Lady Bird Is The Most Critically-Acclaimed Coming-Of-Age Story Of The Decade
Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird follows Irish actress Saoirse Ronan as Christine, a California native attending a Catholic all-girls school, who constantly bumps heads with her mother, played by Laurie Metcalfe. The film also stars Beanie Feldstein as her best friend, Julie, and Timothée Chalamet as Christine’s love interest, Kyle.
One of the most acclaimed coming-of-age films of the decade, Lady Bird has a 99% approval on Rotten Tomatoes for Gerwig’s impressive writing and directing and Ronan’s exceptional performance. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress, and earned $79 million at the box office.
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