Coming back to university can be hard, especially in January. The days are short, commutes down Academy Hill are slippery, and when we aren’t trying to stay upright on our walks to campus, life can be stressful. 

Watching movies is a great escape, but we can all agree Christmas movies should be put away. I mean, I love Elf as much as the next person, but sometimes I want that winter, melancholy feeling without all the tinsel.

Ergo, like every cinephile out there, with great enthusiasm and your assumed obligatory participation, I would like to suggest some of my favourite winter movies for this upcoming semester. And don’t worry, this list is levels above the Hallmark fluff, rotating our screens from November to January. 

  1. When Harry Met Sally

This movie may be one of the most heartfelt classics ever made. A tale of friendship, love, and finding yourself, it has so much nostalgia and humour that you’ll say, “I’ll have what she’s having” in no time.

  1. Anna Karenina

Come on, a period piece with an astounding set design, Keira Knightley in exquisite ball gowns, and a smouldering Aaron Taylor-Johnson. There was no way this was sneaking the list. This winter romance will have you hooked from start to finish.

  1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

This film dishes it all out — romance, science fiction, and suspense with just a hint of melancholy on the side — all wrapped together by a fantastic performance from Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. Being one of my favourite movies, it is as devastating as it is unforgettable, so be careful; it might make you want to fall in love and stargaze on frozen lakes, too.

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Comedic, heartwarming, and nothing short of a visual delight, Wes Anderson delivers a film following a hotel concierge and his lobby boy in a tale of deceit and love that will make you laugh, cry, and want to visit this beautiful hotel paradise.

  1. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

It is a classic film and perfect for family movie nights. It is an ode to the power of family and protecting each other from threats to our little kingdoms. Therefore, it is an absolute must-watch during the winter and perfect for that mid-semester homesickness.

  1. Rise of the Guardians

This animated feature is underrated for so many reasons. While catering to children, the story touches on the loneliness of unfound purpose and leaning on those you love and trust for support. It is a profound movie — especially during dreary winter days when we might feel down or lonely away from friends or family.

  1. Eddie the Eagle

They said he was crazy, he couldn’t do it, he was going to die. Instead, he flew. This family film is an inspirational tale about following your dreams even if there is no perfect moment. It begins and ends with an important message for everyone who doesn’t feel good enough or is scared to try: it’s okay, because failing is the only path to one day succeeding.

  1. Knives Out 

Every family has secrets or, more importantly, many personalities. This family drama encapsulates the feeling of those with large families, and the craziness of family gatherings. Throw in a murder, and the drama only gets more interesting.

  1. I, Tonya

Who doesn’t love figure skating in winter? This biographical film is not your typical coming-of-age sports mockumentary. Thrilling and darkly comedic, it is a story of obsession that, in just one sitting, will unsettle you as it draws out your sympathy and resentment for figure skating legend Tonya Harding.

  1. Snowpiercer 

This lesser-known thriller-drama is a shining star in Oscar-winning director Bong Joon-ho’s cinematography. After the second coming of the ice age, the last surviving members of humankind have migrated to a train travelling around the post-apocalyptic world. What could go wrong?

  1. Fargo 

This Coen brothers’ black comedy and murder mystery is not for the family, or faint-of-heart. Set in the overcast mountains of Montana, a fraudulent scheme between a car salesman and two thugs crumbles with the murder of a police officer, forcing the plans to take a comedic and alarming turn in this fast-paced, nightmarish dystopia. 

  1. The Shining

Here’s Johnny!” If you weren't sure where that phrase originated, look no further than one of Stanley Kubrick’s many masterpieces. This film, set in the snowy, desolate landscape of the Overlook Hotel, is the perfect horror movie for cold days. It is a terrifying movie, executed in beautiful sequences to a haunting soundtrack that will leave you shaken by its psychological spiral.