Forbidden Romance, Controversial Topics & Coming of Age

by Strange-Beacons | created - 01 Jun 2014 | updated - 10 months ago | Public

A collection of films about taboo romantic relationships, sexuality, and social issues that remain controversial, complicated and complexing, yet vital to human understanding. Also covered here are those films that most accurately reflect the pain and joy experienced by questing adolescents as they grow into adulthood. (Feel free to suggest additions to this list that I may have missed).

 Refine See titles to watch instantly, titles you haven't rated, etc
  • Instant Watch Options
  • Genres
  • Movies or TV
  • IMDb Rating
  • In Theaters
  • On TV
  • Release Year
  • Keywords






IMDb user rating (average) to
Number of votes to »




Reset



Reset
Release year or range to »




































































































1. Loving Annabelle (2006)

Not Rated | 77 min | Drama, Romance

The intelligent Annabelle starts in an elite Catholic girls' boarding high school after being expelled from the previous 2 schools. She's open about being lesbian. She's attracted to her teacher, Simone.

Director: Katherine Brooks | Stars: Erin Kelly, Diane Gaidry, Laura Breckenridge, Michelle Horn

Votes: 11,471 | Gross: $1.10M

Category: Controversial relationship, age disparity

2. Breezy (1973)

R | 106 min | Drama, Romance

68 Metascore

A young girl tries to find her way in life, suffering from her own naivety and sincerity.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: William Holden, Kay Lenz, Roger C. Carmel, Marj Dusay

Votes: 4,060

Category: Controversial relationship, age disparity

3. Lost in Translation (2003)

R | 102 min | Drama, Romance

89 Metascore

A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo.

Director: Sofia Coppola | Stars: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris

Votes: 392,240 | Gross: $44.59M

Category: Controversial relationship, age disparity

4. The Reader (2008)

R | 124 min | Drama, Romance

58 Metascore

Post-WWII Germany: Nearly a decade after his affair with an older woman came to a mysterious end, law student Michael Berg re-encounters his former lover as she defends herself in a war-crime trial.

Director: Stephen Daldry | Stars: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, Bruno Ganz, Jeanette Hain

Votes: 223,920 | Gross: $34.19M

Category: Controversial relationship, age disparity

5. Boys Don't Cry (1999)

R | 118 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

86 Metascore

A young man named Brandon Teena navigates love, life, and being transgender in rural Nebraska.

Director: Kimberly Peirce | Stars: Hilary Swank, Chloë Sevigny, Peter Sarsgaard, Brendan Sexton III

Votes: 89,609 | Gross: $11.53M

Category: Gender issues, homophobia

6. Edge of Seventeen (1998)

Not Rated | 99 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A teenager copes with his sexuality on the last day of school in 1984. It shows him coping with being gay and being with friends.

Director: David Moreton | Stars: Chris Stafford, Tina Holmes, Andersen Gabrych, Stephanie McVay

Votes: 5,492 | Gross: $0.87M

Category: Gay coming out, questioning sexual orientation, coming of age

7. The Truth About Jane (2000 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 87 min | Drama, Romance

A high-school girl's first sexual experience is with another girl, and, along with her first broken heart, she must deal with her mother's reaction to her revelation that she is a lesbian and with ostracism at school.

Director: Lee Rose | Stars: Stockard Channing, Ellen Muth, Kelly Rowan, Jenny O'Hara

Votes: 2,261

Category: Gay coming out, homophobia, coming of age

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

PG-13 | 103 min | Drama, Romance

67 Metascore

An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world.

Director: Stephen Chbosky | Stars: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd

Votes: 438,483 | Gross: $17.74M

Category: Coming of age, homophobia, mental illness

9. Lolita (1997)

R | 137 min | Drama, Romance

46 Metascore

A man marries his landlady so he can take advantage of her daughter.

Director: Adrian Lyne | Stars: Jeremy Irons, Dominique Swain, Melanie Griffith, Frank Langella

Votes: 49,381 | Gross: $1.40M

Category: Controversial relationship, hebephilia

10. Soldier's Girl (2003 TV Movie)

R | 112 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

The true story of the price a young soldier paid for falling in love with a transsexual night-club performer.

