Ah, freshers’ week. It’s a time for meeting different people and making new friends, whether that’s enabled by a few pints down at The Stag’s or an endless tally of card games around the kitchen table. A good film can also help create lasting bonds, despite the precondition of near silence for 2 or more hours. Our writers are on hand to provide their top recommendations.
Pulp Fiction (1994), dir. Quentin Tarantino
Whether you love or loathe a big night out, at some point during freshers you’re bound to need a chilled night in. What better way to spend it than a film night with your new flatmates? Although all of Quentin Tarantino’s films are dialogue-heavy and can take time to unpack, Pulp Fiction makes for a brilliant first flat movie. Despite its disordered narrative, interlaced with frequent scenes of violence, the satisfaction in the final sequence as all the pieces click together cannot be beaten. So, crack open a cold one with the lads, get comfy in your new kitchen-turned-cinema, and follow philosophical hitmen Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) on their absurd, murderous adventures, even catching a glimpse of Uma Thurman as Mia Wallace in one of her first big hits.
Trainspotting (1996), dir. Danny Boyle
When moving into your flat, there is going to come an inevitable comparison between each of your flatmate’s personalities and those of famous pop culture characters. Of course, The Breakfast Club, Friends, even Harry Potter spring to mind for providing imaginary counterparts. A darker alternative would be Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, the British classic based on the novel by Irvine Welsh. Following a group of heroin addicts in mid-90s Edinburgh, it may not sound at all cheerful but does its job as the perfect freshers’ icebreaker. Like any great comedy-drama, there is a bit of everyone in the film’s characters: the cockiness of Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller); clean-cut innocence of Tommy (Kevin McKidd); or recklessness of Renton (Ewan McGregor), whose outlook on living life rather than choosing it is declared in the opening monologue – though living your life on heroin probably isn’t the best advice. Trainspotting is full of wickedly funny moments to provide a bit of much-needed levity from some genuinely bleak passages. A truly iconic film, just be sure that your fellow flatmates are well-prepared beforehand!
Good Will Hunting (1997), dir. Gus Van Sant
The first few weeks of university are likely to be a whirlwind of emotions, made possible by a series of potentially woeful hangovers, plenty of fresh new faces, and spontaneous questioning of whether you’ve made the right choice. If cinema is a form of therapy, Good Will Hunting is a prime aid for young people struggling in unfamiliar surroundings. Matt Damon’s Will may be a natural genius, yet he still feels a relatable sense of uncertainty and confusion when faced with getting out there into the big, wide world. The Oscars speak for themselves: a fresh-faced Damon and Ben Affleck picked up the award for Best Original Screenplay, whilst the late, great Robin Williams was recognised as Best Supporting Actor for one of his most heartfelt performances. Let it bring you closer together.
Miss Congeniality (2000), dir. Donald Petrie
Miss Congeniality shows that all it takes to be beautiful is to take your glasses off and straighten your hair. Featuring the one and only Sandra Bullock as tomboy FBI agent Gracie Hart, who goes undercover as a beauty pageant contestant to stop a terrorist threat. The film is fully-loaded with classic scenes, such as the Starbucks sequence where Hart uses her FBI credentials to get a headstart on her coffee fix. The most famous quote from the movie comes when Miss Rhode Island announces her perfect date as April 25th, “because it’s not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket” – allowing us to laugh at the stereotypical ‘dumb blonde’ caricature that Hollywood truly loves. Miss Congeniality is the perfect recipe for a flat bonding sesh as it is dumb, funny and doesn’t require too much attention to the storyline, meaning you can talk and exchange memes throughout. Though it may not be the most challenging watch, it’s light-hearted fun.
Mamma Mia! (2008), dir. Phyllida Lloyd
An adaptation of the jukebox musical, Mamma Mia! The Movie is an absolute classic to watch during freshers’ week with your new flatmates! Within a matter of seconds you should all be up singing and dancing along around the kitchen to the sound of the classic ABBA tunes – an experience every fresher must get out of the way sooner rather than later. Even if you don’t have the vocal talents of Adele or Beyoncé, you shouldn’t be afraid to sing your heart out! The film follows Sophie’s (Amanda Seyfried) journey, trying to discover who her real father is as she prepares to walk down the aisle. Whilst the adventure of university isn’t exactly the same, Sophie’s experience sees her take on the fear of the unknown. This is something you’ll definitely come up against during these first few weeks of uni, so let Mamma Mia! allay those worries – it’s going to be alright in the end. With ABBA night at Switch set to be one of the biggest of the week, it’ll definitely be worth a watch…if only to reminisce about the night before!