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Coming of Age: 35 Movies like Thirteen That Everyone Needs To Watch

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35 Movies like Thirteen – and Why You Should Watch Them

Released in 2003, Catherine Hardwicke’s Thirteen is a riveting movie offering a glimpse into urban adolescence in 2003. The film follows the main character, Tracy who is a thirteen year old seventh grader trying to find herself in the midst of her parents divorce. Thirteen reflects on the themes of coming of age as well as the culture of the early 2000s.

It uses elements of realism through its dialogues and careful characterization. Thirteen humanizes teenage girls who are usually portrayed in films as either two-dimensional bimbos or crazy dream girls in favor of the male gaze.

Those who enjoy this particular type of movie will be glad to know there are a number of other movies which feature similar plot points.

RELATED: Forever Young: 17 Best Thirteen Quotes (2003 Movie)

1. Foxfire (1996)

Movies like Thirteen: Foxfire (1996)

Foxfire is a 1996 American teen drama film directed by Annette Haywood-Carter. Based on the Joyce Carol Oates novel Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang, it examines the coming of age of four high school girls who form an unlikely bond after beating up a teacher who has sexually harassed them. They build a solid friendship but their wild ways begin to get out of control.

2. Eighth Grade (2018)

Movies like Thirteen: Eighth Grade (2018)

Directed by YouTube star Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade follows quiet, socially anxious Kayla (Elsie Fisher) as she navigates her last couple of weeks of middle school, the end of her thus far disastrous eighth grade year before she begins high school.

Eighth Grade is not as explicit as Thirteen, but it’s nearly as heartbreaking for different reasons.

3. Bully (2011)

Movies like Thirteen: Bully (2011)

From Sundance Award-winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, comes a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary following five kids and families over the course of a school year.This film elicits concern for the bullying victims and rage at the authorities who ignore, deny, or minimize its prevalence.

Bully opens a window onto the pained and often endangered lives of bullied kids and documents the responses of teachers and administrators to aggressive behaviors that defy “kids will be kids” clichés.

4. Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Movies like Thirteen: Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Jennifer’s Body, written by Diablo Cody and directed by Karyn Kusama, is a genre mash-up of horror, comedy, and drama that conveys the incredible notion of girls as powerful, mystical beings.

The movie focuses on two best friends: desperate, nerdy Anita Lesnicky, and popular cheerleader Jennifer Check. Despite their different social statuses, the two are inseparable until Jennifer is possessed by a demon.

5. Kids (1995)

Movies like Thirteen: Kids (1995)

Kids is an American coming-of-age film that divided critics when it was released in 1995. The film follows the literal exploits of Telly and his best friend Casper, teenage skateboarders living in NYC which was critically acclaimed, though the film’s powerful and candid portrayal of teenage sexuality and drug abuse made it controversial.

6. Augusta, Gone (2006)

Movies like Thirteen: Augusta, Gone (2006)

Augusta, Gone is a drama movie starring Sharon Lawrence and Mika Boorem. Martha is a businesswoman and divorced mother of two children – Augusta and Jack. However, when docile Augusta becomes a teenager, feelings of anger and self-hate cause her personality to undergo a scary transformation, and Martha realizes that this is not just typical teen angst.

Augusta begins doing drugs, drinking, and ends up on the streets. Her concerned mother and father reach out to an educational consultant, who advises them to send Augusta to a strict wilderness camp for troubled teens. However, even the institution’s experienced and tough administrators find Augusta a difficulty to keep under control. Martha comes to realize that there is no answer to her daughter’s behavior.

7. Manic (2001)

Movies like Thirteen: Manic (2001)

Manic is a drama movie that will keep you engaged throughout the movie. After Faith’s doctor goes out of town for the week, she finds herself out of her Psychotropic medication. As she begins to suffer severe withdrawals, she falls into an utter tailspin of deterioration. She’s lost her job, left her boyfriend and now checked herself into a hotel, where she is sure she is being followed.

8. Heathers (1988)

Movies like Thirteen: Heathers (1988)

The odd and often uncomfortable world of teen peer pressure is no stranger to any of us, and this dark comedy zooms unhesitatingly into this pressure cooker. It dishes up some grotesque stereotypes, and tosses them into a cleverly campy scenario that threatens the lives of the entire student body of Westburg High.