Director: Frank Pierson | Stars: Troy Garity, Lee Pace, Andre Braugher, Shawn Hatosy

Votes: 6,194

Category: Gender issues, homophobia

11. The Woodsman (2004)

R | 87 min | Drama

72 Metascore

A child molester returns to his hometown after 12 years in prison and attempts to start a new life.

Director: Nicole Kassell | Stars: Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Yasiin Bey, David Alan Grier

Votes: 31,131 | Gross: $0.04M

Category: Pedophilia

12. Naissance des pieuvres (2007)

85 min | Drama, Romance

65 Metascore

After meeting at a local pool over their summer break, a love triangle forms between three adolescent girls, which proves difficult to sustain as they each desire the love of another.

Director: Céline Sciamma | Stars: Pauline Acquart, Louise Blachère, Adèle Haenel, Warren Jacquin

Votes: 8,665 | Gross: $0.08M

Category: Coming of age, questioning sexual orientation

13. A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story (2006 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 88 min | Biography, Drama

The true story of Gwen Araujo, a young trans woman who was brutally murdered by four men in 2002.

Director: Agnieszka Holland | Stars: Mercedes Ruehl, JD Pardo, Lupe Ontiveros, Henry Darrow

Votes: 1,703

Category: Gender issues, homophobia

14. The Man Without a Face (1993)

PG-13 | 115 min | Drama

62 Metascore

Chuck wants to leave home but can't make the grade for boarding school. Then he finds out the disfigured recluse living nearby is an ex-teacher.

Director: Mel Gibson | Stars: Mel Gibson, Nick Stahl, Margaret Whitton, Fay Masterson

Votes: 26,807 | Gross: $24.76M

Category: Controversial relationship, stereotyping, discrimination

15. Summer of '42 (1971)

PG | 104 min | Drama, Romance

During his summer vacation on Nantucket Island in 1942, a youth eagerly awaiting his first sexual encounter finds himself developing an innocent love for a young woman awaiting news on her soldier husband's fate in WWII.

Director: Robert Mulligan | Stars: Jennifer O'Neill, Gary Grimes, Jerry Houser, Oliver Conant

Votes: 6,845 | Gross: $7.38M

Category: Controversial relationship, age disparity

16. Lost and Delirious (2001)

R | 103 min | Drama, Romance

53 Metascore

A newcomer to a posh girls boarding school discovers that her two senior roommates are lovers.

Director: Léa Pool | Stars: Piper Perabo, Jessica Paré, Mischa Barton, Jackie Burroughs

Votes: 19,446 | Gross: $0.30M

Category: Coming of age, homophobia

17. Beau Pere (1981)

123 min | Comedy, Drama

After her mother dies, fourteen-year-old Marion falls in love with her stepfather, Remy.

Director: Bertrand Blier | Stars: Patrick Dewaere, Ariel Besse, Maurice Ronet, Geneviève Mnich

Votes: 2,421

Category: Controversial relationship, age disparity

18. Stand by Me (1986)

R | 89 min | Adventure, Drama

75 Metascore

After the death of one of his friends, a writer recounts a boyhood journey with his friends to find the body of a missing boy.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell

Votes: 347,493 | Gross: $52.29M

Category: Coming of age

19. Mädchen in Uniform (1931)

Passed | 87 min | Drama, Romance

At an all-girls boarding school, Manuela falls in love with a teacher, to terrific consequences.

Directors: Leontine Sagan, Carl Froelich | Stars: Dorothea Wieck, Hertha Thiele, Emilia Unda, Hedy Krilla

Votes: 2,241

Category: Controversial relationship, age disparity

20. Dead Poets Society (1989)

PG | 128 min | Comedy, Drama

79 Metascore

English teacher John Keating inspires his students to look at poetry with a different perspective of authentic knowledge and feelings.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles

Votes: 396,560 | Gross: $95.86M

Category: Coming of age

21. For a Lost Soldier (1992)

Unrated | 92 min | Drama, Romance, War

Set in The Netherlands at the end of WW II, this touching story, told in flashbacks, explores the complex and romantic relationship between an adult soldier and a displaced, lonely adolescent boy.

Director: Roeland Kerbosch | Stars: Maarten Smit, Andrew Kelley, Jeroen Krabbé, Freark Smink

Votes: 4,142 | Gross: $0.39M

Category: Controversial relationship, hebephilia

22. The Breakfast Club (1985)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama

62 Metascore

Five high school students meet in Saturday detention and discover how they have a lot more in common than they thought.

