Study Guide Themes Archives: Coming of Age

For Akheem

Daje Shelton, a 17-year-old girl from St. Louis, just wants to do the right thing. But growing up in a tough neighborhood, she can’t catch a break: she’s struggling in school; she’s distracted by boys; and she’s surrounded by a culture of violence and brutality. The fatal shooting of Michael Brown Jr. provides a powerful backdrop for this masterfully crafted portrait of working-class urban life.

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Miriam Lies

In this sensitive coming-of-age drama, a shy, bi-racial teenager wants to invite a boy she met online to her quinceanera—but she fears telling her mother that he’s black.

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Trust

After carefree teenager Annie’s life is shattered by an online sexual predator, her parents (Clive Owen, Catherine Keener) struggle to help her pick up the pieces. As anger and disbelief drive her father’s desire for revenge, Annie is left to contend with her feelings of guilt and shame. Commanding performances by an ensemble cast drive this fiercely honest look at the devastating aftermath of rape

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Undefeated

Set in Memphis, Undefeated chronicles the Manassas Tigers’ 2009 football season as they strive to win the first playoff game in the high school’s 110-year history.

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Unknown Soldier

Bright, friendly and bubbling with hormones, Ellison is a typical Harlem teenager. He gets into good-natured mischief with his pals, stealing dogs and sneaking into amusement parks, and has a playful sexual tug-of- war with his girlfriend Tande. But when his father dies of a sudden heart attack, Ellison is evicted from their apartment and forced to grow up far too soon. Without relatives, he quickly runs out of friends’ houses to stay in and finds himself homeless and desperate. He declines a job with local drug dealer and longtime acquaintance Zee, but after being refused by the Army (asthma) and victimized in a homeless shelter, Ellison is out of options. As Zee’s personal assistant, he’s entrusted with harmless tasks which slowly give way to dangerous assignments that leave him desperate for a way out. Ferenc Toth’s astounding debut won Best Narrative Feature at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

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