Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Coming of Age

Over the years a lot of films have tackled the issue of coming of age, it is a common theme in many works of fiction and will be for years to come. There is something inherently relatable about films like these; where no matter the protagonist, you find something that reminds you of your own formative years. No series, in my opinion, handles the ideas of growing up and maturing better than the Diary of A Wimpy Kid films, today’s post will be a look at the franchise and what it meant to a lot of people.
Diary of A Wimpy Kid is a 2010, coming of age film, following the life of Greg Heffley, (Zachary Gordon), as he tries to navigate the world of middle school, be the most popular, and one day be famous. The film is based on a series of best-selling children’s books that are beloved by millions, the films themselves like to wear their book heritage on their sleeve and will often open with an animated scene that is very reminiscent of the books.
The three core films follow Greg as he progresses through the years of middle school, and we grow up with him in a way, or at least I did. We the audience see his priorities change as he gets older in a very relatable way, in the first film he just wants to hang out with his friend Rowley, (Robert Capron) and, play videogames; the friendship between these two boys is something that underscores the whole trilogy. By the time the second film Roderick Rules is set we see that now Greg is interested in girls and his friendship with Rowley changes, this is a thing that has happened to all of us, that transition from being a kid and thinking girls or, boys are icky to then being in a relationship, and I think that this transition is captured beautifully by the films.
Not only this but, the family interactions too were well thought out and intentioned, in the first film we see how much Greg is scared of his brother Roderick, (Devon Bostick), and how the two are always at odds. However, in Roderick Rules, we see that the pair actually share a bond and that perhaps Greg has just prejudged his brother and is later corrected, we see this towards the end of the second film in a very bittersweet scene. Moreover, the third film shows us the relationship between Greg and his dad and how Greg is trying to make him proud and get along with him, despite having nothing in common and being two drastically different people. This part of the third film has a lot to say about father-son relationships, and a lot of it is profoundly authentic and affecting; it reminded me more than once of my own life.
Perhaps the thing the film does the best is the development of Greg himself; he starts off the first film as a selfish arsehole who only really cares about himself, with a lot of his friends and family suffering as a result. A lot of the conflict of the films from his falling out with Rowley in the first film, to that tear provoking moment with Roderick in the second film all come as a result of Greg’s actions. As the trilogy progresses, however, we see Greg become a better person as he matures, one who will do what’s right to make his friends and family happy; sometimes even at his detriment, although it usually works out for him.
I think though these films owe a lot to the incredibly well-written books that they take inspiration from, there is something special about these series of films, that resonates with the audience, reminding them of their own lives and families: because at the end of the day who hasn’t been the wimpy kid who just wanted to be popular.
In my opinion, there is no fourth film.

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