Director: John Hughes | Stars: Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy

Votes: 332,417 | Gross: $45.88M

Category: Coming of age, stereotyping

23. The Graduate (1967)

PG | 106 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

83 Metascore

A disillusioned college graduate finds himself torn between his older lover and her daughter.

Director: Mike Nichols | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross, William Daniels

Votes: 245,531 | Gross: $104.95M

Category: Controversial relationship, age disparity

24. Pretty in Pink (1986)

PG-13 | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

57 Metascore

A poor girl must choose between the affections of dating her childhood sweetheart or a rich but sensitive playboy.

Director: Howard Deutch | Stars: Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, Harry Dean Stanton, Annie Potts

Votes: 70,878 | Gross: $40.47M

Category: Coming of age, classism

25. My So-Called Life (1994–1995)

TV-14 | 60 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A 15-year-old girl and her trials and tribulations of being a teenager and dealing with friends, guys, parents, and school.

Stars: Bess Armstrong, Wilson Cruz, Claire Danes, Devon Gummersall

Votes: 18,293

Category: Coming of age

26. The Matthew Shepard Story (2002 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 88 min | Drama

Openly gay college student Matthew Shepard (Shane Meier) was murdered in an act of a hate crime with a senseless violence and such cruelty that attracted global attention. His death has changed the whole world forever.

Director: Roger Spottiswoode | Stars: Stockard Channing, Shane Meier, Wendy Crewson, Kristen Thomson

Votes: 1,278

Category: Homphobia, violence against gays

27. The Edukators (2004)

R | 127 min | Drama, Romance

68 Metascore

Three activists cobble together a kidnapping plot after they encounter a businessman in his home.

Director: Hans Weingartner | Stars: Daniel Brühl, Julia Jentsch, Stipe Erceg, Burghart Klaußner

Votes: 30,061 | Gross: $0.18M

Category: Controversial relationship, polyamory

28. Imagine Me & You (2005)

R | 90 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

49 Metascore

A newlywed bride becomes infatuated with another woman who questions her sexual orientation, promoting a stir among the bride's family and friends.

Director: Ol Parker | Stars: Piper Perabo, Lena Headey, Matthew Goode, Celia Imrie

Votes: 28,657 | Gross: $0.67M

Category: Gay coming out, questioning sexual orientation

29. Blue Is the Warmest Colour (2013)

NC-17 | 180 min | Drama, Romance

88 Metascore

Adèle's life is changed when she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire and to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adèle grows, seeks herself, loses herself, and ultimately finds herself through love and loss.

Director: Abdellatif Kechiche | Stars: Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Salim Kechiouche, Aurélien Recoing

Votes: 131,202 | Gross: $2.20M

Category: Coming of age, questioning sexual orientation

30. Brokeback Mountain (2005)

R | 134 min | Drama, Romance

87 Metascore

The story of a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys, and their lives over the years.

Director: Ang Lee | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams, Randy Quaid

Votes: 310,846 | Gross: $83.04M

Category: Gay coming out, homophobia

31. Liar's Moon (1981)

PG | 106 min | Drama, Romance

A poor kid elopes with a banker's daughter.

Director: David Fisher | Stars: Matt Dillon, Cindy Fisher, Hoyt Axton, Margaret Blye

Votes: 490

Category: Controversial relationship

32. Notes on a Scandal (2006)

R | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

73 Metascore

A veteran high school teacher befriends a younger art teacher, who is having an affair with one of her fifteen-year-old students. However, her intentions with this new "friend" also go well beyond a platonic friendship.

Director: Richard Eyre | Stars: Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Andrew Simpson, Tom Georgeson

Votes: 72,793 | Gross: $17.51M

Category: Controversial relationship, age disparity

33. Far from Heaven (2002)

PG-13 | 107 min | Drama

84 Metascore

In 1950s Connecticut, a housewife faces a marital crisis and mounting racial tensions in the outside world.

Director: Todd Haynes | Stars: Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert, Patricia Clarkson

Votes: 42,518 | Gross: $15.85M

Category: Controversial relationships, homophobia, racism

34. Show Me Love (1998)

Not Rated | 89 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

73 Metascore

Two teenage girls in small-town Sweden. Elin is beautiful, popular, and bored with life. Agnes is friendless, sad, and secretly in love with Elin.

