Here at TV and Film, we love to know more about our contributors and their watching habits. Have a read of what our contributors think of childhood films and what their recommendations are. If this article makes you want to stop writing your summative and curl up to watch your own nostalgia- filled movie of choice, I really do not blame you.
The Parent Trap – Chloe Waugh
An absolutely ridiculous divorce settlement, a chance meeting between long-lost identical twins, a highly flawed plan to switch identities, an evil almost-step-mother, and a happy ending that reveals that said divorce was all based on a small misunderstanding anyway. Though I now see the clear inconceivability of 1998’s The Parent Trap, it was without a doubt my favourite movie as a child and is still very beloved to me to this day. No matter how many times I have seen it, I still find pure joy in re-watching it and wallowing in my nostalgia.
The dream-like impossibility of the plot and perfect resolution no doubt added to the film’s allure when I was a kid. The film follows the twins as they carry out their plan, first meeting at a beautiful New England summer camp, going their separate ways and switching identities (one heading to a giant, successful vineyard in California and the other to a huge mansion in London), and finally reuniting their parents and getting them back together with relative ease. The escapism and joy of The Parent Trap makes it a timeless film that I still enjoy to this day.’
Matilda – Charlotte Grimwade
In recent months, the ‘cottagecore’ community on TikTok has become obsessed with Miss Honey and the aesthetic of the movie Matilda. Released in 1996, Matilda is arguably one of the best film adaptations of Roald Dahl’s books, continuing to captivate audiences to this day. Like many people, I related to Matilda’s character on multiple levels when I was younger; not only is she an intelligent young girl who loves to read, she is also frequently undermined throughout the story, making the development and use of her powers even more satisfying.
Looking back on the film now, beyond the farcical scenes and well-known lines, the plot is a clear commentary on female autonomy, independence and solidarity. This is evident through Matilda’s relationship with both Miss Honey and her best friend Lavender; these characters all emphasise a sense of female comradery, which is a constant theme throughout the film. Whether you watch it to simply see the chaos that ensues when a young girl develops telekinetic powers, or for the deeper message of female empowerment, Matilda is a children’s film that still has relevance today.
Flushed Away – Maddie Whittaker
Before his triumph as Jean Val Jean, Hugh Jackman was a household name for a much more unassuming role: Roddy St James. Considered by some a cult classic, my friends and I still often pounce on the opportunity to quote lines from the film, like the token farewell of “bon voyage me old cream cracker.” The wittiness and creativity that shines through, has thus inspired appreciation from children and parents alike. However, was Flushed Away too ahead of its time? While it actually suffered a loss at the box office in 2006, its themes still resonate today. It features a conspiracy loving rat whose foreboding prophecies are eventually vindicated, and class themes are exposed by both Ritas’ poor family, and the antagonist frog, who loves memoirs and histrionic language, showcased in his exclamation of “Huzzah! A man of quality”
Moreover, I believe it flaunts the same brand of humour Gen Z has since developed: dark humour, droll editing and comical misunderstandings i.e. a joke plays throughout that when Roddy cries “I’m an innocent bystander” his name is taken to be “Millicent Bystander” and at a romantic moment a ballad plays yet when the camera slowly zooms in on Roddy, he looks typically worried due to his permanently quirked eyebrows. For all these reasons, it is well worth taking a nostalgic trip down the sewer.
Addams Family Values – Christian Bland
Strikingly spooky, unashamedly eccentric, tragically unrecognised – this unique dark comedy has always held a certain je ne sais quoi for me. A touching innocence somehow flows through this satire’s magnificent set designs, bizarre costumes and cutting one-liners – even when it’s ironic attitude to serial killers, holiday camps and murder is at its edgiest. Possibly it’s because even though Sonnenfeld’s take on the titular misfits boldly makes no attempt to play down their villainous credentials its infectious energy endears them to us anyway – amicable, wickedly comedic and endlessly watchable.
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Illustration: Samantha Fulton