Our twenties are supposed to be the time of our lives—it’s when we hit a pivotal point where we embark on the journey to self-discovery while transitioning into adulthood. But it’s also the stage of our life where we face many challenges and struggle to learn how to overcome these obstacles. Luckily, we have pop culture to guide us. Here are just a few movies that tackle some of the issues we millennials might face as we learn to adult.
THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA (2006)
Even if you’re not interested in the fashion world at all, this cult classic starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep is still relevant—it gives an extreme take on what its like to start your first real job, navigate office politics and what it takes to find what your passion is. Hathaway’s character Andy lands the job “a million girls would die for,” even though she doesn’t exactly fit the qualifications. The film really shows you the consequences you can face when you invest so much of yourself into your work. If you have to change yourself and lose your loved ones in the process, you might want to re-evaluate your job.
500 DAYS OF SUMMER (2009)
If you’ve ever been in a serious relationship in your twenties, you already know how painful it is to let go of your first love. This romantic-comedy starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel shows a realistic depiction of a failed relationship and how fate determines that two people aren’t always meant to be together. When you’re young, you think you have everything figured out, including relationships. But this film shows you that in reality, things don’t always play out the way we want them to and we just can’t force someone to have the same feelings as we do.
TO THE BONE (2017)
Due to its controversial and sensitive content, To The Bone might not be a movie for everyone. The movie stars Lily Collins as 20-year-old college dropout Ellen, who suffers from anorexia. As Ellen learns to bond with the other patients, she also embarks on a journey of self-discovery and is left to face the ultimate decision on whether she wants to get better or not for her own sake. The drama film teaches you that as you get older, the only person who can save you is you.
MORNING GLORY (2010)
In this upbeat comedy, Rachel McAdams stars as Becky Fuller, an ambitious television producer who dreams of working for the Today show. After getting fired from her current station, Becky gets hired as executive producer for Daybreak, a morning show that struggles to stay on-air due to low ratings. As she hustles to prove herself successful, Becky also faces the dilemma that many of us young adults face, and has to ask herself if her job defines her entire life.
LA LA LAND (2016)
Even if you’re not a fan of musicals, La La Land is a movie that might be your one exception. The film centres on aspiring actress Mia Dolan (Emma Stone), who works as a barista during the day and struggles to strive in auditions. She crosses paths with jazz pianist Sebastian Wilder, who also struggles with his own dream of making it big in jazz. The two grow close because of their chemistry and begin a relationship. But as time goes on, they have to decide if they want to follow their individual paths, which may or may not lead them away from each other. The musical portrays how in life, you have to make sacrifices for not only the one you love, but yourself. You’re in for an emotional roller coaster with this one.
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (2012)
After spending some time in a mental institution for bipolar disorder following his divorce and the loss of his job, Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) moves back in with his parents and plans to rebuild his life by getting back together with his ex-wife. He meets widow Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence), who offers to help him get back with his ex-wife under the condition that he enters a dance competition with her. The film was praised for its fairly accurate portrayal on mental health, a topic that is still quite stigmatized today. Whatever you’re fighting, the film shows that you can always get back up on your feet.
HOW TO BE SINGLE (2016)
While it may seem like your typical chick-flick, How To Be Single sends a strong message on how to embrace your freedom and to enjoy being single even in the modern dating world. Fresh out of college, Alice (Dakota Johnson) decides to take a break from her boyfriend as she moves to New York for a job as a paralegal. She meets wild co-worker Robin (Rebel Wilson), who loves to party and have fun. These days everyone is getting into a relationship, and it seems like you can’t go to any social gathering without getting asked why you’re single. But this comedy film instead preaches to young adults on why we should actually cherish our time being single, and to simply just have fun while we can.