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The Most Visceral Movie-Watching Experiences

It’s no secret that movies can produce intense, emotional reactions, but at certain times of your life, those feelings can be intensified. This creates an incredibly unique viewing experience that allows you to appreciate and reflect on some of your favourite films. Read on to discover what I believe to be some of the most visceral movie-watching experiences.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – After a Breakup

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind begs the question: If you could erase a former lover from your memory entirely, would you? What if they were erasing you from their memory? Joel and Clementine are doing just that: completing a procedure that is basically controlled brain damage. The emotional and physical pain caused by a breakup is a universal experience. The experience of letting go and grappling with the good/bad memories in the immediate aftermath of a breakup is a devastating time for both men and women. Watching this film right after a breakup will have you feeling all of the emotions much more intensely because you become forced to ask yourself what you would keep and what you would let go of if given the chance.

The Breakfast Club – in High School

There are many quintessential films that embody the high school experience, but in my opinion, The Breakfast Club is the blueprint. When I watched this film in high school, I felt that it perfectly captured what it feels like to be misunderstood at that age. I can’t watch this film now and feel the same way I did when I was sixteen because I just can’t relate anymore. I still appreciate the film and what it meant to me at that time, but I think it’s just better understood when you’re living through it.

Mamma Mia – With Your Mom

That scene in Mamma Mia where Sophie and Donna are singing “Slipping Through my Fingers” while getting ready for the wedding perfectly represents a mother-daughter relationship where you feel like best friends. It’s also a punch in the gut when you watch with your mom and realize how fast you’re both growing and growing apart from each other. Even if you’re not necessarily getting ready for a wedding, the scene can capture what it feels like to leave home and grow up outside of your family.

Sisterhood of The Travelling Pants – for the Second Time While in University with the Same Group of Friends You Watched it with the First Time

This one is quite specific, and I’ve never actually done it, but hear me out. If you watched The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants with your middle school friends and imagined yourselves as them one day, watching it years later will probably bring back all the nostalgic feelings. When I watched this movie with my core girl group as a kid, we all picked characters to be and we swore that we would keep in touch as they did. Now that we’re all older and in school, I’m sure it would be fun to reflect on how we’ve all changed throughout the years.

There you have it! Hopefully, you enjoy these visceral movie-viewing experiences as much as I did.


Mary Shanahan

Wilfrid Laurier '21

Mary is a fourth-year English student at Wilfrid Laurier University.
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