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Nostalgic movies from the 2000s you must rewatch

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Hampton U chapter.

What is nostalgia? According to researchers, nostalgia is a vital part of mental health. It stores positive emotions in a memory and is something we can access consciously. Nostalgia can come from many things; triggering factors of nostalgia can come from photographs, tv shows, music, movies, and more. When going through something that may be stressful, overwhelming, or even just a long day, sometimes the best way to self-care or calm down is to watch comfort shows and movies mostly attached to positive feelings. A recent article published in psychology describes nostalgia as a feeling from the past that can be bittersweet and, most times, related to a carefree moment in youth.

Growing up as a 2000s baby, plenty of my childhood memories come from movies made between 1996 and 2006. I would even go as far as calling them timeless in my eyes. These movies have me in a “chokehold” because of the fashion, music, and lifestyles portrayed. These movies represented a lifestyle the younger me would’ve dreamed of living and clothes I would’ve dreamed of wearing. As a side note, I am living for the comeback of Y2K fashion. These movies hold sentiment because I instantly feel satisfied and happy inside when I watch them. The films listed below are just a few of the many that I cherish. Each movie is categorized: as Disney, teenage recommended 18+, and honorable mentions. We’re starting strong, coming in with…


  • The Lizzie McGuire Movie: In a series spin-off, the summer before high school, Lizzie McGuire (Hilary Duff) and her best friend take a school-sponsored trip to Rome. While in Rome, she makes the acquaintance of Paolo Valisari (Yani Gellman), a local music sensation whose vocal partner, popstar Isabella Parigi (also Hilary Duff), is Lizzie’s doppelganger. Paolo and his partner have a falling out, and he convinces Lizzie to stand in for her at a massive concert. But when things don’t go as planned, everyone is caught in quite a predicament.
  • Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen: Mary Elizabeth Cep (Lindsay Lohan), or “Lola,” is an outgoing, dramatic teen girl with a strong will and ambition who dreams of becoming a famous stage actress. Her dream of performing on Broadway suffers a setback when her family moves from New York City to suburban New Jersey. Determined to make the best of it, she makes it her mission to become the most popular girl at her high school, a goal that sets her on a collision course with the catty Carla Santini (Megan Fox).
  • The Princess Diaries: Who doesn’t want to find out they are royalty? Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway), a quirky and somewhat clumsy from San Francisco, California, is thrown for a loop when she unexpectedly learns that she is a real-life princess! As the heir to the throne of the small country called Genovia, Mia begins a comical yet inspirational journey toward princess hood with the help of her strict yet classy grandmother, Queen Clarisse Renaldi (Julie Andrews), and her memorable “princess lessons.”
  • The Cheetah Girls Trilogy: Now, this movie should go without explanation of why it made this list. The Cheetah Girls is a top-tier movie, from the outfits to the soundtrack. Set in the crazed New York City, four friends, Chanel (Adrienne Bailon), Galleria (Raven Symone), Aqua (Kiely Williams), and Dorinda (Sabrina Bryan), strive to hold on to their dream of musical fame while navigating the twists and turns of their everyday lives. They face everything from greedy music industry people, family issues, boy drama, and even battles to finding the equilibrium between being “cheetah sisters” and business partners. Graciously, Disney gives us their story in a total of three movies.
  • The Proud Family Movie: The series never disappointed, and neither did the movie. When Penny Proud (Kyla Pratt) and her family take a vacation for Penny’s sweet 16, a mad scientist, Dr. Marcus Garvey Carter II (Arsenio Hall), unleashes evil clones of the Prouds to find the secret formula to the Proud Snacks. There were many incredible things about this movie, especially the iconic dance battle between Penny, her friends, and the peanut people.
  • The Thirteenth Year: Now, this one a lot of people forget about, so if you get it, you get it, and if you don’t, go ahead and watch it. As Cody Griffin (Chez Starbuck) approaches adolescence, he grows scales and fins, communicates with fish, and breathes underwater. You are having to navigate puberty while becoming a merman… crazy, right?

Teenage recommended 18+

  • What a Girl Wants: Now let us be honest Amanda Bynes was that girl in this era. American teenager Daphne (Amanda Bynes) boards a plane to England to find the father she never met. She makes a startling discovery: the man she’s looking for is Lord Henry Dashwood (Colin Firth), a British upper-class member running for political office. Now her father, aka Dashwood, doesn’t know she exists. Although he welcomes her with open arms, she is faced with the petty antics of her stepmother and stepsister.
  • Love Don’t Cost a Thing: Love Don’t Cost a Thing is a classic, and you know it. Alvin Johnson (Nick Cannon) is knowledgeable when it comes to engineering but not so much when it comes to dating and popularity. This is bound to change when famous hottie Paris Morgan (Christina Milian) damages her mother’s car and desperately needs it repaired. Alvin offers to fix it but for a price: he will help Paris pay for the repairs and improve them in exchange for two weeks of Paris posing as his girlfriend. Paris agrees, and Alvin can enter the sacred realm of the popular kids but at what cost?
  • Mean Girls: Baddie of the 2000s era, Lindsay Lohan, brought us yet another classic: Mean girls. The new girl in town, Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), was educated in Africa by her scientist parents. When her family moves to the suburbs of Illinois, she gets to experience public school and all it comes with. She unwittingly finds herself in the good graces of an elite group called “the Plastics,” However, will Cady stay true to herself, or will she become as fake as plastic?
  • Legally Blonde: Pretty in pink is the way to go, and Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) has it all. She wants nothing more than to be Mrs. Warner Huntington III. But there was one this stopping him from proposing; she was “too blond.” Elle then rallies all her resources and gets into Harvard, determined to get her man back.
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: What friend group doesn’t want a pair that is one size fits all? The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is a movie depicting a friend group of girls who have grown up together but have different personalities and experiences. At the same time, they spend the summer shipping the pants to one another for good luck.
  • Honey: Honey Daniels (Jessica Alba) dreams of making a name for herself as a hip-hop choreographer. She teaches dance classes at a nearby community center in Harlem, N.Y., to keep kids off the streets. Honey thinks she’s hit the jackpot when she meets a hotshot director who casts her in one of his music videos. But, when he starts demanding sexual favors from her, Honey makes a decision that will change her life.
  • A Cinderella Story: This is by far the best-revamped version of Cinderella, in my opinion. A California teenager, Sam (Hilary Duff), is forced to work as a dishwasher in her stepmother’s diner. Desperate to get away from her home life, she begins an anonymous text-messaging and e-mail relationship with Austin Ames (Chad Michael Murray), not knowing it’s the dream boy of the school. They agree to meet at the school’s masquerade ball, but when Sam finds out that her secret pen pal is none other than Austin, she panics and tries to hide who she is. This sends Austin on a desperate search for his dreamgirl, leaving Sam to hide in plain sight.
  • John Tucker Must Die: Now John Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe) was the player of all players. After discovering they are all dating the same guy, three popular girls from different cliques band together for revenge, enlist the help of the new girl in town, and conspire to break the jerk’s heart and destroy his reputation.

Honorable mentions include:

  • Osmosis Jones
  • Juno
  • Whatever it takes
  • Coyote Ugly

These movies are a few I have thought of off the top of my head and my personal favorites. To the reader, I hope that when you read this, you’ll see a movie you may have forgotten about that brings a smile to your face.




Haila Reed

Hampton U '24

hello, my name is Haila Renae Reed, and Communicative Sciences and Disorders major from Phoenix, Arizona, I attend Hampton University. I am an athlete, but my all-time favorite hobby is fashion styling and shopping and brain dumping