Movies can play such an important part in our lives as we grow up – they affect us more than we think, and we remember them long into adulthood and beyond. Here are 11 amazing Latino coming-of-age films that may speak to your childhood…
1. “Mosquita Y Mari” (2012)
Mosquita y Mari Trailer from Augie Robles on Vimeo.
This 2012 Official Sundance Selection and the Official Selection of the San Francisco International Film Festival tells us about two “young Chicanas [who] contemplate life when they stir unexpected desires in each other.” Aurora Guerrero, the writer and director, crafted something truly incredible and special, touching on what it’s like to be a queer woman of color.
2. “Por La Libre” (2000)
Ahhh, a film about growing pains. It follows Rodrigo and Rocco as they take a journey from Mexico City to Acapulco to accomplish their grandfather’s last wish. It hits home for anyone dealing with family issues, sexuality, and fighting with someone you’re really close to; like your cousins, brothers or sisters.
3. “The Best Things In The World” (2010)
Oh goodness, the feels in this movie! It tells the story of one family’s experience as the parents divorce, and the father comes out as gay. It’s a beautiful, funny, sad Brazilian film that hits on real issues that Latino families face. Get ready to laugh and cry.
4. “Confissões de Adolescente” (2014)
Give me a movie about growing up with sisters and I’ll give you my soul, tears, emotions… everything. How many of us grew up in a Latina household fighting, nagging, crying, and loving each other?! This 2014 film is based off the diaries of Maria Mariana, who also stars in the film!
5. “The Way He Looks” (2014)
Based on the 2010 short film, “I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone,“ is about a blind teenager, his best friend Giovana, and their changing relationship when Gabriel is introduced. It’s sweet, poignant, and touches on the relationship between two teenagers that constantly blurs the line between friendship and something more.
6. “The Year My Parents Went On Vacation” (2006)
This film is the perfect mix of drama and comedy exploring themes of politics and familial discord, all centered around a young boy’s obsession with the World Cup. It’s part coming of age, part political commentary, part nostalgic tale and will leave your heart aching. For anyone who has had to live the repercussions of their parents’ lives, this is for you.
7. “Lake Tahoe” (2008)
This film isn’t just visually unique and interesting. The story is fascinating and focuses on Juan, who crashes his family car into a pole and attempts to fix it. Of course, you can bet that he meets some interesting characters his way to fix his car that ultimately change his life.
8. “Alamar” (2009)
This documentary style film is about a young boy visiting his father on the Banco Chinchorro. It’s got a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, so you know it’s pretty damn amazing. It’s about falling in love with nature, which is so gorgeously shot, and the relationship between the father and son will bring you to tears.
9. “I Like It Like That” (1994)
This Bronx-based comedy is about the trials and tribulations a young, poor Puerto Rican couple faces. If you’re Puerto Rican, you’ll find yourself raising hands in praise to the relatable moments in the film, and also just in appreciation of the struggle.
10. “Raising Victor Vargas” (2002)
A tale of a Dominican ladies’ man! This comedy-drama depicts life in the early 2000’s in New York City’s Lower East Side. This film has an authentic take on what it’s like to grow up Latino with a big family, one that includes an abuelita who wants to put him in jail for no reason ?, and a new girlfriend. This is another one that’ll make you laugh and probably cry.
11. “Hangin’ With The Homeboys” (1991)
You’ll recognize the faces in this movie (baby John Leguizamo!!! I die.) It’s the quintessential coming of-age film about two black men and two Puerto Rican men over the course of one night in – you guessed it – the Bronx. It’s a ’90s classic! Friendship, girls, laughter – what more could you really want? It’s the perfect example of life in the city.