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What to watch when you’re homesick

From road trips to high school to the coast of Spain, sit back and relax to these five lovely films full of warmth, charm and most importantly laughter that have helped keep me smiling through the years.

By Ben Carpenter, 2nd Year Film & Television

This past year hasn't really been a hit has it? I for one am just tired. Like emotionally exhausted. But at least I’ve been able to get back home for the Easter break.

That being said I have spent an awful lot of time alone over the past few months and feeling pretty, yeah you guessed it, homesick. For the first time in many academic years you may find yourself away from home this Easter and feeling pretty low as a result. But despair not sweet readers, for I have you covered.

From road trips to high school to the coast of Spain, sit back and relax to these five lovely films full of warmth, charm and most importantly laughter that have helped keep me smiling through the years. Because nothing makes you smile more than a double dose of Dakota Johnson.

1. How To Be Single (2016)

First on our list is this underrated modern classic. Whether you’re shackled to a significant other or blissfully alone, this film is for everyone. Telling several interweaving stories of young singles in NYC, Dakota Johnson leads an attractive cast as she explores her life being single for the first time since the beginning of university. Whilst this film was dismissed as just another washy rom-com upon it’s Valentines Day release five years ago I have firmly come to believe that whilst it is just as contrived as one would expect, it really does have something to say. The script is bright, the laughs consistent and the lessons timely as ever given the pandemic. At a time when we could all use some help learning to be happy on our own, How To Be Single is the perfect watch. How To Be Single is available on Amazon Prime.

Rebel Wilson and Dakota Johnson in How to be Single (2016) | Courtesy of IMDb

2. 20th Century Women (2016)

Moving gracefully from independent women to powerful women I present you with another underrated classic, this time a little heavier. Set in 1979, 20th Century Women starring a Golden Globe nominated Annette Bening and a frankly Oscar worthy Greta Gerwig tells the story of 15 year old Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) in his formative years. Having found herself at a loss with her son, Dorothea (Bening) enlists the help of 2 female friends to teach Jamie what it means to be a man from a woman’s perspective. Based on director Mike Mills’ life, 20th Century Women is probably the most subtly enlightening film I’ve ever seen. Balancing heavy themes with a sense of humour, familiarity and warmth this oscar nominated gem carries that feeling of nostalgia that comes with thoughts of home. And what better a film to watch when you may find yourself away from home this Easter. Catch 20th Century Women on Amazon Prime.

Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, and Greta Gerwig in 20th Century Women (2016) | Courtesy of IMDb

3. Easy A (2010)

Picture this: An early 2010s teen comedy starring everyone’s favourite big eyed gal Emma Stone in her first lead role that takes inspiration from 1980s teen comedies and has a banging soundtrack. Well you don’t have to imagine anything as it already exists in Easy A. An absolute favourite of mine when I was a young teen, I loved this film so much I would watch it 4 times a week and recite the script. Yes that is a bit much BUT it just acts as proof of how entertaining this film is. Snarky, self-aware and bolstered by Emma Stone’s killer comedic timing this film also benefits from a brilliant Amanda Bynes playing an outright unbearable evangelical. Don’t pretend you aren’t intrigued. This light hit will keep you smiling all the way through to May. Find Easy A on Netflix.

Amanda Bynes and Emma Stone star in Easy A (2010) | Courtesy of IMDb

4. Vale (2015)

Ok so this one is a little left of centre. Back in the early 2010s beer company Estrella Damm began making one short film a year featuring their products as a means of advertising. Whilst some of their earlier work is little more than marketing material they really struck gold with their 2015 release. Available on YouTube, Vale tells the story of a young American woman, portrayed by Dakota Johnson, relaxing and travelling along the coast of Spain with her new Spanish friends. Despite her limited understanding of the native language, she finds herself flirting with one of the members of her group and their language barrier provides the humour and backbone of this short story. Whilst there are a few obligatory shots of the companies’ beverage, the film feels very much like it’s own entity. Running at just over 12 minutes, Vale is sweet, charming and the perfect watch to unwind with in your much needed revision breaks.

Check it out here! | Courtesy of Estrella Damm

5. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

The last film on our list of happy, clappy and immersive films to keep you from feeling homesick this Easter break is probably the most famous of the lot. Starring a very young Abigail Breslin in an Oscar nominated performance, Little Miss Sunshine follows young Olive and her oddball family as they travel across the country for the titular beauty pageant she hopes to win. Winning 2 Oscars for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Alan Arkin as a foul-mouthed grandfather, this film deserves all the praise it received. Featuring a beautiful soundtrack lead by Devotcka and the ever-ethereal Sufjan Stevens, Little Miss Sunshine acts as a reminder that home really is where the heart is - or in this case a yellow Volkswagen camper van. Little Miss Sunshine is available on Amazon Prime.

Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Paul Dano, and Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine (2006) | Courtesy of IMDb

Featured: IMDb, Estrella Damm

Is your comfort movie on this list?

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