Columns, Opinion

Flick Critique: My love of journey-filled movies, in honor of spring break

Vacation is a time of freedom and adventure, with individuals exploring new parts of the world and meeting new people along the way. With spring break unfortunately over, it is time to reminisce on those glorious days off with these movies’ vacation adventures.

No other movie best portrays a story of royal responsibilities and exploring new cultures like the classic “Roman Holiday.” Princess Ann, portrayed by the timelessly elegant Audrey Hepburn, lives a life of constant orders and no free will, a lifestyle that leaves her frustrated and restricted.

Once she reaches Italy for a goodwill tour, she manages to escape for a night, only to stumble upon an American reporter with whom she falls in love.

Not only is “Roman Holiday” an Oscar-winning classic, but it is also a movie that encapsulates the love for freedom and adventure. This movie perfectly balances a complex emotional story with Princess Ann having to decide between her love for a foreign reporter and her duty to her nation, as well as themes of vacation and independence.

No vacation movie staple is as iconic as the road trip, which is best portrayed in Alfonso Cuarón’s “Y Tu Mamá También.” After their girlfriends leave on a trip to Europe, two young men embark on a road trip after meeting an intriguing woman.

While each young man becomes involved with the woman, things become complicated when all three characters get involved after a drunken night. This regretful sexual encounter leaves the two male protagonists confused, and their friendship becomes extremely strained.

In the end, the damage to their relationship is irreconcilable, with the two shortly meeting for coffee several years later and learning that the adventurous woman passed away of cancer shortly after their adventures.

The two young men then part ways forever. While this movie is far more than a vacation movie, its focus around a theme of friendship perfectly sets up the many complexities in its plot and other interwoven themes.

Perhaps the antithesis of “Y Tu Mamá Tambien” is Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” in which two young women embark on a trip to Spain and fall in love with the same painter. The painter manages to seduce both the type-A Vicky and the adventurous Cristina, with Cristina eventually engaging in a polyamorous relationship with the painter and his ex-wife.

The movie ends as their vacation concludes in typical Woody Allen fashion: a lack of character development, with Vicky having a plan of what she wants in life and Cristina lacking any sense of direction.

Just as scandalous is the 1967 film “The Graduate,” with an iconic Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack that is still loved to this day. As the film’s protagonist enjoys his vacation, he becomes seduced by a family friend’s wife.

To his chagrin, he later falls in love with the woman’s daughter, complicating things for everyone involved. While he frees himself from the messy relationship with the older woman, he struggles to win back the love of his life until they finally prevent her from marrying someone else and flee together.

Complicated and confusing, this vacation story is far from an ideal situation. However, the drastic change from the protagonist’s boring daily life to the drama-filled life he lives during his time off shows how intense some vacations can be.

With vacations representing a time of liberation, directors will continuously center their films around this time off. As some of these movies show, vacations may be a wonderful time of self growth, while at other times, they can change someone’s life in an awfully negative way.

Regardless of their long-term impacts, vacations and, consequently, vacation films bring with them new experiences and exciting stories.

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