Film, TV + Theatre

7 Movies that take social distancing to a whole new level


By Marissa Chin

7 Movies that take social distancing to a whole new level

Want to watch movie characters go through their own version of self-quarantine and isolation? Try these out:

Cast Away 

Where: Now showing on Netflix 

Starring: Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Nick Searcy

Ah, the quintessential self-isolation movie that inspired this entire article. In this epic survivalist tale, Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) finds himself washed ashore on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean after a horrifying plane crash. Cue existential crisis and mid-day deliriums. Now, of course fending for yourself on an uninhabited island and fighting a virus are not the same thing. But the sheer will to live that is so innate to our human condition is a sure thing to resonate in us all in whatever difficulty we may face. The fact that Tom Hanks has been positively diagnosed with Covid-19 makes this all the more poignant. After the movie, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing you do indeed have actual friends and family and not a volleyball as your only emotional companion (I’m sorry, Wilson…)

A Quiet Place

Where: Now showing on Netflix

Starring: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millie Simmonds, Noah Jupe

Listen, we get it. Tensions are at an all-time high in some households because you just can’t seem to get away from your nagging parents or nosy brother as easy as you previously could. So how about a family survivalist movie to simmer down those sentiments and get in the mood for the sequel? Director John Krasinski’s instant hit is a sure way to get your family members gripping each other’s hands instead of at each other’s throats. After all, if the Abbott family can still find some semblance of normalcy and play board games as the creepy crawlies lurk nearby, there’s hope for all of us after all.

The Lighthouse

Where: Amazon Prime  and iTunes

Starring: William Dafoe, Robert Pattinson

If you’re looking for something grittier that hits every dark crevice of your heart, this is it. As director Robert Eggers aptly puts it: “Nothing good can happen when two men are left alone in a giant phallus.” Now if that doesn’t convince you to watch it, I don’t know what will.

The film is a mind-bending horror film that has a little bit of genre: supernatural, fantasy, mystery and even fart jokes. Shot on a 35mm black and white film in Academy-grade 1:19:1 ratio, Eggers creates a distinct period piece that masterfully mixes experimental techniques to give it a modern flair.

Even if you’re not phased by all of that jazz, Robert Pattinson and William Dafoe’s career defining performances are captivating to watch. You can be glad after you’re done that you’re not confined to a claustrophobic dingy lighthouse that looks like it was swallowed by Moby Dick.

I Am Legend

Where: Netflix

Starring: Will Smith, Alice Braga, Charlie Tahan

From Will Smith’s charismatic charm in talking to mannequins, his canine zombie-busting best friend to the quiet fragility of being possibly the last person on Earth, there are tons to take away from this movie. It’s easy to get swept away by the heart-pumping action and close-calls but once the credits roll, you’ll still be thinking about the ending and what it says about humanity as a whole.

P/s: watch the alternative ending on YouTube for more philosophical food for thought once you’re done. It’s also a lot closer to what Richard Matheson’s original novella had in mind.

Home Alone 

Where: Netflix

Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern

While most of us cheered at the idea of staying at home and lounging in bed all day (how bad can it be, right?), staring at your four walls can start to feel stifling even to the self-acclaimed homebodies. An 8-year old’s perspective of being accidentally left alone during Christmas certainly provides a refreshing pick-me-up that we all can use. So rather than seeing your humble abode as a prison, just think of all the booby-trap possibilities you’re missing out on.

The Lake House

Where: Amazon Prime and Google Play

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Dylan Walsh

Starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, this romantic time travel drama might not be the first thing you think of when someone mentions social distancing movies. If you’re in self-quarantine with your partner, watching The Lake House will induce a guaranteed cuddle fest when you realise that Kate (Bullock) and Alex (Reeves) are time-crossed lovers separated by a two-year span. They fall in love by communicating through letters in a mailbox from the lake house they’ve stayed in at separate points in time. Now that’s one couple that has perfected the “lockdown relationship”, LDR, to a T.


Where: Amazon Prime and Google Play

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck

Finally, for something hopeful and uplifting in your lockdown journey, Nolan’s ambitious space odyssey is one that deserves five or six rewatches (probably because the first time you watch it, you feel like your brain is going to explode from quantum physics jargon). As the Earth’s natural resources are depleting, NASA pilot Jason Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) goes on a space expedition on the search for a second home. Be prepared for some absolutely gut-wrenching scenes and insane mind-trips into the fifth dimension along the way!

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