Movies to see this summer

Three films that you need on your summer list


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With only a few days left until summer, here are some movie suggestions to watch on your down time.

As Summer lurks around the corner, the season has different connotations for different people. While I love the three months of freedom from school that Summer brings, I hate the heat. If you’re anything like me and need to find ways to fill days spent in the cool depths of a basement, look no further because I have three flicks that are perfect for feeling like you’re using your days off to the fullest extent.

Juno (2007)

Despite the fact that the narrative takes place during the school year of sixteen-year-old Juno Macguff (Elliot Page), it focuses less on her school life and more on her time dealing with the events that follow her unexpected pregnancy. The comedy-drama directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody is a refreshing take on a coming-of-age movie.

Throughout the film, you follow Juno, a clever and independent high schooler, as she is suddenly jolted out of her carefree life and faced with the pressures of putting a child up for adoption. For the most part, Juno acts indifferent to her situation. Her quippy, intelligent interactions with her parents, the rich couple who is interested in adopting her, and Paulie, the father of her child and her best friend, are comical and oftentimes unexpected in their lighthearted humor. A large amount of the film’s appeal is Juno’s capering personality that covers up deeper, complex emotions that are revealed as the film goes on.

What makes Juno’s story so suited for summer is its beautifully done themes on the changing dynamics of growing up and the transcendent period of adolescence. The movie wholly encapsulates the energy of biking around town listlessly on a lukewarm day, and the simple and sweet soundtrack made by Kimya Dawson is perfect to listen to if you feel like going out on your own bike after watching Juno.

Everything, Everywhere, All At Once (2022)

If you’re sitting inside on a humid night feeling bored, dissatisfied, or frustrated with life, I can’t suggest that you watch this newly released film enough. The movie featuring Michelle Yeo, Ke Huy Quan, and Stephanie Hsu follows suit with the rest of A24’s works in its creative and experimental nature. Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinhart, this action-adventure-comedy puts out an absurdist new take on inter-dimensional travel.

For me personally, the storyline resonated deeply with my experience as a second-generation East Asian immigrant on a level that many movies miss. The relationship between Yeoh and Hsu’s characters as mother and daughter, as well as their family’s experience running a laundromat was reminiscent of my own family and many others that I see in the Asian American community. Though the premise of the movie is difficult to capture in words, the motifs of family, existentialism, and “the American Dream” strongly shine through and hit home.

Not only is the film touching, it’s also hilarious. When I initially watched it in theaters there were times when I couldn’t help but erupt with loud laughter and neither could the people around me. If it’s anything, the film is entertaining. The movie’s jarringly quick cuts paired with insane concepts that somehow work will be able to keep at least one summer night captivated.

Whisper of the Heart Mimi o Sumaseba (1995)

The saccharine naïveté of this Studio Ghibli romance is prime for a casual, lightly-too-sunny afternoon. Based on the manga Mimi o Sumaseba by Aoi Hiiragi, the animated movie paints a picture of the youthful feelings that come along with crushes, adventure, and the imagination of a fourteen-year-old girl. Brightly colored, illustrated images of summer in Japan immerse you in the playful world of protagonist Shizuku Tsukishima.

Premise-wise the movie is modest, but the genuine relatability and the down-to-earth approach to teenage romance and emotions are soulful and endearing. Without trivializing her emotions, the film explores the dilemmas and relationships that Shizuku has as an ambitious writer in junior high. Her embarrassment, disappointment, and joy are all palpable through her clear reactions, and you can tell her character was created by someone who really understands the mentality of an aspiring young girl.

With its natural and realistic sentiments, Whisper of the Heart’s whimsicality and beauty through a juvenile lens gets to the heart of what Summer is like when you’re a teen.