Conventions and Iconography of the Coming of Age Genre

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Conventions and Iconography of the Coming of Age Genre by Mind Map: Conventions and Iconography of the Coming of Age Genre

1. Within coming of age films. colourful clothes are typically worn, against the dark clothes which may be worn in the genre of horror or thriller. Teenagers are seen to be expressive and take pride in their appearance, which is why the costume of the characters is very important. Films where the characters are dressed colourfully are 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower', 'The Fault in Our Stars' and 'Boyhood'.

2. More conventional for a narrative with a female protagonist, pop music may be played in order to relate more to the female orientated audience. These movies include 'Mean Girls', 'Juno', 'Clueless' and 'The Breakfast Club'.

3. Mainstream hip-hop/rap soundtracks are used within coming of age films in order to keep the audience relating to the film, therefore keeping them engaged. These known soundtracks are conventional, as the conventional audience member which is a teenager, would be engaged. They are featured in films such as 'Kidulthood', 'Adulthood' and 'Dope'.

4. In the coming of age genre, young love, romance and relationships as a whole are explored within the context of the film, as the target audience, which is usually teenagers, will be experimenting and experiencing these problems themselves.  A list of films which have this aspect incorporated in them are 'The Fault in Our Stars', 'An Education', 'Mean Girls', 'Clueless', 'American Pie' and 'The Inbetweeners Movie'.

5. Substance abuse, such as drugs and alcohol, are also typically explored in a coming of age film. This particular film has had a large increase in use, due to the more accepting and open-minded audience of the 21st century.  Again, teenagers which are expected to watch this film would be engaging in such activities themselves, where they would find this interesting. The iconography of alcohol and drugs is shown in 'Kidulthood', 'Adulthood' and 'Superbad'.

6. A typical theme which is incorporated in a coming of age film is one of the characters facing a difficult and difficult change in their life, due to the movement of school. They are forced to make new friendships. Films which have this theme within them are 'Mean Girls', as well as 'Clueless'.

7. Linking to drugs and alcohol, gang culture has become largely conventional within the genre. Movies such as 'Adulthood' show a theme of violence with large groups of people throughout. These gangs also put pressure on each other into doing things they may not be comfortable doing, such as criminal behaviour. 'Dope' (2015) explores the narrative of a teen being pressured into conduct which is illegal. Similarly, sexual themes have been explored in films such as 'Superbad', 'Submarine' and 'American Pie'. The protagonist may be willing for this interaction, however they also may be pressured into doing so.

8. A desire of acceptance and friendships are key topics within a coming of age film. Changes throughout a teenagers lives cause the protagonist to build friendship and trust with various characters throughout, such as in 'Mean Girls', where Cady moves from Africa to North America and is forced to make new friends. 'Clueless' shows the life of a popular girl in school facing her own difficulties.

9. As part of the setting of the film, the protagonist's home and school are conventional places where a film may be set at one point. This is used as someone's school life, as well as their bedroom, reveals a lot about the character themselves in a very short time frame. If the room is entirely pink with teddies, we can imply the character to be girly, childish and soft. Existing films which use these locations are 'Mean Girls', 'Superbad', 'Juno', 'Clueless', 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' and 'The Breakfast Club'. Also seen in a bedroom may be posters and magazines of the protagonists' interests, seen in 'Fat Girl'.

10. Themes

11. Sounds

12. Comparison to Other Genres

13. Also in coming of age films, the parents of the protagonist within the film are often irresponsible or absent within the duration of the film. The parent can also seen to be battling their own problems, such as alcoholism. An example of an irresponsible parent in a short coming of age film is in 'My Dad', where the Dad is seen taking his son to an EDL parade, where things begin to get violent. The parents of the protagonist in 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' are absent throughout the entire film.

14. Another typical character type within a coming of age film is the 'bully' role. The bully is typically the antagonist within the film, where the protagonist is often able to overcome this person. A group of bullies are also popularly used in movies nowadays, outnumbering the protagonist. An example of this 'bully' character type is in 'Mean Girls', where Regina George is the antagonist within the narrative.

15. Often in the Coming of Age genre, characters are seen to be within the age of 13-19 year olds. These teenagers have been used in order to allow the audience of the film to relate to the typical narrative of a film. The teenagers are often shy and submissive, where an example of this can be found in the film 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower', as well as 'Boyhood'.

16. More recently, the introduction of 'the crush' character type has led to an open door for possibilities which would not have been considered interesting years ago. In 'The Inbetweeners Movie', 'Albatross' and 'Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging', the crush role plays a vital role in the narrative, as the entire film is almost based around the protagonist trying to win them over.

17. To maintain the realism effect which is hoped to be achieved in a coming of age film, natural lighting is often used in order to shy away from the use of colour correction and editing in general, which again may be used in the horror or thriller genre. Movies where natural lighting dominates the overall shots in the movie are 'Boyhood', 'Juno' and 'American Pie'.

18. In a coming of age film, the narrative is often about the teenager overcoming an obstacle that has appeared in their everyday life. This allows the target audience, being teenagers themselves, to relate to the storyline. Movies which follow this conventional narrative are 'The Outsiders', 'Fat Girl', 'American Pie' and 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower'.

19. Shopping malls are typically associated with coming of age films as the youth enjoy hanging around these types of areas when they are not at home or at school. This is seen in 'Mean Girls', 'Clueless' and 'American Pie'.

20. Already discussed, drugs and alcohol have started to play a vital role within the narrative of a coming of age film nowadays. Teenagers are seen to be the prime age where experimenting with these items are seen to be acceptable by the typical teenage audience member. Films which include this are 'Kidulthood', 'Superbad', 'American Pie' and 'The Inbetweeners Movie'.

21. In coming of age films, iconography includes the use of technology in various shots, as teenagers can relate to the use of these props. Technology includes CD players, DVDs, mobile phones etc. Movies which have this feature incorporated are 'Mean Girls', 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower', 'The Breakfast Club' and 'Boyhood'.

22. Characters

23. Props/Settings

24. Narrative