Richard Linklater explores coming of age like no other by making a movie over 12 years. Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and Elijah Smith star; Linklater directs. Read our review here.

Coming-of-age stories can offer tales that are tough and tender. For some stellar standouts of this subgenre, check out these three critically-heralded coming-of-age dramas.

My Girl (1991) In the summer of 1972, Vada Sultenfuss is an 11-year-old girl poised to learn some big lessons with and thanks to his best, bespectacled bud Thomas J. Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis and Macaulay Culkin co-star; Howard Zieff directs.

Mud (2012) Playing the titular mysterious figure, Matthew McConaughey fronts this celebrated original narrative from writer-director Jeff Nichols. Mud is a man wanted by the law, but he unexpectedly finds a chance at a happy ending when he meets two intrigued teen boys who discover his hiding place on a little island in Mississippi. In exchange, they find some tough lessons about growing up. Reese Witherspoon, Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland co-star.

Jane Eyre (2011) Adapted from the classic Charlotte Brontë novel, this period drama stars Mia Wasikowska as the eponymous heroine whose rough childhood led her to a vocation as a governess, and an unexpected but problematic romance with a dashing gentleman with a terrible secret. Michael Fassbender co-stars. Cary Fukunaga directs.

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