5 Movies About College to Watch When You Need a Good Laugh or Cry

College is a time that is completely new, freeing, and exciting, to say the least. Here are some of my favorite movies that show some of the best experiences college has to offer, for watching whenever you need a good laugh or cry about your own time. All of these films also depict strong female characters and themes that emphasize the need for sisterhood. However, please do remember that everyone’s college experience is different; you can’t compare your experience to that of the characters portrayed in these movies. 

  1. Sydney White is definitely a college movie. It follows Sydney (Amanda Bynes), a freshman in college and her journey  rushing her deceased mother’s sorority. But when things take a turn and she is banished to a condemned fraternity house, she instead finds herself living with seven  adorable, geeky college guys. Eventually, she joins forces with the boys to take down the student government (which is completely run by sororities and fraternities) in order to get equal rights for those not involved in Greek life on campus. 


  2. When Deanna (Melissa McCarthy) gets dumped by her husband, she is unsure about what to do with her life. Because she got pregnant with her daughter during college and never finished her requirements or graduated, Deanna decides to enroll in the same college as her daughter. Needless to say, things get pretty fun and wacky from there. This movie is not only filled with the excitement of college, but also celebrates the love between a mother and daughter.

  3. Legally Blonde is not only an iconic film in its own right, but also one I personally find amazing. While it isn’t about the undergraduate college experience, it is about academic and social trials and triumphs, which is practically the definition of college. If you haven’t watched Legally Blonde, then you are completely missing out. The story follows Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon), a seemingly unintelligent sorority girl, after her long-term boyfriend breaks up with her instead of proposing. He is heading to Harvard Law and callously explains that if he “is going to be senator then he needs to marry a Jackie, not a Marilyn” (8:08). So, Elle does what anyone would do: get a 179 on the LSAT and make her own way into Harvard Law in the hopes of winning him back. Despite this summary, trust me when I say this is a feminist movie filled with themes of sisterhood and long-lasting friendship.


  4. I love Pitch Perfect, and it is a movie that definitely needs to be on this list; one of the producers, Elizabeth Banks, even went to Penn! Pitch Perfect follows Becca (Anna Kendrick), a college freshman who does not want to attend the university at which her father teaches. Instead, she would prefer to go to LA and pursue her dream of becoming a music producer. When her father tells her that if she joins at least one club, she can go to LA, she auditions for the on-campus acapella group, the Bellas. There, she meets a weird, but awesome group of young women. Becca becomes a leader within the group and draws them away from their comfort zone as  they compete at a variety of acapella competitions. 


  5. This movie has just become one of my new favorites. It follows Katherine Watson (Julia Roberts), a recent UCLA graduate hired to teach Art History at Wellesley College in 1953. When faced with the oppressive notions of Wellesley, Katherine is determined to change the school’s traditions and challenge the lives these girls are  supposedly born to live. This movie is filled with some of my favorite actors: Julia Roberts, Kisten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Ginnifer Goodwin. A fair warning, however: this movie is a real tear-jerker, in both good and bad ways. 

Everyone's college experience is different, but there's no denying that it's filled with emotional highs and lows. Sometimes, all you want to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy someone else's college life on the screen instead.