What is it about the coming-of-age movie? Is there any other kind of film that can hit so many sweet and bittersweet spots, or transport you back to a time when all that mattered was that secret crush and who was taking you to the senior prom? Personally, I wish there was a different name for this genre, as it always feels slightly like it’s describing movies about puberty or someone’s Bar Mitzvah. But that aside, these movies for me — and I’m sure for a lot of you — are the ones I tend to be attracted to when it comes to cinematic comfort food.
This weekend brings The Spectacular Now. I’d argue that this movie is the closest thing we’ve come — yes, even counting last year’s amazing and wonderful The Perks of Being a Wallflower — to hitting the same zone as those movies in the Golden Era of the Coming-of-Age Movie, also known as the time when John Hughes was making films. EW’s Owen Gleiberman, who awarded Now an A– rating this week in the magazine, says: “It’s one of the rare truly soulful and authentic teen movies. It’s about the experience of being caught on the cusp and not knowing which way you’ll land.”