28 Quarter Life Crisis Movies [To Help Get You Through It]

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Recently, everywhere I turn I feel like I have someone in the midst of a quarter life crisis is crashing into me and word vomiting. Which is totally cool, I’m not upset about it at all, I’ve so been there myself, I get it. Clearly, Mercury is in retrograde or something. Ever since I was a little girl, TV and movies have been my OG BFFs. IMO they can be life’s greatest  teachers. I decided to round-up some of my favorite films for laughing, crying, and feeling a little less alone during the quarter life crisis. While some of these do focus on people a little past their twenties (I feel like if they watched these, they could’ve skipped their 30-something crisis) and some are high school based, but isn’t that when our existential crisis starts?

28 Quarter Life Crisis Movies:

Office Space

“So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.”

You know that feeling after graduation where you begin to panic, feel like the walls are closing in because this. can’t. be. it. Yeah, you’re not alone.

Watch the movie.

Good Will Hunting

“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”

Feeling under valued, under paid, and crushed under life? You’re not alone! Will Hunting (Matt Damon) is basically a genius working as a janitor at MIT. He solves a difficult graduate level problem, a teacher takes interest in him, and his therapist becomes the great Robin Williams, need I say more?

Watch the movie

The Graduate

“It’s like I was playing some kind of game, but the rules don’t make any sense to me. They’re being made up by all the wrong people.”

You’ve graduated at the top of your class, now what?

Watch the movie.

Tiny Furniture

“Aura would like you to know that she’s having a very, very hard time.”

A Pre-Girls Lena Dunham wrote in and stars in this one. After graduation she moves back in with her mother and sister in NYC. She can’t find a job, and is every other millennial who feels lost in her 20s, while everyone around her seems to be figuring it all out.

Watch the movie.

Into the Wild

“When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it.”

After graduating from the top of his class at Emory University Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch), opts to take the road less traveled. He turns turn the prestigious and profitable career path waiting for him, and instead donates his savings to charity, get’s rid of his possessions and journeys into the Alaskan Wilderness.

Watch the movie & get the book.

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In A World

Dani: I’m not going to have an argument about whether we’re having a goddamn argument or not, right?

Moe: That’s the only kind of argument I know how to have.”

If you have family dysfunction, feeling like an underachiever, or facing sexism in the workplace sound like you, then you can probably relate to this one! A vocal coach finds herself in competition with her successful father in an industry that just isn’t ready for women.

Watch the movie.

Dead Poets Society

“You must strive to find your own voice because the longer you wait to begin the less likely you are to find it all.”

A classic from the late and great Robin Williams, who plays an English teacher that pushes the envelope with his unorthodox ways. Ultimately he challenges his students to break out the tiny boxes they’ve been trapped in and seize the day! Particularly helpful if you feel like you are trapped in someone else’s life RN.

Watch the movie.

Wild

“I didn’t know where I was going until I got there.”

While this movie isn’t about someone in a quarter life crisis (actually it’s a mid-life crisis I’d say), I think there’s still some gems for the QLC. Especially since the experiences that push Strayed to go on this journey are those we can experience at any age (the loss of a mother and ending of a marriage). She sets out alone to hike one of the country’s longest and toughest trails. After the loss of her mother, ending of her marriage, and what she finds isn’t what she expected.

Watch the movie & get the book.

Up in the Air

“How much did they pay you to give up on your dreams?”

The age-old tale of a twenty-something with loads of passion and fresh ideas going to head-to-head with an old-timer employee stuck in his ways. Especially for those new in the workforce, there are tons of lessons to learn.

Watch the movie.

The Fault In Our Stars

“That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt”

Two teenage cancer patients facing death, fall in love and embark on a great adventure.

Watch the movie & get the book.

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Whiplash

“There are no two words in the english language more harmful than ‘good job.’”

