Movies about love for young boys
December 5, 2016 4:13 PM   Subscribe

Can you help me find movies about young love or first love that are suitable for early teen boys? My boys are 12 and 14.

Hello Hive,

I'd like to have some films we can watch together and refer to in ongoing discussions about girls; how to behave with them in general and some ideas about what's good in relationships.

Things I'm looking for but don't have to be all in the one film:

- good role models for my boys, or at least fodder for discussion about what a character could have done instead that would be somehow better/kinder/more considerate etc

- the boy character being brave enough to be vulnerable: eg mustering up the courage to ask a girl out, or telling someone what's wrong, sharing feelings even though some things are hard to talk about.

- story told from the boy's point of view is a big plus.

- Especially for my 12 yo, I'd really like it if there is a boy character who is properly a little boy, not a high school senior who can drive and drinks beer like a little grown up. I want actual kids in the movie, like the Stranger Things kids, Sam in Love Actually, Thomas in My Girl, and the kids in Flipped.

Googling young boy romance love is ugh.
posted by stellathon to Media & Arts (31 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
A Room With a View.
posted by My Dad at 4:17 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I love this question!


Little Manhattan
posted by Mchelly at 4:19 PM on December 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

Bull Durham is also pretty interesting.
posted by My Dad at 4:29 PM on December 5, 2016

Moonrise Kingdom!
posted by thirdletter at 4:31 PM on December 5, 2016 [17 favorites]

The kids I know well tend to skew "old for their ages" so take my recomendations with a grain of salt / do research first to make sure they suit your kids' maturity level:

Blankets by Craig Thompson is a beautiful graphic novel about young love written from the boy's POV that might really resonate with your older kid (I read it years ago so skim it to make sure the level of sexuality is ok for you)

Boyz N The Hood again skews a little old due to the rather copious gun violence, but I love Cuba Gooding Junior's character- he is a noble, wonderful young man who has to make hard choices.

I think maybe My Girl was good? I don't remember it super clearly.

Scott Pilgrim (comic), (movie) eventually becomes a reasonably good boyfriend to Ramona Flowers.

Another Michael Cera moment- he's great in Juno- he's soft yet has strong morals, and is a vulnerable and supportive partner to the strong-willed Juno.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 4:33 PM on December 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

Love Actually has a storyline with a young teen/tween boy who has a crush on a classmate. It's only a small part of the movie, however.
posted by redfishbluefish at 4:39 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed Sing Street (and the music is awesome). I saw it on a plane, though, so perhaps watch a non-edited version first to see if it's appropriate? It's PG-13.
posted by cecic at 4:41 PM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

The TV show About a Boy (and the movie before it a bit less so in the romance department), has a charming boy putting himself out there in his own wonderfully different way.
posted by cecic at 4:52 PM on December 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

Two I haven't watched in a long time but have been meaning to see if they hold up to show my boys about the same age -- Gregory's Girl and A Little Romance.
posted by gateau at 4:53 PM on December 5, 2016

I'm thinking about Stardust.

Maybe Edward Scissorhands, too.
posted by tilde at 4:58 PM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Boyhood would be good.

There's also a romance in My Life as a Dog. It's an intense movie (the main character is a 12 year old dealing with his mom's death) but very funny and engaging.
posted by veery at 5:21 PM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I highly recommend the Avatar: The Last Airbender cartoon series. It is really fantastic and Aang has a huge crush on his friend Katara throughout. A++
posted by jillithd at 5:30 PM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

It's not a movie but... the Wonder Years?
posted by watrlily at 5:31 PM on December 5, 2016 [8 favorites]

Man, that title made me pause for a second.

I thought Hearts in Atlantis was really sweet.
posted by blackzinfandel at 6:11 PM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

I thought Skipped Parts would be exactly the movie you're looking for. Turns out it may not be. The lead 12-year0old boy in the film has a crush on a girl his age... who becomes pregnant shortly thereafter. If you think your kids can handle that, it might be okay?
posted by infinitewindow at 6:24 PM on December 5, 2016

Are you sure they're straight? As a proto-gay, my parents doing something like this would have made me extremely worried/paranoid.
posted by Automocar at 6:26 PM on December 5, 2016 [9 favorites]

Not a boy protagonist, but The Fault In Our Stars is awesome for showing teen sexuality and a mutual respectful and generous relationship.

Also, Paper Towns (with a boy protagonist) shows what NOT to do (it's the manic pixie dream girl thing, but subverting that is the point of the book/film).

