Best 25 recommended Teen Girl Movies 2017

I have a few pages with my favorite movies for teen girls online and on those pages I’ve asked readers to share their favorite teen movies.

This is the list in order of popularity. It includes old classics as well as modern twists on the genre. Do add your own favorites in the comments below. 

These are often teen romances of course – with humor and teen angst mixed in. The oldest is a 70s hit, but they go all the way up to the new millennium.

Whether you like dance and music movies or the kind of romance where the girl and guy really develops as people (and grow up), I do think there’s something for everyone in this mix. 

Shown above are the recent favorite: The Hunger Games Series

 

Pretty in Pink (Everything’s Duckie Edition)

The era of Molly Ringwald’s profitable collaboration with writer-producer-director John Hughes (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club) was at its peak with this 1986 film (directed by Howard Deutch but in every sense part of the developing Hughes empire). Ringwald plays a high school girl on the budget side of the tracks, living with her warm and loving father (Harry Dean Stanton) and usually accompanied by her insecure best friend (Jon Cryer). When a wealthy but well-meaning boy (Andrew McCarthy) asks her out, her perspective is overturned and Cryer’s character is threatened. As was the case in the mid-’80s, Hughes (who wrote the script and produced the film) brought his special feel for the cross-currents of adolescent life to this story. In its very commercial way, it is an honest, entertaining piece about growing pains. The attractive supporting cast (many of whom are much better known now) does a terrific job, and Ringwald and Cryer have excellent chemistry.  

 

The Breakfast Club (High School Reunion Collection)

John Hughes’s popular 1985 teen drama finds a diverse group of high school students–a jock (Emilio Estevez), a metalhead (Judd Nelson), a weirdo (Ally Sheedy), a princess (Molly Ringwald), and a nerd (Anthony Michael Hall)–sharing a Saturday in detention at their high school for one minor infraction or another. Over the course of a day, they talk through the social barriers that ordinarily keep them apart, and new alliances are born, though not without a lot of pain first. Hughes (Sixteen Candles), who wrote and directed, is heavy on dialogue but he also thoughtfully refreshes the look of the film every few minutes with different settings and original viewpoints on action. The movie deals with such fundamentals as the human tendency toward bias and hurting the weak, and because the characters are caught somewhere between childhood and adulthood, it’s easy to get emotionally involved in hope for their redemption. Preteen and teenage kids love this film, incidentally.  

 

10 Things I Hate About You

It’s, like, Shakespeare, man! This good-natured and likeable update of The Taming of the Shrew takes the basics of Shakespeare’s farce about a surly wench and the man who tries to win her and transfers it to modern-day Padua High School. Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) is a sullen, forbidding riot grrrl who has a blistering word for everyone; her sunny younger sister Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) is poised for high school stardom. The problem: overprotective and paranoid Papa Stratford (a dryly funny Larry Miller) won’t let Bianca date until boy-hating Kat does, which is to say never. When Bianca’s pining suitor Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) gets wind of this, he hires the mysterious, brooding Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) to loosen Kat up. Of course, what starts out as a paying gig turns to true love as Patrick discovers that underneath her brittle exterior, Kat is a regular babe. The script, by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith, is sitcom-funny with peppy one-liners and lots of smart teenspeak; however, its cleverness and imagination doesn’t really extend beyond its characters’ Renaissance names and occasional snippets of real Shakespearean dialogue. What makes the movie energetic and winning is the formula that helped make She’s All That such a big hit: two high-wattage stars who look great and can really act. Ledger is a hunk of promise with a quick grin and charming Aussie accent, and Stiles mines Kat’s bitterness and anger to depths usually unknown in teen films; her recitation of her English class sonnet (from which the film takes its title) is funny, heartbreaking, and hopelessly romantic. The imperious Allison Janney (Primary Colors) nearly steals the film as a no-nonsense guidance counselor secretly writing a trashy romance novel.  

