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Esmeralda De Leon Boyas
Entertainment & Bilingual Editor

Films provide way to process high school experience

Photo+by+Lupita+De+La+O
Photo by Lupita De La O

As my journey through Tualatin High School comes to an end, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my time here. Just like movie characters navigate through their own stories, I’ve found parallels between my high school experiences and the stories portrayed by some of my favorite films.

Eighth Grade, directed by Bo Burnham, encapsulates my freshman year; it was an awkward bubble of weird feelings of self-discovery all done in the comfort of my room. Eighth Grade is a film that captures the universal struggles of adolescence like social anxiety, self-discovery and the pressure to fit in. The film’s portrayal of Kayla’s journey through the awkwardness of middle school reflects the challenges I’ve faced while navigating friendships, social interactions and self-identity. We all have been Kayla in one way or another, and I love that.  

Aftersun, directed by Charlotte Wells, is a groundbreaking movie about grief, and, sadly, my sophomore year was full of that. Aftersun is a film about a woman reflecting on a vacation with her now-estranged father, trying to reconcile the parts of him she knew with the parts she didn’t. Aftersun has one of the best depictions of grief that I think resonates with anyone who has lost a loved one; it resonates in its depiction of grief as a lifelong rather than transient process. I wish this movie was around during this time of my life. Speaking personally, watching this film was a cathartic experience that truly validated my grief. I’ll never listen to David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” the same way.

Lady Bird, directed by Greta Gerwig, is, in my opinion, one of the most realistic coming-of-age films ever. During my junior year, I found myself struggling with numerous unanswered questions, simply navigating through life. The film is about Lady Bird’s senior year of high school in Sacramento, Calif., and the struggles she goes through during it. It’s all about her relationships with her siblings, father, friends, teachers, boys and, of course, her mother. Lady Bird spends the movie navigating through all of this to see where she fits in and what her role is in all of it. Just like Lady Bird, I think we all are looking to figure out who and what we want to be before our senior year, but it’s not as simple as we think.

The Holdovers, directed by Alexander Payne, is honestly the ultimate high school movie. The description of this film says, “A cranky history teacher at a prep school is forced to remain on campus over the holidays with a grieving cook and a troubled student who has no place to go.” While most of us won’t find ourselves in that situation, it’s still an extremely relatable film about compassion. Angus Tully, a student at a boarding school, is left behind over winter break and forced to stay at school while being babysat by Paul Hunham. In the film, Tully’s rebellious behavior is rooted in deeper loneliness, reflecting the struggle of balancing pain and compassion, offering a raw portrayal of the complexities behind teenage rebellion and the universal search for authenticity. He finds solace in Hunham, the history teacher who hides his insecurities behind a cranky exterior, much like Tully, ultimately saving him by sacrificing his job to protect his future. 

While I’ve had no TuHS teachers sacrifice their jobs for me, I’ve had incredible teachers like Hunham, who showed me compassion when I needed it the most, saving me differently. While I will never be able to express my gratitude to those teachers fully, I can do exactly what Tully and Hunham do best: shake hands.



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Frida Ruiz
Frida Ruiz, Staff Writer & Graphics Team
Hi, my name is Frida Ruiz and it's my first year on The Wolf! I decided to join newspaper because I've always admired any and every type of journalism.

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