The Best Teen Movies on Netflix (October 2021)

Relive the ups and downs of high school—from a safe distance

Teen movies have been making a comeback in recent years, especially on Netflix, but they've never really gone out of style. These films include Netflix originals along with some old-school picks and serve up everything you’d expect from the genre: heartache, romance, coming-of-age lessons, and the timeless tradition of parties without parental supervision.

01
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Klara Castanho in 'Confessions of an Invisible Girl'

Netflix

IMDb Rating: 5.2/10

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Starring: Klara Castanho, Júlia Rabello, Stepan Nercessian

Director: Bruno Garotti

Motion Picture Rating: TV-PG

Runtime: 1 hour, 31 minutes

This Brazilian teen film stars Klara Castanho as Tetê, a socially awkward loner who feels unaccepted at school and at home. But, when she's forced to move to a new city and start over at a new school, she tries her best to change her life for the better. This cute comedy will strike a nerve in anyone who's ever felt they don't quite fit in.

02
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Bright: Samurai Soul (2021)—A New Anime Based on the Netflix Fantasy Film

Bright: Samurai Soul (2021)

Netflix

IMDb Rating: n/a

Genre: Anime

Starring: Simu Liu, Fred Mancuso, Yuzu Harada

Director: Kyohei Ishiguro

Motion Picture Rating: TV-14

Runtime: 1 hour, 20 minutes

The 2017 action film Bright introduced a modern-day world filled with fantasy creatures living uneasily alongside humans. And while it failed to wow critics and viewers, Netflix is revisiting that world again with the anime Bright: Samurai Soul. Set in Japan during the Shogunate era, it chronicles the adventures of a wandering samurai and an orc who are trying to bring a young elf and the magical MacGuffin she carries back to her people.

03
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He's All That (2021): Gender-Flipping a Classic '90s Rom-Com

Tanner Buchanan and Addison Rae in 'He's All That'

Netflix

IMDb Rating: 4.3/10

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Starring: Tanner Buchanan, Rachael Leigh Cook, Addison Rae, Matthew Lillard

Director: Mark Waters

Motion Picture Rating: TV-MA

Runtime: 1 hour, 28 minutes

The 1999 rom-com She's All That stars Freddie Prinze. Jr. as a popular high school kid who makes a bet that he can turn a socially awkward art student (Rachael Leigh Cook) into the prom queen. This gender-flipped remake sees a social media influencer (Addison Rae) bet that she can turn a scruffy loner (Tanner Buchanan) into the prom king. Of course, the two fall for each other, which complicates things.

04
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JJ+E (2021): A Swedish Romance About Class and Cultural Barriers

Mustapha Aarab and Elsa Öhrn in "JJ+E"

Netflix

IMDb Rating: 5.3/10

Genre: Romance

Starring: Mustapha Aarab, Elsa Öhrn, Magnus Krepper

Director: Alexis Almström

Motion Picture Rating: TV-14

Runtime: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Based on one of the most famous books by the award-winning Swedish author Mats Wahl, JJ+E is a modern-day story about two young people who fall in love despite the cultural and class barriers between them. Elisabeth and John-John couldn't be more different economically and socially, but when they start in the same high school class, they become friends and fall in love. The Swedish setting and actors help put a fresher spin on an old romance trope.

05
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Hunters encounter a dragon in 'Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild'

Netflix

IMDb Rating: 5.4/10

Genre: Animated, Action

Starring: Dante Basco, Erica Lindbeck, Brando Eaton

Director: Steve Yamamoto

Motion Picture Rating: TV-PG

Runtime: 58 minutes

If the 2020 Monster Hunter film adaptation starring Milla Jovovich felt lacking, give this new animated movie a chance. Focusing on the character Aiden (a.k.a the "Excitable A-Lister" last seen in the video game Monster Hunter: World), it promises to stick more faithfully to its source material. During the film, Aiden and his fellow hunters track down and battle a fearsome Elder Dragon to protect their village. Fans of the video game franchise can expect plenty of nods and Easter eggs, and even a quippy, adorable Palico!

06
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The Kissing Booth 3 (2021): Elle Evans Goes to College

Joey King, Joel Courtney, Meganne Young, and Jacob Elordi in 'The Kissing Booth 3'

Netflix

IMDb Rating: 4.7/10

Genre: Romance

Starring: Joey King, Joel Courtney, Jacob Elordi

Director: Vince Marcello

Motion Picture Rating: TV-14

Runtime: 1 hour, 52 minutes

Based on author Beth Reekles' The Kissing Booth novels, this film adaptation sees protagonist Elle Evans preparing for college. With one summer left between her and dorm life, she sets out to fulfill a bucket list with her boyfriend, Noah, and her best friend, Lee. While the films veer too often into rom-com cliche, fans of the novels should enjoy this third outing.

