Movie Reflection Papers

Assignment 3

Movie Reflection Papers (10%) 

Please watch 2 movies you choose out of the following list. Write a 1-2 pages reflection paper for each.

American Teen

(dir. Nanette Burstein, 2008, 95 minutes)

This documentary follows a group of small-town Indiana adolescents through their lives in high school and their social relationships.

High School Confidential

(dir. Jack Arnold, 1958, 85 minutes)

An excellent film to use as an example of stereotypes of adolescence in the 1950s. The story revolves around a narcotics officer’s attempt to bust “hopheads” in a tough high school. Funny but revealing in terms of issues of adult perceptions of youth culture.

American Graffiti

(dir. George Lucas, 1973, 110 minutes)

This film is about the coming-of-age of a group of high school students in northern California. Issues of moving from adolescence to emerging adulthood are highlighted in a context of 1960s culture.

50 Ways of Saying Fabulous

(dir. Stewart Main, 2005, 90 minutes)

This is the story of 12-year-old Billy, who is about to discover that growing up is a lot more confusing than he could have ever imagined. He is a farmer’s only son who is out of step with the other boys at his school. As he learns about his sexuality, everything he knows is called into question, including his lifelong loyalty to his best friend, tomboy Louise.


(dir. Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi, 2007, 96 minutes)

This movie is a poignant coming-of-age story of a precocious and outspoken young Iranian girl that begins during the Islamic Revolution. Marjane Satrapi grew up wearing sneakers and beating up boys. She wanted to grow up to be a saint. When she was 10 years old, her world changed overnight. Girls and boys had to use different doors to enter the school. She had to cover herself with a long dark robe.

The Year My Voice Broke

(dir. John Duigan, 1988, 103 minutes)

A likeable Australian coming-of-age drama with echoes of “The Last Picture Show” and the novels of S.E. Hinton. Though the film market has been saturated with adolescent dramas since 1962, this movie’s refreshing honesty makes it a welcome addition to the genre.

Dead Poets Society

(dir. Peter Weir, 1989, 124 minutes)

Robin Williams, as an impressive, unorthodox English teacher, inspires a love of poetry and intellectual freedom in his students at a strict, upscale New England prep school. Issues of multiple intelligences and cognitive development are highlighted as well as motivation in school.

Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen

(dir. Sara Sugarman, 1991, 89 minutes)

A teenage girl is convinced that her home city revolves around her until her family packs up and moves to the suburbs, where she finds herself competing for attention.

Searching for Bobby Fischer

(dir. Steven Zaillian, 1993, 107 minutes)

This film is about prodigy Josh Waitzkian, a seven-year-old boy whose understanding of chess puts him in the running to be “the next Bobby Fischer.” This praise could easily be a curse; Fischer devoted his life to the game and then became a recluse after becoming a world champion. This thought-provoking commentary explores how success in America is often emphasized over decency.

Bend It Like Beckham

(dir. Gurinder Chadha, 2002, 112 minutes)

An English girl of Indian descent has a passionate interest in soccer, but she has to indulge it on the sly for fear of upsetting her conservative, tradition-bound parents. Fine performances and a gentle, compassionate point of view towards all its characters make this a real charmer.

Smoke Signals

(dir. Chris Eyre, 1998, 89 minutes)

This film is a tale of two Native American youths on a trip to Arizona. Highlights cultural aspects of identity, family relationships, peer relationships…a poignant coming-of-age flick.

Whale Rider

(dir. Niki Caro, 2002, 101 minutes)

Tradition, good and bad, is at the heart of New Zealand director-scripter Niki Caro’s wonderful little drama, sensitively adapted from the 1986 novel by Witi Ihimaera, itself a contemporary interpretation of a 1,000 year old legend belonging to a Maori subtribe residing in a coastal village of New Zealand. The central characters are very much affected by modern society, and yet equally aware of the need to preserve their heritage. The story, about a girl determined to prove that “she matters” to her stubborn grandfather, celebrates and cherishes individual spirit while speaking to the heart of the parent-child dynamic. This is a stirring saga of female empowerment and the strength of love and courage.

Slumdog Millionaire

(dir. Danny Boyle, 2008, 120 min)

A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answe


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