UNSPLASH / Jeremy Yap (https://unsplash.com/photos/J39X2xX_8CQ)

It’s everyone’s favourite time of year again. No, not Christmas. The bells are ringing, but these are school bells. And so, Varsity has put together our top movie picks for the back-to-university season in anticipation for the academic rigour that follows. From chick flicks to biopics, this list will have something for natscis and Sidgewick dwellers alike.

Legally Blonde

It’s been a long summer and it can be hard to get back into the swing of things when term starts. Legally Blonde is essential viewing for some (temporary) motivation. If you’re a law student, even better. As Elle Woods enters the intense world of Harvard Law School in order to prove she is serious to her recent ‘I dumped you because you are a dumb blonde’ ex, we watch her grow in the academic hothouse. Bagging major internships and making connections with unexpected people, Elle moves past her breakup and reaches bounds she didn’t think possible. If you are a theatre kid, there is also a musical version. If Emmett’s words of wisdom in ’Chip On Your Shoulder’ don’t inspire you to get your act together, I’m not sure what will.

Good Will Hunting

Mathmos, this one goes out to you. My sixth form further maths lessons consisted of me and my friend lusting over Matt Damon as our teacher looked at us with disappointment. Hey - at least we got A*’s. Good Will Hunting follows self-taughted genius Will Hunting (if that wasn’t obvious) as he solves difficult mathematical proofs left on the MIT blackboards during his shifts as a janitor. His talent is spotted by a professor and after getting into some trouble, Will is relieved of jail time under the conditions of him studying mathematics and undergoing therapy. We see Will reach his potential and fight his inner demons. The ultimate diamond in the rough tale.

The Social Network

This film is effortlessly charming

Cambridge’s favourite platform? Facebook of course. Want to know the blurry origins of the company? This is definitely the most ‘factually accurate’ depiction of Mark Zuckerberg’s rise to success. Yet another Harvard story, we follow his time in the prestigious institution as he uses his IQ to good use: rating the attractiveness of female students. This then melds into a social network exclusively for Harvard students and before we know it, the company has expanded to the rest of the Ivy League and then the world. With flawless cinematography and a stellar cast, this film is effortlessly charming.

Mona Lisa Smile

If Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst and Julia Stiles making up the cast aren’t enough to convince you to watch this classic, let me give it a try. As their new professor gives them an unexpected introduction to modern art, she challenges her students’ beliefs that life is merely a means to marriage and encourages the women of Wellesley College to embrace their youth and independence. This heartwarming film is the perfect alternative if you’ve watched Dead Poets Society one too many times.

Gilmore Girls


Mountain View

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If you aren’t a fan of movies or simply need something to binge before Michaelmas creeps upon us, Gilmore Girls is a guaranteed success. Following Rory Gilmore in small-town Stars Hollow, Gilmore Girls is your classic comfort show. The series starts when she’s in high school, but by season 4 she is in the ivy-coloured walls of Yale. The plot lines are short and sweet, each episode leaving you with peaceful closure. To all the student journalists reading this: this is the only show about us. So treasure it.