Welcome to the first instalment of Studentenkrant’s Top 3 Movies. Each week, one of SK’s writers dives into their top three favorite movies of all time. Spanning different decades, runtimes, and genres, this series will confront readers with a diverse list of top tier cinema and explain to them what they are, why we love them, and why you should give them a watch!
This week’s writer: Julia
It is hard for me to pick my favourite movies. Any pick would only ever be reflective of my taste at the time. Only a couple years ago I was rarely watching anything but superhero movies and wouldn’t miss a Marvel flick for the world. Odds are this article in a year or two would be completely different. What I’m looking for right now is pure escapism. Beautiful colours, beautiful people and beautiful costumes. Past or present, grounded or not, so long as I can sit back and feel transported.
Our editors made us narrow the list down to three picks but graciously allowed for honourable mentions:
- Heathers (Lehmann, 1989)
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Sharman, 1975)
- Everything Everywhere All at Once (Kwan & Scheinert, 2022)
- Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper (Lau, 2004)
- Jojo Rabbit (Waititi, 2019)
- The Princess Bride (Reiner, 1987)
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Jackson, 2001-2003)
- Little Women (Gerwig, 2019)
- Hairspray (Waters, 1988)
Emma (de Wilde, 2020)
This adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel portrays the titular self-absorbed but well-meaning socialite Emma (Anya Taylor Joy) who meddles in people’s love lives and through her blunders and triumphs grows and changes.
Although a new adaptation of Austen’s book comes out every couple of years, none has quite made as much of an impression on me as this one. It’s one thing to retell a great story for yet another time, but it’s quite another to give it its own unique personality. This film is a fresh take on an old tale and it looks and feels great.
The costumes, the music and the scenography are impeccable and transport you into the world of regency England, unlike anything else you’ve seen. Where other movies show the washed down powdery white version of the early 19th century, Emma fleshes out the characters so that we could look at them and see ourselves reflected back.
Amélie (Jeunet, 2001)
This French classic transports us to the Parisian Montmartre and a little café where a young, socially awkward and isolated girl (Audrey Tautou) decides to interfere with people’s lives, uncovering the mystery of torn pictures left behind in photo booths around town by an unknown man.
Although it is not ground-breaking to like this movie, what I love the most in Amélie is that I see myself in the main character, and in my hardest moments I longed for her happy ending. And that when the world did not make sense to me hers did.
Although it is funny to watch the shenanigans of annoying neighbours getting their comeuppance and well-meaning meddling resulting in ridiculous miscommunications, it is where the movie focuses on Amélie and her inner struggle where my attention is really drawn.
Moulin Rouge! (Luhrmann, 2001)
As with all movies by Baz Luhrmann this one two should come with an epilepsy warning. Loosely inspired by the operatic legacy of La Traviata (in content) and La Boheme (in spirit) this juke-box musical tells a story of a love triangle between a beautiful escort and performer at the titular Parisian cabaret, Satine (Nicole Kidman), an impoverished writer, Christian (Ewan McGregor), and a powerful investor of Moulin Rouge, the Duke (Richard Roxburgh). All playing out to the rhythm of songs by Queen, Madonna and the Police among many others.
I have an interesting relationship with Luhrmann’s movies. Just like his pictures, my opinion of them is anything but lowkey. And while some stories, like Romeo + Juliette or The Great Gatsby, do not take well to such an over-the-top treatment, my number 3 does.
It is loud, bright, fun and dramatic and is the best example of what a movie musical should be. So much so that it broke a two-decade-long curse during which not a single live-action musical got a Best Picture Oscar nomination. What I love the most about it is that, unlike the majority of modern movie musicals, Moulin Rouge! knows what it is and is unashamed of it. It doesn’t pretend to be grounded in any form of “realism” and yet every emotion portrayed on the screen is unmistakably real.
And there it is. If you are looking for some good old-fashioned escapism, long to see something beautiful on a rainy Dutch day, or would like to dive into a fantasy about a world familiar yet strange, then I hope that you are going to reach for one of these three films.