 

The Notebook

When you consider that old-fashioned tearjerkers are an endangered species in Hollywood, a movie like The Notebook can be embraced without apology. Yes, it’s syrupy sweet and clogged with clichés, and one can only marvel at the irony of Nick Cassavetes directing a weeper that his late father John–whose own films were devoid of saccharine sentiment–would have sneered at. Still, this touchingly impassioned and great-looking adaptation of the popular Nicholas Sparks novel has much to recommend, including appealing young costars (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams) and appealing old costars (James Garner and Gena Rowlands, the director’s mother) playing the same loving couple in (respectively) early 1940s and present-day North Carolina. He was poor, she was rich, and you can guess the rest; decades later, he’s unabashedly devoted, and she’s drifting into the memory-loss of senile dementia. How their love endured is the story preserved in the titular notebook that he reads to her in their twilight years. The movie’s open to ridicule, but as a delicate tearjerker it works just fine. Message in a Bottle and A Walk to Remember were also based on Sparks novels, suggesting a triple-feature that hopeless romantics will cherish.  

 

Clueless

Alicia Silverstone won everyone over with her portrayal of a Beverly Hills teen, Cher, whose penchant for helping others with their relationships and self-esteem is a cover for her own loneliness. Director Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High) made a smart, funny variation on Jane Austen’s novel Emma, sweetly romantic and gently satirical of 90210 social manners. The cast is unbeatable: Dan Hedaya as Cher’s rock-solid dad, Wallace Shawn as a geeky teacher, Paul Rudd as the boy who has always been Cher’s surrogate brother–and the true holder of her most secret wishes.

 

 Dear John

Dear John brings together a totally believable and charming cast–the lovely Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum–with a tried-and-true romantic plot that will have a new generation of movie fans and lovers reaching for their hankies. Director Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, My Life as a Dog) again proves his deft handling of young actors portraying feelings and emotions far beyond their years. His direction, along with the stellar performances of the cast, will have Dear John lingering in the memory long after viewing. Tatum plays a soldier home on leave (the John of the title), when he meets Savannah (Seyfried), a college student. The two may not have been looking for love, but love finds them anyway. Then the September 11 attacks happen, and John is torn between love for Savannah and duty to country. Because this is an adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, there will be drama and heartbreak, and Dear John doesn’t tread lightly in this emotional battlefield. But there’s a delicacy in the performances, especially Seyfried’s, which transcends the almost-cookie-cutter character outlines given to the actors. Also worthy of mention are supporting cast members Richard Jenkins (as John’s quiet, autistic dad) and Henry Thomas (as Tim, a single dad who goes to nearly impossible lengths to avoid breaking the heart of his son). See Dear John with an open heart, and know that it will be deeply touched.

 

Step Up (Widescreen Edition)

Step Up happily joins the long line of movies intoxicated by sexy bodies in motion. When an overachieving dancer (Jenna Dewan, Take the Lead) at an East Coast art school loses her partner just before a big showcase, her only possible replacement is a young tough (Channing Tatum, She’s the Man) doing community service as a janitor.

From there, Step Up slams together a folio of cliches, from prissy-rich-girl-gets-loosened-up-by-poor-boy to hoodlum-learns-the-error-of-his-ways-through-personal-tragedy to artist-discovers-his-voice.

It’s set in one of those performing arts schools where the students burst into spontaneous synchronized dance at parties.

But Step Up, directed by choreographer Anne Fletcher, has a relaxed kinetic momentum and enough texture to give the nonsense just a hint of realistic grit.

More than anything, Step Up shows off hunky Channing Tatum. With his sleepy eyes, broad jaw, and sloping neck, Tatum looks like an Easter Island statue come to life. His acting range may be limited, but Tatum has a definite lazy charisma; even when dancing full tilt, he looks like he just woke up and is still dreaming of the night before.

Step Up also features Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under) as the requisite tough-but-loving-authority-figure.

The sequels are also popular.  

 

Titanic

Titanic surpassed the $1-billion mark in global box-office receipts, won 11 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Director, launch the best-selling movie soundtrack of all time, and make a global superstar of Leonardo DiCaprio.

A bona fide pop-cultural phenomenon, the film has all the ingredients of a blockbuster (romance, passion, luxury, grand scale, a snidely villain, and an epic, life-threatening crisis), but Cameron’s alchemy of these ingredients proved more popular than anyone could have predicted. His stroke of genius was to combine absolute authenticity with a pair of fictional lovers whose tragic fate would draw viewers into the heart-wrenching reality of the Titanic disaster. As starving artist Jack Dawson and soon-to-be-married socialite Rose DeWitt Bukater, DiCaprio and Kate Winslet won the hearts of viewers around the world, and their brief, but never forgotten, love affair provides the humanity that Cameron needed to turn Titanic into a moving emotional experience. 

