Top 12 Movies Like 'Lady Bird' Everyone Should Be Watching
What Films Are Like Lady Bird?
We will all agree that the primary function of movies is to entertain. However, once in a while, we are treated to a movie that not only entertains us, but teaches us life lessons—lessons of self-discovery, growth, and how to be human. These films hold a mirror up to the audience and, through relatable characters and stories, leave lingering questions in our minds long after the credits have rolled and curtains have closed.
Questions that ask us to search deep within ourselves to find out what sort of person we are and if things will end badly or better for us like the characters we see play out our lives. One such movie that brings some of these profound questions bubbling to the surface is Lady Bird.
Lady Bird follows the relationship of a young girl and her mother who seem to be at odd with each other despite the love between them. As the story unfolds, the young girl and her mother must both look inwards and explore what makes them individually a better mother, better daughter, and collectively, better human beings.
Lady Bird was voted by Time magazine as one of the ten best films of the year in 2017 and earned five nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Director at the 90th Academy Awards. It also won two awards for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy and Best Actress for a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globe Awards, and was nominated for two more.
It was also nominated for three British Academy Film Awards. Safe to say that the resounding success of Lady Bird is a testament to how we are drawn to these deeply emotive human stories, which is why for our list, we will be looking at films which focus on the coming-of-age theme, focusing predominantly on the teenage stories of growth.
Without further ado, let's take a look at some movies like Lady Bird that'll keep you busy for a while.
Movies Similar To Lady Bird
- Call Me By Your Name (2018)
- Frances Ha (2012)
- Hunt For The Wilderpeople (2016)
- Me, Earl And The Dying Girl (2015)
- 20th Century Woman (2016)
- Columbus (2017)
- The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
- Transamerica (2005)
- The Spectacular Now (2013)
- The Fault in our Stars (2014)
- Paper Towns (2015)
- Perks of Being A Wallflower (2012)
1. Call Me by Your Name (2018)
It’s the topsy-turvy nature of young love in Call Me by Your Name that puts it in the same category as Lady Bird. This coming-of-age love story explores themes of love and sexuality as Timothée Chalamet plays a 17-year-old who is romantically involved with his father’s 24-year-old male assistant.
The film has been praised by critics for its spectacular performances as both actors bring the characters to life in such a way that audiences feel as if they were really there. The success of the film has led to a 93% and 95% score on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes respectively, which is why it occupies the first place on my list.
2. Frances Ha (2012)
Another film written by Greta Gerwig in which she stars as the titular character, this black and white comedy-drama film follows a 27-year-old young girl named Frances, trying to figure out what to do with her life.
The character represents every young adult’s struggle and frustration in that part of their lives where they have all the energy but don’t know where to channel it. For example, Frances apprentices for a dance company although she really doesn’t dance, doesn’t own an apartment, and when new situations that require her to “grow up” begin to put a strain on her relationships, she begins to consider the possibility that she may not be able to realize her myriad of dreams.
The movie was a hit with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 92% approval rating and a Metacritic score of 82 out of 100. This sly feature established writer-director Greta Gerwig as a force to be reckoned with.
If you're looking for an engrossing movie like Lady Bird, Frances Ha should be your best bet.
3. Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
This New Zealand entry will warm even the coldest hearts. Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a story about a boy and his foster father who must find a way to survive together after they are stranded in the New Zealand wilderness.
With a Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes score of 81% and 96% respectively, this charming bordering on comedic drama adventure of two generations is a touching drama that should make your watchlist.
Stream Hunt for the Wilderpeople on Netflix.
4. Me, Earl and The Dying Girl (2015)
Sometimes, the hardest lessons are learnt with the simplest of stories. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Me, Earl and The Dying Girl deals with the topics of love, friendship, and loss in the most whimsical of ways.
The character of Greg (played by Thomas Mann), spends most of his time making parodies of movies with his best friend Earl (played by RJ Cyler) and keeping to himself. That’s until he rediscovers an old friendship with Rachel who has just been diagnosed with leukemia.
The film is a gripping rollercoaster ride of teenage awkwardness and heartfelt friendship, earning it a standing ovation at its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Reviews have largely been positive with critics praising the screenplay and cast. Me, Earl and The Dying Girl is available on Netflix.
5. 20th Century Women
20th Century Women shows that you are never too old to come into your own. This 2016 drama tells the story of a determined single mother in her fifties, raising her adolescent and rebellious son, Jamie. She enlists the help of two younger women to help with Jamie's upbringing.
The beauty of this film is in how complex yet completely relatable the characters are. 20th Century Women is a touching tale that explores what growth means for all the characters, hiding nothing from the viewer. It’s the recognizable messiness of this coming-of-age story that makes it so relatable which is why it makes its way on my list.