07
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The Secret Diary of an Exchange Student (2021): A Brazilian Fish Out of Water Rom-Com

Larissa Manoela and Thati Lopes in 'The Secret Diary of an Exchange Student'

Netflix

IMDb Rating: 5.4/10

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Starring: Larissa Manoela, Thati Lopes, Bruno Montaleone

Director: Bruno Garotti

Motion Picture Rating: TV-14

Runtime: 1 hour, 36 minutes

In this Brazilian import, Barbara (Larissa Manoela) and Talia (Thati Lopes) are best friends who decide to travel to the U.S. as exchange students. Barbara winds up in Woodstock, NY, and acting as a nanny for her stern sponsor. Talia stays with a conservative couple and meets a cute Brazilian teen named Lucas (Bruno Montaleone) who works at the local ski resort.

08
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Audible (2021): Best Documentary for Teen Athletes Who Want to Be Inspired

The Maryland School for the Deaf football team in the documentary 'Audible'

Netflix

IMDb Rating: 5.3/10

Genre: Documentary

Starring: Amaree McKenstry-Hall

Director: Matthew Ogens

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 39 minutes

This documentary short follows teen athlete Amaree McKenstry-Hall, who plays football for the Maryland School for the Deaf. He and his fellow players are on an unprecedented winning streak. During the film, they deal with the stress of protecting it while also struggling with their senior year, their futures in the hearing world after graduation, and the death of a friend.

09
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Skater Girl (2021): A Film About Blazing Your Own Path

Rachel Saanchita Gupta and Shafin Patel in 'Skater Girl'

Netflix

IMDb Rating: 6.7/10

Genre: Drama

Starring: Amy Maghera, Waheeda Rehman, Rachel Saanchita Gupta

Director: Manjari Makijany

Motion Picture Rating: PG

Runtime: 1 hour, 47 minutes

This Indian film is about a young girl who discovers skateboarding and dreams of competing in the sport but faces opposition from her traditional parents and the rest of her village. Meanwhile, the young woman who introduced her to skateboarding seeks to support her and the other village girls by building a skatepark. Skater Girl promises to be a heartwarming story about following your dreams.

10
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Vampires vs. The Bronx (2019): Best Gentrification Metaphor Since Beetlejuice

Jaden Michael, Gerald Jones III, and Gregory Diaz IV in 'Vampires vs. the Bronx'

Netflix

IMDb Rating: 5.6/10

Genre: Comedy, Horror

Starring: Jaden Michael, Gerald Jones III, Gregory Diaz IV

Director: Oz Rodriguez

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Miguel, Bobby, and Luis are a bunch of normal teens with an unusual problem—vampires have invaded their Bronx community and are eating their neighbors. Plucky teens protect their neighborhood from invading monsters is not a new concept. Vampires vs. the Bronx wears that trope like a comfy blanket. But in between the fun frights and the witty one-liners is a clever meditation on gentrification and whitewashing.

11
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Mirai (2018): A Lovely Animated Film About Family and Time Travel

A scene from the animated film 'Mirai'

Toho

IMDb Rating: 7.0/10

Genre: Animation, Adventure

Starring: Rebecca Hall, Daniel Dae Kim, John Cho 

Director: Mamoru Hosoda

Motion Picture Rating: PG

Runtime: 1 hour, 38 minutes

This lovely Japanese animated film is an emotional story about family. Kun is a four-year-old boy who has a new baby sister, Mirai. Jealous of the newcomer, he flees to the family's garden, which is magical and allows him to travel through time to meet different versions of his relatives—including the teenaged version of his new sister. Throughout the movie, Kun learns that his family members are people with personalities separate from his own and that he's not quite the center of the universe.

12
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Four Sisters Before the Wedding (2020): Best Filipino Teen Movie

Poster for the Filipino film 'Four Sisters Before the Wedding'

Star Cinema

IMDb Rating: 7.1/10

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Starring: Alexa Ilacad, Gillian Vicencio, Charlie Dizon

Director: Mae Czarina Cruz

Motion Picture Rating: PG

Runtime: 1 hour, 38 minutes

This Filipino dramedy is a prequel to the 2013 film Four Sisters and a Wedding. In the present day, the Salazar sisters are preparing for their brother's wedding to a woman he's only known for four months. Meanwhile, they reminisce about a time their parents were having their own relationship problems and the girls conspired to get them back together. The film manages to walk a fine line between funny and emotional, but you might get the most out of it if you watch the original movie first.

