A space of rebellion or individuality, or a hideout to escape the insanity of that scary thing called life, a teenager’s bedroom is a vivid symbol of personal freedom. When it comes to cinema, a character’s bedroom aesthetic can tell us a lot about their inner world. Here are some of our favorite examples of teenage bedrooms in the movies.
We could live here.
Tim Burton designed the bedroom of every ‘70s teenager’s dreams with Carolyn Stoddard’s (Chloë Grace Moretz) poster-plastered space — paying homage to the gothic soap opera that ended its series run just as the ‘70s were beginning. The beanbag, lava lamp, and vinyl are innocent enough, but the Bowie/Iggy Pop/Alice Cooper posters hint at Carolyn’s rebellious nature.
There are a lot of things that Hollywood gets wrong about teenagers — especially teenage girls, who are rarely portrayed with any kind of insight and left to serve as a cipher in a lame romantic plot. Marielle Heller’s Diary of a Teenage Girl is the rare revolutionary portrait of a young woman who has sex, does drugs, makes a few fuck-ups, and above all, puts herself first. This sense of agency is reflected in Minnie’s bedroom, where her own artwork dominates the walls instead of “boy” things. Instead, a poster of Iggy Pop serves as an extension of Minnie’s sexual curiosity — she takes turns licking the crotch of Iggy’s photo with her friend, objectifying the singer for fun rather than worshipping him as a romantic idol.
Riff Randell is the biggest Ramones fan at Vince Lombardi High — and her room won’t let you forget it.
Rose McGowan’s mean girl Courtney Shayne in Darren Stein’s Jawbreaker uses her bedroom as a seduction pad. There, she convinces horny high-school boys and sleazy strangers (Marilyn Manson with an epic porn ‘stache) alike to do her bidding — whether they realize it or not. The vintage red-lips phone, à la 1980-something, is the perfect addition to Courtney’s “big stick” scene.
Probably what the inside of Sofia Coppola’s head looks like. The director borrowed from Peter Weir’s 1975 movie for her film The Virgin Suicides, which also features lovely teenage bedroom scenes galore. The haunting schoolgirls-gone-missing tale and all of its gossamer glam is the perfect blend of girly and otherworldly styles.
An aspiring journalist begins to dress like a boy so people will take her seriously. But life as a guy doesn’t prove to be any easier for Joyce Hyser’s Terry. She uses her brother’s bedroom (a porn palace from hell with a U2 poster thrown in for good measure) to keep up the front — like during a visit Sherilyn Fenn’s Sandy, who has the hots for Terry.
We’ve all been there, Duckie.
Pajama party, no boys allowed.
We imagine John Travolta still doesn’t leave his house until he performs the same ritual that his Tony Manero did in 1977’s Saturday Night Fever. He gets his power from the Bruce Lee, Wonder Woman, Rocky, and Farrah Fawcett posters.
From writer Jack Porter on Vera Chytilová’s Daisies:
Daisies, on the most basic sensory level, is an explosion of color. This is partially achieved by the heroines’ costumes and the film’s settings, which constantly change. Color filters add to the atmosphere of spontaneity. Tellingly, the heroines’ bedroom looks like an art installation, with scribbled patterns, magazine clippings of glamorous women and drawings of flowers brought together in a collage that covers the walls. The room acts as a microcosm of the film in its deconstruction of feminine images. Further, this deconstructive theme is explored in striking animation sequences where collages of leaves, roses and butterflies seem to dance in front of the screen. The blazing, shimmering, rainbow-tinted journey through a train tunnel is a visual high point.