12 Best Classic Christmas Movies

12 Best Classic Christmas Movies

December is here! My favourite month, it is a time of mulled wine, good cheer and lots of gift-giving. However, it could not be the most wonderful time of the year without a good Christmas movie to get one in the festive mood. Despite being blessed with new ones every year (not to mention all the Christmas specials most TV shows run), you just cannot beat the classics. Below is a compilation of all my favourite classic Christmas movies, to make it easier to get in the mood for the holidays!

  1. The Nightmare before Christmas

A blend of spooky and heartwarming, The Nightmare Before Christmas is the perfect transition movie between Halloween and Christmas.

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Being described as “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in reverse”, watching Jack Skellington, famous for his scary feats at Halloween, marvelling at the discovery of Christmas and trying to create his own version of the holiday will inevitably rub off on you.  Every song in this musical masterpiece will get you singing along, and you will not be able to look away from the wonderfully strange characters that inhabit Halloweentown.

Tim Burton’s animated movie is the perfect choice to kick off December with.

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2. The Holiday

With the holidays being on everyone’s mind, The Holiday is a great pick to help make the days until then better.

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The two female protagonists, played by Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, are bound to end up being relatable, especially since they are dual in nature: from their rocky relationships and subsequent desire to get as far away as possible, to the struggles of Diaz’s character of adjusting to the weather and customs (especially driving on the opposite side of the road) of England, while Winslet’s character revels in the luxury of Los Angeles. The clichéic “you will find love where you least expect it” trope works well within the setting of the Christmas holidays, adding to the feel-good nature of the movie.

3. Deck the Halls!

A movie all about preparing for Christmas (and being able to have your house seen from space), Deck the Halls is great for all those who are considered to be a bit extra in their preparations for the holidays.

The unfolding rivalry between Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito’s characters, Steve and Buddy, begun due to Steven losing his status as “the Christmas guy” around town because Buddy’s Christmas lights have made him well-known among his neighbours (how relatable though? I would be angry, too, if someone stole my status as the most festive person in town), makes a strong point of how traditions should not get in the way of the true meaning of Christmas, of coming together and embracing each other’s differences. It also provides an abundance of comedic opportunities.

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It might have negative reviews online, but this festive comedy is one I greatly enjoy. Worst case scenario, it works well as a background movie while wrapping presents or decorating the house.

4. Jack Frost

A heartwarming movie about the importance of second chances and family, Jack Frost is yet another classic that centers around the meaning of Christmas.

First of all, how cool is it to be called Jack Frost? I was pretty young when I saw this movie for the first time, and this was my first impression – Jack Frost is a pretty sweet name to have. I also loved the idea of having a snowman as a best friend, but here it’s even better – having your father come back as a snowman. As a child, I liked the idea that you could get more time with your parents for Christmas – I could not imagine the holiday season without them.

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Having grown up, my impressions have not changed much from my initial ones. However, I now realise that it was not only Charlie, the protagonist of the movie, that is given a second chance to spend time with his father and come to terms with his death, but it is his father that benefits from this – he gets a second chance to be there for his son, when he wasn’t before he died. He gets to teach him all the valuable life lessons he was too busy to teach him while alive, due to his efforts of bringing his band to success.

More than a family movie about second chances, it is also about friendship. As the movie progresses, we see Charlie constantly clashing with Rory Buck, the neighbourhood bully. Towards the end of the movie, however, when Charlie and Jack are in trouble and in need of help, who should lend a hand but Rory himself? By the end, the two become very good friends.

5. Arthur Christmas

Talking about cool names and the importance of family, Arthur Christmas has got all this and more.

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The animated movie starts off by showing us the Christmas family hard at work on Christmas Eve, in their modern, technologically advanced sleigh-ship, the S-1: Malcom, the current Santa Claus on his 70th mission, is more of a symbolic leading figure now, while his eldest son, Steve, is the one who runs the show with military precision. Arthur, his younger, clumsy, brother, is in charge of responding to Christmas letters, which he does with a lot of passion.

