13 Movies About Being A Pre-Teen That'll Make You Cringe SO Hard

by Tatiana Tenreyro

Being a preteen is the absolute most awkward stage in life. The time when you're no longer a kid but not yet a teen is filled with puberty, crushes, and issues at school — there’s just a lot going on. As an adult, those years are long behind you, which makes streaming these 13 movies about being a pre-teen an experience that's both super nostalgic and painfully awkward.

First and foremost, there's Bo Burnham’s new film Eighth Grade, which captures all the weirdness of that middle school time period. The film, out July 13, tells the story of shy 13-year-old Kayla, who is only able to tap into her secret outgoing side by making motivational YouTube videos. Throughout the movie, Kayla navigates crushes, sex, and the pressures that come with being a preteen girl, and watching it will take you back to all those moments — while making you so glad to never have to go through that experience again.

While Eighth Grade isn't out for a bit longer, there are plenty of other movies that range from powerful and harrowing to fun and silly that tackle the horrors of being a tween. There’s Thirteen, a gripping flick co-written by then-14-year-old Nikki Reed, and 13 Going on 30, a lighthearted take on finding out that adulthood actually that much easier than childhood. Check out the rest of the list below, and find yourself transported right back to that weird, confusing phase of your life.



13-year-old Tracy sheds her good girl persona to try to fit in and make friends, but she quickly finds out that emulating adulthood and adopting a rebellious demeanor has consequences.

You can watch it on Amazon.


'Harriet The Spy'

If you haven't watched this classic in a while or never did, it's time to do so. Harriet is deeply relatable as a preteen who just wants to fulfill her dream of being a spy, but everything goes awry once a classmate finds her notebook filled with "observations" about her friends, ruining her friendships.

The movie's on Amazon.


'13 Going On 30'

Jenna desperately wants to be "30, flirty, and thriving" instead of having to deal with bullies. Once her wish comes true, she finds out being an adult isn't quite as fun as it seems.

You can watch it on Netflix.


'School Of Rock'

Let's be honest: we all wanted a teacher like Dewey to save us from middle school being the absolute worst.

Revisit your childhood by watching it on Amazon.


'Akeelah And The Bee'

Akeelah had an extraordinary talent: being the ultimate spelling bee queen. But she learns that there's a certain amount of pressure that comes with having to compete against people who are just as talented, while also trying to fulfill others' expectations.

Watch it on Amazon.


'Inside Out'

Being a preteen means having to deal with a lot of emotions. Inside Out tugs on viewers' heartstrings as Riley's five core emotions — Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger — try to remain under control while she deals with preteen woes.

You can watch it on Amazon while waiting for Disney's upcoming streaming service.


'Diary Of A Wimpy Kid'

Watching Greg go through every embarrassing thing you can imagine going through in middle school will either make you thankful that your experience wasn't that bad or will make you deeply relate to his struggle.

Watch it on Amazon.


'Welcome To The Dollhouse'

For those who were intensely bullied in middle school, Welcome To The Dollhouse will definitely make you relate a lot. Before playing Mia's quirky best friend in The Princess Diaries, Heather Matarazzo made her film debut in this one, taking on the role of Dawn, an awkward preteen who deals with the horrors of middle school.

Watch it on Amazon.


'Middle School: The Worst Year Of My Life'

If you went to a super strict middle school, you'll relate to Rafe's desire to rebel against his teachers and principal's stern rules.

Stream it on Amazon or Showtime.


'Little Manhattan'

Remember your first middle school love? This movie will make you feel nostalgic for that time when dating your crush was your ultimate dream.

Watch it on Amazon.


'The Thirteenth Year'

Imagine dealing with all the issues that come with puberty plus finding out you're actually a mermaid — or merman. That's what happens in this Disney Channel classic.

You can watch it on Amazon and YouTube.


'My Girl'

Need a good cry? It's time to watch My Girl. Preteen Vada deals with puberty while also experiencing some harrowing life changes.

Watch it on Amazon.


'Bridge To Terabithia'

Leslie is the new outcast in school who has trouble making friends, but this all changes once she befriends Jess and creates an imaginary world where they can escape all their woes.

Watch it on Netflix.

Time to feel nostalgic and watch all of these movies.