In these times, we're no longer looking for prestige viewing. It's too upsetting. What most of us long for is a big comfort-watch. And there's nothing more comforting than a swoony, cringey, hilarious teen movie. It's hard to pin down why these movies are so comforting. Maybe it’s because emotions during that age are so raw and powerful, they leave an impression, even years later. Maybe it’s because the first blush of love is always the strongest. Or maybe it’s because teenagers have absolutely no filter so the filthiest jokes come out of their mouths.
The best teen movies on Netflix do some of these, if not all. Whether you want a heart-tugging romantic movie, an awkward cringe comedy, an all-encompassing melodrama or a movie that uses high school as a metaphor for society at large, Netflix has a top film that’ll fit the bill. (Especially for those romantic comedy fans: With movies like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Dude, Candy Jar and The Kissing Booth, Netflix has swept all corners of the rom-com.)
Hey, you can even find a teen sci-fi movie with elements of time-travel in there. Just remember, as you think back to your days of acne and locker combinations, what it took to make it through to the other side and into your adulthood.
Mean Girls (2004)
This endlessly quotable classic is the quintessential teen movie: There's high school social drama, parental interference, a talent show and of course, a crush.
Double Dad (2020)
With shades of Mamma Mia but with fewer Abba songs, this one finds a teen sneaking out of the hippie enclave where she lives with her mom to try and figure out her dad's identity.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
This classic film didn't necessarily invent the tropes of the athlete, the brain, the bully, the princess and the loner, but it definitely solidified them in our collective consciousness. It's worth a rewatch, or showing it to your teen for the first time.
Confessions of an Invisible Girl (2021)
Tetê is new at school, and like anyone, just wants to fit in. But we all know that doesn't always go as planned, especially if the popular kids have anything to say about it.
Every other teen seems to be a tiktok star these days, which makes this film feel a little bit retro (in social media terms, anyway). When the main character's crush finally notices her, it seems like every teens dream — that is, until his social media star ex does too.
Work It (2020)
Harness the power of dance with this toe-tapping film about a clumsy student who turns a bunch of fellow misfits into a dance troupe in order to attract the attention of her dream college.
Love and Gelato (2022)
If the title doesn't get your attention — and activate your sweet tooth — the adorable story will. Lina spends the last summer before college in Rome, and finds as much adventure and excitement there as you'd expect. Better watch with a pint of gelato, for authenticity.
Rock My Heart (2019)
Calling all horse girls: Follow the hoofbeats in your heart to this sweet story in which a girl with a heart defect finds a kindred spirit in a stallion with a mind of his own.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Bueller? Bueller? The canonical story of skipping school has probably inspired a ton of copycat shenanigans, and getting ideas from the film is basically a rite of passage in itself.
The Kissing Booth 2 (2020)
After The Kissing Booth turned out to be such an unexpected hit, a sequel was inevitable. This time, Elle still has to juggle her relationships with boyfriend Noah and best-friend Lee, all while college decisions loom. A third movie is reportedly in the works, filmed secretly back-to-back with this one.
All the Bright Places (2020)
For something that skews closer to melodrama, this movie, based on the novel by Jennifer Niven, follows two troubled teenagers who embark on a romance when they're assigned to work on a school project together. But are their feelings enough to overcome their personal issues?
To All the Boys I've Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You (2020)
Lara Jean, romantic heroine of To All the Boys I've Loved Before, has to navigate the ins and outs of her first real relationship — which gets even more complicated when a new boy enters the mix who may be an even better match for her.
The Half of It (2020)
Football-player Paul enlists Ellie, who makes money on the side by writing essays for other students, to write a love letter to a classmate named Aster Flores. The only problem? Ellie's in love with Aster, too.
See You Yesterday (2019)
It's a teen movie... with a little bit of time travel. Two high school prodigies crack the ability to travel through time, though one of them uses it to try and change a traumatic event in her past, with consequences for the present.
The Perfect Date (2020)
Noah Centineo, Netflix's favorite heartthrob, stars as someone who offers his services as a fake date to earn money for college. Of course, real feelings get involved. Camila Mendez co-stars as Shelby, the snobby girl he thinks is out of his league, but wants to win over.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018)
By now, you probably know the tale of Lara Jean, whose meddling sister mails personal letters to her all-time top-five crushes. But this is the movie that first gave Noah Centineo to the world, so there is absolutely no harm in watching it again.
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Four friends make a bunch of ill-advised decisions during the last two weeks of high school — not that any of us would know anything about that. Lucy Hale, Awkwafina, Kathryn Prescott and Alexandra Shipp star in this story of teens acting out.
Sierra Burgess Is a Loser (2018)
Or was this the movie that gave us Noah Centineo? Here, he plays Jamey, another sensitive heartthrob, this time opposite the shy and unpopular Sierra (Shannon Purser from Stranger Things). Sierra gets involved in a Cyrano de Bergerac-style situation where she starts a relationship with Jamey — except he thinks her phone number belongs to someone else. How long can she keep up the mistaken identity?
Candy Jar (2018)
Two ultra-competitive debate champs get thrown for a loop when when they have to stop facing off against each other and — uh-oh! — work on the same team. This movie is for anyone who loves rivals-turned-friend stories, like You've Got Mail or 10 Things I Hate About You.
Alex Strangelove (2018)
Like so many teenagers before him, Alex Truelove in a love triangle of his own. Only this time, he can't decide between Claire, his longtime best friend (as per usual) — or a boy named Elliot.
If you're in the mood for something about self-love, this movie follows the plus-size teen (Danielle Macdonald), the daughter of a former beauty queen (Jennifer Aniston), who signs up for a beauty pageant to spite her mother — only to realize she's inspired others to try out, too.
The Kissing Booth (2018)
Though Netflix famously doesn't release its box-office numbers, when this movie came out the company's Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos, told Vulture this was “one of the most-watched movies in the country, and maybe in the world.” Perhaps its simple love-triangle setup is why it's so popular: It follows best-friends Elle and Lee (Joey King and Joel Courtney) as their relationship changes as they get older — and Elle develops a crush on Lee's brother (Jacob Elordi).
Deidra & Laney Rob a Train (2017)
When their mom goes to jail, Deidra and Laney hatch a heist plan to keep them out of foster care. While that sounds like a dour setup for a movie, it's actually a comedy! And it's made all the better by a performance from Ashleigh Murray, a.k.a Josie from Riverdale.
Carrie Pilby (2016)
This film follows an awkward teenage prodigy who, after she graduates Harvard (naturally), spends most of her life in her apartment, until a friend makes her a to-do list. The items on it? Make a friend, get a pet, find a job and so on. Everyone who's putting off adulting can relate.
Not Another Teen Movie (2001)
After watching all these teen movies, you've certainly discovered a bunch of tropes used over and over again in teen movies. This parody film makes fun of all the clichés while referencing some of the most famous teen movies of the '80s and '90s. It even takes place at "John Hughes High School."
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