I don’t know about you guys, but suddenly there seems to be 101 things to get done every day (it probably doesn’t help that I sleep in until eleven and then have to stay awake until midnight trying to catch up, but hey let’s not delve too much into that bag of snakes). Yesterday my flatmate suggested we watch a movie together and order takeout. My first reaction was that of the overworked, underappreciated dad character that every children’s movie seems to have (“Dad, why can’t you play ball with me? It’s the weekend?!”). And then I remembered that I am a college student in the middle of a lockdown, and if I can’t take a few hours off to relax and chat, then what was I really doing? We chose Mamma Mia, and immediately I was transported away into an always sunny world of instant music and Greek weddings. When the credits rolled, I was so much more relaxed and at ease than how I’d been when I sat down. I believe that films are such a wonderful form of escapism, and below are my top three film recommendations to relax to.
So, I can hardly do this article without mentioning the film that inspired it! There’s something so wonderful about this musical film, and there’s a real joy in being able to just sit and sing-along to all the songs in the comfort of your own home. Sophie, arguably the film’s protagonist, discovers her mother’s diary, and finds out that three men currently scattered across the world are potentially her father. She invited all three to her wedding, believing that she’ll instantly know which one is her father (spoiler alert, she doesn’t). There’s a real joy in the fact there’s no cruel and malicious characters in this film; each person is portrayed as a loving and kind individual, and you can’t help but become invested in their lives. ABBA provide a wonderful soundtrack full of happiness and young love. Honestly, I can’t recommend this film enough.
Groundhog Day opens with Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connors, as a grumpy reporter sent to cover the Groundhog Day festival. He is rude, contemptuous and snobby, and does the report bluntly and with little effort. There is nothing remarkable about the day. Except the fact, when he wakes up, he has to live it all again. The film beautifully illustrates both the flaws and strengths of people, and documents Phil’s reaction and desperate attempts to escape the time loop. I really loved this film when I was younger, and now that I’m older I simply adore it. I think we’ve all experienced living the same day over and over again, no time loop needed. The film really opened my eyes to what I really wanted to get out of everyday life, and the fact it is a feel-good movie only adds to its appeal.
13 Going on 30
Of course, would this list really be complete without a chick flick on?! In many ways 13 Going on 30 is increasingly similar to Groundhog Day. There’s no time loop in this film, but it does deal with a protagonist experiencing time not quite acting right, and the film follows their reaction to it. Jenna Rink, a young teenager in the 1980s, longs to be popular. When her birthday party is arguably an embarrassment and failure, she accidently makes a magic wish to be 30 years old, and jumps forward, waking up as herself in 2004. Her childlike view of an adult world highlights how far away we’ve moved from the idealistic life we dreamed of as children, and her confusion over the friendships and relationships adult her has makes the viewer question their own relationships – would their child self be proud of who they are now? I really love this film, and I’m a big romantic at heart, so nearly always end up crying by the end.
I find these three films effortlessly lift me out of my everyday life, freeing me (if only for two hours) of my worries and stresses. I love watching these films, because without fail every time I finish them, I have to sit on the sofa for another few minutes, thinking about my own life. Is my everyday life so similar day-by-day that I may as well be living in a time loop? Would child Alice be happy with the life I was leading? And most importantly, why wasn’t I on a Greek island, singing ABBA to my heart’s content and hopelessly in love with my Dominic Cooper-look alike fiancé?