6. Columbus (2017)
When a famous architect on tour from another country with his son suddenly falls ill, his son finds him stranded in a small city where he strikes up an unlikely friendship with someone at the local library. It’s only a matter of time before feelings begin to emerge, and as both of them adventure through the town, they are forced to face their own conflicted emotions.
The acting is stellar with breath-taking visuals, as South Korean director Kogonada showcases the rich architecture on offer in the midwestern city of Columbus with his first directorial debut.
If you’re looking for a coming of age movie like Lady Bird, this is it.
7. The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
No film relates the awkwardness of what it means to be a teenager as well as The Edge of Seventeen. Yes, even more so than Lady Bird. Following the life of a high school junior called Nadine, her teenage years get a lot more complex and lonelier when her best friend starts dating her perfect older brother. Feeling alone and abandoned, Nadine falls into a slump until an unexpected friendship shows her that things may just not be so bad after all.
The Edge of Seventeen unveils the life of a high-schooler in all of its glorious messiness and is clearly unapologetic about it, which as any discerning fan will admit, is a refreshing change of pace from an industry that tries to package an unrealistic squeaky-clean version of life for its audience.
The Edge of Seventeen is available on Netflix.
8. Transamerica (2005)
Taking a break from the overwhelming youth influence on this list for a brief moment, Transamerica paints a story of sexuality, love, and family. This 2005 comedic drama starring Felicity Huffman tells the story of Bree Osborne, who right in the middle of making major transitions in her life, finds out that she fathered a son seventeen years ago who is now in prison.
Okay fine; youth is involved. However, this film’s primary focus is on the story of a transgender woman who must deal with the complications that life throws at her. Posing as a Christian missionary, Transamerica follows their story. The more she learns about her son and ultimately herself, the more difficult it gets to reveal who she really is.
The movie deals with real-life issues affecting many people today and like most movies on this list, holds a mirror to the face of society, not beratingly so, but with a light brand of humor that leaves audiences open to self-reflection.
9. The Spectacular Now (2013)
The Spectacular Now is the story of an unexpected romance between a popular cool kid and an introverted girl. As feelings grow deeper, the two must deal with the individual problems they face and life after school.
What makes this film amazing is how right it gets the human condition, displaying how many people who come across as well put together actually have the worst kind of lives and try to hide it.
If you are a fan of people watching and eavesdropping on interesting dialogue, The Spectacular Now should be a point of interest for you. The Spectacular Now is available on Netflix.
10. The Fault in our Stars (2014)
If you’re easily prone to tears, you might want to skip out on watching The Fault in our Stars. Directed by Josh Boone, this heart-breaking love story adaptation from the book of its same name follows Gus and Hazel, two teenagers who deal with cancer as they fall in love.
Gus is a cancer survivor and Hazel is terminally diagnosed and carries around an oxygen tank. With the constant reminder of their imminent mortality, they share an impassioned adventure as they look to enjoy what little time they have left. The thing that may probably strike you the most about this film is the character development and how quickly you find yourself falling in love with these two. It feels real and avoids so many of the common sappy clichés movies of this nature fall prey to.
The Fault in Our Stars is probably the closest you'll get to finding a film like Lady Bird. Watch it on Netflix.
11. Paper Towns (2015)
Teen angst, as in Lady Bird, seems to be a popular trope in this genre, sometimes done in the most horrendous cliché manner possible. Not with Paper Towns. The film does present an idealized version of what many wish their teenage years were about, but it does it in the most normal way possible using an all too often character we readily identify with; a keeps-to-himself teenager, Quentin.
There’s this cool popular girl no one can figure out who used to be Quentin’s friend and now his secret crush. After a dream-come-true moment where she enlists his help to exact some revenge on her disloyal friends, she completely disappears. Paper Towns follows Quentin’s obsessive journey to find the enigmatic love of his life.
It’s a movie that finds a way to show the wonder in normal moments, reminding us all to stop and take in the beauty of life instead of being inundated with the daily struggle to get by.
12. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
I saved the best for last on this list with The Perks of Being a Wallflower. First released as a novel by the same name and then directed by said writer in the form of Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows the story of an awkward teenager, Charlie, played by Logan Lerman, who is socially adopted by a free-spirited Sam, played by Emma Watson, and her laidback stepbrother Patrick, played by Ezra Miller.
With his new mature and exciting friends, Charlie begins to really experience what being a teenager is all about, exploring friendship, love and more. Charlie enjoying his new lease on life, however, begins to go through a regression as the closer his new friends get to leaving for college, the more his old reservations begin to creep up on him, destroying his newfound way of life.
This film is regarded as the coming of age film and has achieved cult-like status amongst fans of the genre. If you haven't watched this heart-warming flick yet, now is the chance to redeem yourself.
Did I miss out on any movies like Lady Bird? Let Me know in the comments section.