Mandatory Staff Picks: The Best Movies About Life After Graduation
Congratulations! You graduated. Now the real work begins. Transitioning into the workforce — and adulthood — has always been rough for new grads, but post-college life is challenging in an unprecedented way for the class of 2020. With the COVID-19 pandemic grinding the economy to a halt, companies wary of hiring, and social distancing guidelines preventing you from getting together with your buddies for a gripe session, graduates will likely struggle on a whole ‘nother level this year.
While we wish we could buy you a beer, pat you on the back, and tell you it will all be OK, we’re quarantining just like you are. Instead, you’ll have to take heart with stories of graduates who came before you. These are the best movies about life after graduation — and someday, when the coronavirus outbreak ebbs, there will be a whole new genre of film that captures your unique (and totally bizarre) post-grad experience.
Cover Photo: Universal Pictures
A 1987 college grad (Jesse Eisenberg) is bummed when his parents fail to fund his dream trip to Europe. He ends up taking a summer job at an amusement park where he meets and becomes enamored with a coworker (Kristen Stewart).
Four Gen X friends (Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Janeane Garofalo, and Steve Zahn) grapple with finding fulfilling work, love, and friendship after graduating college in this clever and pop culture-heavy comedy.
Newly graduated from high school, a pair of pals (Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson) begin to go their separate ways after befriending an oddball older man (Steve Buscemi).
'Into the Wild'
One way to deal with the uncertainty following graduation is to say, “Eff everything.” That’s what one privileged Emory University graduate (Emile Hirsch) did when he abandoned conventional life and took off for the Alaskan wilderness alone.
'Kicking and Screaming'
Long before he was an Oscar nominee, Noah Baumbach wrote and directed this comedy about a group of college graduates who resist leaving campus life and entering the real world.
A new graduate (Dustin Hoffman) is trying to figure out what comes next when he gets sidetracked by a seductive older housewife (Anne Bancroft) in this timeless film.
'St. Elmo's Fire'
Seven friends lead drastically different post-grad lives in this iconic 1985 film.
An adrift film school grad (Lena Dunham) moves back in with her mother and experiments with lackluster employment and dating while trying to figure out her next move in this subtle but effective film.
'Funny Ha Ha'
This hidden mumblecore gem follows a college grad (Kate Dollenmayer) who struggles with “adulting” in Boston before that was ever a term.
Photo: Wellspring Media
'The Last Days of Disco'
In 1980s Manhattan, two best friends (Chloë Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale) embark on their post-college editing careers by day but let loose at night at an exclusive disco nightclub.
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