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SK’s Top 3 Movies: Sara Muzakko

Welcome to the next instalment of Studentenkrant’s Top 3 Movies. Each week, one of SK’s writers dives into their top three favourite 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: Sara


As a writer, I am extremely conscious and critical of movies that are based on books. There is a very thin line between it exceeding all expectations, and the movie being an absolute disappointment and a disgrace to society. But, hey, who am I to judge? Regardless, there are movies that found a place in my heart, and there are more than just three. Therefore, here are my honourable mentions: 

  • The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012)
  • Purple Hearts (Rosenbaum, 2022)
  • The Wolf of Wall Street (Scorsese, 2013)
  • Love & Other Drugs (Zwick, 2010)
  • Someone Great (Robinson, 2019)
  • Anna (Besson, 2019)
  • Red Sparrow (Lawrence, 2013)

Although they did not make it to my top three, I can admit I have watched them too many times. What can I say, I prefer comfort over adventure when it comes to watching movies. After all, I am devoting a few hours of my time, and I am a true creature of habit.

To The Bone (Noxon, 2017)

To The Bone is a heartbreaking movie that displays eating disorders, and shows how slowly they destroy people, not leaving out the horrible aftermath it leaves in one’s life. The main character, Ellen (played by the wonderful Lily Collins), has spent her teenage years struggling with anorexia, and her complicated family matters don’t make the situation any better. As a last straw, her dysfunctional family decides to send her to a group home for people struggling with eating disorders.

To me, Ellen displays a character who refuses to be a victim, yet is treated like one by every single member of her family. The reason I am so in awe of the movie is because of the different perspectives you get, and how many conversations it can spark. 

I find that Ellen’s eating disorder is her battle, and it’s one she is very aware of. After all, does anyone want to struggle with a disorder like that? Do they really prefer it? You can also see the side of the family, as the movie shows how these types of disorders are a burden for the family as well. 

Honestly? I think no one struggles more, thinks about it more, and suffers more due to eating disorders than the person going through it. That’s also why I love To The Bone – watching it with friends is a complete eye-opener, and everyone perceives it differently. 

They showcase beautiful yet absolutely heartbreaking stories, told with irony which makes the characters extremely likeable. The movie has been accused of glamorising eating disorders, but to those people I say – watch the movie again. It doesn’t glorify the disorders, it terrifies the viewer about them. The artsy aspect of the movie cannot classify as glorifying, but it portrays their world in the most honest way. 

To The Bone is a movie to watch when you want that gut-wrenching emotional pain, when you can’t feel anything but sad, yet putting it on pause or stopping half-way through is absolutely not possible. It’s something that will make you feel so many emotions, from anger to sadness to confusion, and it will stay on your mind for days. I think there is a time and place for these movies, but this is not an easy movie to digest, that I can guarantee. However, the cinematics, songs, and vibes – so creative, unique, and beautiful.

Freedom Writers (LaGravenese, 2007)

Freedom Writers portrays a young teacher deciding to try and provide good education to kids who do not go to the nicest school, nor live in the nicest district. She realises rather quickly that she is not liked by the students, and by ‘not liked’, I mean ‘hated’. Although she fails to see the reason at first, she soon realises that the kids in front of her have been struggling their entire life, facing racism, gang violence, and police brutality. 

Although Freedom Writers will not leave you as sad at the end of the movie as To the Bone did, it will give you a variety of emotions. The special part of the movie is the way these kids are portrayed, angry, spiteful, always ready to fight. I’ll admit, they aren’t likeable at first, especially for people who value a good teacher, and have had this one teacher in school who made them believe in themselves. Yet the way one person can change so many lives, so selflessly devote her time to her students just because she decided to believe in them – is inspiring. 

The reason this movie holds a special place in my heart is because you get to see what these kids have gone through. You get to see their hardships, third dreams, their thoughts, their passions. You get to feel the unfairness, and it’s so easy to see the world through their eyes, even if you’ve never stepped foot in their shoes. 

Granted, the movie was released in 2007, which makes the cinematic features, the camera angles, the music, and the set-up different. Somehow, it is even more comforting watching a movie that does not include phones or social media, that does not showcase newest fashion trends, and does not have references to TikTok sounds. After all, it’s about their lives, not the newest social media app.

Eat Pray Love (Murphy, 2010)

Eat Pray Love, otherwise known as the movie that inspires me each time I watch it, focuses on Liz, a woman in her thirties who finds herself in an unhappy marriage and realises a big chunk of her life has just passed by. It doesn’t help that a healer in Bali had predicted this future for her, and that she slowly saw the prediction come true.

The movie shows a detailed journey, and it takes the viewer right with them. The beautiful thing about this movie is that it is nearly impossible not to get inspired. Cliché or not, feeling lost in life and feeling like the life you’re living isn’t really yours is something pretty much everyone experiences in their lifetime at some point. However, the detail that people often overlook in this movie is Liz growing into a person who isn’t afraid to be alone. A pretty strong and inspiring skill, I’d say.

Although this sounds like the classical ‘find yourself and the meaning of life’ movie, Eat Pray Love is so much more. It shows how hard it is to leave comfortable relationships, even when they are long over. It shows how little we know about life, even when we have multiple degrees from universities. It shows that breakdowns lead to breakthroughs, and breakthroughs lead to wonderful opportunities. In the case of Liz, breakdowns also led her to Italy, and the food scenes will make almost anyone drool (I promise!).

Final thoughts

That’s it – the movies that have inspired me endlessly, given me a variety of emotions, and have left me absolutely speechless. Guaranteed, they are not all very easy to watch, nor do they contain a lot of humorous jokes, but they are so good I cannot help but go back and watch these movies from time to time. Who knows, maybe you’ll enjoy them more than I did?