Films for the Directionless Twenty-Something Year-Old

Film Recommendations from Farrago’s Non-Fiction Staff-Writing Team (and Ivan).


Originally published in Edition 2 (2022) of Farrago. 


At one time or another, we all tend to feel directionless. In these moments, it rarely fails to turn into a good film, one which acts like a guide-rope, and makes you feel like you’re not alone in your indirection. When you’re feeling lost during your twenties or at any age, these are the films that will affirm your direction. These are the types of movies you can simply never get enough of. And so, here are some of our favourite films, for the directionless twenty-something year old, from the Non-Fiction Staff Writing team (and Ivan) at Farrago. 


Booksmart (2019)

By Emma Xerri 

Drowning in the tears and social isolation brought on by VCE, I could not stomach yet another peppy, unrealistic high school film in which the characters spend their Friday evenings attending parties instead of hiding away in their bedrooms writing practice essays and causing irreparable damage to their upper back. Watching Booksmart for the first time felt like I could finally come up for air. Molly and Amy’s adolescent experience was the first with which I truly identified: two girls governed by academic success, trusting that every sacrifice and Friday evening spent alone would be worth it to say you’d bested your peers and made your academic aspirations a reality. I identified with their version of youth; one that was devoid of parties and driven by schooling, and one which films had taught me to believe isn’t much of a youth at all. This movie serves as comfort as I enter my twenties and cry about wasted time. It’s a reminder that academic validation isn’t everything and that maybe, just maybe, I should let my bubble-gum pink hair down every once in a while.  


The Green Knight (2021)

By Bella Farrelly

A medieval fantasy film adaptation of a 14th-century Arthurian poem might seem like a bold choice if we’re talking about relatable movies for directionless twenty-somethings, but hear me out. Harking to a fine art classic of our own generation—Ke$ha’s ‘TiK ToK’ music video—a shabby young man, slick with sweat and still drunk from the night before, wakes up in a brothel on Christmas morning. Failing to convince his lover to stay in bed with him for the day, he’s fashionably late to mass, and there we learn that he’s actually Sir Gawain, much-beloved nephew of King Arthur and soon-to-be knight. Destined for great things, one would think, and hardly befitting his palpable self-consciousness. Prompted to entertain the congregation with tales of his heroic adventures, Gawain, visibly ashamed, admits that he has none to tell. On her throne, Queen Guinevere smiles warmly and finishes his sentence—“you have none to tell yet.”

Lonely, wavering, waiting for external forces to transform him into the hero he apparently ought to be. Gawain perfectly embodies that early 20s dissonance of appearing to have your life together while actually hanging by a thread internally. 


Frances Ha (2012)

By Emma Barrett

Frances Ha is aimlessness in grainy black-and-white. The film explores the narrow space between pretending and doing, between trying and failing. Frances and Sophie share a bed most nights, running hand-in-hand through the streets of New York City, until Sophie moves out of their apartment to live elsewhere. Frances is left behind to pursue her increasingly unrealistic dream of being a dancer in New York City as she and Sophie grow more distant. Frances travels between a series of addresses, latching onto friends and odd jobs in an attempt to establish herself. Frances Ha is both comforting and unsettling—it sketches out a story which seems deeply specific to Frances and yet also universal for the flailing 20-something creative. The inertia of the film is best represented in the dialogue exchange below:

So what do you do?

It's kinda hard to explain.

Because what you do is complicated?

Because I don't really do it.


I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)

By Ivan Jeldres

Charlie Kauffman’s 2020 film, I'm Thinking of Ending Things is a tough film to recommend. The title alone doesn’t help make it approachable, and it’s difficult to even talk about this film without spoiling it. That said, I shall do my best to convince you to watch it. Based on the book of the same name, it’s a story about a young woman who travels with her boyfriend Jake, to meet his parents and have dinner with them. There is one nagging thought in her head through-out the car ride; that she’s thinking of ending things with Jake. Once this thought arrives, it stays; it sticks; it lingers. As a 19-year-old, the ending of a relationship can be a sickening experience and this film doesn’t shy away from those feelings. The young lady’s connection with Jake is one with blurred lines, and it’s often hard to decipher who is really in control of the movie’s plot. Like many of Kauffman’s films, it will leave you with a nagging feeling of familiarity. Everyone feels directionless at some point, and sometimes you feel like that when you’re driving through a snowstorm with your new boyfriend while you’re thinking of ending things.


Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

By Daniel Snowden

Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989), from Studio Ghibli and director Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke), is my earnest recommendation for those who feel directionless. Based on a Japanese novel of the same name, the narrative follows a young witch who leaves home to find her own town and start a life of independence. When Kiki, and her companion cat Jiji, find their town, Kiki finds herself starting a delivery business on her broomstick. The rest of the narrative follows her encounters and difficulties with growing up, and the relationships she makes along the way. It's a heartfelt story about transition and passion. How do we hold onto passion if we find it? How do we bridge the gap between dependency and self-reliance? How do you stay true to yourself when you’ve lost faith in your own abilities? These are the questions which Kiki’s Delivery Service is concerned with, and it does so with stirring animation and a comforting and humourful humanity. In my opinion, and on my recommendation, Kiki’s Delivery Service is a charming and timeless film that simply affirms life, no matter how directionless it may feel. And fortunately enough, you can enjoy Kiki’s Delivery Service and the rest of the Studio Ghibli catalogue on Netflix right now. 

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