Director: Lukas Moodysson | Stars: Alexandra Dahlström, Rebecka Liljeberg, Erica Carlson, Mathias Rust

Votes: 48,615 | Gross: $0.17M

Category: Coming of age, homophobia

35. This Is England (2006)

Not Rated | 101 min | Crime, Drama

86 Metascore

A young boy becomes friends with a gang of skinheads. Friends soon become like family, and relationships will be pushed to the very limit.

Director: Shane Meadows | Stars: Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham, Jo Hartley, Andrew Shim

Votes: 112,695 | Gross: $0.33M

Category: Coming of age, racism

36. Wilde (1997)

R | 118 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

The turmoil in poet/playwright Oscar Wilde's life after he discovers his homosexuality.

Director: Brian Gilbert | Stars: Stephen Fry, Jude Law, Vanessa Redgrave, Jennifer Ehle

Votes: 14,143 | Gross: $2.16M

Category: Controversial relationship, age disparity, homophobia

37. Heavenly Creatures (1994)

R | 99 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

Two teenage girls share a unique bond; their parents, concerned that the friendship is too intense, separate them, and the girls take revenge.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Melanie Lynskey, Kate Winslet, Sarah Peirse, Diana Kent

Votes: 57,304 | Gross: $3.05M

Category: Controversial relationship, homophobia

38. Philadelphia (1993)

PG-13 | 125 min | Drama

66 Metascore

When a man with HIV is fired by his law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Roberta Maxwell, Buzz Kilman

Votes: 214,567 | Gross: $77.32M

Category: Homophobia, HIV/AIDS, discrimination

39. Prayers for Bobby (2009 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 90 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

True story of Mary Griffith, gay rights crusader, whose teenage son committed suicide due to her religious intolerance. Based on the book of the same title by Leroy Aarons.

Director: Russell Mulcahy | Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Henry Czerny, Ryan Kelley, Austin Nichols

Votes: 14,834

Category: Homophobia, intolerance

40. Gran Torino (2008)

R | 116 min | Drama

72 Metascore

Disgruntled Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski sets out to reform his neighbor, Thao Lor, a Hmong teenager who tried to steal Kowalski's prized possession: a 1972 Gran Torino.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Christopher Carley, Ahney Her

Votes: 694,249 | Gross: $148.10M

Category: Racism, prejudice

41. West Side Story (1961)

Not Rated | 153 min | Crime, Drama, Musical

86 Metascore

Two youngsters from rival New York City gangs fall in love, but tensions between their respective friends build toward tragedy.

Directors: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise | Stars: Natalie Wood, George Chakiris, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn

Votes: 91,944 | Gross: $43.66M

Category: Controversial relationship, racism

42. My Summer of Love (2004)

R | 86 min | Drama, Romance

82 Metascore

In the Yorkshire countryside, working-class tomboy Mona meets the exotic, pampered Tamsin. Over the summer season, the two young women discover they have much to teach one another, and much to explore together.

Director: Pawel Pawlikowski | Stars: Natalie Press, Emily Blunt, Paddy Considine, Dean Andrews

Votes: 19,039 | Gross: $0.99M

Category: Coming of age, questioning sexual orientation, classism, homophobia

43. Summer Lovers (1982)

R | 98 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A young American couple and a French woman engage in a threesome in the Greek Islands.

Director: Randal Kleiser | Stars: Peter Gallagher, Daryl Hannah, Valérie Quennessen, Barbara Rush

Votes: 3,630 | Gross: $4.97M

Category: Coming of age, polyamory

44. The Year My Voice Broke (1987)

PG-13 | 103 min | Drama, Romance

In rural 1960s Australia, a boy watches helplessly as his best friend falls in love with a small-time criminal, setting off a violent chain of events.

Director: John Duigan | Stars: Noah Taylor, Loene Carmen, Ben Mendelsohn, Graeme Blundell

Votes: 1,894 | Gross: $0.21M

Category: Coming of age

45. My Bodyguard (1980)

PG | 102 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

67 Metascore

When a boy comes to a new school and gets harassed by a bully, he acquires the services of the school's most feared kid as a bodyguard.

Director: Tony Bill | Stars: Chris Makepeace, Adam Baldwin, Matt Dillon, Paul Quandt

Votes: 8,257 | Gross: $22.48M

Category: Coming of age, bullying

46. Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)

R | 105 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance