Independent film resembles an authentic culture in our society that has grown over the last couple of decades. The indie culture has expanded in ways where people have influenced alternativeness and out of the ordinary ideas that do not follow to the mainstream markets. At the heart of indie films there seems to be two strong points to each film: it is a cultural form opposing dominant structures that shows a strong source of distinction and serves an interesting story of an unfortunate group or single person. There are many genres placed under Independent films, but one that catches my attention the most are coming-of-age indie films. Coming-of-age films portray teenagers as social outcasts in American society to make them relatable to other audiences, to make an eye-catching onscreen presence, and to show the struggle of their personal growth and change.
Coming-of-age Independent films have always been a genre that I enjoy watching. I find them to be quite unique, and different compared to mainstream films. Coming-of-age stories are important in today’s society because they show so many different stories that are relatable to young adults today. In the movie, "Juno," the main character is played by a spunky, confident teenage girl who becomes pregnant and who tries to figure out her new life, and decisions regarding her child. Nowadays, teen pregnancies have increased all over America, and it is becoming more and more common. "Juno" brings a different, enlightening twist to a situation that has happened to many teenage girls. Juno is a character who even though is quite indifferent with her obsession of punk rock music and horror; she is a liberated woman that resembles many other teen moms who have to make hard decisions.
Young adults are looking for people to relate to and I think that is a big reason why Independent films are made because they bring something different, unlike a mainstream film. Independent films are raw and not afraid to show what is real. The acting that is involved brings a lot of emotion and depth within the performance. These films seem to focus more on feelings, and the character itself compared to other movies that show more action and complicated-mainstream situations. Coming-of-age indie films seem to help actors take risks and to be able to focus on their character more and play daring roles. I think it is important that we have these films for our generation because as time goes on we find more and more different types of people.
Coming-of-age indie films usually have young-misunderstood leads. These characters represent real people, but they seem to be heightened more to really grab the audience’s attention. In the film, "The Art of Getting By," the main male role, George, is a lost, confused slacker who questions the meaning of life all the time. He finds assignments and activities pointless when in the end we are all going to die. He alienates himself and spends time only ever drawing doodles in his notebooks, and school textbooks. Teachers and his mother are confused by his choices and worried about his future. His character portrays the way some teenagers might feel, meaning no importance to their existence, and George does a good job at heightening that feeling. He is a fascinating character who has strange views on life, and plays an attention-grabbing role with his odd traits and strong sensitivity.
In the film "Little Birds," a slice of very believable and scary life for two fifteen-year-olds looking to escape their awkward or dysfunctional families. What they get into, moving from the Salton Sea to L.A. in a stolen truck, is a nightmare for any parent, yet for the girls they love to live on the edge. Their personalities involve not thinking, but jumping at any chance they have to escape their small town. Once they make their way out of the town they run into trouble once they reach L.A. and not everything seems as glamorous as it once did. However, you grow to love their heartfelt spirits, as they have one another and realize that is good enough.
In coming-of-age films we see all the character’s develop and grow because the point of these explosive personalities and attitudes is to see how they turn out in the end and how they handle their situations with the actions they take. In the most recent film, Boyhood, we see the course of a boy’s life over twelve years. We see the character develop through his whole life and watch the mistakes, and actions he takes throughout his life. We see his quirks, his interests, and how he develops and changes overtime. He is mostly portrayed as a social outcast with family troubles, hanging with the wrong crowd, and creating bad habits. There are times when he fails to people’s expectations, and his awkwardness gets in the way of making hard decisions. Coming-of-age films teach valuable lessons and influence others and even give good advice about the essentials of life.
Coming-of-age indie films are a genre in which myself and everyone has found a connection with a storyline in a film. Everyone has awkward stages, social problems, and odd personalities, and that is what makes them great; that is what makes them real. Indie films do not hold, making them very believable and true. People everywhere find a way to relate to these character’s personalities and situations. Whether it’s crying, smiling, or laughing people always seem to make a connection with the character of the film. I believe coming-of-age indie films are a guide for other young adults who are trying to find themselves in the real world such as, myself, and thousands of other people in America.