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Sometimes it feels like the most popular films and TV shows centre around either teens or fully-fledged adults. However, when you find a film that centres around uni students, it’s often a gem. These films are perfect to watch with your flat as you settle into uni life!
This Monsters Inc prequel takes your standard opposites-attract buddy comedy and gives it a monstrous twist. The sheer visual inventiveness of all the countless monster designs and subsequent worldbuilding quirks makes it worth a watch. Indeed, the creative ways that Pixar animators imagined this entire society of monsters is part of what made the original a classic, and to see the same ingenuity and creative flare carried over into a campus setting is never dull. And beneath it all is a tight story and unmissable characters, with Helen Mirren’s Dean Hardscrabble being a particular standout.
Good Will Hunting
Considered by some to have Robin Williams’ most heart-warming performance, effortlessly combining his dramatic and comedic sides, Good Will Hunting is a demonstration of a cast and crew at the top of the game. Co-writer Matt Damon stars as a diamond in the rough south Boston janitor who is discovered to have a prodigy level of talent for advanced mathematics. His turbulent personal life leads to his avoiding jail time by reluctantly agreeing to pursue his talent at MIT and attend therapy sessions. The irreplaceable chemistry between Damon and Williams makes for a touching experience, and its exploration of the effects of income inequality on access to higher education is no less relevant today.
The vicious and damaging stereotype of the dumb blonde was well and truly eviscerated by Reese Witherspoon’s star-making role as the bleach blonde law student Elle Woods, who fiercely combats the age-old blonde bombshell trope to prove her worth and intelligence at Harvard Law. This hilarious subversion of stereotypes defies connotations of vapidity to prove that intelligence can come from anyone and that the only person whose approval you really need is your own.
This one might technically be cheating, but the 1967 classic really does capture the aimlessness and alienation that follows graduation. It follows the impulsive and directionless college graduate Benjamin Braddock as he is faced with the realisation that he has no idea what to do with his life, leading to unfulfilling affairs and short-sighted decisions that culminate in the iconic final shot of Benjamin and the so-called love of his life, Elaine, after they elope and seem to realise that they barely know one another and have made a huge mistake, all as Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘The Sounds of Silence’ plays for the last time.
Rather than a normal campus with normal teachers, Whiplash jumps straight into an elite, hyper-competitive music conservatory taught by the ruthless Terrence Fletcher, who all at once manages to be the best and the worst teacher in cinematic history. Fletcher’s borderline abusive tutelage brings his protégé, Andrew Neiman, to breaking point after he puts literal blood, sweat, and tears into proving his skill as a jazz drummer. J.K. Simmons’ Oscar-winning performance and a sharp script make for one of the most compelling dramas of recent memory.
The Social Network
Before it was on its way to world domination, Facebook was the brainchild of founder Mark Zuckerberg, or so he would have you believe. This dramatization of Zuckerberg and Facebook’s Harvard University origins and rapid rise to billionaire status looks behind the curtain to show the brains, the prejudice, and the betrayals that would change the world. Writer Aaron Sorkin’s trademark brand of wit and director David Fincher’s sleek and precise style make for a match made in heaven.