College life in Hollywood and in real life will never be exactly the same. We don’t always wake up with blow-dried hair and zero eyebags. There won’t always be a crazy attractive love interest waiting ‘round the corner. Still, there’s something universal about the university experience, even when translated on the big screen.
You see the friendships you form, the lessons you learn in and out of your professors’ lecture halls, and the life-changing decisions you make along the way! Here are some college movies that (mostly) get the uni life right.
The prequel to Pixar’s Monsters Inc. shows Mike Wazowski and James “Sully” P. Sullivan go from rival roomies to best friends. It’s one of those feel-good college movies about how, sometimes, the path you choose and the path that’s meant for you aren’t always the same. And that’s okay. You’ll have friends who will help you along the way.
This viral sing-and-dance comedy follows all-girl acapella group Barden Bellas as they struggle to find their sound amidst their differences. Lesbe-honest, chances are you’ve already seen this film. Maybe even twice. And have identified with at least one character. It’s about finding your uniqueness and a group that brings out the best in you.
Bartleby Gaines is rejected from every university he applies to, so he creates a fake university instead. Plot twist: nobody knows it’s not real, and yet a whole throng of people applied to it because they, too, weren’t accepted by their colleges. On a practical note, don’t do this. Still, it’s a comedy about how you can still learn loads beyond the four walls of the classroom.
Good Will Hunting
A professor discovers a janitor, Will Hunting, solving his “unsolvable” math problem. He takes interest in Will, believing in his genius despite his criminal history. It’s a powerful and emotional story about taking a chance on someone and pushing them to succeed. That everyone deserves an education, despite their past.
Mona Lisa Smile
Julia Roberts plays a teacher who uses are to inspire her student in a prestigious all women’s college. This movie shows the reality of life for women in the 50s. Back then most women, though highly intelligent, still only aspired to be married and domesticated. It’s an inspiring story about achieving what you want and being more than what society expects you to be.
Here’s another empowering classic to watch when you need a pick-me-up. It’s not exactly a college movie, but we loved it so much, so we included it in the list! Sorority girl Elle Woods initially works her butt off to get into Harvard Law School to be worthy of her boyfriend. And she gets in because, what, like it’s hard? But along the way, she realizes that the only one she needs to prove anything to is herself. It’s about grit, guts, and—of course—girl power.