|This is a really dark birthday candle picture but I think it's pretty and there's no 19th birthday photos anyway|
Seriously, it sucks having to draw my attention away from the kids menu at restaurants because I'm an adult so I have to get steak.
In my thinking, though, I came to the realisation that even though 19 isn't a particularly special milestone age, this is the first birthday in my "new life", you could say. Gone are the days of growing up in a small town, since now I've lived in Christchurch for over six months and passed my first semester of university. I no longer have to go grocery shopping with mum but I can buy chocolate whenever I want which is honestly the best part of growing up. Oh, and did I mention that I have a cinema five minutes bus ride away, with three others within a half an hour radius? If that's not cool, then I don't know what is.
In a way, 19 is a pretty important age to be. Whereas 18 is the age where you get slapped with the label "grown up", whether you're ready or not, by the time you're 19 you've done a spectacular amount of growing up. Well, I guess that's just how I feel now since a lot has changed since I turned 18 (I say this every year, but I could probably say now that just about every aspect of my life is so different from what it was last year). In celebration of that fact, here's a whole lot of films that taught me a bit about growing up while I was growing up. Don't expect John Hughes films (don't get me wrong, they had their influence), but more a bunch of films that came out at vital times in my life and gave me a bit of perspective. And yeah, things get mushy.
An Education - Earlier this year I outlined my intense love for this film, mainly because it shows the struggles of living up to unreasonable expectations in every way possible. I've always found myself to be a little bit of a Jenny, trying my best to do things that I don't really care for, working hard but hoping that there'll be a little bit of fun around the corner, and maybe being a little too 'pretentious' for my age (now I'm grown up and living with a whole lot of engineers, I'm just known as the weird Arts degree student). Just as the title suggests, it has always been a film that I go back to get an education, whether it be about getting a "real" education or an education from "the university of life".
500 Days of Summer - Just because it gives you a lot of perspective on idealising and relying on other people to make you happy. And relationship stuff. And that expectations/reality scene still hurts me to this very day. Also, it spurred my five year long crush on Joseph Gordon-Levitt who is one of my favourite human beings on the planet and who inadvertently taught me how to be a better person. So I guess that counts as growing up also, doesn't it?
Cemetery Junction - This is an extremely underrated and underseen film, but one I've held dear to my heart since I first gave it a blind watch in late 2010. Most of the reason why I connected with it so well (and pretty much whoever else I showed it to) was the fact that I lived in a place very similar to Cemetery Junction, where people very comfortably 'exist' and don't really know what's going on outside of the town. It's something that I've always hated and found most gratifying when I got out of Dannevirke, because the idea of making do with what little is there and existing is not one that I've ever really enjoyed. Yet, the strange thing is that the people I grew up with became the new generation of people who could help Dannevirke be a better place, but we all left because we were so over it. And that's what Cemetery Junction is effectively about - those who outgrow their surroundings and what they've always done, vs those who are far too comfortable with it. Of course, this is a film by Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais so there's a bit of off-humour in there, but this film deserves a lot more credit than it ever got.
Young Adult - This film isn't so much about growing up as it is about those who never grow up. Even though it never sets foot in a high school, it is just as much about high school as something like, say, Mean Girls. Mavis Gary may be somewhat successful, but everything she is about is all about who she was in high school. And that kind of fascinates me, since high school was generally a pretty okay time for me but you can't really apply any of the social things you learned at high school to real life. Basically - I don't wanna turn out like Mavis Gary. But she's a fascinating character nonetheless.
Before Sunrise/Before Sunset/Before Midnight - Basically because this film has given me a lot of conversations which I hope to have in the future. It isn't really about growing up, but more about living, and it is beautiful.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Obviously this was going to make the list. The Perks of Being a Wallflower was my go to movie last year. Through all of the good times and the tough times, it was always there. It was kind of a perfect film to have around when I was doing my final year of high school since most of it was about those final days (even if it was through the eyes of a junior) and those moments that make you alive as a teenager. Even at the risk of sounding like a little oversaturated Tumblr kid, the teenage years are the time to feel infinite. I kind of miss that feeling already.
The Spectacular Now - Just as The Perks of Being a Wallflower was there for my final high school year, The Spectacular Now came into my life right at the very end. It was just one of those movies that came along at a perfect time. As I've said before, I am Aimee and that scares me a lot but it has comforted me a little bit through some trying times. That's the real beauty of film in general - when you find a movie that you really connect with, they're the best at giving you advice on life because someone is actually thinking like you. Plus, I'm not gonna lie, but the final days of high school are actually pretty terrifying when you're not entirely sure of what you wanna do and you just wanna live in the "now". Even though pretty much everything is based on how well you do as a teenager, it is the time when you wanna live in the "now". The Spectacular Now is a pretty sad deconstruction of that, but it'll probably be the film I go back to in order to live these formative years.
Boyhood - I realise that I only just saw this last week, but the bottom line is: this film is actually like watching my childhood unfold because the course of the film runs parallel to the time which I grew up in. Also, I love this film a lot. That's really all I can say.
What were the films that told you about growing up? Any thoughts on being 19?