It just so happened today that I watched three coming of age stories: Let the Right One In, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, and Kisses. The films made me curious–what elements make a coming of age story?
One of the most common elements is the discovery of sexuality, which is, most of the time, depicted from the male perspective. Oskar from Let the Right One In is in ambiguous territory with his vampire girlfriend Eli; Francis Doyle from Altar Boys fawns over Margie Flynn from on hormonal high; and Dylan in Kisses is too poor to offer anything but a smooch for his dear Kylie.
On a related note, the ways in which girls are handled in each of these films (and other coming of age films), tend to follow some worn paths. Margie Flynn does not receive great development, just like Wendy Peffercorn from The Sandlot (is it sad or funny I didn’t have to look up her name?). Both are little more than breasted idols to the males who have just discovered the opposite sex. Continue reading