The 10 Best Black Comedy Coming-of-Age Movies To Watch ASAP

A coming-of-age film follows the protagonist through their transition from youth to maturity as they navigate life while encountering life difficulties and making silly mistakes. In addition to humor and drama, dark comedy is another approach to analyzing these coming-of-age tales.

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Coming-of-age stories often deal with sensitive issues like getting pregnant out of wedlock, doubting one’s religion, or dealing with sexual identity issues. Dark comedies can come to the rescue and can readily lighten and smartly handle these subjects with their satirical approach.


‘Heathers’ (1988)

Heathers follows an ordinary girl named Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder) who strives to survive the social jungle of high school by hanging out with the three most popular girls at school, all of whom go by the name Heather. But everything goes wrong when she unintentionally kills Heather Chandler (Kim Walker), the clique’s leader.

The movie deftly subverts teen-movie clichés from within by intimately familiarizing itself with them. Heathers is also a brilliant black satire with cutting language that explodes like fireworks, making it relevant 30 years later. It is undoubtedly one of the greatest black comedy, coming-of-age movies of all time because of Ryder’s outstanding performance at its center and skilled cast.

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‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ (1999)

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Drop Dead Gorgeous is about a small-town beauty pageant and follows Amber Atkins (Kirsten Dunst), a trailer park tap dancer who has to compete against massively competitive contestants to follow in her mother’s footsteps. However, things start to go wrong as numerous contenders start to mysteriously die.

Despite all the predictability, Drop Dead Gorgeous‘s campy tone, together with its enjoyable performances and acidic, joyfully satirical comedy, are what make it so great. Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, the movie delivers a very amusing and scathing time, and beneath its prettiness is a razor-sharp wit. Moreover, Dunst’s performance is another reason to revisit this title.

‘Saved!’ (2004)

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Saved! revolves around a teenage girl named Mary (Jena Malone) attending a Christian high school and engages in sexual activity with her boyfriend to “cure” him of his homosexuality. As a result, she gets pregnant and is shunned by her classmates.

The film features a fantastic ensemble cast that genuinely identified with the compassion and color of their roles, bringing these characters to life. Saved! starts as a satire and finishes with a revival of faith that aptly captures the issues with modern Christianity. For a lighter dark comedy compared to others in this genre, the movie mentions many alarming subjects with a witty tone.

‘Election’ (1999)

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Election revolves around Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick), a well-liked high school social studies teacher, and Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon), a competitive and overachieving student he dislikes. When Tracy runs for the student government president, Jim undermines Tracy’s campaign for student government president by endorsing a challenger and meddling with the voting process.

Election, a holdover from Alexander Payne‘s period of argumentative writing, is just as cunningly potent today as when it was first released. Broderick portrays a marvelous nebbish character, while young Witherspoon takes the lead with charm and determination, making her character one of the most memorable mean girls in film history.

‘Jawbreaker’ (1999)

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A high school clique, a dissident member of the said clique, and the unintentional murder of its leader are the central themes of 1999’s Jawbreaker, which was inspired by the 1988 movie Heathers. The film follows three of the most popular girls at a high school whose surprise birthday kidnap goes wrong and kills their friend.

Even though Jawbreaker is not highly praised as its inspiration, it’s a study of power relations and a dark comedy for teens that takes a serious view on sexuality, the criminal justice system, and body image concerns that are popular among teenagers.

‘The Bling Ring’ (2013)

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The Bling Ring is based on Nancy Jo Sales‘ 2010 Vanity Fair article, “The Suspects Wore Louboutins,” which examined the Bling Ring, a real-life gang. The plot centers on a group of fame-obsessed teenagers who stalk celebrities’ whereabouts online to break into their homes and rob their belongings.

The film is just as icy and ruthless as its topic. Through her artistic vision, Sofia Coppola can highlight the “fakeness” of the characters, whose vacuousness is obscured when they commit their crimes while still portraying their raw sophistication. Additionally, the allure of the movie on celebrity obsession is that it makes us feel as though we are a member of it.

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‘But I’m a Cheerleader’ (1999)


But I’m a Cheerleader follows Megan Bloomfield (Natasha Lyonne), a high school cheerleader, as she is being sent to a residential inpatient conversion treatment camp by her parents to “cure” her lesbianism.

The movie has a terrific balance of humor and sarcasm, yet it is ahead of its time and speaks to today’s audiences more than it did when it was first released. Despite the sugar-coating façade, But I’m A Cheerleader never lets the audience forget that these people are going through a horrible ordeal, making the movie emotionally moving.

‘Thoroughbred’ (2017)

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Thoroughbred centers on two upper-class teenage girls, played by Olivia Cooked and Anya Taylor-Joy, who reestablish their unusual friendship in suburban Connecticut after years of drifting away. Together, they devise a scheme to hire a drug dealer to assassinate Lily’s (Taylor-Joy) stepfather.

Thoroughbred is scathing, intelligent, and humorous, with a disturbing character study and the sick-comic thrills of a ruthless thriller. Furthermore, with cutting and darkly humorous performances from the leading ladies, it’s a fascinating insight into how the spoiled upper class comes of age and exploits their advantages viciously.

‘American Beauty’ (1999)

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American Beauty isn’t a typical coming-of-age movie since it centers on the father of the Burnham family, Lester (Kevin Spacey), who developed an unhealthy crush on his daughter’s best friend. This affection prevents him from being depressed due to his remarkably mundane life. Due to these circumstances, he is forced to reevaluate his life, career, wife, and family.

One of the few coming-of-age movies with an adult as the main character, but it offers viewers a new viewpoint on how growing older doesn’t necessarily imply becoming wiser. American Beauty is deeply unsettling yet bitingly humorous; underneath the lovely exterior, it’s a tightly wound wrath simmers delivered beautifully by Sam Mendes.

‘Dear White People’ (2014)

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Dear White People is a social satire film set in an Ivy League institution that sparks controversy when four Black students attend a popular but grossly racist “Black-face party.” Through the eyes of the Black students, the movie focuses on racial tensions as things escalate.

The film delivers a genuinely amusing discussion of modern racism that is refreshingly vivid and present. Dear White People is as funny as it is pointed, as universal as it is personal, and more inclusive than exclusive, with brilliantly memorable performances from the cast and the visionary direction from Justin Simien.

KEEP READING: 10 Underrated Coming-of-Age Movies

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