Coming of Age

[7] Colin Farrell stars as a free-spirited young man who enters into a romantic triangle with a woman (Robin Wright) and his boyhood friend (Dallas Roberts). A Home at the End of the World, based on the novel by Michael Cunningham (The Hours), takes us through three decades in these characters’ lives. The first quarter of the movie shows us how Farrell’s character was shaped …

[6] George Cukor directs Katharine Hepburn as Jo March in one of the earliest screen adaptations of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, a chronicle of the lives and loves of four sisters growing up in New England during the Civil War. There’s intrinsic nostalgia and sentimentality to the storytelling, but Cukor never lets the film become maudlin. That’s largely owed to Hepburn’s contribution. The then-controversial …

[4.0] Lou Taylor Pucci stars in writer/director Mike Mills’ adaptation of Walter Kirn’s novel about a nervous high school student afflicted with thumbsucking. Once he’s prescribed ritalin, Pucci’s character starts to feel more confident. Unfortunately, the drug also turns him into an asshole. If Thumbsucker focused more on the angle of drug abuse, it might better distinguish itself from the myriad of other quirky indie …

[8.0] Two restless Mexican teenagers (Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna) take a road trip with an older woman (Maribel Verdú) who just learned her husband cheated on her. Their destination is a private beach that may or may not exist, but as with all road trip movies, it’s the journey that counts. Demons of the past are confronted, sexual discoveries are made, and new …

[7.0] Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood) and Brian Cox (Manhunter) star in this deeply unsettling coming-of-age drama about a motherless teen who robs houses with his friends until they entangle with an older man who’s a pillar of the community — and a pedophile. After his friends abandon him and his father is arrested on claims of fraud, the teen turns to this older …

[7] Jakob M. Erwa directs his own adaptation of Andreas Steinhöfel’s novel about a 17-year-old who returns from summer camp to find his hedonistic mother and twin sister have become uncomfortably distant. At the same time, he enters into his first romantic relationship with the new boy at school and seeks the aid of close family friends and his mother’s latest boyfriend to help him figure …

[8] Four boys are sent to a juvenile detention center where they are raped and brutalized by the guards. Thirteen years later, two of the boys have a chance encounter with the head guard that ends in vengeful bloodshed. It’s then up to the other two boys, one now a district attorney, to free their convicted pals and enact revenge on all the remaining guards. …

[3.0] Chris O’Donnell and Drew Barrymore star in this teenaged drama/romance about high school students who hit the road after Barrymore’s parents put her in a psychiatric ward for attempting suicide. The young lovers think the open road and fresh air will cure whatever ails Barrymore, but it turns out that her mental illness is real — and potentially dangerous. I’m glad a movie like …

[7.0] Writer/director Alice Wu tells us in the beginning of The Half of It that none of the characters will get what they want, and she’s not lying. But that won’t stop you from rooting for all three characters in this love triangle. Leah Lewis plays Ellie, a Chinese-American who writes love letters for a jock named Paul (Daniel Diemer) to help him woo Aster …

[7.0] Two high school relay racers (Gijs Blom and Ko Zandvliet) develop a same-sex attraction, but one of the boys is afraid to make their relationship public. This Dutch drama/romance features a likable, competent cast and is shot in several beautiful locations around the Netherlands. As a ‘coming out’ story, it doesn’t break the mold in the slightest, but director Mischa Kamp does a fine …

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