Despite completing the mission of delivering presents, there is one girl who has been missed – an elf named Bryony finds the undelivered present. Arthur is the only one interested in trying to deliver the present before Christmas day, and with the help of his grandfather and his old sleigh, and a stowaway Bryony, they set off on their mission, which proves to be highly amusing and entertaining.

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The culmination of the movie sees the members of the Christmas family coming together to help Arthur out, leaving aside their egos and pride and embracing Arthur’s untainted Christmas spirit.

It’s a movie I don’t think I will ever get tired of – and it brings my family together, just like it happens in the movie, only mine gathers around the TV rather than in an attempt to get a missing present to its rightful owner.

6. the Home Alone series

Here are some movies that do the opposite – separate a family. However, the Home Alone series proves that distance does make the heart grow fonder, and this separation is what puts the idea of family into perspective, especially with the holidays as its backdrop.

I think it’s impossible not to know these classics (especially the first two), since they are always shown on TV during the month of December. Everyone is familiar with the youngest of the McCallister family, Kevin, and his eventful days just before Christmas, either defending his home from burglars (in Home Alone) or trying to survive in the Big Apple (in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York). It’s no wonder it is the highest grossing Christmas movie of all time in the States.

However, I feel like the third and fourth movies that I feel do not get as much love as they deserve. (There is also a fifth movie that was released in 2012, but I have never seen it so I cannot state my opinion on it). I blame it on the focus changing from Kevin to Alex Pruitt in HOME ALONe 3. It also has more of a spy theme, but that’s what makes it so amazing. The danger that Alex is in feels more real, and much bigger, than it did in the previous two movies. There are four hitmen working for a North Korean organisation that want to steal Alex’s remote-controlled car because it hides a very important chip. A little kid who is left alone because he has chickenpox has to handle these very serious and extremely dangerous people!

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As for the fourth movie, we are once again following the adventures of Kevin – yet the main cast is different, which is not a very pleasant surprise, I must admit. There are many other changes that have happened in the characters’ lives, such as Kevin’s parents divorcing and his father moving in with his rich girlfriend. Kevin is invited to spend Christmas with them. There he meets once again with his old nemesis, one of the burglars from the first two movies. The movie follows Kevin’s adventures trying to defend Natalie’s house from him. The references to late 90’s, early 2000 culture is what really gets to me, and makes me appreciate this movie.

7. The Polar Express

This is my personal favourite Christmas movie EVER. It’s already a tradition in my family to watch it each year on Christmas day. We know all the songs off by heart and always sing along – we might even be able to recite the script. Despite the countless times we have re-watched it, The Polar Express has not lost its charm.

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It is a heartwarming movie about the spirit of Christmas and our belief in it (not to mention, the belief in Santa Claus, who is, after all, the embodiment of the Christmas spirit). The protagonist, whose name is never revealed, boards the Polar Express with an air of scepticism. On his journey to the North Pole, he gets to befriend a girl with an unwaveringly strong belief in Christmas, a know-it-all (who honestly always gets on my nerves) and Billy, the boy who never gets a visit from Santa, and seems to have less faith in Christmas than the protagonist. Billy is the only character whose name we know, showing the importance of his character arch – his confidence slowly increases as he builds friendships with the other children on the train, and the result of his adventures is a newfound belief in Christmas. This is also reflected in the development of the protagonist (who is ambiguously listed as “hero boy” on the Internet, but I have always wondered if he is worth that title).

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But beside the heartwarming story, the soundtrack of this movie is what truly makes it so amazing – the best songs being “Hot Chocolate” and “When Christmas Comes to Town”, which you will find me humming throughout the year.

8. Miracle on 34th Street

When thinking about a newfound faith in Christmas and Santa Claus, I feel like people naturally come to think of Miracle on 34th Street.

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The movie can be a seen as a commentary on the way Christmas has become a commercial holiday, and its subsequent effects – Kris Kringe brings in substantial sales for Cole’s, and the rivalry between the store and Shopper’s Express is what gets Kringe jailed and leads to the trial where the existence of Santa is to be judged.

However, it cannot be denied that the charm of the movie is seeing Susan, who was raised to believe that Santa is a made up concept, slowly grow to believe in him, after the movie’s climax, when her Christmas wishes come true – getting a father, a new house, and (so it is implied) a brother.

