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The best teen movies on Netflix

From ‘Twilight’ to ‘Easy A’, here are the best teen movies on Netflix

By Time Out Film
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While most of us would rather not revisit our teenage years IRL, for some reason we’re inexplicably drawn to hilarious high-school comediesteen romances and angsty young adult dramas. Whether it’s a tale of first times, prom nights, heartbreak or a tender coming-of-age, we can’t seem to get enough of films about teenagers.

Luckily, when you’re feeling the need for a bit of teenage vicariousness, Netflix has the goods. From sex-crazed films like ‘American Pie’ and ‘Easy A’, to vampire romp ‘Twilight’ and queer drama ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’, we’ve put together some of the best teen films streaming on Netflix right now. Cheerleader uniforms and varsity jackets at the ready. (Updated 17 March 2020.)

Recommended: the best movies streaming on Netflix right now

1. The DUFF (2015)

Film Comedy

Director Ari Sandel

Cast Mae Whitman, Bella Thorne

Mae Whitman has oodles of charm as the down-to-earth lead of this harmlessly predictable high school comedy. Realising she’s known as the ‘duff’, a Designated Ugly Fat Friend guys talk to to get to their hotter mates, she sets about reinventing herself. But a message of acceptance wins out in the end.

Kissing Booth
Kissing Booth

2. The Kissing Booth (2018)

Director Vince Marcello

Cast Joey King, Jacob Elordi, Joel Courtney, Molly Ringwald

Starring the ’80s queen of teen Molly Ringwald, this Netflix Original movie follows all the gloriously sweet teen tropes. Best friends Elle and Lee have one rule: no getting involved with each other’s relatives. This gets a little complicated, however, after Elle becomes involved with Noah, Lee’s bad-boy older brother. Sure, it’s all fairly fluffy, but we’re really not complaining.

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To All the Boys I've Loved Before
To All the Boys I've Loved Before

3. To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018)

Director Susan Johnson

Cast Lana Condor, Noah Centineo

To deal with her intense crushes, Lara Jean (Lana Condor) writes secret love letters to the boys she lusts after, which no one is ever meant to see. Of course, these letters end up being sent out and Lara Jean must deal with her feelings, and the implications of the letters, head on.

This Netflix Original movie, based on the book of the same name by Jenny Han, has been praised by all corners of the internet, especially for the performances of Lana Condor and Noah Centineo, who plays love interest Peter Kavinsky. It looks like the romcom is officially back.

4. City of God (2002)

Film Thrillers

Director Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund
Cast Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino

Kids growing up in the slums of Rio de Janeiro have a bit more to worry about than proms and dating. But make no mistake, ‘City of God’ is a teen movie: it’s about growing up, finding yourself and discovering first love. It’s just a bit more violent and truthful than your average coming-of-age flick.

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5. Twilight (2008)

Film Drama

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

Cast: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart

Catherine Hardwicke's stylistic adaptation of the first book in Stephenie Meyer’s teen vampire series is the only one of the five films that’s actually worth watching. The colour pallette – all blues, greys and murky greens – and some excellent location work transport you to Forks, and even the performances aren’t as wooden as they become in later episodes. Sure, it’s a guilty pleasure, but sometimes vampires that sparkle in the sun are exactly what you need.

6. Clueless (1995)

Film Comedy

Director: Amy Heckerling

Cast: Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy

Cher (Alicia Silverstone) and Dionne (Stacey Dash) are two perfectly coordinated Beverley Hills besties always looking to do a good deed. Their next ‘project’ comes in the shape of slacker girl Tai Frasier (Brittany Murphy), the newbie in High School who they decide needs a makeover. Amy Heckerling’s seminal movie (itself a makeover of Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’), contains some seriously extra fashion choices and a squeal-inducing happy ending. 

