Staff Recs: Comfort Movies

Sometimes when the outside world becomes too much, a good movie is the best form of escapism.

Movies like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro will transport you to new places without leaving the comfort of your bedroom. As the nights get colder and longer, the Washington Square News staff wants to make sure you have great movies to watch. (Staff Illustration by Chandler Littleford)

“Fiddler on the Roof” by Norman Jewison

Sasha Cohen, Arts Editor

My grandma and I sing “If I Were a Rich Man” a lot. What can I say? We just love practicing our “biddy biddy bums” and “idle diddle daidles.” Oh, and don’t even get us started on the bottle dance! We could watch that all day. “Fiddler on the Roof” may not be the first film that crosses people’s minds when they think of the phrase “self comfort,” but to me? The story’s focus on a Russian family that relies on faith, religion and community during a time of adversity exemplifies the very definition of remaining loyal to oneself — a lesson I have been repeatedly taught throughout my entire life. After watching this film a countless amount of times, I can sing all the lyrics in my sleep and have undoubtedly picked up a few dance moves I like to bust out at Bar Mitzvahs. Let’s just say nothing excites me more than some quality Klezmer music. 

“Moonrise Kingdom” by Wes Anderson

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Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer, Film Editor

Beyond the symmetry and pastels of “Moonrise Kingdom,” there’s something reassuring in the youthful optimism of its two central lovers. With their silly smiles and heartfelt postcards, it’s hard not to get swept away in Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy’s (Kara Hayward) sweet romance. There’s something comforting about the way they sway about the Rhode Island wilderness, radiating the ephemeral bliss of first love and actually managing to convince you that, somehow, it will last. It’s for this very reason that the film manages to encapsulate the beauties of escapism, rendering seeming impossibilities tangible for viewers looking for love, liveliness and liberty. It’s also what makes this film my go-to whenever I’m down in the dumps, when I’m bedridden, when it’s raining outside or when the world is seemingly falling apart. In this tiny tale of deep affection, there’s a sense of bonafide tenderness that’s bound to envelop you during the film’s ninety-four minute runtime only to subsequently leave you with a smile once the credits roll. 

“Amélie” by Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Kaylee DeFreitas, Arts Editor

Whenever I find myself unable to deal with the real world, I turn on “Amèlie.” I can dive into the saturated yellows, reds and greens that fill the screen and simply escape for two hours. “Amélie” has always filled me with a special kind of joy I find hard to put into words. The film makes me feel as if I am wrapped up in a warm hug and I can’t help but smile. Its whimsical portrayal of the world through the lens of the titular Amélie (Audrey Tautou) makes even the most mundane of events seem special. It makes you realize how things in your own life can be shaped into something extraordinary. Amélie’s positive attitude paired with her deep loneliness in a city full of people is something I am sure many can feel a connection to. I found myself relating to her and feeling comforted by the way she overcomes this loneliness through her acts of kindness and elaborate schemes. It made me realize how one person can make a momentous difference, even if it is just by helping someone rediscover their childhood treasures. “Amélie” is one of the most uplifting movies that will bring anyone, no matter who they are, comfort. The film’s hopeful depiction of humanity and the everlasting effect of good deeds is something I think everyone could use right now. 

“Dazed and Confused” by Richard Linklater

Ana Cubas, Music Editor

“Dazed and Confused” is a movie that takes its time. Nothing monumental happens, the plot is faint and there is no real lesson to be learned by the time the credits roll. Set in 1976, it follows the last days of school in suburban America, when rising high school seniors haze incoming freshmen and celebrate the start of summer. While the thick gloss of glamorized high school life is potent and, frankly, unrealistic in many movies, “Dazed and Confused” is as aimless as the characters themselves. That’s what makes it so easy to watch. The movie highlights normal students without responsibilities or consequences. The events themselves are not significant in any way — driving around with friends, attending parties or causing trouble around the neighborhood — yet, copious amounts of iconic quotes have come out of this movie and a phenomenal soundtrack (Dr. John, Bob Dylan and Peter Frampton, to name a few) makes each scene memorable. It’s the feeling of familiarity and level of amusement that makes “Dazed and Confused” a wonderfully indulgent comfort movie.

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