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How my dorm decor reflects the films I adore

in retrospect

Move-in day was organized chaos. Mostly, it consisted of unpacking this, hanging that and breaking my alarm clock. By the end of the day, my room was perfect — almost. I just needed to do one more thing: put up my movie posters.

Dorm decor can say a lot about a person’s hobbies and interests. Not only do these posters show my appreciation of their related films, they also encapsulate my strongest wishes for what my next four years will look like.

“Moonstruck” is an ‘80s romantic comedy that, unlike high-waisted jeans and neon, has sadly never made a resurgence. Everyone knows the classic hits like “The Princess Bride” and “When Harry Met Sally,” but “Moonstruck” hasn’t received the cultural tenure it deserves. Cher (yes, Cher) plays Loretta, an Italian-American widow attempting to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. Such a premise might make for a dull film, but every scene in “Moonstruck” is imbued with warmth, verve and plenty of laughs, the majority of which comes from Cher’s amazing performance (she was awarded an Oscar for her role). 

“Moonstruck” is a romantic comedy, but what it really succeeds at is portraying its female protagonist in a realistic yet empowering way. Cher is captivating not because she gets the guy, but because she has conviction and confidence. On one hand, “Moonstruck” is a pure romantic comedy in the true essence of the term because the relationships are portrayed successfully. Plenty of (not all) rom-coms do this. What makes this film special is that it also makes its female lead complex and whole — Cher doesn’t play someone who will compromise her values to get the guy, but she also grows over the course of the film. Instead, “Moonstruck” captures the essence of finding your identity after loss and being vulnerable enough to do the unexpected. There’s nothing like watching Cher impulsively go to the opera for the first time to make you excited about exploring a new stage in life.

In a completely different world, there’s “Gattaca.” This science fiction presents a future driven by legalized eugenics in which a naturally-conceived man named Vincent struggles to overcome his genetic limitations to achieve his childhood dream of going into space. Jerome is a genetically-engineered specimen of a man who, after becoming paralyzed, has become hostile and withdrawn. Vincent gets accepted into the spaceflight program by passing off Jerome’s genetic material as his own, and the rest of the film deals with the ensuing fallout. 

I adore this film not because of its fantastic visuals or captivating plot. Simply put, “Gattaca” is the most scientifically-grounded “science-fiction” story ever put to screen. In “Gattaca,” genetic discrimination is purportedly illegal. So why does Vincent get denied a job on the basis of his nitrogenous bases? The film explores the possible ramifications of genetic engineering — and discrimination — in a world that we seem to inch closer and closer to every day. There’s a somewhat clichéd, follow-your-dreams theme to “Gattaca.” However, it also offers this lesson: Constantly question the society you live in. How do its rules affect your ability to achieve your goals? How does it affect less-privileged others? 

Following the idea of new beginnings and strange worlds is “Harry Potter,” the seminal bildungsroman of our generation. The books hold a special place in my heart, but the films were able to realize the boundless imagination of author J.K. Rowling, from the architecture of Hogwarts Castle to the thrill of newfound freedom and ensuing adventure. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone,” as the first film in the series, serves as a wonderful introduction into the wizarding world: Harry seeing Hogwarts looming out of the mist for the first time is me stepping off the C1 every morning. It’s a common thought, and it’s true: one of the best things about West Campus is its Gothic architecture. (It really looks like Hogwarts!) Of course, that’s not all college life shares with “Harry Potter.” Go into any of the buildings, and you can see even more: We’re all taking new and exciting classes, making lifelong friends and exploring all that this institution has to offer. 

These posters on my wall serve as constant reminders of my identity, as expressed through the films I adore. Films are made to entertain, but the special ones stay with you because they are vessels for your beliefs, aspirations and experiences. Only a couple of weeks into college, nowhere are they more fitting than here and now.


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