There are four different approaches to coming-of-age stories. The “Moment In Time” approach, where the film inspects the minutiae of the character’s daily lives as a stand-in for a more broader lesson, in films like Lady Bird and Stand By Me. They take a small amount of someone’s life- often only a day or two- and use it to show the drastic changes these experiences have on the characters. The “Long-Haul” approach shows several different stages of someone’s life, in a more slow-burn way of showing the development of a character. Boyhood and The Royal Tenenbaums both have these large time-skips. The “Big Event” is obvious- it’s films like American Pie or Superbad, where characters are all preparing for one specific event (usually a dance) that will bring them into adulthood. The final is the “Petri Dish” style, where a group of characters are thrusted together in a way that would otherwise be unlikely or absolutely impossible to justify. They, in their interactions with each other, have a drastic effect on each other and elicit change. Movies like Clueless and Dope fall into this category.

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