10 movies about characters who don’t want to grow up

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Growing up can be a difficult and tedious thing to do, both in fiction and in real life. It is not surprising then that it is something that is often explored in films, with the coming of age narrative being particularly popular, due to its relevance to the most viewers. Sometimes, the characters want to grow up and accept changes in their lives, even if they are difficult, while other characters are more stable.


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The following 10 films show what happens when a character resists growing up and matures a little more than most. It could be said that some still qualify as coming-of-age films, while others defy the norm, arguing (or at least partially suggesting) that growing up is not and discarding everything childish is always the best thing to do.

‘The End of the World’ (2013)

Five people drinking in sync at a bar in The World's End.

The End of the World begins as a comedy, gradually becomes a science fiction film, and then ends up being a wonderfully sad look at how one man denies that he is not a teenager more. That man is Gary King, and the film’s plot sees him pressurizing his old school friends to try and pull off a massive pub crawl that they tried in their youth, but failed. ever.

He is shown to be living in the past compared to his friends, who have all moved on with their lives and have traditional adult things, such as professional careers and families. However, thanks to the film’s sci-fi elements that fundamentally change the world forever, it looks like Gary will be able to survive without growing up and sticking to the norms of society, seeing that society no longer exists. able to enforce these rules.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ (2014)

Guardians walking down a corridor

Peter Quill/Star-Lord since Guardians of the Galaxy movies can be weird at times, but you can’t blame him for acting a bit like a man-child (especially in the first movie). After all, he was taken from Earth when he was very young, and had to grow up as best he could while in an unfamiliar environment, and from without the best parent numbers too.

He revives a bit with the creation of the Guardians himself, and learns to be better in the process. However, his character is still defined by certain childhood traits such as restlessness and overconfidence, and as Avengers: Infinity War proven, being unable to control these things can have negative consequences.

‘Turning Red’ (2022)

Mei, Priya, Abby and Miriam in Turning Red

There are plenty of coming of age movies released by Pixar, but Turning Red definitely stands out. It features an unusual and original concept in which a young girl turns into a giant red panda when she experiences strong emotions. Since she is also at an important stage in her life where everyone experiences turbulent emotions, this struggle becomes even higher, although she is getting better at controlling it. emotions and, by extension, changed its shape.

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She has the choice to permanently get rid of her red panda transformation abilities, but decides to keep it as a part of her going forward, presumably into adulthood, even though that members of her previous family tended to get rid of their similar abilities before she reached adulthood. In this way, she is still hanging on to a part of her future childhood, successfully starting to grow up without removing that part of herself completely.

‘Dazed and Confused’ (1993)

Matthew McConaughey in 'Dazed and Confused'

By stretching one pleasant night at the beginning of summer vacation over the entire running time, Dazed and confused showing a feeling of trying to keep up with youth as long as possible. Many of the characters are also having the time of their lives and don’t seem to want the night to end, with the audience being treated to a fun, funny film as a result.

It’s definitely a suspenseful movie, and even though each character has their own desires and ambitions, it’s hard to say Dazed and confused it has a plot; he has a concept more. And that concept is “We’re not going to be young forever, so let’s have fun and feel young as long as we can.” In presenting this and allowing the viewer that exciting feeling, there is no doubt that the film is successful.

‘The Graduate’ (1967)

a graduate
Photo via MGM

One of the most popular films of the 1960s, The Graduate following a young man named Benjamin Braddock. He’s just out of college and doesn’t know what to do with his life, and spends much of the film lamenting his lack of purpose while also having a dangerous relationship with Elaine’s mother, a woman young that Ben’s parents would like to see. settle down with.

Ben’s inability to grow up is criticized here, rather than celebrated. This is shown well in the film’s shocking (and sometimes misunderstood) ending, where he childishly disrupts Elaine’s wedding and runs off with her, just before they both realize that they have made a critical mistake… and then the movie ends.

‘Stay With Me’ (1986)

stand by me

stand by me she will undoubtedly be bitter when it comes to watching the struggle of growing up, perhaps emphasizing the bitter over the sweet by the end of the film. It celebrates the innocence and freedom of being a child, but at the same time, the main plot in which a group of young friends embark on an “adventure” to see a dead body is very dark.

An epilogue informs the audience that the once close friends have drifted apart, and one of them tragically died early. It all ends with the line: “I’ve never had friends like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, is there a man?”, suggesting that one of the biggest downsides of being an adult is that he vaguely wants to sacrifice his strongest, strongest friendship. you will ever have.

‘Clergy’ (1994)

Lament of the Clerks

That is appropriate Clerks looking at the tedium that comes with early age, by the writer/director Kevin Smith and most of the cast were all in their early 20s when it was being produced. Dante and Randal are the two main characters in the film, and we are shown a day in their life as they try to survive the boring, dead jobs they work.

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There is catharsis to be found for anyone who has worked the same job or felt the same way, but there is no doubt that Clerks gives a very poor picture of age. There’s a good maturity to the characters in the series (released 12 and 28 years after the original, respectively), but reaching middle age is also shown to be another challenge.

‘Toy Story’ (1995)

Woody and Buzz in Toy Story

Toy Story there may be a few jokes with the adult theme and mature themes, but in the end it is a family friendly film. It deals with toys that take on a life of their own when their owners aren’t looking, but while the child characters are important, it’s the toys themselves that go through the most impressive character arcs in the first film.

Ironically, Buzz Lightyear doesn’t want to grow up learning the truth about who he is, and Woody is immature for much of the movie because he’s jealous of Buzz. The two eventually learn from each other and mature, but for much of the film they act in relatively childish ways, and otherwise refuse to grow up or become wiser and/or more caring.

‘Logan’s Run’ (1976)

Logan Run - 1976

Even if the characters are inside Logan ran the world wanted to grow up and grow old, they are not allowed. This is because it takes place in a futuristic city that offers a luxurious lifestyle and wealth to everyone, but no one in the population is allowed to live beyond 30 years his age.

It is a world for the young, and only for the young, with the film looking at the problems and tension that such a system causes. This is one of those science fiction films that at first seems to depict utopia, only for things to reveal themselves as dystopian, and all because a futuristic city does not allow the a movie with people growing up.

‘Ted’ (2012)

Ted it wouldn’t hold up as a comedy if it didn’t allow its two main characters to act like immature children for most of the running time. It follows a man and his childhood teddy bear who survived 27 years earlier, and while they have both aged physically, they haven’t done much growing up mentally or emotionally.

This causes problems and tension between the man’s companion and his sensitive teddy bear, but as a light comedy, all things are wrapped up quickly before the end. However, one is not allowed to grow up too much, as the film spawns a sequel where the same style of immature humor is carried over, perhaps with diminishing results.

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