The Meaning of Movies

Posted: May 28, 2013

The significance of movies

Senior Anna Scholl expresses her love for movies, and explains that this art form is often greatly misunderstood and stereotyped

For some, movies are merely a form of entertainment, a two-hour joyride through explosive plots involving action, supermodels, and one-liners to copy and splurge into their daily vocabulary. Others see movies as more of an escape from reality and into the minds and worlds of other people and characters.

Whether film is perceived as an art medium, a mind-numbing diversion from life, or background noise while other work is being done, there’s no doubt that cinema triggers some sort of reaction in anyone’s mind. But there’s no right answer to why a person like movies, regardless of what some critics might say. Enjoying a movie simply because it’s fun does not make you shallow; writing an essay on the philosophy of film does not make you deep.

When I watch a movie, I don’t try to riddle my mind with complications and try to psychoanalyze the characters and plot, because I don’t believe that’s what a film is for. Of course afterwards I am more than welcome to discuss my own interpretations of a movie, but it’s the physical act of sitting down and enjoying a movie that should go undisturbed by thought. It should be a time of mindless laughter, shock, thrill, horror; whichever genre interests you the most. Movies don’t have to be a passive activity, they aren’t the symbol of laziness as some might think. To put it simply, I see movies as a personal enthrallment, a steady way of vicarious living through what I see on screen. There’s not doubt that film has an art value to it, but I also think that movies are a complex puzzle that’s fun to put together piece by piece.

Cinematography, musical scores, sound mixing, acting, everything that a movie is made of can be taken all at one time, or they can be looked at separately depending on how you like to watch movies. When I watch a film, the factors I feel the most tend to be the music and cinematography.

Of course things like acting and directing decisions are important as well, but these pieces tend to be more open and obvious. With musical scores there’s more of a raw emotion that adds more than what most people think about to a film. The same idea can be taken with cinematography. Camera angles, color tone, and the overall decision of whether a film should appear dark, light, edgy, smooth, etc. can change how a film is seen by an audience drastically; cinematography is another factor that tends to be a kind of “white noise” to the audience. We don’t realize how much of a difference it makes to our experience.

I’m not expert to film. I don’t think there ever will be an expert to film. And that’s what makes movies so diverse: we’ll never know everything there is to know about making a film good. Comparing cinema from only 10 years ago to what it is now is so drastic that it makes it even more exciting to realize that the future holds even more stories, more characters, more worlds, more magic, and more visual escape pods to plots we have never fathomed.

When I think of film, I think of how amazing it is that I’m watching it, how diverse they can be, and how it’s nothing but pure fun. And that’s what movies should be. Fun. And while there are films that carry depressing subjects and others that seek out more to teach than to explore theatrics, there’s still a reason we keep watching them. It’s because we like them. We feel some kind of attachment to what they’re telling us. Movies magnetize our inner need to be connected with something. An idea, a plot, a character, a fact, it doesn’t matter what we relate to, as long as it’s there.

I’m told that the first movie I watched was Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, only a few hours old, sitting in the hospital as a newborn infant. Since then I’ve grown to appreciate the fantastical worlds that inspire not only me, but countless of people every day.

If I were to answer the question of what movies mean to me, I would answer this: movies are my refuge, they’re my muse, they’re my way to intervene life with the adventures of my favorite personas. Movies are what anyone wants them to be, and this versatility is what makes them whatever you want to seem them as.

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