There’s nothing wrong with a bit of nostalgia these days, even to a not-too-long-ago time. Y2K-era trends are back in a big way from butterfly clips to platform sandals, and the internet is full of aughts-appreciation, even for those who might have been too young to remember it. But beyond Paris Hilton and flip phones, the 2000’s were also a great decade for thoughtful movies about young women. Here are some of those films from the era that have remained relevant while still inspiring a healthy amount of sentimentality.
Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried star in this campy and thrilling high school turned horror movie. Fox gives an iconic performance as Jennifer Check, a self-obsessed queen bee who happens to get possessed by a demon and develops a blood thirst for her male classmates. Written by Diablo Cody, whose other credits include Juno and The United States of Tara, the dialogue is snappy and darkly hilarious as it explores the complexity of female friendships and sexuality.
Love & Basketball (2000)
Written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, Love & Basketball follows the romance of two young people who share the same dream, playing professional basketball. Equal parts sweetness and heartbreak, we watch Monica and Quincy grow up as neighborhood friends, bond over their mutual love of the game, and go on to forge a relationship amidst professional envy and stacked odds. With its believable performances and electric game sequences, Love & Basketball will make you believe in love (and the power of basketball).
Co-written by Catherine Hardwicke and Nikki Reed, who was fourteen at the time, Thirteen is a raw portrayal of the tough transition between childhood and teendom. Evan Rachel Wood stars alongside Reed as destructive but electrifying best friends who try to find themselves and though that process find drugs, rebellion, and self-harm. Anyone who has ever been a teenage girl knows the hell it can be, and Thirteen masterfully honors the often-tense journey through adolescence.
Adapted from the acclaimed graphic novel of the same name, Persepolis follows a young girl as she grows up in Iran during the Iranian Revolution. Written mostly autobiographically, we follow a young Marjane as she finds punk, struggles with authority, and cultivates a feminist revolutionary spirit, all while contending with the state of her nation. With artful animation and eye-catching imagery, it’s a classic coming of age film with an added layer of stirring historical relevance.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)
An enchanted pair of jeans connects four best friends on their separate summer adventures as they explore the trials of young love, grief, and developing self-confidence. Humor is peppered with heart in this classic sleepover movie starring America Ferrera, Blake Lively, Alexis Bledel and Amber Tamblyn. It’s cheesy but heartfelt, and sweetly celebrates the magic of close female friendships.
Ghost World (2001)
After deadpan best friends Enid and Rebecca graduate high school, they find themselves stuck in their small town, distaining both the clueless adults around them and their shallow teen peers. The movie centers around Enid as she tries to find her stride against a backdrop of offbeat characters, and winds up developing an unlikely friendship with an idiosyncratic vinyl nerd, played by Steve Buscemi. Based on the graphic novel series by Daniel Clowes, Ghost World finds absurdity and tenderness in the mundane, all through the eyes of a sarcastic teenage girl.