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10 Movies to Glamorise Going Back to School

For those who need a little help with their back-to-school spirit.

The Plastics from the new

The 2024 Mean Girls musical revival was released in January, with positively perfect timing. For as the snow begins to thaw and holiday decorations are packed away, with dawning horror, you realize the approach of next semester is upon you.

But fear not.

Save your tears for finals week, as we have compiled 10 of the best back-to-school movies to help you romanticize the rest of the academic year. After all, nothing is more fetch than a little teen drama.

Legally Blonde (2001)

Elle Woods, a girl with blonde hair wearing pink and sunglasses smiles brightly
Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde. Credit: YouTube/MGM

Keeping with our pink theme and all of its whimsy is the cult classic Legally Blonde. The film revolves around Elle Woods, a bubbly fashion major who transfers to Harvard Law in order to get her boyfriend back. This is the perfect movie for those of us who may want to make an academic comeback this year and look good doing it. Watching Elle move beyond her loser boyfriend and become an academic weapon, all in feathers and frills? Who wouldn’t be inspired?

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

Lara-Jean, a dark haired Asian girl stands in a football pitch
Lana Condor as Lara Jean Covey. Credit: YouTube/Netflix: Behind the Streams

Of course, maybe a star-crossed, schoolmate romance is exactly what you’re looking for next term. Perpetual wallflower Lara Jean Covey’s fake relationship with school football star Peter Kavinsky in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is an ideal blueprint. What better way to motivate you to develop your writing skills, and your love life, than by watching the high school love blossom from Lara Jean’s leaked love letters?

High School Musical (2006)

Sharpay, a smiling blonde girl holding a microphone, hugs a boy wearing a green hat
Siblings Sharpay and Ryan Evans. Credit: YouTube/Disney

There’s plenty more romance to be found in this childhood favourite. High School Musical follows football player Troy Bolton as he navigates his secret passion for music, and fellow student Gabriella Montez. Though we can’t promise that everyone will break into song when you walk back into your school, this film will give you a dose of nostalgia and spunk. Maybe enough to get you to finally try out for the tap dance team.

Mean Girls (2004)

A blonde girl and a redhead talk on the phone
The infamous phone call scene in Mean Girls. Credit: YouTube/Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers

Though we love the new musical, nothing beats the original Mean Girls. Following Cady Heron, a transfer student who ends up in her school’s most popular clique, we find the pitfalls and highlights of teen girlhood. This is perfect for those of us considering a new-school-new-me glow-up. Go on girl, make fetch happen.

Heathers (1989)

Four girls, one wearing green, one wearing yellow, one wearing black and one wearing red all look at the camera
Veronica and the Heathers. Credit: YouTube/HIGH on MOVIES

A biting satire with the fashion of Mean Girls but with a lot more murder. Heathers voices the universal fantasy of knocking down the high school hierarchy altogether. Veronica Sawyer is just trying to make it to graduation when she is picked up by school top dogs, the Heathers. However, this proves to be more difficult than it seems when she becomes entangled with borderline psychopathic bad-boy JD. Heathers is a film that should stay a fantasy, but dang if it doesn’t feel good to indulge in it.

Pitch Perfect (2012)

A woman with brown hair and fair skin wearing dark clothes looks at the camera smugly. She is surrounded by other women
Anna Kendrick as Becca in Pitch Perfect. Credit: YouTube/Universal Pictures

If you like your coming-of-age fantasy to have a little more sisterhood, then look no further than Pitch Perfect. Rebellious student Becca’s mission to revamp her college acapella group is definitely one of the more unique college experiences. However, there is not one person who has finished this movie and has not been fuelled with the desire to become a Bella. You will laugh, cry, sing, and sing badly.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

A boy lounges with a drink by the pool with his other friend on the phone
Best friends Ferris and Cameron. Credit: YouTube/Paramount Movies

But maybe you are kicking and screaming about going back to college, viciously digging your nails into freedom. Well, Ferris Bueller sees you. In fact, he will live your dream for you, as his cross-city exploits on his “sick” day off grow to absurd levels. We can only sit back in awe and wonder if he is being wasted studying at a high school level.

Easy A (2010)

A redhead walks in a crowded highschool corridor wearing sunglasses and a black dress with the letter a on it
Emma Stone in Easy A. Credit: Youtube/Sony Pictures Entertainment

Rebellion can also happen within the hallowed halls of high school. After a hateful rumour is spread about her, Olive Penderghast is inspired by her English class to embrace her new reputation as the school “skank”. Watching Olive confidently deflect the rumours like lace-clad Teflon is bound to motivate you to change your academic narrative.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

A group of robed students stand on broomsticks
Flying lessons in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Credit: YouTube/Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers

If you’re looking to inject some magic into your schooling, then Harry Potter is the way to go. The enchanting school grounds in Harry’s first year at Hogwarts made thousands of young students look at their learning in a different light. Though you don’t have Quidditch, the escapades of Harry, Ron, and Hermione will make the return to academia seem positively spellbinding.

The Breakfast Club (1985)

A redhead wearing a pink talk looks at a boy with black hair and a black and read check shirt. They are eating lunch in school
Claire and Bender during Saturday detention. Credit: YouTube/Movieclips

Ending with a coming-of-age staple, The Breakfast Club is the 80’s high school drama we all know and love. Five high schoolers from different cliques are forced together for a Saturday detention, and in a few short hours find understanding and camaraderie. It’s cheesy, it’s classic, and it’s the perfect re-watch for every summer/winter’s end. It’ll almost make you want to get detention… but alas the world does not run on John Hughes’s logic.

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