The age between 20 to 30 is called the quarter-life crisis. That phase in our life is characterised by uncertainty, questioning, and intense soul searching. People undergo those weird feelings because they feel trapped, uninspired, and disillusioned.
Everyone has their image about the life they wish to have when they turn thirty. For most, they want to be successful at thirty and dine at fine restaurants around the world, while others at thirty consider it the time to start a family, make babies, settle and build a carrier.
There are a bunch of life lessons one has to learn before turning thirty; there are many ways one could receive those lessons, one being movies. Filmmakers from around the world have left valuable lessons through dazzling films tha can help us make sense of the life we live before turning 30.
These are probably the best ten movies one must watch before turning 30.
10. Three Colors: Red (1994), Krzysztof Kieslowsk
This mind-blowing film follows the lives of three different characters, navigating the randomness of circumstances, the contradictory nature of love, and how empathy plays a part in all of this.
Revolving a friendship between a young model and an elderly retired judge portrays the contrast between youth and old age.
It’s a study expressing how we’re all subject to the same randomness of experiences and how the only thing that can help us survive a hostile world is love for each other.
9. Chungking Express (1994), Wong Kar-Wai
This noir-like film presents two young police officers trying to deal with the ghosts of their past lives by placing their raw emotions through poetic acts that help them make sense of their suffering.
Its underlying message is that, even against the worst of odds, we must find a means to overcome the overwhelming narratives within our lives.
8. Before Sunrise (1995), Richard Linklater
Focusing on the power of chance and bizarre encounters, Linklater’s first film of the series starring Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) is an inspiring take on the randomness of love.
It also portrays how, sometimes, we can experience an electrifying connection with a person if we just let things flow. It’s a stunning and heart-wrenching film of the unpredictability of romance, which is something we should all be open to.
7. Tucker: The Man and his Dream (1988), Francis Ford Coppola
Based on the true story of Preston Tucker, a famous entrepreneur and car designer, Coppola’s film tells us how, throughout our youth, there will always be resistance from the world to change. However, when we stay true to our vision, we might have the chance to break the oppositional barriers keeping progress at bay.
6. 50 / 50 (2011), Jonathan Levine
Often, we take everything in our life for granted because we’re used to acting responsibly. Yet, sometimes, behaving as others expect is not enough to conquer the obstacles that life may place against us.
Based on the screenwriter Will Reiser’s experience with facing cancer at a young age, the film is an exceptional and heartfelt portrayal of the overwhelming and unexpected hurdles that life throws at us at times. It’s a story of how we need to grow up to overcome the inevitable.
5. Into the Wild (2007), Sean Penn
Based on the real-life story of Christopher McCandless, Penn portrays a voyage from a hitchhiker who decides to turn his back on capitalism to live in contact with nature. In the wild, our protagonist discovers a new perspective beyond the arbitrary values that we have placed on materiality.
This unveils a deeper meaning to our existence that we often ignore. An essential film about finding a purpose in the universe and choosing to lead your own path, despite all the external pressures that may come with it.
4. Trainspotting (1997), Danny Boyle
Sometimes, we feel like we can just throw everything away and let ourselves fall into an abyss of moral decomposition and hedonistic decay throughout our youth.
We sometimes lose sight of how much we’re responsible for in our own lives throughout our twenties due to our disgust towards the outside world.
Boyle’s wacky Trainspotting tells the story of five Scottish blokes who let themselves fall into a rut of heroin addiction, searching for a means to escape from the pain and anguish of the world.
Yet, through their eccentric downward spiral, they’ll find that the more they try to dodge the suffering dullness of their grey Edinburgh, the deeper it gets. Hilarious and mind-bending, Boyle’s twisted film is a bleak portrayal of an immoral world that we’re all forced to make sense of.
3. The Social Network (2010), David Fincher
Who would’ve thought that a film about a bunch of Harvard nerds coming up with the world’s most famous social network could make for an exciting and thrilling drama? The story of Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin, through precise rhythm and masterful editing, is the perfect combination between a playful college flick and a ruthless business movie.
It’s a film that dazzlingly captures the conflict between a vigorous and youthful outlook on life versus the corrosive power of ambition. It leads us to reflect upon who we want to be in life and question the apparent incompatibility between being moral and finding what others call “success”.
2. American Graffiti (1973), George Lucas
Is there a better way of dealing with coming of age than looking at how the baby boomer generation behaved during their years of teenage partying and how even they had to face the terrors of adulthood? The film, starring Richard Dreyfuss, was Harrison Ford’s debut on the big screen.
Looking at him as the beloved rascal who would eventually become Han Solo gives us a chippy feeling. Starting a new path on our life is always a terrifying experience, yet films like this remind us that we should have fun in the process and seize the day while it lasts.
1. Clerks (1994), Kevin Smith
A cult classic since its release in 1994, Kevin Smith’s Clerks is a gritty movie that portrays the bland, dull side of growing up, as well as the existential numbness that sometimes takes hold of us as we’re walking into adulthood.
Nonetheless, though it’s a wicked sense of humour, it reminds us of how we should try to make sense of the absurdity of life and how we have to hold on to the people and things that make it meaningful, even if we —like Dante, the protagonist— often take them for granted.