20 FILMS THAT HAVE DEFINED ME IN 20 YEARS | fivethreeninety

I turned twenty this week! Ahh! I’m in my twenties! Help!

My birthday did feel a little weird this year: I grew up with my birthday for the most part falling in the half term holiday, so I haven’t ever been used to having a “normal” day on my birthday (e.g. going to school). I wasn’t working this year, but I was in all day rehearsals which I love, but didn’t feel like I was having a big birthday treat day.  Still, I think that’s just what being a grown up is.

I do want to point out two pretty brilliant things from the big day though, the first being the amazing cake that my Mum made for me:


It’s a red carpet!

Secondly, let’s pay special attention this amazing deck that my sister customised for me on the Heads Up app:



All my favourite things – my sister is the best.

Now moving to why you’re actually reading this post; the films.

This is almost a timeline of my life according to my favourite films that came out the years I was growing up. Just to clarify, I didn’t watch all of the following films in the actual year they were released. I wasn’t fresh out of the womb watching Sarah Michelle Gellar being tormented by a man with a killer fishhook.

On with the films!


Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio

Dir. James Cameron

I remember when I was still in primary school & I invited my friends over for our first sleepover, & we felt so grown up because we were going to watched Titanic & it had a 12 rating & we were only ten (I don’t know why I was so impressed by this, I’d been watching Buffy for several years by this point & that’s rated 15). We quickly became obsessed with the film & watched it whenever we could, & had so many inside jokes about it; French man, nosebleeds & all. It will forever be special to me.

I Know What You Did Last Summer



Dir. Daisy von Scherler Mayer

Madeline is my entire childhood in one film. I was gifted as much merchandise from the Madeline franchise as possible as a child, bearing an almost identical name & all. I’ve watched this film to death & still I love it, & all the adventures Madeline had in Paris. And someday I will have my own golden retriever named Genevieve, & we will walk along the Seine with the Spanish ambassador’s son & everything will be fine.

Slappy the Sea Lion
The Prince of Egypt



Girl, Interrupted
Dir. James Mangold

I think it was my cousin who first showed me this film, & even though I was young enough to not fully understand it I remember feeling absolutely in awe of it. As I’ve grown up & rewatched it over the years it now feels more personal & more melancholy/wonderful. This is the film that fully fledged my adoration for both Winona Ryder & Angelina Jolie.

10 Things I Hate About You
The World is Not Enough



Dir. Eric Leighton & Ralph Zondag

One of my earliest memories is seeing the trailer for this film in the cinema & being absolutely adamant that my parents had to take me to see it. Dinosaur was my first film obsession – I even got bullied by a few kids in nursery for wearing my ‘boys clothes’ dinosaur hoody. Destroying gender roles from day one, me.

Bring it On
102 Dalmatians
The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle



Spirited Away
Dir. Hayao Miyazaki

Of all the Studio Ghibli films, this will forever be my favourite. Even though my cousin had a huge poster of it on his wall that used to terrify me I love this film, & will watch it forever. The majesty & the element of something a little bit scary has always fascinated me, the characters I’ve always been entranced by & the art astounded me.

Bridget Jones’s Diary
Legally Blonde
Monsters Inc



Dir. Rob Marshall

I love a good musical, & Chicago is one of the best. It’s dark & it’s passionate, & Cell Block Tango will forever be the greatest thing to ever happen to me. Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger & Richard Gere all set the bar way way way high for acting in musical films.

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron



Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
Dir. Gore Verbinski

You can measure my relationship with this film by the sheer amount of pretend sword fights my sister & I had when we were younger (a lot). We would also recreate Elizabeth Swann fainting because of her corset & whisper the line “Bloody pirates” under our breathes in time with the film to feel like total badasses. 

Finding Nemo
Kill Bill
Brother Bear
Love Actually
The Cat in the Hat



Shaun of the Dead
Dir. Edgar Wright

Dude. This film fucked me up, for real.
My cousin’s and seen it in the cinema & when it was released on DVD, decided we should all watch it as a family. It was during this viewing that I developed a deathly fear of zombies. For years I spent my nights planning zombie escape plans for all of my family members houses. No joke, I held this phobia right up until about 2014, when I faced my fears & watched the first episode of The Walking Dead (& we all know how that developed).
I’ve still only been able to watch this film twice since then.

Mean Girls
Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban



Brokeback Mountain
Dir. Ang Lee

This film destroyed me. It was one if the first proper, more sophisticated love stories I ever watched & it made me grown. I knew in my head that love was mostly always hard nut this is the film that made me feel it in my guts & wish I was dead.

Ice Princess



Night at the Museum
Dir. Christopher Columbus

Do I even need to talk about this film again? It’s incredible. It’s magical & its funny & its emotional & meaningful all in one, & is one of those films that totally transports you. I don’t have eleven copies of this film for no reason.

Little Miss Sunshine
Final Destination 3
Just My Luck



Hot Fuzz
Dir. Edgar Wright

This film will forever be my favourite, not solely because it is an incredible, genius film; but because it was filmed almost entirely on location in Wells, Somerset – where my Aunt & Uncle live, & basically my second home. I know that city better than I know where I live, & being able to see it immortalised in such an amazing film is incredible. My Aunt even makes a little cameo in it – she’s running the “Sandford” Girl Guides stall in the church fete scene!




