How Hollywood Depicts College Life

When Hollywood portrays college life, the accuracy depends on the genre. Horror films are more likely to be the least realistic and nonfiction movies tend to give a more accurate picture of college life. Comedies usually fit somewhere in the middle, as they dramatize certain aspects of college life for humor.


National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)

The dean in this comedy at Faber College is determined to have the Delta Tau Chi fraternity suspended. However, the fraternity is notorious for rowdiness and pranks, so they are ready to cause some trouble for the dean. For starters, if the fraternity was already known for being as rowdy as it was when the movie started, it should’ve already been suspended, however, if that was the case, there wouldn’t be a movie. Later, the dean places the fraternity under “double secret probation” and enlists in the help of a student from Delta Tau Chi’s “rival” fraternity to help him find a way to get the fraternity suspended, which isn’t realistic, as dean would get help from upper officials from the college. One of the more realistic things from the movie is that the students in Delta Tau Chi are expelled for their below 1.0 GPAs - yikes!

The Social Network (2010)

The movie follows the story of how Mark Zuckerberg came to design Facebook while an undergraduate student at Harvard, the twins who sued him, and the co-founder who eventually left the company. Because the movie is classified as a biography, the portrayal of college life for Zuckerberg and his friends is pretty accurate. They go to bars, work in computer labs and go to class lectures. Nevertheless, it is still a movie, and Zuckerberg stated in an interview with Oprah that it’s important to remember it is a movie, and that his life isn’t that dramatic.

The Roommate (2011)

In this psychological thriller, Sara befriends her roommate Rebecca, but Sara is oblivious to Rebecca’s growing obsession with her. First and foremost, having a roommate who is insanely obsessed with you and also just happens to look like you is crazy unlikely. Throughout the movie Rebecca is killing people Sara is close with so she can have Sara to herself. The murders are pretty obvious and Rebecca would’ve been expelled and arrested after the first. And, I won’t give away the ending, but where was their Resident Advisor so that poor Sara could move to a dorm across campus?


Pitch Perfect (2012)

Another comedy, Beca is a freshman who joins her college’s all-female A cappella group where she provides a much-needed refreshment to the group with her musical talent. Since it’s categorized as a comedy, the characters are a little more quirky, like the co-leader of the group, Aubrey, who always says “aca-scuse me” instead of “excuse me.” In addition, a trademark of the group is that they always perform the same set of songs at each competition. However, in reality, A cappella groups usually switch up the songs they perform, and not only compete but also perform for school events, especially here at SLU! One accurate scene in the movie is during their school’s activity fair. As Beca roams through the club fair she sees that there are so many clubs in college and everyone is trying to get you to join theirs and make friends within the group. Similar to SLU Fair, there are tables, people, and signs everywhere!