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9. Nativity!

When I was in primary school, the nativity play was among the biggest events of the academic calendar. The memories of the rehearsals, the costumes, and the performances (where something inevitably ended up going wrong) are all stirred up by Nativity!, one of the most British Christmas films I have seen.

The movie follows the attempts of Paul (played by none other than BBC’s Sherlock faithful companion, Dr. Watson) to win against one of his former friends, Gordon Shakespeare (who runs a private school) in putting on the best nativity play. In an attempt to put him off, Paul tells Shakespeare that his school’s play will be turned into a Hollywood movie, since his ex-girlfriend works in the industry. This lie ends up getting out of hand when it gets out to the press, and Paul has to try and make it a reality while simultaneously trying to put on a play with his pupils, which sadly aren’t as talented as Shakespeare’s. His assistant, the childish Mr Poppy, ends up being a great help, creating a nativity play that showcases the pupils’ various talents and quirks. The media attention means the play is acted out in the town’s cathedral – not only does the play end up being a success, but Paul, his ex-girlfriend, and Shakespeare are all reunited, also.

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All’s well that ends well, but this time, it’s with a sprinkle of Britishness and a touch of Christmas.

10. Love Actually

If we are to judge nativity plays, I think the consensus would be that the one in Love Actually wins, with its lobsters and octopus.

With the numerous plots, this movie has something for everyone: There’s Hugh Grant dancing through 10 Downing Street, Alan Rickman almost being caught buying a gift for his mistress because Rowan Atkinson is taking his sweet time over-wrapping the present, Martin Freeman being a professional body extra for sex scenes, Thomas Brodie-Sangster learning to play the drums to impress his first love, Keira Knightely being stuck between two guys, Colin Firth declaring his love for his housekeeper in Portuguese, Kris Marshall going to America to get laid thanks to his British accent, and Bill Nightly releasing a Christmas hit which sucks and then declaring his love for his manager.

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Despite all these entangled narratives with various interlinked individuals, they all examine the complexity of love, and reveal the various appearances it can take.

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11. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

From love we move swiftly on to hate.

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In the town of Whosville, all its enjoy celebrating Christmas, with the exception of the Grinch, who lives isolated from them, on a mountain overlooking the town. The Whos do not much care for him, a sentiment which is returned by the Grinch. However, Cindy Lou feels that the Whos are wrong in being concerned only about presents and festivities, feeling they are missing the point of Christmas. The generously spirited child takes a strange liking to the Grinch, attempting to include him in the community of Whoseville. He takes advantage of this in an attempt to sabotage Christmas for the Whos and crush their festive spirit. When all else fails, he steals their presents, yet this turns out to teach the Whos the real meaning of Christmas – time spent with family and friends. This ends up teaching the Grinch the same lesson, who eventually reconciles with the Whos and joins them in Whoseville.

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And so the movie goes from hate to love, while commenting on how people have lost sight of the real meaning of Christmas thanks to our consumer mindset. What a classic!

12. Elf

Leaving the best till last, there cannot be a list of Christmas movies that does not include Elf.

The movie is just brilliant – who wouldn’t want to be adopted by Santa Claus and live in the North Pole with elves? However, that isn’t the only dysfunctional family Buddy is part of, because after he finds out that he is in fact from New York and goes to meet his real father, he wakes up in another family where he doesn’t quite fit in.

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As the movie progresses, Buddy slowly wins over his family, who help restore the Christmas spirit of people so that Santa’s sleigh (which has crashed in Central Park) can fly again. Buddy also ends up finding love and starting his own family, who are shown to visit Santa at the North Pole. Buddy has finally found somewhere he truly belongs.

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20 lessons “Harry Potter” has taught me

20 lessons “Harry Potter” has taught me

Harry Potter has recently celebrated 20 years since it first made our lives more magical. I wasn’t born then, but that’s even better for me, because the world was already in love with “The Boy Who Lived” by the time I came about, a year later. And boy, has my life been better because of him. Here’s 20 things that I have learnt from these life-changing books.

1.It’s important to say things properly.