Heathers is a well-acted movie with many memorable lines. It’s become a classic of the teenage macabre genre, and with good reason. Older teens and adults will find that there’s much dark delight to be found in its silly, biting twist on teen life.

9. Havoc (2005)

Movies like Thirteen: Havoc (2005)

Directed by Barbara Kopple, Havoc follows the lives of a pair of naive young girls learn that even the most insignificant actions can have lasting consequences. Influenced by the hip-hop thug lifestyle and seeking to explore life outside of their insulated, culturally homogenized suburb, pretty young teenagers Allison and Emily set their sights on East L.A. to experience the “gangsta” lifestyle firsthand.

By the time the pair meet a ruthless Mexican drug dealer named Hector, some true-life Latino gangsters, and realize just how far out of their element they really are, it may already be too late to turn back.

10. Girl, Interrupted (1999)

Movies like Thirteen: Girl, Interrupted (1999)

Set in the changing world of the late 1960s, Girl, Interrupted is the searing true story of Susanna Kaysen, a young woman who finds herself at a renowned mental institution for troubled young women, where she must choose between the world of people who belong on the inside like the seductive and dangerous Lisa or the often difficult world of reality on the outside.

Girl, Interrupted is a powerful and compelling examination of mental illness which has aged extremely well and still resonates with modern audiences.

11. White Oleander (2002)

Movies like Thirteen: White Oleander (2002)

White Oleander is a harrowing, coming-of-age story based on the best selling novel by Janet Fitch. Twelve-year-old Astrid shares an idyllic life with her mother Ingrid, a beautiful and free-spirited artist. When her mom is suddenly sent to prison for life for committing a crime of passion, Astrid is set adrift in the world.

Alone to struggle to become her own person, she goes through foster home after foster home experiencing forbidden love, religion, near-death experiences, drugs, starvation and how it feels to be loved.

12. Easy A (2010)

Movies like Thirteen: Easy A (2010)

Easy A is a comedy in which a high-school student finds herself labelled as promiscuous after some gossip is overheard, a clean cut high school girl sees her life paralleling Hester Prynne’s in “The Scarlet Letter,” which she is currently studying in school until she decides to use the rumor mill to advance her social and financial standing.

Now her classmates are turning against her and the school board is becoming concerned, including her favorite teacher and the distracted guidance counselor. With the support of her hilariously idiosyncratic parents and a little help from a long-time crush, Olive attempts to take on her notorious new identity and crush the rumor mill once and for all.

13. Mid90s (2018)

Movies like Thirteen: Mid90s (2018)

Written and directed by Jonah Hill, Mid90s follows Stevie, a thirteen-year-old in 90s-era LA who spends his summer navigating between his troubled home life and a group of new friends that he meets at a Motor Avenue skate shop.

He’s struggling with his family, including his co-dependent single mom and his abusive older brother, and at school, where his richer friends seem to overlook him. When Stevie befriends a crew of skateboarders, he learns some tough lessons about class, race, and privilege.

14. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Movies like Thirteen: Requiem for a Dream (2000)

This visionary film from director Darren Aronofsky follows four characters experiencing the downward spiral of drug addiction. The film depicts four characters affected by drug addiction and how it changes their physical and emotional states. Their addictions cause them to become imprisoned in a world of delusion and desperation.

Requiem for a Dream is a generational film and a philosophical one, as well as Trainspotting. Its themes are indeed at the heart of contemporary youth. But beyond that, Requiem is a reflection on addiction, on the alienation and self-ownership.

15. Towelhead (2007)

Movies like Thirteen: Towelhead (2007)

Towelhead depicts the life of Jasira who lives with her mother Gail, in upstate New York, but is then sent to live with her rigid, emotionally distant Lebanese father Rifat, in Houston. Jasira, who is struggling with her emerging sexuality, finds herself subjected to the taunts of racist schoolmates, the sexual advances of her new boyfriend, Thomas, and the inappropriate yet titillating attentions of handsome, married neighbor Mr. Vuoso.

16. Lady Bird (2017)

Movies like Thirteen: Lady Bird (2017)

Lady Bird is an American drama and comedy film directed by Greta Gerwig. The main character Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson fights against but is exactly like her wildly loving, deeply opinionated and strong-willed mom, a nurse working tirelessly to keep her family afloat after Lady Bird’s father loses his job.

