For any coming-of-age film fan looking for some BIPOC representation to add to their watch list, here are four of our favorites:
1) Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse
What if one day you woke up and realized you could suddenly shoot webs and stick to walls? That’s exactly what happened to Miles Morales, A Black and Hispanic Brooklyn teenager. After the death of friendly neighborhood spider-man Peter Parker, Miles realizes it’s up to him to become a hero and keep the streets of New York City safe. Though to do that, he’ll need some help from an ensemble cast of spider-people all from different timelines and universes. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse is a beautifully animated film with shots filled of life and color. Miles is infectiously funny and his journey of self-discovery and what it takes to be a hero leaves one feeling empowered and inspired. Paired with a just as heroic soundtrack composed specifically for the film, Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse will leave even the most cowardly of viewers feeling like a hero.
2) To All The Boys I've Loved Before
Meet Lara-Jean Covey, a shy high schooler who crushes HARD. Lara-Jean has written five different love letters to all the boys she’s ever loved and never told. When Lara-Jean's letters get sent, she must deal with the aftermath of her exposed feelings, especially her feelings for Lacrosse player and high school heartthrob Peter Kavinsky. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before isn’t a typical high school romance, it isn’t scandalous or wild, Lara-Jean and Peter’s relationship is slow burn and built on a foundation of friendship. Lana Condor brilliantly portrays Lara-Jean as a confident yet shy girl with just too many feelings to hold inside and Noah Centineo’s charm as Peter Kavinsky is undeniable. In this franchise with three Netflix released films, there’s tons of Lara-Jean content to binge watch and fall in love with.
3) Real Women Have Curves
Ana Garcia wants to go to college, specifically, Columbia University in New York which is ways away from her current home in East Los Angeles. Ana’s headstrong and excruciatingly judgmental mother opposes, suggesting that Ana should stay in Los Angeles and work at their small and slowly dying textile factory. The summer after high school Ana must deal with budding romances, a dwindling self-confidence due to her mother’s constant judgments, and life-changing decisions. Real Women Have Curves is a Latinx led and written film, that depicts the struggle of following your own dreams rather than those who dream for you, as well as the definition of womanhood and what it means to love yourself.
Premiering at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Pariah centers around the story of Alike, a young girl grappling with her sexuality and discovering that she’s a lesbian. Alike’s mother entirely disapproves of her sexuality as well as her masculine dress sense, putting an emotional toll on Alike as well as the rest of her family. Alike is then faced with the painful decision of deciding the cost of being authentically herself. Pariah is a tear-jerking film about acceptance sought but not found, and the things one must do no matter how painful, in order to gain a chance at happiness.
From superheroes to seamstresses, to lesbians, to love letters, these BIPOC led films are binge watch worthy for any coming-of-age film fan.