Relive Your Teen Years With These High School Movies

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After days of binge-watching 13 Reasons Why, you’re probably plunged into memories of your own high school experiences. Long days punctuated by the ringing of the bell. The politics of eye contact in the halls. Pimples on prom night. Scheming to sneak away from parents’ rules. Long afternoons with so much homework you doubt the toil will ever cease.
During the high school years, emotions abound, drama cuts deep, and everything runs amuck. Some films, similarly to 13 Reasons Why, capture the darkness that can gather when you put enough kids in a confined space. Others celebrate the edge of adulthood with humor, poignancy, and grace. And yet others do so with fart jokes, which are alright, too.
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It’s safe to say most people don’t want to go back to high school. But by watching these movies set in twilight moments of childhood, you'll remember a more eager iteration of yourself. Someone for whom the world was yet untasted and untrodden.
Let’s go back to the days when playing hooky was the ultimate victory.
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The Spectacular Now (2003)

You already know how the story of The Spectacular Now goes, because you've seen something like it before: a charming senior falls in love with a good girl. But the story of Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) and Aimee Finecky (Shailene Woodley) brings an original, genuine perspective to the exhilaration and confusion of first love. Though we might not ever fall in love like we were 17 again, at least we can watch young passion bloom on screen.
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The Class (2006)

A lot can happen over the course of a yearlong literature class. In this gritty French drama, Marin (François Bégaudeau) experiences real highs and lows with his class of troubled students from a tough Parisian neighborhood. From ethnic tension to teen violence, Marin has more to negotiate than French literature in his classroom. And if the film feels like a documentary, that's because The Class is based on Bégaudeau's true teaching experiences.
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Dead Poet's Society (1989)

More than knowledge or rote memorization, the best high school teachers equip us with a new perspective. That's just what John Keating (Robin Williams) does when he injects the strict all-boys prep school with poetry, spirit, and a dash of rebellion. You, like Keating's students, will be memorizing poetry in no time.
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Juno (2007)

High school junior Juno MacGaff is bright, quirky, and, after a brief tryst with her twerp of a track runner friend, pregnant. Pragmatic as ever, Juno finds the family who will adopt her child in the PennySaver personals. But complications in the adoption process arise when the family's father begins to make their relationship a bit too personal.
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An Education (2009)

It's 1960s London, and after Jenny Mellor (Carey Mulligan) meets a dashing older gent (Peter Sarsgaard), she thinks her life is about to get far more interesting. And so the romance between a high school senior and a 35-year-old smooth operator with a vintage car begins. In this poignant coming-of-age film, Jenny learns that the "interesting" adult world isn't necessarily better than the life she had before.

With Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard at their A-Game, you might even root for their pairing, despite your higher mind's warning signals.
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The Breakfast Club (1985)

We might as well call this movie, about five students who band together against a power hungry-principal during an all-day detention, a fable, or a myth, or a fantasy. That's because as anyone who survived public high school knows, the odds of such triumphant collaboration between popular girls, nerdy guys, and bad boys are slim. But, for its portrayal of kids crossing clique borders and coming together, albeit briefly, The Breakfast Club is (rightly) the most iconic high school movie of all time.

We won't forget about them.
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Brick (2005)

After a teenage loner's ex-girlfriend turns up dead, he takes it upon himself to solve her murder. In this film that takes its cues from old-school crime flicks, Brendan (a young Joseph Gordon Levitt) infiltrates high school cliques, not mafia dens, as part of his investigation. Soon, Brendan finds himself at the heart of an underground drug gang that exists within high school walls. Fast-paced and original, this is high school at its darkest and most gripping.
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Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Arrogantly charming in the way only high school seniors can be, Ferris Bueller is determined to play hooky, no matter what. In this endlessly entertaining film, Ferris and his friends have the blazing adventure we all dreamed of while daydreaming in math class. Who wouldn't take marching in a parade over school, any day?
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Boyhood (2014)

Granted, this epic, Academy Award-winning, decade-spanning film isn't just a high-school movie. It's a movie about growing up. But after seeing Mason (literally) come of age before our eyes, the audience can appreciate high school as the last stop of his "boyhood."
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Mean Girls (2004)

When Cady (Lindsay Lohan) moves to the suburbs of Illinois after years living in Africa, she and her new misfit friends hatch a devious plan. Cady will infiltrate the Plastics, the clique of mean girls who run the school.

From the Burn Book to Glen Coco, Mean Girls is still part of our modern-day lexicon, over 10 years after its release. Though Regina told Gretchen to "quit trying to make fetch happen," we still use "fetch" to this day. Guess Gretchen won, after all.
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