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Ron might have thought Hermione was being an insufferable know-it-all when she corrected him in Potions, but then again, he never ended up like Harry, who arrived in Knockturn Alley rather than Diagon Alley because he failed to say it properly when using Floo powder. So, Hermione was right all along (but then, she does have a tendency to be, doesn’t she?). Pronouncing/Saying things properly doesn’t only matter in academic situations, though. Not only can it stop you from making a fool of yourself (“your vs you’re” piss anyone else off?) but it can actually help you make some friends – people appreciate it when you pronounce (and write) their name correctly (trust me, I would know).

2. Never judge a book by its cover.

No, I won’t use Snape for this example. While he did have a redeeming moment towards the end of the series, his behaviour towards his students was always atrocious, therefore the “cruel teacher” impression that he gives off from the start is correct. I will, however, use Hagrid. My first impression of him didn’t last long, but I was pretty terrified of his character the first time I encountered him in the books. Having a giant knock down your door is pretty scary. However, Hagrid soon turned into one of my favourite characters. He has such a big, loving heart, and a soft soul – how could you not love him? I have been proven wrong about first impression numerous times in my life, similarly to the way I was proven wrong about Hagrid. There’s more to a person than meets the eye, we always have to give them a chance to show us who they really are before we judge them.

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3. There are many shades of courage.

I had a big crisis when as I progressed through the first book. I loved the trio so much, but the bravery that gets you into Gryffindor just wasn’t something that I could identify with. It made me really sad, and for a while it felt inadequate for me to share the brave adventures of these characters. But as I read on through the series, I was shown that bravery was not just fighting Voldemort. Neville standing up to his friends (who does, coincidentally, end up fighting Voldemort, too) was the first glimpse of that. However, the most significant form of bravery for me was Ron joining Harry in following the spiders.

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I have a phobia when it comes to insects, so Ron’s reluctance was very relatable. However, the fact that he still went with Harry, despite his discomfort, was what impressed me and then stuck with me. And even Hermione, whom I loved right from the moment she asked about Neville’s toad on the train, showed her bravery in a similar. We all know this famous scene:

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Hermione never went against the rules in the beginning, yet by the end of Philosopher’s Stone, she did just that, to help her friends. There’s a quote that I love, which always reminds me of the different ways people can be brave: “When you’re scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave”.

4. We make our own choices.

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Neil Gaiman’s quote brings me nicely to this “lesson”. Dumbledore’s wise words about choices defining who we are baffled me for a long time (I was young, guys, the only choices I had to make at that time were if I should read one more chapter or go to bed). As I’ve grown older however, I have realised (and also seen) how the decisions you make in life are what defines your character, rather than your talents or your mere words. It’s your actions that speak for you, not what you say. So, like the idea behind Gaiman’s quote, that choosing to be brave is what makes you brave, rather than saying you are brave/ being in Gryffindor, it’s what you do that builds your character. (I can only call myself a blogger as long as I blog – I used to call myself one a few years ago when I had given up on my previous blog, but even I knew it wasn’t true). And your actions can only be decided by you (which is why they build character; you get me). Therefore, we always have a choice in life (and oh boy, life is filled with choices, from pretty insignificant to life changing).

5. There is always hope.

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I was really close to getting Dumbledore’s famous quote painted on my wall (time to gasp at the originality). I used to be really optimistic as a child, and never thought things could go too badly, whatever the situation. As I’ve grown older, that optimism has started to fade, but more often than not, a bad situation will have a positive outcome and a glimmer of that lost optimism would come back. It’s pretty easy to get so worked up and overwhelmed by the negative things that are going on in our lives, that we forget things have a way of working out. Even when everyone though all was lost after Harry “died”, that wasn’t really the case. An even better example is Harry’s unwavering belief in Dumbledore and his own purpose in Deathly Hallows. I now want that quote on my wall more than ever before, for all the times it has perfectly applied to my life. Thanks Dumbledore.

6. Things have a way of working out.

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I feel like the whole series is an example of this, from things like Harry burning Professor Quill’s face with his hands, to him being able to save Fleur’s sister in the Triwizard tournament, to the trio’s escape on the back of a dragon from Gringotts. And honestly, if even being dead worked out for Harry in the end, surely whatever we’re stressing about is bound to end up better than we’re fearing.

