By Tabitha Shannon, Second Year, English
Upon hearing the government’s latest, tantalising promise of a return to normality on June 21st, I cannot help but feel slightly at a loss of how to spend these two remaining months of seclusion. Though it may feel like we’ve spent the entirety of the past year binge watching Netflix, nothing serves like a good film to see off the cabin fever and ignite our excitement for our impending freedom. This is a list of films that provide us with hopeful glimpses into that elusive and forgotten world of adventure, spontaneity, travel, and romance: the outside. These films remind us of a time when we were allowed to see more than six people, and no one had heard of Joe Wicks or The Tiger King.
- The Great Gatsby (2013)
First on the list we have Baz Luhrmann’s iconic 2013 adaptation of The Great Gatsby. Adapting F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, the film explores ideas of romance and ‘The American Dream’ against the backdrop of New York in the 1920s. With its unforgettable themes of forbidden love, deceit, wealth, and tragedy, combined with an incredible soundtrack and visual style, the film is able to offer some of the excitement, adventure and sociability that we have been starved of during lockdown.
Following the lavish, over-indulgent and debauched parties of the roaring 20s (parties without limited numbers, social distancing or early curfews), The Great Gatsby depicts the period of economic prosperity and cultural hedonism that followed The Spanish Flu of 1918. Could this imply that we might be in for another ‘roaring twenties’ after the current pandemic? Social scientists have predicted a surge in sexual and moral corruption due to the millions of people who will now be seeking out extreme social interactions in order to make up for the wasted time of the lockdown. Ultimately, the film’s echoes that of our current society: after spending a year feeling bored, useless, and isolated: let’s party!
2. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Secondly, in a similar spirit of romance, adventure, and extreme socialising, we have John Hughes’ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. This teen-comedy classic stars Mathew Broderick as Ferris Bueller, a mischievous, charming, witty teenager who feigns illness in order to bunk off school and spend the day clowning around in Chicago with his best friend and girlfriend. This endearing and feel-good film captures the spirit of being young and feeling invincible whilst exploring the world with your friends.
The film’s simple message reminds us to always find the joy in life, and Ferris Bueller’s iconic phrase “Life moves pretty fast; if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it!” speaks to us now more than ever.
3. Before Sunrise (1995)
Following this rip-roaring 80s cult classic, we arrive at the beautifully simplistic and escapist European romance, we have Before Sunrise (1995). An intimate drama based on director Richard Linklater’s own teenage romantic experiences, the narrative tracks a pair of strangers, who meet on a train travelling through Europe, before spending a single night exploring Vienna together and falling in love.
The film, focused solely on the minimalistic conversations between the young couple, confronts its viewers with relevant questions of time, self-fulfilment and self-discovery, ideas which have occupied our thoughts considerably during the last year’s lockdown. The forbidden fruit of spontaneous, foreign romance makes this film particularly poignant right now - the feeling of wandering aimlessly around a strange city and falling in love is something that now seems unimaginable but
4. Mr Bean’s Holiday (2007)
Last on our list is the sublime 2007 adventure-comedy Mr Bean’s Holiday. A playful summer-holiday spinoff of the iconic 90s television series, we see the nation’s favourite comic character stumble his way through a series of mix-ups and mishaps along the gorgeous backdrop of the French Riviera. In his quest to reach the beach, Rowan Atkinson exaggerates his childish, slapstick behaviour more than ever, with particularly foolish incidents involving regurgitated oysters, a French chicken farm, and the Cannes Film Festival.
Combining a beautiful, Provence setting and Charles Trenet’s dreamy theme song ‘La Mer’, this film certainly kindles our excitement for the summer holidays. Having spent over a year trapped inside our often-dreary and always-uneventful bedrooms, what more could we want than a heavenly summertime adventure across the south of France?
What film do you want your summer to be like?