Illustration by Isabelle Ribe
We at qmunicate know all too well that exam-time is a season wrought in caffeine and tears. Thus, in a gesture to all those labouring in the cold grasp of deadlines, and those lucky few who’ve drifted carefree into summer, we’ve compiled our favourite comfort viewing in an effort to spark a little cinematic warmth within you.
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Katie Fannin
To me, there’s nothing better than a Wes Anderson film to calm my nerves during a stressful period like exams. The combination of skilful symmetry, satisfying colour schemes and dry humour provide the perfect escape from reality, where everything is enjoyably vibrant and aesthetically pleasing.
Anderson’s most recent film, The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), is a delightful, humorous, and beautifully detailed accumulation of all these factors. It’s easy to get lost in the picturesque alpine backdrop, the pastel-toned buildings, the hilarious dialogue, the typically outrageous storyline, and the opulent interiors of the hotel itself. Altogether, this makes it the ideal distraction from the woes and stresses of everyday life. If only real life were so colourful and thrilling.
Roman Holiday – Zad P. Novak
Sometimes you just need to get away, right? Roman Holiday is a story of princess Ann (A. Hepburn) who gets tired of her tight schedule (even us plebs can relate), so she decides to escape for a few hours. These few hours turn into a whole day of doing everything she wants, unknowingly in the company of a handsome undercover journalist (Gregory Peck).
The movie is full of good laughs and great acting, accompanied with the visuals of the eternal city. I admit, it’s a 1954 black and white film, which nowadays might sound like a turn-off, but the very aspect of being so different from the current cinematography helps to fully transport the modern audience to a worry-free universe, even if just for two hours.
The day ends and Ann has to return to her schedule, just like you. But those few hours of fun hopefully make it all a little easier.
Pacific Rim – Jo Reid
People in giant robots fighting giant monsters, what more could you want? Pacific Rim is a special kind of film that is ridiculously cheesy, utterly bombastic, and completely sincere. This makes it the ultimate comfort film: you can switch your mind off, relax, and watch the action.
It’s not all robots using boats as a sword to hit a big monster, however, as by taking this ridiculous concept 100% seriously, Pacific Rim manages to create fantastic characters with believable relationships. The characters have awesome names like Stacker Pentecost and Newton Geiszler and yet they are all played completely truthfully. With so many films having to be painfully self-aware and self-deprecating, it’s refreshing to watch something absolutely bonkers played entirely straight. Also, if Charlie Day can be a scientist then you can do anything.
Stand By Me – Calum Cooper
Stand by Me is not only one of the best film adaptations of Stephen King’s works but also a vibrant and engaging piece of comfort viewing. While the premise of four boys hiking to find a dead body is far from a conventional concept the film acts as a charming ode to friendship. As they travel via the railway tracks, laughing whilst sharing stories, hardships and insults, you really feel the bond between these characters. They’re all infectiously likeable because we either knew someone like them or shared characteristics with some of them in our own youth. The film features spectacular dialogue that’s both crass and juvenile yet also wise and powerful, along with some of the best child acting ever in terms of group synergy. Stand by Me is emotional, funny and easily accessible thanks to its simple premise and strong themes on friendship, making for a remarkable piece of escapism.