 

 The Last Song

Miley Cyrus shines as the star of this heartwarming coming-of-age movie that will strike your emotional chords. Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks (Dear John, The Notebook), The Last Song follows Ronnie (Cyrus) and her estranged father as he tries to restore the loving relationship they once had. But reconnecting with his rebellious daughter isn’t easy, so he chooses the one thing they still have in common — music. Complete with not-to-be-missed bonus features — the Miley Cyrus music video “When I Look At You,” exclusive interviews with the actress and more — this uplifting and touching drama about family, first loves and second chances is a heartfelt story to you won’t soon forget.

 

 Monte Carlo

A graduation trip to Paris and a case of mistaken identity coincide to give three Texan girls an overseas adventure they’ll never forget.

Friends Grace (Selena Gomez) and Emma (Katie Cassidy) are going on a trip to Paris to celebrate Grace’s graduation, but find themselves saddled with Emma’s soon-to-be stepsister Meg (Leighton Meester), who’s just about as different from Emma and Grace as is humanly possible. The trip starts out rushed and much less glamorous than the girls anticipated, but when Grace is mistaken for British heiress Cordelia Winthrop Scott, the girls suddenly find themselves in the lap of luxury and wind up at a charity event in Monte Carlo. Along the way, each of the girls meets a boy who helps them to mature and discover what’s truly important in their lives.

Tweens are likely to find the characters and situation enticing enough, especially when combined with the draw of Disney Channel icon Gomez, to earn the film a passing score. (Ages 10 to 12)

 

Sixteen Candles (Flashback Edition)

One of the most iconic teen comedies of the 1980s, Sixteen Candles, returns in an all-new Flashback Edition with never-before-seen bonus features! Samantha Baker (Molly Ringwald) is ready to make the most of her sweet sixteenth birthday … if only someone in her family would remember it. She’s your average teen, enduring creepy freshmen, spoiled siblings, confused parents and the “Big Blonde on Campus” who stands between her and the boy of her dreams. From writer/director John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Weird Science), Sixteen Candles is a warm-hearted coming-of-age comedy that helped define a generation! 

 

Some Kind of Wonderful (Special Collector’s Edition)

Like The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful treats its teenaged characters like real people with real feelings, hopes, fears, and desire.

Mary Stuart Masterson gives a great performance as a tomboy drummer named Watts who’s secretly in love with her best friend, Keith (Eric Stoltz), an aspiring artist who is oblivious to her affection because he’s got a crush on Amanda (Lea Thompson), the popular high school beauty.

Watts will even go so far as to chauffeur a date for Keith and Amanda, if only to prove–after a lot of patient, emotional anguish–that she’s better for Keith than Amanda could ever be. The movie’s drama comes from Keith’s gradual realization that there’s more to love than surface attraction, and Hughes gets extra mileage out of the romantic confusion by allowing Thompson’s character to be more than a shallow campus cutie. All three of the leads are good fits in their roles, and this was one of the few teen films of the ’80s to add genuine depth to its mainstream appeal. 

 

 Say Anything

An acclaimed romantic comedy starring John Cusack and Ione Skye as unlikely lovers on the cusp of adulthood. The casting is perfect, and Crowe’s rookie direction is appropriately unobtrusive, no doubt influenced by his actor-loving, Oscar®-winning mentor, James L. Brooks.

In Say Anything… Cusack and Skye play recent high school graduates enjoying one final summer before leaping into a lifetime of adult responsibilities. Lloyd (Cusack) is an aspiring kickboxer with no definite plans; Diane (Skye) is a valedictorian with intentions to further her education in Europe. Together they find unlikely bliss, but there’s also turbulence when Diane’s father (John Mahoney)–who only wants what’s best for his daughter–is charged with fraud and tax evasion.

Favoring strong performances over obtrusive visual style, Crowe focuses on his unique characters and the ambitions and fears that define them; the movie’s a treasure trove of quiet, often humorous revelations of personality. Lili Taylor and Eric Stoltz score high marks for memorable supporting roles, and Cusack’s own sister Joan is perfect in scenes with her onscreen and offscreen brother.

