On the Other Side of the Screen: What to Watch When…

Good Will Hunting

Good Will Hunting
Source: imdb

We all know what studying feels like. However, sometimes it can be useful to look at ourselves from the side, get inspired, or distract from a daily routine. Here is a list of films about studying and motivation that can help you to brighten up cold autumn evenings. So, what to watch when...

…you are tired of living someone else's life

“Good Will Hunting”, drama (1997)

The film tells the story of a gifted young man who works as a janitor at M.I.T. and who seems to have lost himself. This tale will touch everyone familiar with a sense of confusion or despair. As students, we often try to figure out who we are and our purpose. What is great about this film is that it is a dialogue between a “lost” young man and a therapist who helps this boy to find himself, that’s why you can try to find answers to troubling questions, too. Interestingly, the script was written by young actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, which is well-reflected in a love story and brings up the pressing problems of modern youth.

“You'll have bad times, but it'll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren't paying attention to.”

…“what if” is your favourite kind of question

“After the Dark”, fantasy, sci-fi (2013)

A film for those who are thrilled by social dilemmas and psychological experiments. The story takes place in an international school in Jakarta. Just imagine: you are sitting in a room with your classmates, and a teacher is explaining a new topic when suddenly you are at a bunker and have to decide which student should live and which should not. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? And the finale will have you on the edge of your seat. The film is a good opportunity to turn on your imagination and, probably, appreciate the fact that there are no experimental lessons in social sciences. Otherwise, you would have to get ready for apocalypses … 

“We live. Briefly? Yes. Imperfectly? Of course. Stupidly? Sometimes. But we don’t mind, because that’s the way we’re made.”

…you miss college drama

“Mona Lisa Smile”, drama (2003)

America, 1953. A feminist teacher Katherine comes to a conservative all-women school to teach art. What could go wrong? In general, everything. The film shows us how valuable the role of a teacher is and how students often do not realise it until it is too late. The picture is imbued with the spirit of youth, freedom, and love for art. Take a blanket, grab some tea, and enjoy the atmosphere of student life and college drama. 

“Not all who wander are aimless. Especially not those who seek truth beyond tradition, beyond definition, beyond the image.”

…you want to launch a start-up (and have your Prada at the cleaners, if you know what I mean)

“The Social Network”, a biopic, drama (2010)

The film is about Mark Zuckerberg, a former Harvard student who created Facebook and became the youngest billionaire ever. First off, let me reassure you: you won’t feel miserable after watching the picture. But what you will find out is how money can influence relationships, why we should be afraid of the Internet, and what the problem of online communication is. As a nice bonus, the film is beautifully shot and it stars such modern Hollywood icons as Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield. 

“Everybody on campus was using it. "Facebook me" was the common expression after two weeks. And Mark was the biggest thing on a campus that included 19 Nobel laureates, 15 Pulitzer prize winners, 2 future Olympians, and a movie star.”

...you’ve lost faith in yourself

“The Iron Lady”, a biopic, drama (2011)

A deeply personal story about Margaret Thatcher – not the Prime Minister, but a woman, a wife, and a mother. We know a great deal about her policies and beliefs, though we have little idea what she had to go through to get in such a position and, more importantly, to keep it. Meryl Streep’s brilliant performance makes you feel all the tension Margaret had to endure while being the only woman in the British parliament, but it is not only about gender but also your ideas and beliefs that can make you stand out. So, if you ever feel lonely or under pressure, do not hesitate to watch “The Iron Lady”.

“If you take the tough decisions, people will hate you today, but they will love you in generations.”

...you cannot work in a team

“The Imitation Game”, a biopic, drama (2014)

It is a true story about the English mathematician Alan Turing who had quite an unfortunate fate. This man and his brilliant team managed to crack a German “Enigma” code but had to go through a lot to make it happen, starting with Turing’s complex character and ending with the bureaucratic hurdles. The film also explores Turing’s personal life and his struggles with the government, making the picture even more heartbreaking. 

“Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.”

…all you need in life is to get into Harvard and have scented paper

“Legally Blonde”, comedy, romance (2001)

“Studying doesn’t have to be stressful and boring,” that is what Elle Woods, a typical high school queen, is trying to show throughout the film. She gets dumped by her boyfriend and that is why she decides to apply to Harvard. And she gets in. Funny, isn’t it? Though this sounds like a fairy tale, this film actually helps you to look at things from a different perspective. If you believe that it is easy to get into Harvard, then you will just make it. If you believe that you can do anything – then you will do anything.

“You're breaking up with me because I'm. Too……blonde?”

…something stops you from achieving your goals

“The Theory of Everything”, a biopic, drama (2014)

Nothing kept the famous English physicist Stephen Hawking from reaching his goals, so why should it stop you? Yes, we might know his biography pretty well, we might even think that he is an extraordinary man and we share nothing in common with him. But this story is more about motivation than repeating his biography and showing how cool he was. His desire to work, willpower, and resilience are truly inspiring. And, of course, it is hard not to mention his wife, Jane, who was by Hawking’s side in the most desperate moments of his life. The fact that Jane’s book "Travelling to Infinity: My life with Stephen" was adapted by screenwriters makes the film even more personal. 

“There should be no boundaries to human endeavor. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there's life, there is hope.”

…you think you are too old for all this

“The Intern”, comedy, drama (2015)

No, you aren’t, and Robert de Niro’s character is a great example. That’s a kind of naïve story about an old man who decides to change his life and applies for an internship in a fashion company. What is great about it is that the film provides a new perspective on a work-life balance concept. It shows that sometimes city life with its hustle and bustle makes us undervalue such important parts of our life as a family, friends, and mental health. So, if you need to slow down, change your focus, and shift your priorities, the film is a must-see for you. 

“You should feel nothing but great about what you've done, and I'd hate to see you let anyone take that away from you.”

…you love the classics

“Dead Poets Society”, drama (1989)

Probably, there is no more legendary film about school and youth than “Dead poets society”. The plot of film was the story of a literature teacher who comes to a private boys’ school and encourages his students to change their lives. The film is about youth, poetry, and inspiration. “Carpe diem” is the main motive that echoes throughout the picture. Even Robin Williams agreed to take on this role because he thought John Keating was the type of teacher he always wished he had in his school days. By the way, it is better to prepare your handkerchiefs: the film is definitely going to make you cry.

“You must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation." Don't be resigned to that. Break out!”

Kate Orlova