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A CU Perspective: Movie Recommendations Based On Your Ottawa Fashion Aesthetic

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Carleton chapter.

Different aesthetics have taken control of the internet in recent years. Cottagecore greenery adorns Pinterest boards, while dark academia has made its way to BookTok. People in the Ottawa community have even found ways to incorporate online aesthetics into their everyday lives—from The New Yorker tote bags to bright fringe jackets.

Aesthetics are just as apparent in films. And for any subculture-loving person, watching a movie adorned in your favourite aesthetic is a comforting and nostalgic experience. But finding the perfect film to match your favourite online aesthetic is no simple task. Look no further! Here’s a list of movie recommendations based on your favourite aesthetic:

COTTAGECORE: Moonrise Kingdom, directed by Wes Anderson

With a soft green colour palette and an appreciation for woodland simplicity, the cottagecore aesthetic is one of the internet’s most popular trends. This style centres on long-layered dresses and floral patterned clothing, for an effortless, nature-oriented look. Moonrise Kingdom embodies the Shire-esque feel of everything ‘cottagecore’. Set on a fictional New England island, a young boy scout falls in love with his zealous pen pal. The children run away through the picturesque countryside as their guardians — an ensemble cast with Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, and Bill Murray — in pursuit. Adorned with playful colours and Anderson’s signature decorative sets, Moonrise Kingdom is a perfect film for open-field picnics with homemade jam and country home movie nights.

MINIMALIST: Petite Maman, directed by Céline Sciamma

The ‘less is more’ minimalist aesthetic highlights the beauty of the simple things in life. Monochromatic outfits and plain white t-shirts dominate this fashion trend appropriate for business casual or dinner dates. Céline Sciamma’s Petite Maman epitomizes this uncomplicated, yet elegant look. Eight-year-old Nelly and her family return to her mother’s childhood home, as they cope with the loss of Nelly’s grandmother. Nelly meets Marion in the woods behind the house and an indescribable friendship ensues. With a simple plot and no unnecessary flair, Petite Maman offers a minimalist feel and maximum enjoyment.

KIDCORE: Little Miss Sunshine, directed by Valerie Faris and Johnathan Dayton

Kidcore brims with bright colours and 90’s nostalgia. At its core, this aesthetic is for the fun and playful, sporting a saturated palette and light-up shoes. Valerie Faris and Johnathan Dayton’s Little Miss Sunshine is rife with colourful characters and nostalgic themes akin to kidcore elements. An eclectic family of misfits pile into a yellow Volkswagen for a road trip to get their beloved young Olive to a beauty pageant. Sunshine oozes from every moment, even as the family encounters unforeseeable tragedies along the way. Little Miss Sunshine is perfect for multicoloured and fun-loving personalities.

BOHO-CHIC: Almost Famous, directed by Cameron Crowe

No film could represent this bohemian-influenced look more than Cameron Crowe’s Academy Award-winning Almost Famous. 15-year-old William Miller gets the gig of a lifetime when Rolling Stone asks him to write a cover story on the emerging 70’s rock band, Stillwater. William follows the band and a group of ‘band-aids’ through their free-spirited lives of rock’n’roll. The boho-chic feel is paired with a nostalgic soundtrack and an iconic car-ride karaoke session of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” Almost Famous is full of fringe-cut clothing and live-in-the-moment spirit, perfect for fans of 70’s music and boho-chic.

DARK ACADEMIA: Black Swan, directed by Darren Aronofsky

With a trend of tweed jackets, pleated pants, and muted colours to the soundtrack of intense classical music, dark academia is all about classic literature and the arts — think calligraphy and used bookstores. Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan embodies the gothic, mystery undertones of this aesthetic. Natalie Portman’s Nina is cast as the lead for her dance company’s rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Though her innocence embodies the White Swan, Nina’s delicate aura interferes with her ability to depict the darkness of the Black Swan at the end of the ballet. Nina’s descent into madness and Aronofsky’s stylistic direction make this film a perfect watch for dark academia-loving movie fans.

LIGHT ACADEMIA: Little Women, directed by Greta Gerwig

Light academia is the comedy to the tragedy of its counterpart. This aesthetic shares the same adoration of literature as dark academia, but with an emphasis on happy endings and inspiration. Based on Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, Greta Gerwig’s Little Women follows four sisters as they come of age amidst the aftermath of America’s Civil War. Saoirse Ronan leads this masterfully-crafted film of friendship and love, in any form that it may take. Adorned with a cream-coloured palette and Alexandre Desplat’s joyful score, Little Women personifies playfulness and sensitivity akin to the central themes of light academia.

No matter what style you dedicate your wardrobe or Pinterest boards to, anyone can enjoy these stylized films. At their core, online aesthetics are merely different subcultures that can be bridged, experimented with, and enjoyed. And no other art form is better to experiment with different styles than cinema.

Alexa MacKie

Carleton '26

Alexa is a Carleton University student studying journalism and law. She hopes to have a writing job or attend law school after graduation. In her spare time, she enjoys watching movies, reading, cooking, travelling, writing songs, and updating her Letterboxd.