It might be the most wonderful time of the year, but first, we have to get through finals. Finals season is the most uniting time for students: the collective stress that we all feel ties us together in a weird way. Everyone is either sobbing in Mugar, stress petting therapy dogs all around campus, or overeating at Marciano Commons, trying to forget the inevitable week of December 17th. But while you’re busy cramming in some last-minute studying, reading textbooks, writing your final papers, or crying and eating ice cream, remember to take a break. There’s nothing better than stepping away from your desk for an hour or two to lay back and watch a movie, and thanks to this list, you won’t even have to take a second to think about which one to watch:
1. Good Will Hunting (1997)
If you haven’t watched Good Will Hunting featuring Matt Damon and Robin Williams, do yourself a favor and watch it ASAP. This movie tells the story of Will Hunting (Damon), an MIT janitor who turns out to be a math genius but has a lot of emotional walls built up around him and needs a psychologist (Williams) to help him find his way. Damon and Williams’ chemistry is incredible in this film and makes the movie captivating.
2. Stand and Deliver (1988)
Based on a true story, Stand and Deliver is about an East L.A. math teacher, Jaime Escalante (Edward James Olmos), in an inner-city school who sees potential in his students even when society doesn’t. Jaime Escalante decides to motivate them to study for and take the AP Calculus exam, which he knows they can ace.
3. Hidden Figures (2016)
Released in 2016 with phenomenal reviews and worldwide support, Hidden Figures is also based on a true story about the genius African-American women who worked at NASA during the Space Race in the 60s and 70s. They overcame racism, prejudice, and had to continuously prove themselves to their white counterparts. This narrative is incredibly important, especially in today’s world.
4. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
I remember watching Slumdog Millionaire with my mom when it came out. It’s the story of 18-year-old Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) on a show similar to “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," and every time he answers the questions, there are flashbacks of his life to show how he got there. The story is complex and mesmerizing, and the movie itself won Best Picture in the 2009 Oscars, so you know it’s a good one.
5. The Theory of Everything (2014)
This biographical drama film tells the true story of student and future physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and his first wife, Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones). Hawking learns that he has a motor neuron disease, or ALS as we commonly know it, but still decides to pursue his study of time. He achieves amazing things in his field of study and defies the conventional thought. This is a beautiful story and is even more important as Hawking unfortunately passed away this past March.
6. Woman in Gold (2015)
This is the movie that made me want to pursue law (and also made me realize that I was in love with Ryan Reynolds). It tells the story of Maria Altman (Helen Mirren), a Jewish woman who fled Nazi Germany and sixty years later is trying to reclaim her possessions (most notably, Gustave Klimt’s "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I," a famous painting). She enlists the help of Randy Schoeberg (Ryan Reynolds), a young lawyer, and gets into a long legal battle to recover the painting amongst other things.
7. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
A Beautiful Mind tells the story of John Forbes Nash Jr. (Russell Crowe), a mathematical genius, who makes a ground-breaking discovery early in his career and stands on the brink of international fame. But his arrogance leads him to a journey of self-discovery.
Enjoy these movies with friends, blankets, and hot chocolate, and good luck during finals week, Terriers!