Sometimes the answer is just to watch a film. Whether you want to laugh, cry or cringe at 1980s fashions, we hope you find something to enjoy in our very personal selection.
We have included the classifications from the British Board of Film Classifications to help you choose – you can see what these all mean here.
An Education 12A
This sharply observed drama stars Carey Mulligan as a bright and ambitious 16 year old schoolgirl in 1960s London, who meets a charming man more than twice her age. Unusual and often quite funny – probably best for older girls.
Moving and powerful coming of age film as 13 year old Molly (Jodhi May) struggles with politics, friends and family life in 1960s apartheid-era South Africa.
Bend it Like Beckham (2002) PG
Funny, warm and uplifting film about a Sikh girl from west London who wants to be a footballer. Culture clashes, family clashes, friendship clashes, sporting clashes and a nice touch of romance – all here.
Casablanca (1942) U
Black and white but an absolute classic, set in a Moroccan nightclub during the Second World War. Stirring, romantic, witty, and full of great one-liners.
Charade (1963) PG
Stylish and witty crime/mystery/romance starring Hollywood greats Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn; great settings, great costumes, and a story which twists and turns all over the place (with one or two rather gruesome murders along the way).
Clueless (1995) 12
Jane Austen’s Emma updated to 1990s Beverly Hills. Spoilt rich schoolgirl Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) wears lots of outfits, and learns lots of life lessons. Funny, clever and sweet. (You might also enjoy the Gwyneth Paltrow version of actual Emma (1996)).
Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) 15
Madonna in one of her better film roles, introducing a bored suburban housewife to the seamier side of New York City life in a screwballish plot of misunderstanding and mistaken identity. For older girls.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) U
Sparkling 1950s musical, with stars Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe centre stage as funny, sexy, talented showgirl friends, running rings round every man they meet. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend is an iconic number but be sure to check out Jane Russell and entire (male) Olympic team in Anyone here for love
Hairspray (2007) PG
Feel-good musical about a “pleasantly plump” teenager dancing her way through social exclusiveness, TV dance shows and racial secregation in 1960s Baltimore. Not subtle, but good fun, with some great song and dance routines. Just try to watch You Can’t Stop the Beat without wanting to get up and dance. (You might also enjoy the less mainstream 1988 film on which it was based.)
Juno (2007) 12
Successful indy film about a teenager confronting an unplanned pregnancy. Funny, warm, and often quite surprising.
Pretty in Pink (1986) 15
For everyone worried about cliques or prom dresses: Molly Ringwald stars as a misfit teenager from the wrong side of town, trying to sort out friends, romance and an unemployed father, in a film which really manages to capture the highs and lows of teenage life. Great 1980s soundtrack and Andrew McCarthy to swoon over. For older girls.
Rear Window (1954) pg
Tense, atmospheric, classic Hitchcock thriller; a wheelchair-bound photographer (James Stewart) obsessively watches his neighbours one steamy New York summer, along with his glamorous girlfriend (Grace Kelly) and her particularly fabulous clothes.
A Room with a View (1985) pg
Helena Bonham Carter goes to Italy and comes of age in this beautifully filmed adaptation of EM Forster’s 1908 film. Classic period romance.
St Trinians (2007) 12
The critics hated it, and the jokes can be a bit hit-and-miss; but this broad comedy set in a completely off-the-wall boarding school gives you a rare chance to see girls completely at the centre of a film – and often behaving very badly. The sequel gives you more of the same.
School of Rock (2003) pg
Jack Black at his best, as a slacker musician who blags his way into a teaching job at a privileged private school. Funny, original and touching – absolutely guaranteed to cheer you up.
Singin’ in the Rain (1952) U
Steel Magnolias (1989) pg
Tearjerker about life and death, and female friendship set in a small Louisiana town. You’ll need a box of tissues.
Strictly Ballroom (1992) pg
Australian romantic comedy, bright and brash but with a heart, set in the world of competitive ballroom dancing. (And the reason for the ‘Strictly’ in Strictly Come Dancing)
Thelma and Louise (1991) 15
Female America road movie featuring Susan Sarandon, Geena Davies and a young Brad Pitt – gripping stuff for older girls.
West Side Story (1961) pg
Working Girl (1988) 15
Bright working-class secretary Tess (Melanie Griffiths) gets serious hair and makes it good in the yuppie financial world of 1980s New York. Funny, warm and clever, with a rousing theme tune by Carly Simon. For older girls.
If you like our film suggestions, check out the Agnes music and book recommendations: