Movies are the ultimate form of escapism. They can take us to places we’ve never been, places we want to go, and in the case of what’s going on in the world right now, take us to places we might not be able to get to (for travel bans or otherwise).
So, from the crystal blue Mediterranean waters in Greece to the cobblestone streets of Paris, France, we rounded up a few movies that take place abroad to remind us of the beauty in the world. And these stories—from comedy to drama—have the ability to (at least temporarily) take our minds off whatever is going on to help transport us to a different place.
Movies to watch during coronavirus to keep you entertained:
Crazy Rich Asians
When native New Yorker Rachel Chu is invited to Singapore to meet her longtime boyfriend’s family during his best friend’s wedding, things get complicated. Having learned that Nick is a part of one of the country’s wealthiest families and is considered one its most eligible bachelor’s, Chu must learn to contend with quirky family members, jealous socialites, and, oh, Nick’s disapproving mother. Stream it on Hulu.
Call Me By Your Name
In this coming-of-age-romantic drama, 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) meets Oliver (Armie Hammer), a handsome doctoral student, while spending the summer in Italy with his family. The two discover desire and beauty in their unique relationship that will change their lives forever. Sun-drenched fields and incredible Italian landscapes will take you away. Watch it on Amazon Prime.
Eat, Pray, Love
Based on the memoir of one woman’s journey for self-discovery, this traveling tale involves journalist Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) after facing a divorce and realizing a turning point in her life. Throughout this film, she wanders through Italy, India, and Bali to discover what’s most important. Stream it on Amazon Prime.
Lost In Translation
When a lonely, aging movie star (Billy Murray) meets a conflicted newlywed (Scarlett Johansson) in Tokyo, the two find escape in each other’s company and the bright lights of the foreign city. Their unlikely bond is heartfelt, and meaningful to them both.
Take a paternity quest, set it to the music of ABBA with the Greek island of Kalokairi serving as the illustrious backdrop—and that, in a nutshell, is the concept behind Mamma Mia!. But when you add Meryl Streep and a dozen of some of the biggest names in Hollywood, it becomes one of the biggest musical movies ever created. This film is beautiful, campy, and honestly, my dream vacation. With Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again out too, you have to rewatch the original. Watch it on Hulu.
Experience the bohemian Parisian neighborhood of Montmartre through the eyes of Amélie, a waitress on a mission to bring happiness to those around her. Unless you’re cruising around the Eiffel Tower on the back of a Vespa a la Mary-Kate and Ashley, Amélie is probably the best tour of Paris through the eyes of a local…and you may learn a French word or two. Yes, it’s in French—with a Spanish option, too—but it’s just as good with subtitles. Watch it on Hulu.
It seems unlikely that every business trip to Barcelona involves an impulsive stop to Ibiza in pursuit of a hot Scottish DJ played by the late Robb Stark (aka Richard Madden). Sure, we don’t get to see a lot of either destinations other than a few set-up shots, but I mean, what’s a better way to explore the nightlife of the Spanish city and legendary party island? Watch it on Netflix here.
The Lizzie McGuire Movie
Sure, Rick Steves is a travel expert, but did he go to Rome on a post-eighth grade graduation class trip, fall in love with a (fraudulent) Italian superstar, and essentially, become a global sensation in his own right? Lizzie McGuire certainly did. You’ve seen it. You love it. You know you want to go visit Italy with Lizzie and co. this summer. Watch it on Disney+.
Amy Adams and Matthew Goode spar but also fall in love in Ireland. Do I need to say anything else? Yes, she’s technically on her way to Dublin to propose to her terrible boyfriend because of some old Leap Year tradition, but thanks to some terrible, or rather, perfect luck, she finds herself way off course in Dingle and on a charming road trip with an Irish-accented Matthew Goode. Watch it on Netflix here.
Letters to Juliet
The rare movie featuring Gael Garcia Bernal where you’re not rooting for him. Can you believe? In a Romeo and Juliet-inspired tale with a far smaller death count, the film follows an American vacationing in Verona—that Verona—who embarks on a journey through Italy to find lost love with an old-British woman and her very attractive adult grandson after answering a decades-old letter to Juliet. Watch on Amazon Prime here.
Raise your hand if you love indies involving a beleaguered individual going on an adventure to figure their shit out. This film is exactly that, following an American man through Copenhagen on his quest to deliver a letter to the grandfather he never knew. Along the way, he befriends a local teen who serves as his guide and ultimately, helps him uncover the truth about his family. Watch it on Amazon Prime.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
After one of them gets engaged, three childhood friends reunite for an extended bachelor party in Spain. As their vacation takes them all over Spain, from Pamplona to Seville, the trio also confronts long-held tensions and their own underlying reasons for embarking on the vacation. The Hangover may be quotable but it has nothing on the views in this acclaimed Bollywood film. The film is in Hindi, with excellent subtitles in English. Watch on Amazon Prime here.
Under the Tuscan Sun
Who wouldn’t want to go on a trip to Italy with Diane Lane? Anyone who hasn’t already seen this classic movie about a writer and recent divorcée who impulsively buys an old Italian villa while on a breakup vacation needs to seriously rethink things. Now go crack open a bottle of Chianti and watch it. Catch it on Amazon Prime.
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