I’m not usually a fan of movies based around music, but this was so inspiring. I think it’s an important look at how mentors aren’t necessary perfect or who we want them to be, and we all have our demons and need to overcome them to achieve greatness.

Watch the movie.

Almost Famous

“You’ll meet them all again on their long journey to the middle.”

A touching coming of age story of a young boy who joins a rock tour.

Watch the movie.

Away We Go

“I think we might be F*#$ ups.”

A couple expecting their first child, travel across the country ISO the “perfect” place to raise their growing family. Another tale of having to let go of other’s people’s opinions and the dreams they’ve pinned on you to find yourself and your own dreams.

Watch the movie.

Harry Potter

“Dark times lie ahead of us, and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.”

All of the movies and books are about growing up and overcoming the odds. They literally have everything, relationships, feeling lost, finding yourself, and so much more. Basically, the best story ever.

Watch the movies & get the books.

500 Days of Summer

“People change. Feelings change. It doesn’t mean that the love once shared wasn’t true and real. It simply just means that sometimes, when people grow, they grow apart.”

Yes, it’s a rom-com but it’s also so much more. In our twenties it’s easy to pin our future on someone else and lose our sense of self. Relationships and feelings can be messy and a rollercoaster, and there’s always something to learn.

Watch the movie.

Garden State

“If you can’t laugh at yourself, life is going to seem a whole lot longer than you’d like…What do you do? You laugh, you know. I’m not saying I don’t cry, but in between, I laugh.”

The OG movie for a quarter life crisis IMO. I literally can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve seen this movie. The number of hours I’ve cried, laughed, and felt not alone when watching. Two people in their own quarter life crises, overcoming the past and death and transitioning into new skin.

Watch the movie.

…also I basically was beyond in love with Zach Braff and this one time he put his arm around me, took a selfie, and called me “sweetie” and I died…

the confused millennial and zach braff

Devil Wears Prada

“I love my job. I love my job. I love my job.”

Hate your job? Perfect, watch this and count your blessings!

Watch the movie & get the book.

Silver Linings Play Book

“You have to do everything you can. You have to work your hardest and if you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining.”

A recent divorcee spends some time in a mental institution, only to be released back into his parents home. In order to rediscover himself, he has to navigate the world of mental health, love and loss.

Watch the movie & get the book.

Scott Pilgrim VS. The World

“Why does everything have to be so complicated.”

On the surface, this comedy focuses on a boy chasing the heart of a girl. However, it has so much more to do with the people and fights we are all going to face in our twenties. Every co-worker, ex lover, or boss we meet has his/her own baggage. We have to overcome understand that and find a way to work with them or overcome the struggles in order to deeper relationships with them or grow into the person we are meant to be.

Watch the movie.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

“I’m always anxious thinking I’m not living my life to the fullest, you know? Taking advantage of every possibility?”

A couple undergoes a procedure to erase the other from their memories. A haunting look at the intricacies of relationships and pain of loss, and how they can lead to a new self discovery.

Watch the movie.

About Alex

“The only thing I hate more than the present is nostalgia for the past.”

You will definitely recognize some faces in this group of friends in their twenties who come together after one of them attempts suicide.

Watch the movie.

50/50

“You can’t change your situation, the only thing you can choose is how you choose to deal with it.” 

Inspired by a true story, a young man finds he has cancer with a 50/50 chances of survival. His best friend and mother don’t handle it while, while he tries to remain upbeat.

Watch the movie.

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

“When in doubt break boundaries.”

Walter Mitty is feeling stuck in the monotony in his job, with only his day dreams to escape. Until one day he goes on the adventure of a lifetime that he never imagined…

Watch the movie.

Paper Towns

“As much as life can suck, it always beats the alternative.”

While this movie takes place in high school, it’s wise beyond it’s years and tackles some these that most of us face during our quarter life crisis. The shy boy across the street, goes out for the night of his life with the most popular girl. The next day she disappears. He and his friends go on a search to find her.

Watch the movie & get the book.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

“You call yourself a free spirit, a “wild thing,” and you’re terrified somebody’s gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you’re already in that cage. You built it yourself.”

The infamous Holly Golightly is trying to make it on her own as a twenty-something in NYC. She struggles to pay the bills, find love, and find a place that feels like home (beyond Tiffany’s).

Watch the movie.

Bucket List

“One day your life will flash before you eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.”

Two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die. While it obviously doesn’t focus on people in their twenties, I think it’s an important reminder that life is short and you have to make time to do all the things you want to do.

Watch the movie.

Adult World

“I’m such a failure.”

Amy is a recent grad who believes she is destined for greatness. Her histrionic ways may be an over the top portrayal of all that’s wrong with millennials, but it’s not far off to the struggle many of us face. Watch the movie.

[RELATED] 5 Life Lessons From Adult World

The Words

“We all make choices in life. The hard thing is to live with them.”

A man so desperate for success, steals another mans work and passes it off as his own. At the height of his success, his mistakes come back to haunt him.

Watch the movie.

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28 Movies For Your Quarter Life Crisis

  1. Into the Wild
  2. The Fault In Our Stars
  3. Whiplash
  4. 500 Days of Summer
  5. Garden State
  6. Devil Wears Prada
  7. Almost Famous
  8. Office Space
  9. Good Will Hunting
  10. The Graduate
  11. Silver Linings Play Book
  12. About Alex
  13. Adult World
  14. Tiny Furniture
  15. Wild
  16. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  17. Bucket List
  18. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  19. The Words
  20. In A World
  21. Dead Poets Society
  22. Away We Go
  23. 50/50
  24. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
  25. Up in the Air
  26. Harry Potter
  27. Scott Pilgrim VS. The World
  28. Paper Towns

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  • I LOVE THIS LIST. Saving for future reference. Some of these are already on my list of faves (Silver Linings Playbook, The Graduate, 500 Days of Summer) and you’ve sparked my interest in a few others like Tiny Furniture and Good Will Hunting. Thanks for this 🙂

    • Ahh glad you liked! Tiny furniture is free on Netflix RN! I think it might be leaving soon… but I can’t remember if I read that or dreamt it haha

  • Elizabeth Johnson

    What a great list! I have some movie watching to do. I’ve seen about half of these and most of the ones I haven’t seen I’ve been wanting to see. Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Dead Poet’s Society are two of my favorites!

    • Ahh yes! funny enough, that’s probably my least favorite Audrey movie, but i felt like it best resonated with the QLC!

  • I’m such a movie geek! I’ve watched a lot of these but some I haven’t heard of. Thanks for the great list!

  • Yes yes yes! I’ve seen a lot of these and agree with you 100%. 500 Days of Summer is possibly my favorite romcom because it is so authentic. I absolutely love the ending, which probably makes me a cynic. But oh well!

  • Talisa – That New Girl

    I’m not about to speak crises into my life (lol) BUT these movies sound good, and I’m always game for checking out new ones. Into the Wild sounds really good.

    • ugh its really the best one on the list for the QLC IMO. It’s one of those movies that has stuck with me 10 years later

  • I’ve seen about half of these movies. But a few of them I definitely wanna check out!

    • oh! which have been your faves and which are you adding to your list?!

      • Favorites: Whiplash, the Devil Wears Prada, and Up In The Air (the movie I watched on a flight that gave me the push to quit my job!)

        I’ve been wanting to see these for a while, so I’m adding The Graduate, Wild, Good Will Hunting, & Almost Famous!

  • I’m embarrassed to admit I haven’t seen a lot of these! Haha I need to have a movie night asap and change that!

  • Nicole Leith

    Gah! What a wonderful list! I’ve seen about half, which is enough to know that I trust your taste in movies and should watch the other half!

    • Haha! Yes! I was a little nervous since some are a little indie and weird and I was like “uh I hope people like them as much as I do!” haha!

