Hey, Freshers and non-Freshers alike! Here you have a very subjective list of inspiring university-themed movies to get you all into the uni-spirit. Some serious, some a bit less so, all in some way thought-provoking and uplifting. Everything you need before your first week at Kent.
Animal House – the name says it all really. The apparent ‘Godfather of college movies’ Animal House is a typical whacky ‘gross-out’ comedy from the late 70s. A group of misfit fraternity members who challenge the authority of the dean of Faber College. Here you will find everything that you should be expecting at uni.
Good Will Hunting – the late Robin Williams’ arguably greatest ever theatrical performance. Will Hunting (Matt Damon) is a janitor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a self-taught genius. Alongside seeing his therapist (Williams) he pursues his studies in advanced mathematics, having never previously had the confidence to embrace his talent.
Legally Blonde – a cult classic. A ‘typical blonde’ sorority girl decides to go to Harvard Law to win back her boyfriend. There are movies that although we all know are silly and not so great we never get bored of them. It is fun, hilarious and on some level inspiring. If you are stressed about your upcoming super-serious degree – don’t worry. If Elle made it, so will you!
A Beautiful Mind – Based on the life of mathematician John Nash (Russell Crowe), the film gives an insight into his soul-destroying battle with paranoid schizophrenia and the delusional episodes that threatened to destroy both his career and personal life. Despite his troubles, the Princeton professor made several major contributions to his field and even received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1994. Fascinating and inspiring.
The Social Network – I don’t think I need to introduce neither the plot or characters of this one. Even if you haven’t seen it, you probably know the story of the founder of Facebook. Let this be an inspiration and a reminder for you that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
Monsters University – something maybe less profound and serious but heart-warming and inspiring. A prequel to the childhood favourite Monsters Inc. Mike is a first-year scare major, where he studies very hard to become a scarer but is not as talented as a privileged Sulley. At uni, you’ll meet a lot of new people and although you might not get along with everyone at first it is worth giving everyone a chance because we all know how Mike and Sulley end up being best buds.
Mona Lisa Smile – who doesn’t like a good Julia-Roberts-tearjerker? Set in the 50s at a prestigious Wellesley College for girls, Katherine (Julia Roberts) how is a newly graduated teacher tries to question the traditional and conservative upbringing of young girls. Most of the students just count the days until they are married to Harvard graduates and lead a domestic life. Katherine aims to inspire the girls to peruse their own carriers and think outside the box. Although our society has moved far past those ideals, the movie is an important reminder that our mothers and grandmothers did not have the same opportunities as we do and we should make the most out of them.
Starter from 10 – surprisingly not many uni movies are British, but there are some gems like this one. Brian is from a working-class family, but he is very intelligent and hungry for knowledge. As soon as he is accepted to Bristol University, where he doesn’t feel entirely at home, he joins the University Challenge team to prove himself worthy and get closer to his first crush. Starring the wonderful James McAvoy in the lead role. Maybe it will inspire you to join Kent’s University Challenge team?
Pitch Perfect – something for Glee and musical fans. Beca is a freshman and not very excited about going to college as she would’ve preferred to get a job in LA. After being persuaded into joining the Barden Bellas, an a capella group, she begins to change her mind. The film shows how a university is not only attending lectures and reading textbooks but also joining societies and developing your passions outside of classrooms.
The Theory of Everything / Hawking – two biographical dramas about the late Steven Hawking, set at Cambridge University. Although The Theory of Everything was a great success and Eddie Redmayne is fabulous in the lead role, I personally prefer Hawking starring pre-Sherlockian Benedict Cumberbatch. It is very informative for those who have no clue about physics but want to know why was Hawking such a celebrity in the science world. For those who are more into romance-drama, I recommend The Theory of Everything.
Damsels in Distress – this movie is an odd satire of a chick flick. A newly transferred college student Lily becomes friends with Violet, Heather and Rose who run campus’ suicide prevention centre. Violet, who is a leader of the clique, gets Lily and other girls into dating less attractive men, cleaning their dorms and many other ridiculous situations as a form of social work and improving their morale. Not everyone gets Whit Stillman’s humour, but I just find it hilarious. Also, it is worth watching just for the wonderful Greta Gerwig as Violet.
Carnal Knowledge – although it is not strictly a college movie it is an interesting character study of two men and their relationships over a period of 25 years. Jonathan (Jack Nicholson) and Sandy (Art Garfunkel) first meet as college roommates. They are very different, Sandy is a shy romantic type while Jonathan is tough and aggressive. They still become close friends and throughout the years we see how their different approaches to love and sexuality affect their relationships with women.