13
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Concrete Cowboy (2020): Because Idris Elba on a Horse, That's Why

Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin in 'Concrete Cowboy'

Netflix

IMDb Rating: 5.1/10

Genre: Drama

Starring: Idris Elba, Caleb McLaughlin, Lorraine Toussaint, Jharrel Jerome

Director: Ricky Staub

Motion Picture Rating: R

Runtime: 1 hour, 51 minutes

This new drama from director Ricky Staub (Snow White and the Huntsman) takes a look at a little-known part of Black culture—urban cowboys who ride their horses on asphalt streets instead of dirt. Cole (Stranger Things' Caleb McLaughlin) is a 15-year-old boy from Detroit who's sent to live with his father Harp (Idris Elba) in Philadelphia. Harp is a part of Fletcher Street Stables, a (real-world) 100-year-old riding club that's often a refuge to troubled youth. Critics call the film an endearing and emotional father/son drama.

14
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Moxie (2021): A Film About Fighting Toxic School Culture

 Hadley Robinson in 'Moxie'

Netflix

IMDb Rating: 6.7/10

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Hadley Robinson, Lauren Tsai, Alycia Pascual-Pena 

Director: Amy Poehler

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 1 hour, 51 minutes

This teen comedy from Parks and Rec comedienne Amy Poehler stars Hadley Robinson as Vivian, a shy 16-year-old who decides to rebel against her school's toxic atmosphere by publishing an underground zine called Moxie. Her writing sparks a movement amongst the female students. While Poehler is relatively new as a film director, she's proven herself a talented comedic writer and actress, making this movie promising.

15
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Finding 'Ohana (2021): For Anyone Who Misses The Goonies

Owen Vaccaro, Alex Aiono, Lindsay Watson, and Kea Peahu in 'Finding Ohana'

Netflix

IMDb Rating: 6.1/10

Genre: Action, Adventure

Starring: Kelly Hu, Ke Huy Quan, Lindsay Watson 

Director: Jude Weng

Motion Picture Rating: PG

Runtime: 2 hours, 3 minutes

If you're a fan of movies where precocious teens go on an adventure for hidden treasures, you may want to spend a weekend watching Finding 'Ohana. It just might fill that Goonies-sized hole in your heart. The film is about two Brooklyn kids who go to Oahu to take care of their ailing grandfather and discover a pirate's journal that leads to a 200-year-old shipwreck. But, they also learn to appreciate their Hawaiian heritage along the way.

16
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The Half of It: A Hopeful Love Story

The Half of It on Netflix

Netflix

IMDb Rating: 6.9/10

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Starring: Leah Lewis, Daniel Diemer, Alexxis Lemire

Director: Alice Wu

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 1 hour, 44 minutes

When a lovesick football player named Paul begs loner Ellie to help him woo popular-girl Aster with a love letter, Ellie finds herself in a confusing love triangle.

This intelligent and sincere story tackles friendship and self-discovery and offers a texting-era twist on Cyrano de Bergerac-style love letters and mistaken identity.

17
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Lady Bird: The Best Depiction of Senior-Year Struggles

Still from Lady Bird

A24

IMDb Rating: 7.4/10

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts 

Director: Greta Gerwig

Motion Picture Rating: R

Runtime: 1 hour, 34 minutes

Christine (Lady Bird) desperately wants independence from her high school existence. Nothing seems to be going very smoothly—not her relationship with her mom, best friend, or first real boyfriend.

This film is a heartfelt look at the anticipation and uncertainty wrapped up in leaving high school behind.

18
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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: A Charming Teen Rom-Com for Fans of All Ages

To All the Boys I've Loved Before on Netflix

Netflix

IMDb Rating: 7.1/10

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Starring: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish

Director: Susan Johnson

Motion Picture Rating: TV-14

Runtime: 1 hour, 39 minutes

The setup: Lara Jean's young sister secretly mails the love letters she's written to five crushes. Lara Jean enlists the help of one letter recipient, Peter, to convince neighbor and crush Josh (and fellow letter recipient) that she and Peter are in a relationship and that she’s moved on.

If you’re a rom-com fan of any age, there’s plenty to love in this sweet movie with two follow-up installments.

19
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All the Bright Places: An Important Mental Health Conversation Starter

All the Bright Places on Netflix

Netflix

IMDb Rating: 6.5/10

Genre: Drama, Romance

Starring: Elle Fanning, Justice Smith, Alexandra Shipp

Director: Brett Haley

Motion Picture Rating: TV-MA

Runtime: 1 hour, 47 minutes

Violet and Finch start spending more time together while working on a school project about the wonders of Indiana. While they're both struggling in different ways, they look to each other for solace and hope for the future.

This story highlights the importance of finding support and looking out for one another—a meaningful message for all ages.

20
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Enola Holmes: There’s a New Holmes Detective In Town

Enola Holmes on Netflix

Netflix

IMDb Rating: 6.6/10

Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime

Starring: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin

Director: Harry Bradbeer

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 2 hours, 3 minutes

When 16-year-old Enola's older brothers refuse to help her find their recently missing mother, she heads to London on her own to solve the mystery. This spirited caper will appeal to true mystery-loving Sherlock Holmes fans, or Millie Bobby Brown (from Stranger Things) fans alike.

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