Teen movies with awkward boys are very present in cinema since there was movies! But female-driven narratives seem to not have much of a presence. While they are also there, the numbers don’t amount to how many boy-oriented flicks there are.
Take the case of The Edge of Seventeen. It’s about a girl adjusting to a life of being a female teenager. It doesn’t help that her older brother grew up to be the handsome unblemished one, while she grew up as the pimply awkward one. Plus his popularity at school is inversely proportional to her own social awkwardness in the same school.
Hailee Steinfeld as Nadine captures the perfect angst of what it’s like to grow up as a socially awkward teen girl in today’s high school world. The judgmental cliques are there, and so are judgmental parents. We should see more of these kinds of girls in movies.
That’s why in our list of movies like The Edge of Seventeen, we decided to focus on these teen movies with females in the leads. Hey, it’s a girl’s teen world, too! And cinema has also celebrated them. Whether they are geeky, different or awkward, they earn a spot here.
1 Welcome to the Dollhouse
The 1995 dark comedy Welcome to the Dollhouse is but a fit in our list of movies like The Edge of Seventeen. There’s a preteen in there that’s also a female. She is always ostracized in school and even at home. Tough luck growing up, right?
This interesting independent film made a star out of Heather Matarazzo. If she’s not playing the awkward teen herself, then she’s playing the best friend of the awkward teen. That, in turn, also makes her awkward by association! Some of her most memorable roles have actually been of this theme.
It’s the same with this Todd Solondz-directed film. And since it’s a bit on the darker side, imagine the lengths of what happens to our awkward teen-ish protagonist here. Will she triumph over things? Watch to find out!
2 Now and Then
Another 1995 film that featured a group of teen girls is Now and Then. The interesting film is like a flashback to the time when a group of ‘90s grown-up women looked back at their growing up years back in the ‘70s.
The film’s adult versions of the protagonists feature Demi Moore, Melanie Griffith, Rita Wilson, and Rosie O’Donnell. Respectively, they have good lives as adults: as an accomplished writer, a Hollywood actor, a homemaker, and a doctor. Their childhood versions were played by Gabby Hoffman, Thora Birch, Ashleigh Aston Moore, and Christina Ricci. That casting alone should make you watch this film like ASAP!
The film primarily focuses on how the four friends hurdled personal obstacles while growing up. Most of them were branded as weird or geeky or both. In today’s world – as it was then – those brandings don’t really fare well in a high school set-up. So this is quite a relatable film from the ‘90s.
Do watch it and check it out! You can see why it’s here in our list of movies like The Edge of Seventeen. Truly edgy!
The ‘90s sure did have many teen-oriented films that also had depth and drama. Mermaids is one of them.
This 1990 film stars Cher as Rachel, a single mom trying to juggle being a not-yet-a-has-been-femme fatale and being a single mom to two dorky but adorable daughters. One of then is the awkward teen Charlotte, played by ‘90s teen heroine Winona Ryder. The other is the kiddie Christina Ricci, who plays Kate.
Both products of different affairs, Charlotte resents their life situations sometimes that she embraces being a Catholic – even if they are Jewish. Her teen angst clashes a lot with her mother’s efforts of trying to raise them peacefully, in ways she knows how. Meanwhile, little Kate is becoming a competitive swimmer, perhaps an influence of her athlete father.
This film earns its rightful spot in our list of movies like The Edge of Seventeen. Like Nadine, Charlotte also faces many fears while growing up. And they both deal with complex issues in very quirky ways. Go check it out to see more parallelisms.
4 The Craft
What if you’re an outcast in high school because you’re perceived as a witch? Whether this is true or not, it still affects a person negatively. This is what the basic premise of The Craft is all about.
The 1996 film is a cult classic, and it’s led by four women forming a high school coven. It begins innocently enough, with a new girl in school moving to a new city and a new life. She seems to have a troubled past, affecting her present. Naturally, she feels like an outcast in this school.
This is where the comparison lies for us. To be in this list of movies like The Edge of Seventeen, this story evolves in a way we don’t expect. The new teen girl in town finds herself drifting towards similarly outcast teens, too. But these three teens are indeed rumored as witches.