Set in Sacramento, California in 2002, amidst a rapidly shifting American economic landscape, Lady Bird is an affecting look at the relationships that shape us, the beliefs that define us, and the unmatched beauty of a place called home.

17. The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

Movies like Thirteen: The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

The Edge of Seventeen is a poignant and hilarious look at what it’s like to be a teenager today. Growing up is hard, and life is no easier for Nadine, who is already at peak awkwardness when her best friend Krista begins dating her all-star brother Darian.

All at once, Nadine feels more alone than ever. With the help of her reluctant sounding-board, she soon discovers that what feels like the end of the world may just be the beginning of growing up.

18. Fish Tank (2009)

Movies like Thirteen: Fish Tank (2009)

Fish Tank depicts the life of Mia Williams, a volatile and socially isolated 15-year-old girl who is hurtling toward a lifetime of misery. She lives on an East London council estate with her single mother, Joanne, and younger sister, Tyler. Mia has an altercation with her best friend and her relations with her verbally abusive mother and sister aren’t good.

She is expelled from school and is awaiting admission to a referrals unit and spends her days aimlessly. She starts an awkward friendship with Joanne’s cunning boyfriend, Connor, who embolden her one interest, dancing.

19. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Movies like Thirteen: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Socially awkward teen Charlie is a wallflower, always watching life from the sidelines, until two charismatic students become his mentors. Free-spirited Sam and her stepbrother Patrick play a key role in assisting Charlie discover the joys of friendship, first love, music and more, while a teacher sparks Charlie’s dreams of becoming a writer. Towards the end of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Charlie’s new pals graduate and prepare to leave for college, Charlie’s inner sadness threatens to shatter his newfound confidence.

20. Black Swan (2010)

Movies like Thirteen: Black Swan (2010)

Directed by Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan is an American psychological horror film. This movie follows the story of Nina, a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life is all about dance. As the story proceeds, Nina starts to embrace her dark side with a recklessness that threatens to destroy her. This film is filled with sensitive themes such as the awakening of female sexuality, insecurity, obsession, and even mental illness.

The film touches on the issues facing girls and women today, unlike any other films. The story’s simplicity contradicts what’s really going on: an internal/external struggle that touches on the duality of women’s lives and asks what we’re willing to sacrifice to achieve success.

21. The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)

Movies like Thirteen: The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)

The Diary of a Teenage Girl portrays the life of Minnie, a young teen artist living in 1970s San Francisco who enters into an affair with her mother’s boyfriend. Minnie had a poor self-image, when discovers she is attractive and that she loves sex. Her at times drug induced, artistic-imagination often intercedes in her reality. In this story about sexual betytral and a coming-of-age young girl, discovering herself as a woman.

22. Booksmart (2019)

Movies like Thirteen: Booksmart (2019)

Booksmart is a sweet coming of age film about two best friends in their last few days of high school. Amy and Molly rule the school inside their heads. They get excellent grades and Molly is convinced they are the only ones who got into really good universities because they spent their time studying and not doing frivolous things like going to parties.

However, on the eve of their high school graduation they realize they should have worked less and played more. Determined to never fall short of their peers, the girls set out on a mission to cram four years of fun into one night.

23. The Craft: Legacy (2020)

Movies like Thirteen: The Craft: Legacy (2020)

Written and directed by Zoe Lister-Jones, The Craft: Legacy is a supernatural horror film. The main character Lily moves into a new town to live with her mother’s boyfriend, she gets recruited by three other high school girls in order to form a coven of witches, where they begin to test the boundaries of their newfound magical abilities.

24. Boyhood (2014)

Movies like Thirteen: Boyhood (2014)

Filmed over 12 years with the same cast comes this story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason, who literally grows up on screen. It charts the rocky terrain of childhood and is both a nostalgic time capsule of the recent past. Boyhood is a portrait of a divorced couple trying to raise their young son. The story follows the boy for twelve years, from first grade at age 6 through 12th grade at age 17-18, and examines his relationship with his parents as he grows.

25. Christiane F. (1981)

Movies like Thirteen: Christiane F. (1981)

Christiane F. is a 1981 German biographical drama film directed by Uli Edel that portrays the descent of Christiane Felscherinow, a bored 13-year-old growing up in mid-1970s West Berlin, to a 14-year-old heroin addict. This German film that vividly conveys the physical and mental debilitation of drug addiction.

