The holiday movies that will get you through finals


Features Editor and Online Editor

Finals period falls especially close to the holiday season this year, but you don’t have to wait until your plane leaves Logan before you get into the holiday spirit. A few holiday movies (or movie scenes) watched at strategic points throughout finals week can serve as perfect study breaks.

For reading period:

“When Harry Met Sally”

Kick off reading period with this quintessential rom-com, if only because Nora Ephron ’62 was the writer/director behind the production. And Ephron is simply awesome. The most famous scene is without doubt Meg Ryan’s point-proving orgasm in Katz’s deli, but if you only have time for one scene between study breaks, watch the snippet in which Harry informs Sally that men and women can’t be friends. He’s infuriating, and you might just get fired up enough to power through that first Wednesday of reading period.

“Love Actually”

This movie is an all-the-time, everyday cure-all for finals, but it’s best to watch Friday night during reading period when you can’t possibly study any more and need an uplifting story (or 10) to get you through the next week. First years, sophomores and juniors: make this a pre-finals tradition. To perfect the evening make sure to buy plenty of chocolate—Roche Brothers stocks Maltesers—to eat during the film. If you only have time for one scene, well, duh, watch the talent show. Sam (Thomas Sangster), in an attempt to win over the lovely Joanna (Olivia Olson), plays the drums to “All I Want for Christmas is You,” and Hugh Grant as Britain’s prime minister finally finds love in the arms of Natalie (Martine McCutcheon).

“Bridget Jones’ Diary”

Another British comedy to watch that Friday night during reading period when you’re too exhausted to brave the bus into Boston and your eyes are too tired to read another sentence. If you’re working with a more limited time frame, the Mark Darcy-Daniel Cleaver (Colin Firth-Hugh Grant) fight scene never fails to be hilarious. And the scene when Darcy finally admits to Bridget that he likes her “very much. Just as you are,” is always heartwarming.

For Finals Period:


Watch this Will Ferrell classic in a few 45-minute increments while working out at the gym when you’re attempting to relieve the massive amounts of stress you’ve built up. Put Elf on and just run it out. It’s upbeat enough to get you through the workout, and you’ll end your gym session inspired and happy.

“The Holiday”

Watch “The Holiday” after taking your worst final. If you feel like you bombed it, this tale, where Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Iris (Kate Winslet) pull themselves together after falling apart, is sure to lift your spirits. As wonderful as the scene when Amanda walks around that tiny village store guzzling wine and buying the entire supply of chocolate is, the scene when Iris finally gets Arthur (Eli Wallach) to accept his Screenwriter’s Guild achievement award is the most heart-warming…and likely to get you over your post-exam anxiety in a matter of minutes. You should also listen to that soundtrack on repeat when you go back to studying.

“A Boyfriend for Christmas,” “Mrs. Miracle,” “Call Me Mrs. Miracle”

Hallmark movies may get a bad rap, but if you’re too brain-dead to write another sentence on that 20-page final paper, these might help you begin to feel human again. The plots are simple enough to follow (some are even spelled out in the titles) and all character development is accomplished through explicit dialogue. No thinking required, and there are so many of these made-for-TV flicks out there that you’re bound to find one you like, or can at least tolerate.

For the ride home:

“The Family Stone”

This holiday movie is best viewed either while you’re waiting to board your flight or once you’ve gotten on the plane home. This film can prepare you for the imminent reality of familial dysfunction, which usually materializes the minute you step into baggage claim. It’s a heartwarming film with a positive message that will temper your expectations pre-landing.

Save it for home:

“It’s a Wonderful Life”

Arguably THE classic holiday film. Please do not attempt to watch this during finals or reading period. Yes, the tale of George Bailey does have a happy ending, but you’ll go through a rollercoaster of emotions before you get there. It takes far too long to recover from this movie, so save it for when you’re home. With Mom. And lots of fudge.

Kristen Green is a senior studying political science and Spanish. Follow her on Twitter @greengreen_kris.

Mariana Zepeda is a Mexico City-born English and History major. Follow her on Twitter @zepedamariana.

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