A rare romantic comedy that’s as funny as it is dramatically honest, Say Anything… marked the arrival of a gifted writer-director who followed up with the underrated Singles before scoring his first box-office smash with Jerry Maguire.

 

 The Clique

Based on the popular The Clique Book series by Lisi Harrison, The Clique is an entertaining, if somewhat familiar film about a 12-year-old girl whose need to fit in threatens to overshadow her inherent sense of self.

Massie (Elizabeth McLaughlin) is the undisputed leader of a clique dubbed “The Pretty Committee”. Florida transplant Claire Lyons (Ellen Marlow) is the ultimate in fashion don’ts and when she moves into Massie’s guest house and enrolls in her school, it quickly becomes apparent that Massie will stop at nothing to prove her own superiority and make Claire’s life miserable.

Claire wants nothing more than to fit in and be accepted at her new school, so when befriending Massie doesn’t work, she turns to scheming and playing the four friends against one another in an effort to supersede Massie as the queen of popularity. The problem is, Claire’s efforts to displace Massie have some very negative effects everybody involved, and even Claire’s ability to like herself.

In the end, Claire realizes the importance of being true to oneself and there’s the slightest glimmer of hope that even Massie might just consider changing her ways–or not.

Something of a The Devil Wears Prada for kids meets Mean Girls, The Clique is a surprisingly likeable film that features a scrumptious palate of tween-sized high couture; healthy doses of insecurity, attitude, and angst; good acting; and an important message about believing in oneself.

(Ages 7 to 14)

 

 Heathers (THX Version)

This dark comedy from 1989 was a good showcase for Winona Ryder, playing a high school girl brought into a clique of bitchy classmates (all named Heather), and Christian Slater, doing his early Jack Nicholson thing. While Ryder’s character mulls over the consequences of giving up one set of friends for another, her association with a new boy (Slater) in school turns out to have deadly consequences. Director Michael Lehmann turned this unusual film into something more than another teen-death flick. There is real wit and sharp satire afoot, and the very fusion of horror and comedy is provocative in itself. Heathers remains a kind of benchmark in contemporary cinema for bringing surreal intelligence into Hollywood films.

 

 St. Elmo’s Fire

Seven friends, recent college graduates, are searching for a place in the real world, as they face issues of career and commitment. Leslie and Alec (Ally Sheedy and Judd Nelson) try to save a crumbling romance. Wendy (Mare Winningham), a shy virgin, hides a love for Billy (Rob Lowe), a reluctant father/husband still searching for goals. Kevin (Andrew McCarthy) is a cynical writer who scorns love until he realizes he’s in love with his best friend’s girl. Kirbo (Emilio Estevez), a law student, obsessively pursues an older woman. The beautiful, neurotic Jules (Demi Moore) paints a poignant picture of life in the fast lane. Against the backdrop of St. Elmo’s, their local hang-out, they save, betray and love one another as only the closest of friends can.

 

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt dance their way through Girls Just Want to Have Fun, a glorious example of 1980s kitsch. Janey (Parker), the new girl at a Catholic high school in Chicago, dreams of becoming a dancer on Dance TV. With the help of new wave hipster Lynne (Hunt), Janey enters a dance contest and gets paired with Jeff (Lee Montgomery), a rebel in spandex, and the two are soon smitten with each other. Unfortunately, they’ve made an enemy of a snooty rich girl, who vows to take them down. Everything about Girls Just Want to Have Fun is cheap and cheesy–it doesn’t even have the Cyndi Lauper version of the title song–but that doesn’t make it any less goofily entertaining, particularly when a debutante ball is wrecked by a bizarre combination of punk rockers and female bodybuilders. Featuring a very young Shannen Doherty as Jeff’s little sister. 

 

She’s All That

What elevates She’s All That above the realm of standard teen fare is its mixture of good-natured fairy-tale romance and surprisingly clear-eyed view of high school social strata. The lines of class are demarcated as clearly as if in a Jane Austen novel, but the satire is equally deflating and affectionate. Sure, high school could be bad sometimes, but it was lots of fun too; this is a movie good-natured enough to take time out for an extended hip-hop dance number at the prom. Director Robert Iscove (who also helmed the Brandy-starring TV adaptation of Cinderella) has also assembled a great young cast, including a scene-stealing Anna Paquin as Zach’s no-nonsense sister, Kieran Culkin as Laney’s geeky brother, and a stupidly goofy Matthew Lillard as a Real World cast member whose arrival shakes things up a little too much. And amidst all the comedy and prom drama, you’d be hard-pressed to find two teen stars as talented, attractive, and appealing as Prinze and Cook. Prinze is an approachable and sensitive jock, though it’s Cook who’s the true star, investing Laney with confidence, humor, and heart. Like Zach, you’ll be hard-pressed not to fall in love with her. By the story’s end, both Cook and the film will have charmed the socks off of you. 