Dir. Catherine Hardwick

Yes, I had a Twilight phase. A MASSIVE twilight phase. I read all four books in two weeks one summer before buying the dvd & beginning the full blown obsession. In all honesty, I think I was over-dramatising my love for it a bit because it was so fun – that’s all liking a franchise is, fun. I know the Twilight Saga isn’t perfect by any means but my God they shaped a big part of who I am.

The Dark Knight
27 Dresses
Mamma Mia!



Paranormal Activity
Dir. Oren Peli

Another sleepover film here, but one that turned out to be truly iconic. My two friends & I had to pause this film & go get my Mum to come join us as protection we were so scared. I think these are really brilliant horror movies – they began a whole new genre of found-footage films & I loved the clever, slow build in it. And the franchise is genuinely good too; initially I too thought that they were just making up random ideas to cash in but the plot throughout all the movies is seamless & remains terrifying.

The Boat That Rocked
Fired Up!
The Time Traveler’s Wife


Black Swan 1.jpg

Black Swan
Dir. Darren Aronofsky

2010 was the first year that I got really interested in award nominated films, & actually trying to see them before they won. I gathered up a group of my friends & we all agreed we’d go down to the local cinema & see it together – the catch was that it was rated 15, & at the time we were all thirteen & fourteen. Looking the oldest, I went in early & bought all the tickets & we managed to get in & I loved it. This was VERY naughty & I do not recommend it – I now work in that same cinema & I live in constant fear that they will find out & arrest me.

Scott Pilgrim vs the World
Toy Story 3
Easy A



Super 8
Dir. J.J. Abrams

I watched this one New Year’s; we paused it twenty minutes before the end to count in the New Year, cheers glasses & hugged then went right back to watching it. This film reminds me that I can do it, I can make films & I don’t have to wait around to do it. And that makes me very happy.

The Artist
The Help
The Descendants
We Bought a Zoo



The Cabin in the Woods
Dir. Drew Goddard

This was a very exciting adventure for my family – a Joss Whedon film! In the cinema! With our favourite actors! The trip to the cinema was unforgettable for three reasons; 1. It was an incredible film 2. We had to sneak my then fourteen year old sister into the 15 rated film & 3. I was still in my massive zombie phobia stage, & had no idea that there were going to be zombies in the film.

The Avengers
The Dark Knight Rises
Moonrise Kingdom



The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Dir. Ben Stiller

I LOVE BEN STILLER & I LOVE THIS MOVIE. It fills you with this nostalgic kind of joy that’s so uplifting & refreshing, & it’s really beautifully shot too with an incredible soundtrack. I really urge everyone to see this film, because all it does is make you believe in yourself.

Blue is the Warmest Colour
Dallas Buyers Club
Much Ado About Nothing



Dir. Alejandro G. Iñárritu

This is the first film I ever went to see in the cinema on my own, & to this day none of my friends have seen it. It feels like my own little personal film, which is ridiculous because it won Best Picture at the Oscars that year, but for me it marks my independence in a way.

The Other Woman
Still Alice



Dir. Lenny Abrahamson

Fewer things have touched me as much as both the book & film adaptation Room have. It’s the most sickening yet inspiring & heartwarming film about hope, fighting & discovery. It will make you cry at about ten separate points in the film but its incredible.


The Martian
What We Do in the Shadows
The Age of Adeline



Dir. Denis Villeneuve

If you have seen or heard anything from me since October of last year you will know of my adoration for Arrival. I truly believe that it is one of the greatest films ever to have been made & I feel so lucky to have been able to alive in the same time as it’s release. It’s about aliens coming to earth yes, but it’s more about relationships between humans & ultimately, peace. It’s the most stunning piece of filmmaking in many years.

Sing Street
Finding Dory
Nocturnal Animals


Nicole Kidman, David Wenham and Sunny Pawar star in LION
Photo: Mark Rogers

Dir. Garth Davis

Soul affirming is the only way to describe this film. Lion has taught me about hope, belonging & finding who you are when you are lost. I completely loved it.

Hidden Figures
La La Land

Those are some of the films that I’ve got to twenty with. What films have guided you thought your life? Tweet me & let me know!

Entering my twenties has provided me with mass change already. I’m only five days in but already I’m taking massive adult-y steps that are taking some adjustment.

One of these changes has been the separation of my boyfriend & I. It was mutual, & wasn’t because we’d grown to hate each other. He’s been a massive part of my life for close on two years but both our lives have changed & it’s time to close that chapter – but above all we’ve become best friends, & we’re hoping to be able to work to get back to that friendship some day.

Big changes, but I think I can do it. I’m going to put a lot of effort into progressing my passions which is great news for you guys – more blog posts & videos & hopefully, finally a short film coming your way soon.


2 thoughts on “20 FILMS THAT HAVE DEFINED ME IN 20 YEARS | fivethreeninety

  1. Taught question: movies that define me hmmm. Well Disney, saw some pixar movies, the musical movies, etc. Well, musical movies were not just limited to Disney, but instead movies like Annie, Sound of Music, Grease I watched as well. So my love of musicals began through seeing musicals live and seeing the musical movies of the show


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