10 Essential Films to Watch While in Self-Quarantine


www.filmschoolrejects.com, Rachel Foster

A scene plays from “Lady Bird” and shows Lady Bird and her boyfriend Danny O’ Neill adventuring in a flower field. “Lady Bird” stars Saoirse Ronan as Lady Bird and Lucas Hedges stars as Danny.

Rachel Foster, Staff Writer


Directed by Bong Joon-ho

Parasite tells the story of the poor Kim family, who pose as highly trained professional workers in order to gain employment for the wealthy Park family. As they infiltrate the Parks, you are reminded that things are not always what they seem. 

Why you should watch it: Parasite is a film that exceeds all expectations. The film is in Korean, but has subtitles and is a great film to introduce you into foreign films. This past awards season, it took home four Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Foreign-Language Film). Parasite also provides a new perspective on the “classes” in society with twists that will never see coming. 

Where to watch: Available to stream on Hulu. Available to rent on YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and Vudu


The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Directed by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower centers on Charlie, a shy freshman in high school, as he navigates his new world with his new friends, senior siblings Sam and Patrick. The film also touches on themes of mental illness, first love, freedom, homophobia, and what high school is really about. 

Why you should watch it: The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a classic coming of age movie and is something so relatable for everyone in high school right now, despite how cliché it could seem. The film’s focus on friendship and perspective of overcoming mental health issues is extremely well done. Fun fact, the film also takes place in Pittsburgh and mentions Penn State!

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix. Available to rent on Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, Youtube, Google Play, and Vudu


The Lighthouse 

Directed by Robert Eggers

The Lighthouse takes place at a mysterious 1890s New England and follows Thomas Howard and Thomas Wake as they try to maintain their sanity working at an isolated lighthouse. The movie relies heavily on the mythology of the sea and there are so many horrifying things occurring around the island. 

Why you should watch it: The Lighthouse is a great movie to watch right now for anyone who loves horror. The film shows the effects of isolation on the brain and how it makes a person crazy, which feels similar to our current situation. The Lighthouse also shines in its cinematography, as it is shot and edited beautifully. 

Where to watch: Available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. Available to rent on Google Play, Youtube, and Vudu


Little Women(2019)

Directed by Greta Gerwig

An adaption of the classic 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott, Little Women follows the journey of the March family, but more specifically Jo March. We follow her as she strives to become an important writer, but not without her family. 

Why you should watch it: Right now, some of us are trapped with our families and this film has beautiful messages about appreciating your family and those you care about. Additionally, the cast is loaded with stars such as Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Timothèe Chalamet, Emma Watson, and Laura Dern. Little Women is definitely one of the best book-to-movie adaptations out there and it’s obvious so much care went into the making of this film. 

Where to watch: Available to rent on Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play, and Vudu


Ex Machina

Directed by Alex Garland

Ex Machina is about a programmer named Caleb Smith who wins a contest that gives him the opportunity to retreat at Nathan Bateman’s private estate. When there he learns that he will be the human test component to demonstrate the capabilities of Ava, a piece of artificial intelligence. But Ava is more self-aware than either man knows. 

Why you should watch it: To all sci-fi fans, Ex Machina is a perfect watch for you. It deals with themes of self-isolation and is a visual wonder to watch. This film is great because it doesn’t rely on big battles and displays to impress the viewer, but instead focuses on subtle elements and world building to really deliver the message of the film. 

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix and Kanopy. Available to rent on Amazon Prime, Youtube, Vudu, Google Play, and iTunes



Directed by Henry Selick

The term “be careful what you wish for” is explored in Coraline when an unhappy young girl named Coraline discovers a portal to another world where she finds another mother with button eyes. At first, this world seems like a dream come true, but it quickly descends into a nightmare that Coraline must escape. 

Why you should watch it: Not only does this movie have one of the most interesting and mind-bending plots ever, but the animation style is beautiful. Claymation is incredible and the length that Selick went through to capture the detail of Coraline

Where to watch: Available to stream on Hulu, Amazon Prime, Sling TV, and Starz. Available to rent on Vudu and iTunes. 


Lady Bird

Directed by Greta Gerwig

Lady Bird takes place over the 

Why you should watch it: Lady Bird is another film directed by Greta Gerwig, and it really is “that good”. Coming of age movies are so precise and difficult to nail, but Gerwig gets the teenage experience so right in her debut film. It is so fresh, relatable, funny, and all-around just a great watch for anyone who feels angsty and rebellious. If you want to feel understood, turn on Lady Bird

Where to watch: Available to stream on Amazon Prime Video and Kanopy. Available to rent on Vudu, Youtube, and Google Play


Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Directed by John Hughes

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is another coming of age film that follows Ferris as he pulls a plan and ditches school for a day filled with crazy adventures and shenanigans with friends. 

Why you should watch it: Living in a world where everywhere we look we are reminded of feeling trapped, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is such a feel-good movie. We could always use a pick me up and this film is such a fun classic. 

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix, Hulu, and Sling TV. Available to rent on YouTube, Google Play, Amazon Prime Video, and iTunes


Donnie Darko

Directed by Richard Kelly

Donnie Darko follows Donnie Darko, a teenager who sleepwalks out of his house and meets Frank, a demonic rabbit, who tells him the world is going to end in 28 days. From there, we are left to interpret whether the rest of the story is caused by mental illness or a parallel universe. 

Why you should watch it: Donnie Darko isn’t the most mainstream movie, but it is such a unique experience. It’s so thought-provoking and it has some really interesting perspectives on isolation and your impact on the world around you. Additionally, the finale blows your mind and this film is genuinely so special. 

Where to watch: Available to stream on Kanopy, Amazon Prime Video, and Tubi. Available to rent on YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu


A Ghost Story

Directed by David Lowery

A Ghost Story follows the afterlife of a husband after a car crash, showing him as a ghost who is stuck just watching over his wife grieving. While it tells the story of grief, it also tells the story of hope, recovery, and moving forward. 

Why you should watch it: In our current situation, many of us are dealing with grief and loss. A Ghost Story is so comforting, and it really shows us that everything will be okay, even when death is hanging over your head. The visuals are very interesting, with the ghosts being depicted by a single sheet over their heads. A Ghost Story will make you feel sad and loved all at once. 

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix and Kanopy. Available to rent on YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, and iTunes 

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