  • So many good movies here! Ill have to check out some of the ones I haven’t seen quite yet.

  • Wow I have only seen 7 of 28. Great ideas for my next movie night with the hubby with meaning. love it!

  • Kristen Jones

    Devil Wears Prada is one of my all-time fav movies!! This is such a great list.

  • Brittany Daoud

    OMG this list is my jam right now. Totally going to have a movie night soon and watch some of these, so many good ones! xo

  • I think I’ve seen like 5 of these ? I have read some of the their book counterparts, though

  • YESSS. There are many of these I need to see still, but I love this post idea – super awesome, Rachel!

  • Into the Wild made me cry so much. My husband wants to get into forragging so I’m kinda nervous about that because of that movie. Wild was life-changing and the reason I like to hike now! Loved the book and the movie. HARRY POTTER. That’s all I have to say about that one. 500 days of Summer was also life-changing for me and I wanted to be Summer so bad. You already know my feelings about Garden State. Eternal Sunshine– I walked down the aisle to the song they play during the row-row-row your boat scene! 50-50 is one of my favorite therapy movies. I have seen and loved a lot more of the movies on this list too but these are some of my faves!

    • I WANED TO BE SUMMER TOO!!! Seriously, I was SO obsessed! – and into the wild like still haunts me to this day and I would be nervous about foraging too!

      • Summer is from a Michigan and so am I! I also had a major girl-crush on Zooey Deschanel haha. I am learning every day that you and I have a lot in common 🙂

        • Girl SAME! I am so obsessed with her!

          Also Zach braff story: So he came to my university to speak and my roomie was part of the organization who brought him in – so we got to go to this VIP mixer after wit him – and as soon as he walked in the room EVERYONE swarmed him and you could’t get near him and he could barely enter the room. So i decided to go around the crowed and BEHIND him to the door where they brought him in and waited (since he was so bombarded there was no way they were taking him out any other door) – and when he turned around to leave I was standing there with my camera in my hand star struck and he was like, “you want a picture sweetie?” and I just nodded totally paralyzed with love and shock and he put his arm around me and snapped that selfie!

  • Such a great list! Adding Wild to my books to read list for sure. Also, that Zach Braff selfie – amazing!

  • Allison Ellzey

    What a great list! I haven’t actually seen a ton of these which is exciting–I can’t wait for our next movie night!

  • thesophiadiaries

    Ive watched maybe a quarter of these, and I totally love some of the selections you put in! I totally gotta watch some of these movies tho, especially since I’m totally going through that quarter life crisis in my mind xD

    • Which is your favorite??

      • thesophiadiaries

        The devil wears prada is a classic! But also because it’s so #true for people who are in the work force. I think an expectation is that after you graduate college you can find your dream job, but this movie is so real that it shows you gotta pay your dues first, before you can think of chasing your dream. And that even when you are trying to chase your dream, things might not turn out the way you want it to initially, but it will eventually 🙂

  • Kristine Circenis

    I love so many of these movies. If you’ve never read Wild, I highly recommend it. I imagine the movie is just as quotable as the books. The Devils Wear Prada is also a good one, especially during these times, because it goes to show that even people who look like they have it all together are not as together as it seems. It makes everyone, even the Miranda Preesley’s of the world, seem human.

  • You met Zach Braff?! DYING! I’ve seen a lot of these (and love them) but there are several I haven’t even heard of! I need to check these out + rewatch some of those older ones that are much more relatable now!

  • So many great movies! Some of them I have not seen though, so I need to check them out soon!!

  • slynch223

    Harry Potter!!!!! I’m a major HP fan! Other than that, I haven’t seen most of the movies on the list, I’ll have to add them to my list of movies to watch!

  • I love this! Into the Wild is such a great movie. And the soundtrack is amazing too. I always appreciate a movie more if it has a banging soundtrack haha.

  • You picked out some of my favourite movies here! ‘500 days of summer’, ‘eternal sunshine of the spotless mind’, ‘breakfast and tiffany’s’ and oh my god ‘the fault in our stars’. I wasn’t expecting to like The Secret life of Walter Mitty as much but I really did, not usually a fan of Ben Stiller though but he was brilliant in this one!

  • omg these are so good but some I haven’t seen yet. gotta check them out.

  • Taylor Smith

    These are all awesome but now I need to know how you met Zach Braff because Scrubs is only like one of my favorite shows ever.

    • Haha yessss!! Thank you!! E doesn’t know who he is!!! So he came to my university to speak and my roomie was part of the organization who brought him in – so we got to go to this VIP mixer after wit him – and as soon as he walked in the room EVERYONE swarmed him and you could’t get near him and he could barely enter the room. So i decided to go around the crowed and BEHIND him to the door where they brought him in and waited (since he was so bombarded there was no way they were taking him out any other door) – and when he turned around to leave I was standing there with my camera in my hand star struck and he was like, “you want a picture sweetie?” and I just nodded totally paralyzed with love and shock and he put his arm around me and snapped that selfie!

      • Taylor Smith

        That’s the most amazing thing ever. I would have totally died. I would have that blown up in poster size somewhere. LOL

  • Omg you are such a gem for rounding up this post! I LOVE Dead Poet’s society!!

  • haha yeah i htink i am going to do a separate one for tv shows!

  • YES YES YES! Same girl!

  • mckenna bleu

    Great picks! Some of these are my absolute favorite!

  • I LOVE that you met Zach Braff! I’m saving these, because whether or not I’ve hit my mid-life crisis (its more like wedding crisis right now!) I love having movie recommendations. I honestly haven’t seen a lot of these! Such an extensive list Rachel!

  • Harry Potter, the Devil wears Prada are some of my favourite shows…great picks here & love your list!

  • Office Space is so hilarious!! It reminds me of the place I worked, when I did tech support hahah!

  • Isobel

    I’m rereading Harry Potter this Summer and it is SO much better now that I can preempt the entire plot XD Great selection!

    • ohh heyyy! good to see your face! I just put the finishing touches on your post for tomorrow!

      • Isobel

        Ooh exciting! I’ll check back tomorrow 😀

  • Audrey Knizek

    So many great movies on this list! Harry Potter is my go to when I need something to watch and make me feel better. That and Gilmore Girls, haha!

  • Anna Hubbard

    Harry Potter & The Devil Wears Prada are actually my favorite movies! I’ll have to check some more of these out!

  • Ashley Stephenson

    Oh these are some good ones! Now I feel like having a movie weekend!

  • Such a great list! Oh gosh, some of these are a few of my favorite movies. Into the Wild and Wild? Gahhhh yes, favorites. And I probably listen to one of the songs from the Into the Wild soundtrack at least once a week. But I hike and go backpacking a lot, and so I relate to those movies and books on several levels. Then in college I went through a phase where I was really into Eternal Sunshine, Devil Wears Prada, Garden State, and 500 Days of Summer. Ah good times, though I haven’t watched those in a while…

    • YESS! Agreed! I need to go listen to the soundtrack asap! I am usually a garden state sound track on repeat kind of girl! – yeah while i was writing this, I realized how long it’s been since I’ve revisited some of these and totally want to go back

  • I am the absolute worst when it comes to movies (TV addict over here!). I think I have maybeeee seen 5 of these. I truly loved The Fault in Our Stars. Don’t think I’ve cried so much during a movie. It was so touching!!!

  • SO JEALOUS that you met Zach Braff! He’s adorable and I used to have the biggest crush on him, but even more than that I really wanted to work with him. I write fiction, he makes movies… I thought it would be amazing to write a story with him that would become a movie.

    I love this list! There are some I haven’t seen that I want to watch and some that I have seen that I want to rewatch now.

  • Jos A

    Gosh, so many of these I’ve never even heard of! I guess I have a busy movie-watching weekend ahead of me!!

  • So many great movies on this list!!! I loved Wild and Into the Wild (books and movies) but at the same time they made me so angry. Both people were so unprepared for their journeys. In Chris McCandless’ case it was the difference in life and death.

    • Yeah, i can see it – but i think that’s also realistic to themes in life we all face – we aren’t invincible and I think especially in Chris’ case, that’s the biggest thing, to go from being an overachiever golden boy to that. We don’t know everything, and as enticing as being alone may seem, we need people and life is short so we can never forget that. I thought it was so beautiful!

      • I definitely see both sides to the story! Both were really touching and powerful the way they were written. I was heartbroken for Chris and his family.

  • Sarah Jean

    Office Space will forever be one of my favorite movies!

    • AGREED! I can’t believe more people aren’t saying that in the comments! It’s literally SO funny and really exemplifies the workplace struggle that so many face!

  • Amanda Faber

    The Devil Wears Prada is my fav!!

  • Love this! I’ve seen a lot, but I need to see some others!

  • I so wish there were more shows/movies like Devil Wears Prada. I’ve only seen a handful of these movies and surprisingly Harry Potter isn’t one of them. I really want to read and watch the HP books/movies this winter. I’m turning 25 in October and is it pathetic that I’m getting anxiety over it?

    • Agreed! And nope not at all! Every year after 25 I freak out that I am getting older – on the one hand, I get it’s great, it means I am alive, but on the other hand I so worry about not being relevant any more if that makes sense? What are you most anxious about??

  • Ashley Garza

    This is the BEST round up!! It looks like I need to have a movie marathon soon!!!

  • So many good ones! The Devil Wears Prada is my favorite. Completely captures the quarter-life crisis. Whiplash hurt my soul so much lol. But it was such a good movie!

    • YES! Whiplash hurt my soul too – but honestly if you read my post about getting fired, I’m sure you can see where the mentor-relationship hit a little too close to home haha

  • Whiplash and The Fault in Our Stars are *praise hands* I love this list and I love the format of this post, girl!

  • These are some great movies! I love Silver Linings Playbook, Dead Poets Society, and Into the Wild. Of course Devil Wears Prada too haha! 🙂

  • creativerebel

    I’m well past my Quarter Life Crisis. lol But in my defense I have actually seen a lot of these. So I’m going to chalk it up to a win. lol. 🙂 Thanks for sharing that was fun!

    • Lol i feel like these work for anytime in your life you’re feeling overwhelmed, scared, or lost, which honestly I think happens at any age! And I’d count it as a win too! Which have been some of your favorites?

  • Sharon Glascoe

    Aw Silver Linings Playbook is one of my favorites! Such a great story

  • YESSS YESS YESSS! haha thank you!

  • Agreed! I seriously still love him so much after all these years!

  • Haha what do you do for entertainment?!? No music, no movies, minimal tv, and no books?!? how do you surivive?!? 😜

  • Which are your favorites??

  • ITs a classic!

  • I’m pinning these because some of these are already favorites while others I haven’t heard of and since I’m currently enduring my quarter life crisis, I think I need these lol. I see some binge watching in my future!!

    Also – who doesn’t love Zach Braff, I mean Scrubs, com’on! 🙂

  • OurMiniFamily

    I love so many of these movies!! They are definitely ones that get you thinking that is for sure!

  • Super Millennial

    Goodwill Hunting is one of my all my time favorites! Great list!

  • OMG! Such a great list – I have a lot to watch now!

  • Great list! Although it might not be great for a quarter of life crisis… Legally Blonde always inspires me! I mean, if Elle Woods could graduate from Harvard… I can definitely do anything lol

    • HAHA! It’s funny you say that, I debated adding that one to the list! Because sometimes, I think we all need a feel good movie of rising above the odds!

  • Great picks! It sounds like I need to have a binge weekend soon!

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