This week, the theme for Wanderer's Thursday Movie Picks Meme is Teen Angst. There are a lot of emotional and psychological difficulties that people face when they enter their teens, and it can be a very difficult period of a person's life. Naturally, there have been plenty of movies made on the subject of troubled youth and the everyday issues faced by teenagers.
Now there are plenty of films on the subject. In fact, there's one coming out very soon: The Edge of Seventeen. However, with this list, I've decided to find some unusual choices. These are titles nobody is going to see coming but I've got some good ones. Let's begin...
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Not what you expected to see on this list, was it? Yes, Victor Flemmin's The Wizard of Oz is a weird and moderately surreal (or at least as surreal as you could get in studio-era Hollywood) fantastical adventure that may or may not have been all a dream. However, it's easy to get so swept away by the extravagant and colorful scenery of Oz that it's easy to forget the black-and-white sequences that open and close the film and that at its core, the film is really about Dorothy's own emotional issues. The entire story is set in motion because Dorothy is frustrated with her mundane life and wants to run away, only to question the value of home when her wish is granted in a rather unusual way.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
What list of teen angst movies would be complete without the original teen angst movie. Nicholas Ray's film is widely considered a classic and is arguably the most iconic role of James Dean (also his second film, and one of only three he made before he died). The movie follows three teenagers in the 1950's who are all struggling with their own personal and emotionally difficulties as well as family relations, and how they find themselves coming together when they are all arrested under different charges; eventually finding comfort in each other. Of course, matters are made more problematic by the society that isn't ready to accept their friendship or understand the emotional difficulties they're facing, leading to a dark climax at the film's conclusion.
Okay, this is probably not one you expected to see make the list, but teen angst is really at the center of Jim Henson's surreal fantasy adventure. After all, underneath the bizarre puppets, David Bowie's flamboyant costumes, the various fantastical set pieces, and the surreal journey vaguely reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz, it really is about a teenager working through her own emotions. In fact, I wrote an entire essay explaining in detail how the story is really about Sarah's emotional struggle to reconcile two different sides of her personality (her imagination and her real-world responsibilities), a struggle represented by her journey through the labyrinth.