7. We can get over fear.

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And there’s a bigger catch to this – sometimes we must get over it. Fear only holds us back – it keeps us from saying yes to things that would ultimately help us grow as individuals. Or simply enjoy ourselves more (if you, like me, get irrationally afraid of social situations with a potential for awkwardness). It’s hard, but stepping out of our comfort zone is really important. It was Harry Potter that motivated me, a few years ago, to try and get over my fear of heights by going to an adventure park and spending three hours constantly having to look down at the great gap between my feet and the ground (it did not get rid og my fear of heights, I just now know that I won’t vomit from it, or die).

8. Being weird is great – being yourself is amazing.

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Isn’t Luna the best? She is so comfortable in her own skin, and genuinely does not care what others think of her. As I kept learning more about her throughout the series, I felt so angry anyone would ever dare to call her Loony Lovegood. She was always true to herself, and that’s what I loved about her. I first read these books during a period of my life when I was trying really hard to fit in (befriend the popular girls, copy what they do, try to seem cool – the whole package). Luna made me realise that being called “weird” or “nerd” at school was actually a compliment, and besides, being myself was less stressful than trying so hard to fit in.

9. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.

On the other side of the spectrum from Luna, we have the (personally) very irritating Gilderoy Lockhart.

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Now, I have nothing against tooting your own horn from time to time, we all need a bit of validation from others. However, in case you haven’t been told before, it’s never nice to pass off other people’s work as your own (Universities call it plagiarism and they take it very seriously). I was astonished Hermione liked this guy when he was first introduced in Chamber of Secrets, so his confession at the end of the book was not that surprising to me – there had been always something off about him. However, the important lesson to take from his unfortunate ending is that being a Lockhart will usually backfire (ha!) and go terribly wrong – it’s hard to force yourself to be something you’re not. I myself aimed for the things Lockhart wanted, such as popularity, but it was really tiring trying to fit in with the popular kids, so in the end I turned back to my “bookworm” status and was much happier.

10. The importance of friendship

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Let’s take a moment and think of all the things Harry would not have been able to achieve without his friends – he wouldn’t even have made it past Philosopher’s Stone. And it’s not only the trio’s friendship that is inspiring. My favourite friendship is between Harry and Luna. She has a lot of wise words for Harry, and moments like him bringing her to the Slug Club Christmas party, or her shouting at him when he was going about finding Ravenclaw’s diadem all wrong, really stood out to me. I also somehow never saw it coming. It’s these unexpected friendships that I cherish a lot in my life as well. I am also continuously grateful for my own trio/squad of ride-or-die friends that have become family as the years have gone by.

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11. You can choose your own family.

“Friends that become family” is something this series made me appreciate. Specifically, Harry and Hermione during Deathly Hallows. It was the simplicity of having the two of them spend time alone together, yet remaining best friends, and then later having Harry confirm that Hermione is like a sister to him, that impressed me beyond measure. It was the first time this type of female-male friendship was presented to me, and I loved it.

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There are a lot of adults in the series that become Harry’s family, the Weasleys being the most significant. They truly make Harry feel like he belongs among them. From the Christmas jumper that Molly knits him in Philosopher’s Stone, to the money that Harry leaves Fred and George so they can open their joke shop, Harry truly becomes a Weasely. I’ve been welcomed into the families of some of my closest friends, which I appreciate immensely, even more so thanks to being aware of the love the Weasleys have for Harry.

12. Love is everything.

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We all know that Harry was saved by a mother’s love several times in the series, but it’s not the only kind of love that saves him – the love of his friends, as well as the love of his family (yes, I am including the Weasleys, too) and of all those who believed in him is just as significant. And the magical protection that love offers Harry (we can say that it was the intensity of Lily’s love for Harry that burned Professor Quill’s face) is a certain example of the importance of love. So if you don’t believe it will save the world, trust that it will save your world.

