By Milo Clenshaw, Third Year, Film and English
With Freshers' Flu and homesickness lurking, here are some foolproof pick-me-ups.
Freshers' is the most exciting week in the student calendar, when deadlines are in the hazy future and your biggest worry is which triangle club to stumble out to that night. That being said, it can be pretty overwhelming, especially with all the first year pressure to enjoy yourself, make new friends, join societies and survive without burning your flat down making spag bol. So whether you’re curled up in bed with the mother of all hangovers or just taking a breather from communal kitchen chats, these films are for you.
1. Juno (2007) dir. Jason Reitman
The ultimate feel-good indie flick, Juno provides just the right dose of coming-of-age angst, plenty of jokes, and a great soundtrack to boot. Michael Cera is his classic goofy self, this time fumbling about our screens in gold running shorts for the majority of the film. Ellen Page's performance cannot be beaten though, as she commands attention with her 5ft1 frame, navigating the uncomfortable, funny and ultimately compelling world of teenage pregnancy.
Opening credits of Juno (2007) dir. Jason Reitman, DoP. Eric Steelberg pic.twitter.com/axbqvhwCr9— cinema hearts club (@cineheartsclub) June 21, 2018
What strikes me most of all is the film’s amazing script, with lines like 'That ain't no etch-a-sketch. That's one doodle that can't be undid, homeskillet' engraved on my brain forever. I first saw Juno as part of my sex education in high school, so maybe it's also a topical reminder for anyone getting wild at freshers' that it is worth using protection, even with the weedy ones.
2. Mamma Mia! (2008) dir. Phyllida Lloyd
It's Meryl Streep. It's a beautiful Greek Island. It's Pierce Brosnan reaching the limits of his vocal capacity. More importantly than any of that, however, it's ABBA. What else could you ask for to cure those freshers' blues? Everyone loves ABBA, and those who say they don't are either pretending or hate fun. (Sorry dad, but it's true.)
Everyone loves ABBA, and those who say they don't are either pretending or hate fun.
As soon as Amanda Seyfried hits those first few notes of 'Honey, Honey', you know you're in for a good time, and I for one just can't stay sad by the time it's got to 'Chiquitita'. There are people who stay away from musicals because they're sometimes not taken as seriously as other films, but the joy Mamma Mia! can bring on a drizzly Tuesday definitely makes up for its somewhat dubious plot. If you're willing to commit to the cheese, you too can be a dancing queen.
3. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) dir. Jonathan Demme
Granted, this is a bit of a wild card compared to my other choices, but I think we can all admit to Netflix binges of enticing serial killer documentaries from time to time. It has enough Oscars to give it some credibility, being the third film ever to win in all top five categories, and is the only film I know of to have a moth wrangler listed in its credits.
It's immersive enough that you will forget all about missing your family dog or worrying about whether you packed enough pants - but just make sure your flatmates are in for when it is over; you will not want to be walking into dark rooms any time soon. After all, if making friends in a packed lecture theatre seems a bit daunting, just remember that Clarice Starling had to be pals with a known cannibal as part of her FBI training. Perspective.
4. My Neighbour Totoro (1988) Hayao Miyazaki
Like all Studio Ghibli films, My Neighbour Totoro's animation is utterly breathtaking. Combine this with a playful plot about friendly woodland spirits and you have the perfect film to watch in bed with a cup of tea and a packet of hobnobs (other nobbly biscuits are acceptable). Miyazaki is a master at capturing childhood nostalgia, and the bear/rabbit-like Totoro comes straight from your eight-year-old imagination.
The perfect film to watch in bed with a cup of tea and a packet of hobnobs
It is not just a kids' film either, containing a strong ecological message about living in harmony with nature that's even more relevant 30 years on. The last on my list, this is the film I would recommend more than any of the others if you're feeling a bit fragile; it never gets too serious, and you can drift away on its whimsy from the madness of freshers'.
Featured: IMDb / Studio Ghibli
What film never fails to make you feel good?