Must-Watch Movies for College Freshmen

*Editor’s Note: The following article was submitted to BUnow by Jenna Banks*

Movies can serve as a form of escape or a source of inspiration. If you’re a college freshmen, watching films can act as the perfect stress relief away from demanding course work or exams, help you find your passion and even assist you in deciding which major to take later on.

So with that in mind, here are some great movies that can act as motivation or just get you away from your studies for a couple of hours.

1. The Bridge Over River Kwai (1957) 

In 1943, British POWs have been ordered by the Japanese to construct a bridge over the River Kwai in Burma (now Myanmar). But how exactly do you force your enemy to take on such a grand project? This is the premise of the 1957 epic war film The Bridge Over River Kwai directed by David Lean. Students of civil engineering or sociology may find insights in the everyday push and pull between the rebellious British POWs and their Japanese wardens to either sabotage or complete the project. More than just a war film, it is also a great portrait of human nature in inhuman situations. This classic has been included by the American and British Film Institute in their list of the greatest films ever made.

2. Hackers (1995)

In the 1995 cult classic Hackers, four hackers are involved in a serious corporate extortion conspiracy. Computer science and cybersecurity students will enjoy the film’s over-the-top and goofy portrayal of hacking in the 1990s. But the movie’s premise is still very relevant, if not more so, today. Living in a world virtually run by data is both intriguing and worrying. As explained by Maryville University on their Cyber Security degree page, “It’s not technology our society is trying to better understand, it’s the data it produces.” As organizations and individuals become more reliant on big data, the scramble for tighter information security continues as well. Such scenarios are tackled by Hackers as it shows both the good and bad sides of a data-driven society.

3. The Dreamers (2003)

Bernardo Bertolucci’s 2003 romantic drama follows the relationship of Matthew (Michael Pitt), an American student in Paris in 1968, with his two French friends. Set during the Paris student riots, this coming-of-age film is loaded with references to classic and French New Wave cinema and 60s music. Students especially interested in liberal arts may relate to its young protagonists as they obsess over art, music, and films while trying to come to terms with the realities of student life. Movie critic Peter Bradshaw describes watching the film akin to “drinking a bottle of good red wine, all at once, on an empty stomach.”

4. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Nothing beats a good old exorcism movie to scare the living daylights out of you. What separates the The Exorcism of Emily Rose from other films in its genre, is its skeptical realism. Throughout the film, the viewers are pushed to question the film’s premises and scrutinize it from an objective point of view. Rotten Tomatoes even stated that it broke the mould because it is “the thinking person’s demon possession movie.” Students taking pre-law courses, psychology or other similar programs will enjoy the non-horror aspects of the movie, including its legal complexities as well as psychological and social implications. Of course, you can also just sit back and enjoy the jump scares.

5. Children Of Men (2006)

Set in 2027, this dystopian film directed by Alfonso Cuaron features a society on the brink of collapse after humans lost their capacity to procreate. The characters navigate through an oppressive military regime afraid of immigrants, rioting gangs, and other dangers of a civilization falling apart. Rather than a warning for a bleak future, Children of Men‘s dystopian narrative seems more like a portrait of what is happening today. Sociology, philosophy and political science students will no doubt find the references to social and political issues very intriguing. More importantly, the film’s thriller elements will surely keep you glued to your seat.

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