26. Beautiful Boy (2018)

Movies like Thirteen: Beautiful Boy (2018)

Written by Luke Davies and van Groeningen, Beautiful Boy is based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, it narrates the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years.

27. Pretty Persuasion (2005)

Movies like Thirteen: Pretty Persuasion (2005)

Directed by Marcos Siega, Pretty Persuasion is a black comedy film a high school student. Its plot follows a 15-year-old student Kimberly, at an elite Beverly Hills academy who convinces her friends Brittany and Randa to falsely accuse their English teacher of sexual assault. However, things spiral out of control when the media gets involved.

28. Lords of Dogtown (2005)

Movies like Thirteen: Lords of Dogtown (2005)

Lords of Dogtown tells the radical true story behind three teenage surfers from Venice Beach, California, who took skateboarding to the extreme and changed the world of sports forever. The Z-Boys, as they come to be known, perfect their craft in the empty swimming pools of unsuspecting suburban homeowners, pioneering a thrilling new sport and eventually moving into legend.

29. The Virgin Suicides (1999)

Movies like Thirteen: The Virgin Suicides (1999)

The Virgin Suicides offers a glimpse into the murky unknowability of adolescence, and its legacy is tied to the portraits of femininity with which Sofia Coppola has crafted her filmography. The story is about five beautiful, dreamy Lisbon sisters, whose doomed fates indelibly marked the neighborhood boys who to this day continue to obsess over them.

A story of love and repression, fantasy and terror, sex and death, memory and longing. It is at its core a mystery story: a heart-rending investigation into the impenetrable, life-altering secrets of American adolescence.

30. American Beauty (1999)

Movies like Thirteen: American Beauty (1999)

American Beauty depicts the story of Lester Burnham, a gainfully employed suburban husband and father. Tired of his boring, stagnant existence, he lets go of his job and decides to reinvent himself as a pot-smoking, responsibility-shirking teenager. What follows is at once cynical, hysterical, and, eventually, tragically uplifting.

31. Speak (2004)

Movies like Thirteen: Speak (2004)

Speak is a coming-of-age teen drama film based on the award-winning 1999 novel of the same name by Laurie Halse Anderson. In the film, Melinda Sordino is forced into the worst year of her life. Her best friend, Rachel Bruin turns against her with all other of Melinda’s fellow students looking away. Everyone refused to take a single glance at Melinda only because of one stupid end-of-summer party.

32. You & Me Forever (2012)

Movies like Thirteen: You & Me Forever (2012)

You & Me Forever is a drama film about friendship, jealousies, and growing up. Laura and Christine are both 16 years old and best friends. But a young, more cosmopolitan girl, Maria, arrives at their school, and she proves to be mysterious and exciting. The relationship between the three takes an intense twist as Maria acknowledges bisexual encounters. For Laura, the new friendship upends the world she thought she knew.

33. Mean Girls (2004)

Movies like Thirteen: Mean Girls (2004)

Mean Girls is another teen comedy movie you would love to watch. Teenage Cady Heron moves to the suburbs of Illinois and joins public school, She gets a quick primer on the cruel, tacit laws of popularity that divide her fellow students into tightly knit cliques.

She unwittingly finds herself in the good graces of an elite group of cool students dubbed “the Plastics,” but Cady soon realizes how her shallow group of new friends earned this nickname.

RELATED: The 30 Funniest Mean Girls Quotes

34. Riding in Cars with Boys (2001)

Movies like Thirteen: Riding in Cars with Boys (2001)

Riding in Cars with Boys is an autobiographic film that tells the true story of writer Beverly Donofrio. This movie chronicles her coming of age in the late 1960s and her whole life influenced by an event that occured when she was fifteen. The events cover nearly two decades, as the young protagonist experiences often-humorous, sometimes-irreverent, but undoubtedly a unique personal journey to make something meaningful of her life.

35. The Basketball Diaries (1995)

Movies like Thirteen: The Basketball Diaries (1995)

Based on the autobiographical journals of poet Jim Carroll, Basketball Diaries depicts the story of a Catholic high school student Jim how he transforms from star basketball player to drug addict. Jim and his friends wander the streets of New York City as loafers, robbers, and druggies. He gets kicked out his house, in addition to being expelled from school for using drugs.

Moreover, Leonardo Dicaprio‘s amazing acting skills will surely captivate you. Add this movie to your watchlist!

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Movies like Thirteen

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