13. Death is nothing to fear.

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Death is a very important theme throughout the series. Despite the numerous deaths that happen in Harry Potter, there are a lot of positive messages to take away from the books in regards to this topic. Those who die never really leave us, as Harry’s experiences prove over and over again – his mother’s love remained with him as magical protection, Dumbledore still came to his aid in Deathly Hallows, as did his parents. Being aware of this makes moving on from loss possible, which, I believe, is what everyone hopes for after they lose someone dear to them. Harry’s life is struck by death from the very beginning, and although it takes him a while, he eventually grows as a result of it. Death terrifies me. It’s one of my greatest fears – not just dying myself, but having to go through the deaths of those I love most. Harry Potter didn’t cure me of this fear, but it helped me understand what I already knew – that it’s inevitable, and that you can grow from it. Dumbledore says in Half Blood Prince, “”It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.” This is a very valuable lesson.

14. Books CAN save your life.

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You know how Harry and Ron wouldn’t have survived through Philosopher’s Stone without Hermione’s smarts? Or how Harry wouldn’t have been able to save Ginny without the book page in Hermione’s hand in Chamber of Secrets? (I could go on, but you get the idea) And how did Hermione become such an indispensable friend and the brightest witch of her age? By going to the library, of course. Hermione made me proud of being a bookworm, and I realised that all the seemingly random knowledge that I have gathered over the years will surely come in handy at some point in my life (such as, at a Harry Potter trivia game).

15. We are more than our illness.

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When you think of Remus Lupin, you think of the amazing Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher that he was, or what a kind mentor he was to Harry, or how great Tonks and him were, and maybe only after do you remember he was a werewolf. He didn’t let his lycanthropy define him. Nor does illness define you. It makes you different, which is always a good thing (even if you have to really think about it in order to realise it), and it should not get in the way of what you love. Focus your energy on being kind, and friendly, and passionate, and people will remember you for these qualities.

16. It’s important to stand up for yourself and your beliefs.

I don’t think I’ve met anyone who didn’t love it when Hermione stood up to Draco Malfoy, be it this:

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Or even better, this:

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It’s important to stand up for yourself. I was constantly told as a child that if I left the bullies alone, they would stop – but if they don’t, then you have to do something to stop it. It’s never a good idea to let people walk all over you. I am a pacifist, so while I don’t encourage fights as a way to “end this once and for all”, there are other peaceful ways to do it.

17. Be accepting of others.

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We get to meet so many different types of characters throughout the books, and I, for one, love this. (You can’t tell me a magical world exists that is only inhabited by human witches and wizards. There has to be more than that.) However, as is the case with our ordinary muggle world, even in J.K. Rowling’s world, judgement exists. People are made fun of based on their appearance (to the point where they permanently alter how they look, such as Hermione making her teeth smaller), their social class and their birth (Snape and Draco never really quit it with making fun of Harry’s “fame”). It’s not cool. There is so much we can learn from each other – we should celebrate our differences, not bring others down.

18. We are all human.

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We’re not perfect. We can’t always be correct, or won’t always do the right thing, or keep our cool in a stressful situation. Harry struggled to come to terms with the idea that he had the potential for a dark path. And while speaking parsletongue isn’t something that I ever worry will lead me to become evil, Harry Potter made me understand that while you can’t be great all the time, it doesn’t take away your greatness.

19. Money isn’t everything.

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It might not be able to buy you a whole trolley of sweets on the Hogwarts Express, but it does not mean that “money buys you happiness”. The Weasleys are my favourite magical family – I fell in love with The Borrow just as much as Harry did, and the bond between them? Priceless. Just compare them with the Malfoys, who seem to have all the riches you could want, yet seem to do a lot worse that the Weasleys they so enjoy looking down upon. The love that they offer Harry, and that he returns, is something far more worthy than money.

20. There is magic everywhere.

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While we will never be able to fly on a broom or cast spells, our muggle world is still full of magic. It might be more simple than the one Harry finds in his textbooks, but it’s just as lovely. My favourite form of magic? Sunsets. And it doesn’t just stop at the wonders of nature. Being transported into another world by books/movies/TV shows? Magic. Having such a great time with friends you forget about time? Magic. The mere existence of pets, who love you more than you love yourself? Magic. It’s everywhere, we just have to pay attention sometimes.

