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

I am a huge fan of movies that have me walking away questioning my place in the world. Space movies especially make me realize how small and insignificant humans are, and how much there is in the universe that still needs to be discovered. The movies below are a few of my favorites, with very cool cinematography and great scores (with my personal favorite Hans Zimmer’s Interstellar score, with a close second being “On the Nature of Daylight” by Max Richter). Howl’s Moving Castle is my favorite “happy” movie out of all three, and the animation is some of the best I have ever seen. After watching these movies, you will be thinking about them for days after, and probably listening to the soundtrack as you dramatically walk to class pretending you are on another planet.

1. Interstellar 

I actually watched Interstellar for the first time in my high school physics class, which is funny because Interstellar had absolutely nothing to do with what we were learning, but we all enjoyed it very much. As with the second movie on my list, Interstellar makes you think about time in a different way. This movie also reminded me to cherish time with your loved ones while you have it. The movie also sends a strong message in regards to the current state of global environmental affairs and offers a grim look at what the world could become if we stay on the same track of depleting the world of its resources. The music is incredible on its own, but when you watch the movie the music evokes so much emotion. It is literally the perfect movie/music combination to exist. I desperately want to view Interstellar in theaters at some point, just to hear the perfect soundtrack at a louder scale.

2. Arrival

Arrival is in a similar arena as Interstellar. Both movies involve ideas about space and what would happen if humans were able to alter the way time passes/process time differently. My roommate and I rewatched this movie the other night, and we both were sobbing by the end, even though we have seen it time and time again. It literally never gets old. Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner have incredible on-screen chemistry, and the music in this movie also is very important to what’s happening on-screen. This movie sends the message to live every moment like it’s your last and to enjoy all aspects of life, the good, the bad, and the painful. You cannot see into the future, but if you could, would you change anything? Amy Adams plays a world-renowned translator in this movie, and she shows how crucial communication is to civil society. Language truly is a cornerstone of human development.

3. Howl’s Moving Castle

This Studio Ghibli film is based on a book and never gets old as my comfort movie. When my cousin Rose and I were younger we would eat Pinwheel cookies and watch this movie in my basement constantly; eventually, my brothers started to join too, and now they love the movie as well. I have never watched the movie in Japanese, but the English version is very good. The animation is stunning, with such vivid colors and crazy details that are characteristic of all Ghibli movies. It is a love story, and although it’s fiction and filled with magic and strange characters, it is nothing like anything I have ever seen before. This was the first Studio Ghibli movie I watched and was far from being my last. This movie got me into the rest of the movies like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. All have beautiful music accompanied by intricate animation that will keep you yearning for more.

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Carol DeRose

U Mass Amherst '25

Carol is a freshman, political science major who loves to read and ski in her free time.