The coming-of-age movie is something so much more than a two-hour distraction. It’s a declaration of independence and a celebration of acceptance. It’s some witty bastard like John Hughes giving you that shit-eating grin and making you say, “holy shit, me too!” These movies sometimes fly under the radar—they’re usually not the summer blockbusters. Once you make that connection though, they become an unforgettable experience you choose to revisit as much as possible. Here are 15 shining examples of the coming-of-age film and critics thoughts.