Take care: 10 films to watch while social distancing

Graphic by Lexi Serino / The Tufts Daily

The past week has been life-changing for students, families, children and workers across the globe. We’re facing a pandemic that’s disrupting the ways we work and socialize. It was a meme we could laugh at; now, it’s spreading rapidly. In order to make these next few months a little easier, Lexi Serino and I are writing “Take Care,” a series about how to keep yourself entertained and healthy during this stressful time.

At this point, hopefully we’re all social distancing (stop going out!) and, if we’re privileged enough, working and learning from home. And if you’re glued to your couch, you’re most likely scrolling through Netflix and Disney+, looking for a series to start or a movie to enjoy. Thankfully, plenty of recent movies like “The Invisible Man” (2020) and “Emma.” (2020) are getting released for online streaming early while theaters begin to shut down. But if you’re looking for some recommendations, look no further.

Here are 10 films to distract yourself from the current state of the world — no, now is not the time to watch “Contagion” (2011) — whether you’re social distancing in suburban Connecticut or just getting home from your cancelled study abroad program.

“The Bling Ring” (2013)

Directed by Sofia Coppola and featuring an ensemble cast including Emma Watson and Taissa Farmiga, “The Bling Ring” follows the late 2000s robberies committed by the famous group of teens. Their obsession with fame, celebrities and the finer things in life leads them to track celebrities online and break into their houses. They loot the items any of us would grab if we were stealing from the rich and famous: jewelry, dresses, shoes, purses, cash. And sure, it’s wrong to steal, but who wouldn’t go robbing with a preppy, ditzy-but-brilliant Emma Watson?

You can stream “The Bling Ring” on Netflix.

“The Parent Trap” (1998)

“The Parent Trap” is probably my favorite film ever, primarily because of just how warm, cozy and comforting it is. The remake of the 1961 original follows two twins (who don’t know they’re twins until they’re put in the isolation cabin at summer camp) as they decide to switch places and get to know their divorced parents. It’s a real sticky situation that has you rooting for the girls — both played by Lindsay Lohan, who literally deserved every award for these roles — and their attempt to get their parents back together just as their father is getting remarried.

You can stream “The Parent Trap” on Disney+.

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (2018)

Sure, it’s one of the best films of the decade with award wins and critical love, but its merits aren’t the only reason why you should watch “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” now. It’s a gorgeously animated story about Miles joining the other Spider-people from various dimensions (including an older, out of shape Peter B. Parker, voiced by Jake Johnson) to stop Kingpin. There’s plenty of humor, heart and style throughout the film, making it the perfect superhero movie to enjoy.

You can stream “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” on Netflix.

“When Harry Met Sally…” (1989)

It’s simply a classic. Probably the funniest and one of the most heartfelt films on this list, “When Harry Met Sally…” still holds up as iconic — almost everyone knows the hilarious diner scene — and a wonderful watch. Following 12 years of interactions between, as the title suggests, Harry and Sally, the film is both a romantic comedy and a study of the weird space between friends and lovers. It’s got a great cast, including Carrie Fisher, and a perfectly romantic jazz soundtrack. “When Harry Met Sally…” is good to watch on a late afternoon with a cozy blanket. Maybe invite your parents to watch, too.

You can stream “When Harry Met Sally” on Hulu.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015)

Of course I sneaked a Star Wars film on here! While the prequels might require more investment — you can’t just watch one — and you’ve probably watched the originals hundreds of times (or maybe that’s just me), “The Force Awakens” is still fresh and fun. It’s probably the easiest Star Wars film to watch, simply because it’s just so darn good. Taking place around 30 years after “Return of the Jedi” (1983), the first film in the sequel trilogy follows a new battle, between the First Order and the Resistance. There’s plenty to love about it, including wonderful performances from Harrison Ford and Daisy Ridley.

You can stream “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on Disney+.

“Frances Ha” (2012)

Before she was a director of some of the most soulful and nourishing films out there, Greta Gerwig owned the role of Frances Halladay, a struggling New York City 20-something and her changing relationships, friendships and career prospects. It’s a great watch if you’re feeling stuck in your childhood bedroom right now, or just want to experience the gift that is Gerwig. “Frances Ha” is certainly one of the more relatable films on this list and might inspire further viewings of talented director Noah Baumbach’s filmography.

You can stream “Frances Ha” on Netflix.

“I, Tonya” (2017)

Speaking of talent: Margot Robbie’s “I, Tonya” features two of the best performances of the decade — Robbie as the titular, polarizing figure and Allison Janney as her even spicier mother. It seems impossible that Robbie could flesh out Tonya Harding, but she does it with ease, telling a heartbreakingly beautiful story of someone we all might think we know, but haven’t even scratched the surface of. It’s equal parts sports drama and black comedy, so be prepared to celebrate Robbie’s successes and laughing along with her.

You can stream “I, Tonya” on Hulu.

“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000)

Ang Lee’s fantastic “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is a martial arts masterpiece that’s got fantastic action sequences, wonderful cinematography, gorgeous settings and great acting. It’s no wonder it’s such a critical and commercial success! And if you’re looking for an epic film to escape to, this is it. The film features an assortment of characters, but the expert swordsman Li Mu Bai is the star of the show. With plenty of romance, sword stealing and adventure, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” still holds up nearly 20 years later.

You can stream “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” on Netflix.

“Rear Window” (1954)

“Rear Window” might resonate now more than ever (we’re social distancing and stuck in our houses and apartments, not unlike Jeff’s situation), but its thrilling plot is just enough of a distraction from the current state of the world. Jeff — confined to a wheelchair — becomes increasingly obsessed with a possible murder in a neighboring apartment. It’s suspenseful and interesting with a classic Hitchcock touch that makes it impossible to not get as invested as Jeff. Plus, Grace Kelly’s in it, and she looks absolutely fabulous.

You can stream “Rear Window” on Hulu.

“Ratatouille” (2007)

The delectable “Ratatouille” is the perfect world to escape to, especially while enjoying your social distancing snacks. When Remy is separated from his rat colony and begins a new life in Paris, he finds himself fulfilling his cooking dreams alongside Linguini at Gusteau’s restaurant. It’s a magical film full of mouth-watering food and wine that feels both sophisticated and silly. “Ratatouille” reminds us of the good things in life, even if they’re simple, and dedicates itself to telling a story of someone who achieves their goal despite many obstacles. For many of us, it’s a childhood staple that’ll feel both inviting and refreshing.

You can stream “Ratatouille” on Disney+.


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