Film & TV

When Art Reflects Life

Impact’s Oli Holden-Rea and James Warren give a quick rundown of the films that reflect the average student’s university reality.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

It seems to make up a large proportion of your life, but it is so great that you wish it wouldn’t fly by so fast and that you could repeat it. Also, many people come out with significantly longer hair than when they went in.

Mulholland Drive

In general the whole experience can be approached in a variety of ways, depending on your own personal mindset. It can be a brilliant opportunity to expand your (comparatively insignificant) mind, exploring intellectual depths beyond your previous comprehension, which can largely be done in the library… café. On the other hand, you can just embrace the craziness at the surface level, which is usually a funnier path. Whichever you decide (commonly all of the above) there’s always a few naked women (and a few more if you go to Isis).

Finding Nemo

Thrown into the unknown water, you meet a variety of people (fish), some of which seem the same (seagulls), some everybody loves (turtles) and some no one does, but who are just there (jellyfish). You get lost a lot. You go to the dentist (unless you avoid falling over or trying to open a bottle with your teeth during a night out). Finally, you get a shock flush down the toilet and into the wider world. Ghandi This one applies to freshers’ week. Both are widely acknowledged to be brilliant and yet, simply due to stamina (the stamina to endure boredom in the case of Ghandi), the closer it comes to finishing the more people wish it would just end.

The Island

Nothing to do with Michael Bay’s rampant serial commercialism, bright-white health-spa aesthetic and shallow rips of every piece of credible science-fiction in literary history. Instead be presented with an island encapsulating campus, the city and everything in-between. The outside world fails to penetrate what Impact has previously called ‘The Nottingham Bubble’ and the only difference (apart from the obvious lack of cleanliness) is that nobody tries to escape our island.


Never wishing to compare university life to a heroin addiction, I’ll say that Danny Boyle’s film seems to capture the shift in pace, tone and levels of general escapism (read: sex, drugs and loud music) that comes with moving between home and university. Perhaps more like an addiction to a drug of a lower class.

The Breakfast Club

A load of people are thrown together. All get on with each other. Some get off with each other. Breakfast never has a part in it (especially in catered halls). Everyone goes home happy.

Napoleon Dynamite

Bad dancing prevails.

American Pie

t’s exactly like university, except we’re not all high school students… or idiots… or get told off by the cops for drinking… or live with our parents… or have pools to throw up in… or have proms… or even attempt to extract a moral lesson out of a situation like trying to ‘score.’ In fact, the film that supposedly defined the adolescence of our generation is nothing like university. American Pie may actually be a film about high school thinking about it again, in which case it is pretty true to life.

The Rules of Attraction

Adapted from the Brett Easton Ellis novel of the same title, The Rules Of Attraction is essentially the anti-American Pie. The film depicts the intertwining lives of three students as they live their way through a year at Camden College. This film is as close as possible to portraying the utter confusion that may lie ahead of you at university – parties most nights of the week and that habit of forgetting everyone’s name. The may also be awarded for having the best use of George Michael’s Faith in a film scene ever. (If you can name better, answers on a postcard to…)

The Truman Show

University is such a great big bubble dome that it does genuinely come with quite a shock to discover that there is life outside lecture halls and student nights. Truman’s regular routine, passing the same neighbours and townspeople, eerily begins to reflect our own as we repeatedly see that guy frantically clutching his Starbucks coffee or that girl who reliantly leans upon the photocopiers in a ritualistic manner.

Film & TV

Leave a Reply