High school is full of incredible opportunities and experiences, but it’s always quite a bit of hard work. At the end of this long road, it’s nice to be able to sit back and let the good times roll. One of our favorite ways to do this is by kicking back and watching a movie.
So whether you’re approaching graduation, have a loved one who’s graduating, or just looking for a way to de-stress between final exams, here are our top picks for graduation season films.
He’s a noble underachiever, she’s a high school valedictorian – an unlikely match who fall in love the summer before she goes off to university in England. Can John Cusack’s famous boombox serenade win her over? Take a trip back to this 80s rom-com to bring out all of the high school romance feels and remember to never be afraid to ask!
This light comedy film stands for something important. A plucky college student decides to get over a traumatic period in her life by changing majors and transferring to one of the most prestigious universities in the world – Harvard. It gives students of all ages a great message of determination and not allowing the opinions or actions of others determine what you’re capable of. Elle Woods is a true icon (and not just because of her amazing wardrobe).
Not about graduation exactly, but what better time to start getting excited about attending university? Join the Barden Bellas as they navigate their first year (or second or third – you’ve got a few sequels to choose from). From making new friends, trying new things and finding internships to working out a future career, this film is a great way to get acquainted with some of the challenges you’ll face (with added show tunes!).
Dead Poets Society
Disclaimer: Be sure you have a box of tissues at the ready because this film is a tearjerker. This classic film, sad as it may be, has some extremely meaningful messages. Robin Williams plays an inspiring, unconventional teacher in the otherwise strict environment of an all-boys’ boarding school. As his pupils wrestle with challenges like peer pressure and controlling parents, he encourages them to be their own people, saying “Carpe diem, seize the day boys, and make your lives extraordinary.”
High School Musical 3: Senior Year
What better way to celebrate the culmination of high school than through song and dance? This finale film is the last installment of Disney’s High School Musical saga, which follows a group of friends as they navigate the tumultuous social scene of high school. This film will make you nostalgic for all the fun experiences and friends you made throughout high school. Sing along and enjoy the cheesy choreography as the gang says farewell.
Mona Lisa Smile
Julia Roberts is the new art history teacher at the prestigious Wellesley College in 1953. Her free-spirited and progressive teaching approach takes everyone by surprise, but slowly breaks down archaic norms and one-directional thinking. She encourages her students to believe in themselves and study to become career professionals in a time that wasn’t so encouraging. We love this movie because it inspires us to see the world – and our place in it – in a different way.
A quirky film about that turbulent time towards the end of high school when the future seems equal parts scary and exciting. This is a great watch if graduation feels a little overwhelming and you’re not yet sure what to expect next. Join Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson as she dreams of reinventing herself and attending a prestigious college in “a city with culture” – whatever that means. Earning five nominations at the 90th Academy Awards and one of Time’s top ten films of 2017 – this one comes well recommended.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
This classic high school film follows prankster Ferris around a trendy ‘80s version of Chicago as he attempts to pull off what would be his greatest high school “heist” of all – a ditch day with absolutely no negative consequences. Who wouldn’t love to succeed with that? Especially when the stress from exam season begins to set in! Enjoy living vicariously through the talented cast before you head out of high school.
Thinking about high school? Why not study abroad?