Whether the witch thing is philosophical or literal, this film bears merit to be here. Go watch to see why!
Talk about teen girl outcasts, wait ‘til you see this Saturday Night Live (SNL) originated material called Superstar.
The 1999 comedy is the film version of a character created by SNL comedian Molly Shannon. Her character is named Mary Katherine Gallagher, a Catholic private school teenage girl who’s such an outcast in her school. So the laughs are elicited from this basic premise.
The film version of their SNL skit centers around Mary and her infatuation with the hottest guy in school named Sky, played by Will Ferrell. Unfortunately, he already has a girlfriend. But due to some altercation, they break up later on. And that’s when Mary tries to make her move.
It’s just hilarious to see these SNL alumni play it out as high school outcast kids. It should be obvious why this is in our list of movies like The Edge of Seventeen. Try to watch this gem!
6 Teen Witch
The ‘80s also had its fair share of teen movies starring spunky but outcast girls. One of them is Teen Witch.
This 1989 film stars Robyn Lively as Louise, a geeky girl that also has a geeky best friend. Of course, they are unpopular in school. She even gets bullied by the cheerleaders. And the hottest guy in school doesn’t know she exists.
But all of that soon changes when she reaches her 16th birthday. She discovers that she has witch powers. And she soon discovers how she could alter the circumstances around her life, to make it better. But that means leaving her awkward self and everything in it – including her best friend.
Will she do it? Watch to find out!
7 Save The Last Dance
What if the awkward new girl in school is based on race? Then that would be the plot of the 2001 film called Save The Last Dance.
The film stars Julia Stiles as a teen dancer who has high hopes for a dance career. But the death of her mother instills guilt on her, and she abandons her dreams. So with this background, she moves with her father to Chicago where she enters a predominantly black-populated school.
The awkwardness here stems more from the race issue, especially when the white girl suddenly becomes close to one of the more decent black guys in school. They both find a love for dancing a bond, and that brings them closer together. But of course, a race-based situation is not without issues.
Watch this very intriguing film to see why it’s in our list of movies like The Edge of Seventeen. The hip-hop and ballet mesh dances should lure you in!
8 Slums of Beverly Hills
If you want an awkward teen girl story with some social strata put into the comedy, then look no further than Slums of Beverly Hills.
This 1998 comedy is on our list of movies like The Edge of Seventeen because its teen protagonist is also tortured by the kind of family she has. It stars Natasha Lyonne as Vivian, whose family is not really wealthy. Yet she and her siblings all attend super-posh schools in the Beverly Hills district. How is that possible?
Enter a wealthy uncle, and his drunkard-druggie of a daughter, and the need to take care of her. Vivian’s father volunteers their family, for monetary rewards. Vivian and her older cousin somehow bond, in their own awkward ways.
Watch this really interesting film to find out what happens next!
Teenage pregnancy brings such an awkward air whenever the pregnant teen girl is around. So imagine the life of Juno!
The 2007 sleeper hit film Juno stars Ellen Page as Juno. She gets impregnated by her admirer Paulie, played by Michael Cera. Though they are friends, Juno is not very certain about what she feels for him. She also faces certain decisions regarding the pregnancy.
Imagine being 16 and being pregnant. That gives a teen girl’s life more edge, but sometimes not in a good way. That’s why this film is in our list of movies like The Edge of Seventeen. Try to see why!
10 Ghost World
The 2001 film Ghost World rightfully belongs here in our list of movies like The Edge of Seventeen because its two protagonists are very much like our Nadine.
The film stars teens Thora Birch as Enid and Scarlett Johansson as Rebecca. The two are high school best friends, and they are also outcasts in their school’s society. Sound familiar?
The story revolves around the life of the two teens right after their high school graduation. They try to do and plan things. However, Enid gets held back because she needs to do a remedial class before earning her diploma. Meanwhile, Rebecca starts to have a life of her own without Enid, and things take interesting turns after that.
Watch what happens to these girls. It’s an interesting graphic novel-turned-film