I'm a middle school teacher, and I know those books/films really resonate with that age group. I'd add Eleanor and Park to the list if you were open to books as well as films. It is a really thought-provoking book that would be useful for teenage boys (and girls) to talk about from the lens of relationships with the opposite sex. And to round off the John Green, Looking for Alaska is also pretty great (but no movie version).
posted by guster4lovers at 6:31 PM on December 5, 2016 [6 favorites]

Freaks and Geeks! It's a TV show, but only one season got made, so there's only 18 episodes, and it appears to be on Netflix. The show centers around Sam, a high school freshman, and his older sister Lindsay, who's a junior. Sam asks a girl to the homecoming dance in the pilot episode, and this is a continuing subplot in the show, but there's so much more in this show about being a kid Sam's age. Anyway, the pilot is amazing and worth watching on its own.
posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 6:32 PM on December 5, 2016 [6 favorites]

Although I am struggling to come up with specific examples right now, I think you may have more luck looking for specific episodes of TV shows. I remember seeing (just for example) episodes of Bob's Burgers, Malcolm in the Middle, King of the Hill, etc., and shows aimed at younger audiences (like Disney Channel, etc) will probably have some as well.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:44 PM on December 5, 2016

Came in to say Sing Street. It's primarily a movie about the relationship between the brother, honestly, but has a lot of what you're looking for and an amazing soundtrack on top of that. It's set in the 80s though, in Ireland, so the world is a bit rough compared to today.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:54 PM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

Submarine is told from the perspective of a 15 year old boy. Some of the subject matter is a bit mature and the movie is rated R, but I don't remember any scenes that caused me to cringe when I watched it with my teenager.

Also came in to recommend Sing Street and Moonrise Kingdom.
posted by kbar1 at 7:11 PM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yeah, that title kinda made me jump too. I see what you meant obviously, but ouch.

Seconding Freaks and Geeks, although it gets so real it might be kind of grim for kids that age.

I haven't seen the last couple of seasons of Adventure Time yet, but one of the things I've always loved about it is how Finn is absolutely a boy, and kind of a loud, clumsy, not-too-bright boy, but he is a really good kid and he saves his aggro energies for fighting injustices. He always treats the women and girls in his life with respect, be they princesses, vampires or tiny insect ladies in fancy hats. He makes mistakes in romance but he really tries to learn from them. I think it's one of the underrated aspects of the show, how it models positive behavior for boys. It's also so much fun you can watch it at pretty much any age, although your kids may be right at that age where they reject anything that seems "babyish". But if they're not watching it yet maybe YOU should start watching it and try to get them hooked too!

The Wonder Years was also quite good, but Kevin is frequently a jerk to girls (being a teen and all) so your discussions would probably mostly be about the mistakes he made. (And Daniel Stern's wry narration will probably have a lot of those discussions for you!) And don't rule out shows with female protagonists! It could be a really good thing for your boys to get at least a little insight into what girls their age are experiencing.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:12 PM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart
streaming on Netflix - one of my favorites of all time
posted by Crystalinne at 7:34 PM on December 5, 2016

Response by poster: Oh Lordy! Ha! Yes, I didn't notice how else the title could have been read. Bring back the interpunct! Sorry for the ouch!

Are you sure they're straight?
This question was prompted in part by their increasing questions about girls and girlfriends and one of them spending a lot of time with a particular girl.

Thank you for all the suggestions so far. Yes, books & tv welcome too.
posted by stellathon at 7:55 PM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Gotta give another vote for sing street. One of the best movies I've ever seen. You're kids will love it...and so will you!
posted by ljs30 at 9:26 PM on December 5, 2016

WRT BitH I didn't like when the next scene after Brandi telling Tre that he can cry in front of her is the two of them in bed.
posted by brujita at 10:00 PM on December 5, 2016

I think Big fits into this category - not a standard coming of age story to be sure but nevertheless one that tackles the transition between childhood and adulthood from a boy's perspective.

From the same era: The Breakfast Club.
posted by rongorongo at 2:51 AM on December 6, 2016

Ugggh the Breakfast Club is really rapey from a modern POV. I'd avoid.

Seconding Freaks & Geeks and also want to suggest the original Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High series. All acted by age-appropriate kids and deal pretty honestly with real problems. The rebooted Degrassi TNG is good in the first few seasons, too, but eventually gets overproduced and soapy.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:10 AM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Do your kids already watch Steven Universe on Cartoon Network? It's about a doofy little boy who has to fight to save the world and it is wonderful. Steven lives with his terrifying, powerful, hilarious "aunts" (well, genderless feminine-presenting beings) and his dad. He respects women, who are the principal actors of the story, and has an adorable budding relationship with a tough, smart girl who can, at times, fuse with him to form a single powerful being. Plus, the music's great. Here's a clip.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:34 AM on December 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

Little Manhattan!
posted by anotheraccount at 7:58 AM on December 6, 2016

Since others have suggested movies with older kids, I'll throw in Kings of Summer. The romance isn't the main part of the movie, but it does play a significant role, as do the relationship of the boys around that romance. Be aware that it's rated R, mostly due to language.
posted by cnc at 1:09 PM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

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