Freshman Flicks - six movies to help new students settle in

These college related films will motivate freshman with their valuable college advice
“Legally Blonde,” starring Reese Witherspoon, features a determined Harvard law student named Elle Woods. Courtesy of IMDb

As MU reaches the second week of classes, the majority of freshmen are still trying to comprehend their new life at college. Transitioning to college can be tricky, and when not swamped with homework or extracurriculars, it can be nice to sit back and watch a movie that understands just how difficult this process can be. Whether they’re about heading off to college or becoming a literal witch, all of the following movies manage to capture the college freshman experience in some way.

“Kiki’s Delivery Service”

For most MU students, freshman year is the first time living on one’s own, and college offers new opportunities and responsibilities that can be difficult to adjust to. Hayao Miyazaki’s classic animated film “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” about a young witch establishing a business on her own for the first time, beautifully portrays both the excitement and anxiety that come with this independence. It’s a relaxing and pleasant movie that’s good for casual viewing, and one that understands adulthood isn’t always easy or difficult, and brighter days are ahead.

”Kiki’s Delivery Service” is available for purchase on Amazon.

“Lady Bird”

There’s a reason “Lady Bird” was the breakout indie success of 2017, receiving multiple Oscar nominations and becoming an unexpected box office hit. Though the movie is set in 2002, it’s still in touch with what high school seniors experience today: the agony of waiting on acceptance letters, the freedom that comes with independence and moving into college, and everything in between. It’s a relatable, moving and often hilarious film that can help freshmen reflect on their senior year of high school and remind them to call their mom every once in a while.

”Lady Bird” is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

“20th Century Women”

Like “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” “20th Century Women” isn’t specifically about the experience of heading off to college, but it captures the feeling of being in a transitional part of your life in a way that’s relatable to all college freshmen, regardless of gender. “20th Century Women” follows three generations of women as they try to help steer an aimless young man in the right direction, and end up figuring out their own respective directions in the process. It’s a movie that’s at once incredibly warm and somewhat melancholy, and the close attention to detail makes repeated viewings rewarding. It’s a movie about finding your place in the world, no matter what your age is or who you are, and practically every college freshman can understand that.

”20th Century Women” is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

“Legally Blonde”

Freshmen can empathize with the insecurity that Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) in “Legally Blonde” has about fitting in at college. As Elle struggles to find a sense of belonging among her Harvard Law peers, she discovers that being yourself, regardless of the circumstances, is the best that you can be. The self-confidence and determination that Elle develops will undoubtedly inspire any college freshman.

”Legally Blonde” can be rented or bought on Amazon Prime and iTunes.


Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” features a simple, fictional plot about a boy growing up and eventually leaving for college. The protagonist, Mason (Ellar Coltrane), begins as a curious 6-year-old trying to understand his role in the world. He matures into an angst-ridden teenager going through the ups and downs of relationships, and then ends the film as a young adult, heading off to start his new life as a college student. Viewers become attached to Mason’s incredibly relatable and loveable characteristics, especially since he demonstrates the same enthusiasm that we, like many other freshman, had about going to college.

”Boyhood” is available to stream on Netflix.

“Everybody Wants Some!!”

This is also directed by Richard Linklater, but instead of capturing the adolescent years of a young man’s life in the 2000s, “Everybody Wants Some!!” is set in the year 1980 and follows several hectic days the college baseball team has before the start of classes. The team members attend what seems like countless parties, flirt with girls way out of their league, and most importantly, form meaningful friendships. While the film is definitely a comedy, the bonding moments and uplifting conversations between the freshmen and upperclassmen easily indicate how your college days can be the best times of your life.

”Everybody Wants Some!!” is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

Edited by Siena DeBolt |

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