 

Pariah

Alike (Adepero Oduye) is a 17-year-old African-American woman who lives with her parents Audrey and Arthur (Kim Wayans and Charles Parnell) and younger sister Sharonda (Sahra Mellesse) in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood. She has a flair for poetry, and is a good student at her local high school. Alike is quietly but firmly embracing her identity as a lesbian. With the sometimes boisterous support of her best friend, out lesbian Laura (Pernell Walker), Alike is especially eager to find a girlfriend. At home, her parents’ marriage is strained and there is further tension in the household whenever Alike’s development becomes a topic of discussion. Pressed by her mother into making the acquaintance of a colleague’s daughter, Bina (Aasha Davis), Alike finds Bina to be unexpectedly refreshing to socialize with. Wondering how much she can confide in her family, Alike strives to get through adolescence with grace, humor, and tenacity – sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, but always moving forward. 

 

It’s a Boy Girl Thing

High school quarterback Woody Deanne (Kevin Zegers of FELICITY: AN AMERICAN GIRL ADVENTURE) is a sexist jock who lives for hip-hop. His next-door neighbor and sworn enemy Nell Bedworth (Samaire Armstrong of THE O.C. and ENTOURAGE) is a smart and sensitive virgin who loves Shakespeare. But one morning, they mysteriously wake up in the strangest place of all: Each other’s bodies! Even if they can now survive their switched lives of girls’ showers, boys’ locker rooms, college interviews, Homecoming football and destroying each other’s reputations, will they find that falling in love may be the ultimate out-of-body experience? Sharon Osbourne co-stars in this wild gender-bender comedy featuring a hot soundtrack of hits by Eminem, Black Eyed Peas, Elton John, James Blunt, Ozzy Osbourne, Girls Aloud, Mystikal and more! 

 

Picture This

Technology is the way of the future and every high school student needs a video phone, at least according to Mandy (Ashley Tisdale) and her friends Alexa (Lauren Collins) and Cayenne (Shenae Grimes). When Mandy’s overprotective Dad (Kevin Pollak) finally gives her a video phone for her 18th birthday, Mandy feels like her entire world, is about to change for the better–especially when her long-lived crush Drew Patterson (Robbie Amell) actually notices her.

What Mandy doesn’t count on is that her father will use her new phone to track her every move and that Drew’s attention will inspire Lisa (Cindy Busby), the most popular girl in school, to begin plotting against Mandy with a vengeance.

A full 90 minutes of serious attitude, technological obsession, deception, and just plain meanness, this film appeals primarily to the preteen and teen audience and manages to convey the message that goodness and trust will prevail despite enormous odds.

Parents will most likely find the film distasteful, though they could potentially learn something about letting go, and it should be noted that there are a fair number of sexual references like “hump and dump,” virgins being “deflowered,” and “do her and dump her.”

 (Ages 11 and older)

 

Sooner or Later

When 13-year-old Jessie (Denise Miller) goes to the Eddie Nova Guitar Institute, she’s stunned to discover her teacher is Michael (Rex Smith), a 17-year-old aspiring local musician she’d just seen play with his rock band at the local shopping mall–and with whom she was instantly smitten.

Through the grace of makeup, Jessie can pass for 16, and she tells Michael that’s her age when he gives her a ride home from class one week. They start to flirt. When Michael invites her to a band rehearsal, they kiss for the first time; when he invites her to a drive-in movie, things start moving just a little too fast, and Jessie has to quickly decide whether or not to confess.

Sooner or Later is full of 1970s schmaltz, but it’s also an extremely well written and deftly acted coming-of-age story.

What could be an overdone teen potboiler is given humor and realism; it treats young love seriously but with perspective, and without a trace of condescension. A truly charming and enjoyable film.  

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