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Personal Top 3 LGBT Movies

Personal Top 3 LGBT Movies

Today is the first day of spring, and while I am very relieved to see March is finally here, it does mean that LGBT History Month is officially over. However, the feeling of acceptance, love, community and pride doesn’t have to end just because there is no label to put on it. Therefore, I have decided to compile a list of my personal three favourite LGBT movies, to keep the spirit of LGBT History Month going even after it has finished. They are listed in no particular order, since I love them all equally.

1. Carol (2015)

If there’s one movie that I hope you go and watch after reading this post, it is this one. Carol has been the one LGBT movie that I haven’t been able to shut up about since watching it. The fact that it has an equally amazing book at the core of it, The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (which I also recommend you go and read), makes it even better – it’s an amazing adaptation.

In a nutshell, Carol tells the story of the love and affair between a young photographer, Therese Belivet (played by Rooney Mara), and an older woman, Carol Aird (played by Cate Blanchett), who is going through a rocky divorce. The story is set in 1950s New York.

My favourite thing about this movie is the way it manages to capture that breathtaking yet mundane moment when one realises they have truly fallen in love. I have seen no other movie portray it as well as Carol does. It also presents the best LGBT friendship I have seen in a movie that is supposed to focus on same-sex love, that between Carol and Abby. They’re open to each other, their devotion and loyalty and understanding of each other is breathtaking, and the familiarity between the two really tugs at your heartstrings. If you don’t want to watch it for the glamour of 1950’s America, or the cinematography, or the amazing acting, watch it for the relationships it portrays.

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Picture curtesy of Rotten Tomatoes

2. Blue is the Warmest Colour/ La Vie d’Adèle (2013)

This movie holds a special place in my heart, since it was the movie that helped me deal with my own confused mind regarding my sexuality. It was a crucial for me, and has therefore had a big impact.

The movie focuses on a French teenager who deals with a newfound desire for a mysterious woman with blue hair that she encounters by chance on the street, and later at a gay bar. Adèle’s (played by Adèle Exarchopoulos) coming-of-age story about her passionate relationship with her first love, Emma (played by Léa Seydoux) is a very relatable one. Her experience of dealing with the uncertainty of her sexuality is sure to echo that of many people in the LGBT community. She is a character that, despite being irritating to some at varying points throughout the movie, is very easy to identify with.

The movie’s raw and uncensored depiction of sexuality has been heavily criticised, yet I believe it is one of the things that make Blue is the Warmest Colour so amazing (and so do people such as Steven Spielberg). The explicit sex scenes are not there just for the sake of it, they make the relationship three dimensional.*

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Image curtesy of IMDb

3. The Way He Looks/ Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho  (2014)

If I were to describe my love for this movie, I would say it was accidental and unexpected. And if I were to be clichéic, I would use the now-famous phrase: “I fell in love the way you fall asleep, slowly, and then all at once.” I might have raised a few eyebrows at first, but the movie soon took hold of my heart and it has been in my list of all time favourite movies ever since.

The Way He Looks is a captivating coming-of-age love story between Leonardo ( played by Ghilherme Lobo), a blind boy who is struggling to be independent, and Gabriel (played by Fabio Audi), Leo’s new classmate. Based off the short film I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone, The Way He Looks expands on the themes that the film touches upon, as well as explores the relationship between the boys in more depth.

The way the movie handles homosexuality and disability, two topics that can either make or break such a story, is exceptional. Moreover, Leo is a very lovable character. He feels overprotected by those around him, the best example being his friend Giovana, who walks home with him every day even though she lives in the opposite direction to his house. He has to deal with an overbearing mother and plenty of bullying at school, experiences with which anyone watching the movie can at least sympathise, if not identify, with, regardless of being disabled or not. Leo is a character that does not tick all the boxes that society exoects him to, which is what makes the movie so unique and lovable – its message of embracing who you are and realising that your differences are what make you great comes across loud and clear.

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Image courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes

These movies mean a lot to me, but remember, they are only my personal preference. I would love to hear what your top LGBT movie recommendations are!

*Disclaimer: I am aware of the numerous statements made by the two actresses regaring the harrowing experienence of filming the movie, especially the sex scenes. My appreciation of those scenes does not mean I am dismissing their statements; my focus in this article is on the movie itself, not the process of filming and production.