As you get ready for this next big step in your life, this last year at home can feel like the longest and the shortest you ever had! While you prepare to select a college and research scholarships and financial aid, don’t forget to spend some quality time with your friends and family. While movies, even when based on a true story, are always a little bit fantastic, they are also works of art that share experiences among their viewers.
Let’s take a look at two classic films centered around college life, from the sad to the happy and everything in between.
At the top of most college movie lists will be this pick, which barely takes place at a school at all. What it does do is capture the essence of a young man in transition. The story helps to illustrate what going to a college out of town can do for someone’s identity. Dustin Hoffman plays Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate. While he is still his parents’ son and someone who grew up in the area, he is conflicted with feelings of not belonging and indecision. He is not sure about his next steps. Throughout the course of his story, there is also a lot of compelling drama. He finds himself at the center of a fairly bizarre love triangle, and many epic scenes ensue. The movie is celebrated as well for its moving soundtrack featuring Simon and Garfunkel.
At the heart of the movie, though, is Benjamin’s indecision. And this is not a bad thing, really. Part of pursuing your education and leaving home is finding the person you are, or who you want to be. This is not always easy but being true to yourself is always important. It’s a great film to watch as a family, but maybe not with young children as there are adult themes.
Here is the modern “fish out of water” classic from 2001. Elle Woods, played by a comically brilliant Reese Witherspoon, has been dumped by her boyfriend for Harvard Law. Usually focused on looks and her valley girl sensibilities, Elle surprises everyone by getting accepted too, including her ex who she follows there. Hilarity ensues as Elle spreads her magic across campus, and learns a lot of lessons of her own as well.
The takeaway here is how we can surprise ourselves by what we are capable of, and to not let the perceptions of strangers stand in the way. It also highlights how friendships and connections are of the utmost importance in school. Having a support system, wherever you find it, helps you make sense of the stress and the unexpected that you will most certainly be facing.
Here are a couple bonus films to check out: The Social Network, Black Christmas (3 films from different years), Flatliners, Accepted, That’s My Boy, Love Story, Animal House, The House Bunny.