21 Movies '13 Reasons Why' Fans Should Check Out To See More Authentic High School Stories
13 Reasons Why, Netflix's new series based on the hit young adult novel by Jay Asher, has emerged as a rare, authentic look into the lives of teenagers. And, if you made your way through the series' 13 episodes already, you're probably looking for more. If that's true for you, look no further than these teen movies I believe 13 Reasons Why fans will love. These 21 films are about as authentic as teen movies can get, and will be good follow-ups for after your Netflix marathon is over.
So often, movies or television shows set in high school are larger than life and full of stereotypes (hello Gossip Girl and She's All That). Part of the reason fans love 13 Reasons Why so much, though, is because it's actually relatable to real teens, not the stereotypes. But, the show also stands out because it is so rare. 13 Reasons Why deals seriously and considerately with subjects other teen shows or movies wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole — things like sexual assault, bullying, mental health, and partying — without turning into an after-school special. Some of these movies 13 Reasons Why fans should watch are more serious, dealing with many of the same issues as the show, like depression, suicide, and sexual violence. Others are more lighthearted coming of age stories. All of the films, however, will speak to your poor, battered, high school soul.
1. 'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower'
The Perks of Being a Wallflower was 13 Reasons Why before the show (or the book) existed. The film perfectly captures what it's like to be an outsider in high school who happens to be dealing with mental illness.
2. 'Paper Towns'
If you really loved the structure of 13 Reasons Why, then you'll love Paper Towns, which follows a similar, if less depressing, journey of a teenage boy who follows clues left by his high school crush.
3. 'The Edge Of Seventeen'
The Edge of Seventeen is quite possibly the most honest, interesting, and entertaining teenage movie ever made.
4. 'The Spectacular Now'
Looking for a bit more romance? The Spectacular Now tells the story of a pretty epic high school love without over romanticizing the lives of its main characters. It also isn't afraid of tackling themes of abandonment and alcoholism.
5. 'Easy A'
Easy A offers a fun, fresh take on the subject of slut shaming. It's certainly not as intense as the bullying seen in 13 Reasons Why, but that doesn't mean it's not effective.
Speak tells the story of a high school student who was sexually assaulted at a party, and can't bring herself to tell anyone about it. Warning: the movie is emotionally brutal and definitely doesn't pull any punches.
7. 'Charlie Bartlett'
Charlie Bartlett is a seriously underrated teen comedy that takes a more humorous approach to mental health. It's a bit larger-than-life, but still manages to feel completely relatable.
8. 'The Breakfast Club'
13 Reasons Why is about looking beyond whatever image a high schooler might be projecting, which is basically exactly the plot of The Breakfast Club.
9. 'Inside Out'
A more lighthearted look into the mind of a teenage girl, Pixar's Inside Out is a perfect way to begin to explore mental health.
10. 'Infinitely Polar Bear'
Infinitely Polar Bear is about adults, not kids, but the film is also a rare honest, authentic, and sympathetic portrait of a man living with mental illness.
11. 'The First Time'
13 Reasons Why isn't particularly romantic, but if the show put you in the mood to watch a touching story of first love, then The First Time will more than satisfy you.
12. 'Ruby Sparks'
Like 13 Reasons Why, Ruby Sparks explores how men can distort their significant others or crushes into an idealized version of a woman, and the kind of impossible pressure that places on the women themselves.
13. 'Cruel Intentions'
Cruel Intentions is sort of like what 13 Reasons Why would be like on drugs.
14. 'The Kings Of Summer'
The Kings of Summer is about three teenage boys who run away from their homes and live in the woods for a summer to get away from their obligations and their parents. In other words, it's every 13 Reasons Why character's dream.
15. 'The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants'
Let The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants restore your faith in girlfriends who are their for each other no matter what.
16. 'The Way Way Back'
The Way Way Back will definitely make you laugh more than 13 Reasons Why, but that's not always a bad thing when it comes to another coming of age story.
17. 'The Duff'
Still not over the slut shaming in 13 Reasons Why? Well, get ready to fuel that anger with all the fat shaming in The Duff.
Saved! is similar to 13 Reasons Why, but instead of suicide driving the story, it's teenage pregnancy, and instead of sexuality being explored, it's faith.
19. 'Mean Girls'
Possibly the most beloved movie about high school bullying ever made, Mean Girls should be on everyone's must watch list.
20. 'It's Kind Of A Funny Story'
If you're looking for more films that show depression on screen, then It's Kind of a Funny Story is a perfect place to start. The movie also gives a bit more medical context to depression, which is never a bad thing.
21. 'Fast Times At Ridgemont High'
Fast Times at Ridgemont High focuses more on the, uh, sexual aspects of high school life than the mental health ones, but you'd be hard pressed to find another teenage film that deals so frankly with sexual fantasies and abortion.
Like 13 Reasons Why, these 21 movies offer a new insight into the teenage experience. Everyone's high school experience is different, but what makes these movies special is that they are relatable to anyone.