“What’s your favourite movie?”: a question we’re asked regularly, though our answer may not remain standard.

I find my response depends on who’s asking - when it’s my dad: it's one of many 80s movies.

If it’s my classmates, I go for something standard with a plot that I could truthfully cover when interrogated, so usually any James Bond movie.

When it's my mum or aunties asking, it's a romcom but I’d pick something I was in the mood to rewatch as the conversation would end in grabbing chocolate and blankets, proceeding to binge that movie.

For friends, an animated picture, a nugget of nostalgia: The Jungle Book, Pinocchio, Snow White - anything Disney.

However, when it was my GCSE English Literature teacher, I had to make a choice - either a classic, complex work of art such as North by Northwest, Cinema Paradiso or Casablanca, or, more often, if I wanted to raise an amusingly aggravated discussion, I’d pick an early 2000s chick-flick, loosely based around a Shakespearean play (‘She’s The Man’ or ‘10 Things I Hate About You’) to watch the pleading in his face as he’d try to persuade me Leonardo DiCaprio was not who his Dear William intended to embody Romeo Montague.

Though if I dwell upon the question, I come to mixed conclusions.

My ‘favourite’… so, would that be the most unforgettable?

In that case, Toy Story 2, because of my first cinema trip, aged four, where the sickeningly sweet smell of popcorn, the experience of the bright colours, sensational sound effects, and the sheer size of the screen left me utterly mind-blown. I couldn’t believe a portal to this whole other realm existed.

What about if a ‘favourite’ is what brings you the most comfort? Well, that’d have to be Notting Hill. I first saw it while feeling anxious on a long plane ride, my best friend next to me pressed play and for two hours I was just strolling around London in summer, falling in love.

Or should it be the film I’m most grateful for? That’s easily my first cinema visit after lockdown to see Nomadland, and though it could’ve been an advert for hoovers, I wouldn’t have cared, because I was so thankful to have that luxury back in my life again.

But this is where the line blurs. Because, instead of actually considering the most visionary directors, talented actors and shining scriptwriters, our first-answer ‘favourite’ is likely based on a more intrinsic expression.

I asked my friends their favourite film and why, and there was such a range of answers, both to the title and the reason, including ‘it’s funny’, ‘good for crying’ and ‘it makes me feel happy’.

My personal (controversial) theory is that a ‘good’ film does not solely need dare-devil stunt scenes, a meticulously planned structure or flawless cinematography, because though we may not remember the conflict-resolution, the name of the producer or how many Oscars, what will stick is how much we laughed, or arguing about the best character, or perhaps the simple one-liner that struck a personal chord.

People want meaning, relatability, relevance: thought provoking, heart-wrenching movies.

That’s what films are, they’re stories, but the beginning and the end isn’t what it seems, because it intertwines with our own stories, our own lives.

On that note, this week's recommendation is Collateral Beauty.

About the author

I'm Susie Hughes, a 17 year old sixth form student who’s lived in Romsey for 10 years. My dream career is a blend of film and TV (which I plan to study at university) and journalism, with a sizeable element of travelling, too.

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