Looking for the best teen movies to watch with your teen this weekend?
Fear not, I have you covered.
Honestly, I love a good teen movie. Despite being a couple of decades too old, I also read a lot of YA (young adult) fiction. There’s something very absorbing and truthful about a story featuring characters who don’t have to deal with the complexity and mundanity of adult life.
And perhaps part of this is sentiment. There’s something lovely about watching the movies I loved in my own youth, and sharing those with Flea. I’m lucky that, for the most part, she agrees with me that some of the best teen movies were made in the late 80s and 90s.
The Best Teen Movies (IMHO)
So without further ado, here are my top ten recommended teen movies to watch with your kids this weekend:
Flea loves a teen movie with a bit of a sci-fi edge, and this story is one of the best teen movies of the past few years. It’s also ridiculously romantic and a bit of a tear-jerker.
Every Day is the story of a character who wakes up every day in a different body – sometimes male, sometimes female, sometimes black, white, straight, gay – but always aged 16.
One day, the “identity” takes over the body of a teenage boy who’s dating Rhiannon – and they fall in love. The movie’s central message shows how Rhiannon can be in love with the person, whatever body they’re in. It’s all very positive and life-affirming. Although ultimately doomed, obviously.
Before I Fall
Before I Fall is another teen movie with a slight sci-fi edge. This time the story centres on Sam, a teenage girl who has a terrible day – and then she dies.
Except she wakes up and relives the same day (and her death) over and over. Eventually, Sam realises that she needs to change key events in the day, and help save someone else’s life – but can she save her own life in the process?
I loved that this movie prompts teens to think about how they treat other children, and the fact it reminds them to be nice to their Mums doesn’t hurt either! It’s also one of the best depictions of teen girl friendships I’ve seen in years.
I Know What You Did Last Summer
This is one of those vintage teen movies of the 1990s that Flea ADORES and it honestly hasn’t dated at all. In case you missed it first time around, this is the story of a group of teen friends who do something spectacularly stupid one summer, resulting in someone’s death.
The friends try and cover it up, but a year later, it looks like the secret got out.
Honestly, it’s a bit schlocky, but we loved this for the scary moments, the fun of predicting who was going to die next, and the over-the-top gruesome ends that some of the characters meet.
One of the important things about representation is that it’s about so much more than making movies about “black” characters or “gay” characters. It’s making a movie where there’s a character who happens to be gay.
In this case, Love, Simon is a classic teen romance that hinges on someone having an online relationship – but they’re not sure who with. The movie is really interesting for kids who have grown up in a Catfish generation.
Yes, Simon’s gay, and there are interesting and really quite moving scenes around the challenges of coming out. But all kids will relate to this movie because it’s about having crushes and making your move, and it’s just really romantic.
Did you know that Heathers is one of the few teen movies you can’t stream anywhere right now? We had to buy the DVD to show this movie to Flea. And the first thing she said was, “Wow, they wouldn’t be able to make this movie now, would they?”
But I still think this anarchic, black comedy is one of the best teen movies of the period. What’s not to love about Christian Slater and Winona Ryder?
Heathers has some smart observations on teen cliques and the deadly perils of trying to fit in with the cool girls. Well worth seeking out.
Boyz n the Hood
We’ve recently seen (and loved) The Hate U Give, but Boyz N The Hood is a grittier take on young black lives.
It’s the classic story of Tre, who goes to live with his Dad in a tough part of LA. Tre watches his friends get pulled into crime, drugs and gang culture – with tragic results. It’s incredibly moving, and powerful and hasn’t dated a bit since I first watched it.
The Hate U Give
This teen movie is a great comparison piece to Boyz n the Hood. It’s more contemporary and more polished, but no less powerful. This is a movie that takes on the issue of police brutality and the shooting of a young black male. A teen girl sees her friend shot by a police officer, and is the only witness. Should she tell her story?
It’s a great way to open a discussion about our responsibility to stand up and be heard, and the times when that might be hard for some people to do.
Originally a YA Novel, the movie adaption of Nerve got some harsh reviews when it was released.
That said, Flea and I both really enjoyed it, and I thought it prompted some interesting conversations about online challenges, and how far you would go given the right peer pressure and the motivation of online “fame”.
The story centres on Vee, a teen girl who joins an online game that sets increasingly dangerous challenges for kids to perform live on a web site. The more dangerous the stunt, the more people watch – and the bigger the financial reward. But what happens when it starts to go too far?
Pretty in Pink
Okay. Your teen is going to make some comments about the fashion choices in Pretty in Pink. But did anyone ever think that prom dress was anything other than a hot mess?
Not only is this one of the best teen movies of the 1980s, it’s one of my favourite movies full stop.
I don’t care what year it is, though, James Spader will always be cool, and Duckie is my hero. It’s a classic “wrong side of the tracks” movie with a gorgeous soundtrack and so many quotable lines, it’s a must-watch.
I have absolutely saved the best til last.
If you have a teen, are a teen or ever were a teen then you absolutely must watch Eighth Grade. It’s definitely in the top five best teen movies of the past decade. (I’d also add Thirteen to this list, too)
This teen movie is a painfully truthful depiction of life as a young teen. Ellie is 13, crippled with self-consciousness and shyness, and hopelessly intimidated by all the cool kids around her, that she follows on social media.
She’s mostly mute at school, and largely invisible. But she expresses herself through a YouTube channel where she presents a fictional version of a popular, chatty, funny teen offering sage life advice to her (11) viewers.
What I loved about the film is first, that it completely reminds me as a parent just how EXCRUCIATING it is to be thirteen. And for Flea, it’s a positive message in that Kayla might be awkward and unpopular – but she’s just not found her ‘tribe’ yet and it’s going to get so much better for her as she gets a little older.
Eighth Grade is funny, it’s painful, it’s heartwarming and it’s just a 100 percent must-see movie. Trailer below, because I honestly just can’t imagine anyone not loving this film:
Need more inspiration? Check out these post:
- 20 Movies from the 1980s Your Kids Will Love
- Ultimate Christmas Movie Guide
- Best Teen Movies for a Sleepover
PIN FOR LATER: BEST TEEN MOVIES TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND