Why millennial stories are saving Hollywood

After decades of older generations portraying the age group inaccurately, a new wave of auteurs are shaking up the film industry

Millennials: avocado-smushing, beard-grooming, selfie-snapping snowflakes, or beleaguered inheritors of a world pre-ruined by their elders? Defining a generation accurately often comes down to who’s doing the defining, especially when it comes to movies. Usually you have to reach a certain age before you get to make a film, and by the time you do, the generation before you have already said their bit. However, there comes a time when the power tilts, and for millennials, that time is now.

A new season at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in New York offers a snapshot of the millennial generation coming of age in the movies. Called We Can’t Even (how’s that for a generation-splitting title?), it offers a first draft of what the millennial movie canon might look like (according to the Pew Research Center’s definition, a “millennial” is anyone born between 1981 and 1996). The selection is eclectic, from Richard Linklater’s (white, American) Boyhood to Céline Sciamma’s (black, French) Girlhood; from iPhone-shot trans drama Tangerine to Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour; from Mean Girls to Moonlight. What emerges is a picture far more nuanced than the standard stereotypes. And without an avocado in sight.

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