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7. Alex Strangelove (2018)

Film Comedy

Director Craig Johnson

Cast Daniel Doheny, Antonio Marziale, Madeline Weinstein

It’s been dubbed Netflix’s take on ‘Love, Simon’, but to dub this cute coming out/coming-of-age story as a knock-off does it an injustice. We follow the titular Alex as he attempts to figure out his sexuality while also in a relationship with his best friend Claire. The introduction of Elliot, an out and proud gay teen who loves The B-52’s, only complicates matters, as does a hallucinogenic frog…

8. The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018)

Film Comedy

Director: Desiree Akhavan

Cast:  Chloë Grace Moretz, John Gallagher Jr.

This tender and gently comic drama about a lesbian teenager dealing with society’s disapproval is part ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, part John Hughes film. Even better it packs an emotional punch and a career-best performance from Chloë Grace Moretz. It’s a film that wears its giant heart on its sleeve, inviting you to bask in the happiness that comes with accepting who you are. Is there a better message than that?

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9. Night of the Comet (1984)

Film Horror

Director Thom Eberhardt
Cast Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney

This cult teen flick deserves to be far better known. When a passing comet wipes out most of the human population, Californian sisters Regina and Samantha find themselves alone in LA. Their first priority is a free shopping spree, their second is defending themselves against marauding fellow survivors.

10. Handsome Devil (2017)

Film Drama

Director John Butler

Cast Fionn O'Shea, Nicholas Galitzine, Andrew Scott

This charming indie comedy will resonate with anyone who felt like they didn't fit in during their teens. Set in a all boys boarding school in Ireland where rugby reigns supreme, we meet Ned, the school's outsider. However, after he forges an unlikely friendship with the school's new star player, Conor, things at school start to change, both for better and for worse.

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11. American Pie

Film Comedy

Director: Paul and Chris Weitz Cast: Jason Biggs, Tara Reed, Seann William Scott

Director: Paul and Chris Weitz

Cast: Jason Biggs, Tara Reed, Seann William Scott

Sure, this teen sex comedy about a group of high school boys wanting to lose their virginity definitely wouldn't get made today (what with its skewered sexual politics and questionable approach to consent), but twenty years ago, this movie was responsible for the revival of the teen comedy genre. But even through the lens of 2019, the sheer embarrassment these characters suffer will never not be funny. Oh, and it also ruined warm apple pies for an entire generation.

12. Chalet Girl (2011)

Film Comedy

Director Phil Traill
Cast Felicity Jones, Ed Westwick

Pre-Oscar noms and a role in Star Wars spin-off ‘Rogue One’, Felicity Jones played 19-year-old chalet girl Kim in this silly, entertaining romp. While earning money in the Alps following the death of her mum, Kim meets and falls for a rich client, played by ‘Gossip Girl’ alumnus Ed Westwick. The only problem? He’s engaged to someone else.

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13. Easy A (2010)

Film Comedy

Director: Will Gluck

Cast: Emma Stone, Stanley Tucci

When Olive Penderghast (Stone) lies about losing her virginity to a college guy, she gets labelled a ‘dirty skank’ by her peers. Instead of laying low, she embraces her reputation, going as far as to accept payment to say that she slept with some of the boys. However, the burden of her scarlet letter begins to weigh and Olive is left wondering whether honesty might actually be the best policy after all.

14. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Film Romance

Director Stephen Chbosky

Cast Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller

Eschewing teen hijinks and the comedic aspects expected from a teen movie, this adaptation of Stephen Chbosky’s novel of the same name is a dark but surprisingly uplifting tale of what it’s like to be an introverted outsider in high school. Touching on themes of mental health and abuse, this heartfelt story is bolstered by strong performances from its three leads who help prove that our negative experiences as teenagers don’t last forever.

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15. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

Film Comedy

Director David Wain
Cast Janeane Garofalo, Paul Rudd

The ground rules for twenty-first-century Hollywood comedy were laid by this ridiculous piss-take of summer camp movies. The cast is amazing, with Bradley Cooper making his debut, alongside Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler and Niles from ‘Frasier’ – and the script is deeply silly and consistently hilarious.

Watch it if you liked...Knocked Up

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