How Movies Changed My Life

“All the world’s a stage. And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances. And one man in his time plays many parts. His acts being seven ages.” – William Shakespeare

How’s the saying go? Art imitates life or life imitates art? Either way, we can all agree that there is much to be learned from the arts. For me, there’s much to be learned from the art of storytelling. I’d love to say that I enjoy reading regularly but between school and work, nothing makes me feel better than curling up in front of the TV to watch my favorite movies. It’s my favorite way to decompress.

It’s strange. I’m not the most in tune with my own emotions but somehow, I’m extremely empathetic. That sort of detachment from my emotions gives me a sense of awareness that allows me to reasonably sort through what I think I’m feeling without it becoming debilitating. Movies allow me to empathize and relate in a way that allows me to take on the emotions playing out before me without them being my own. I’ve found movies to be the most useful way for me to allow myself to feel those more intense emotions without them spilling into my entire day, week, month, year …

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. As an empath by nature, movies usually hit me on a deep emotional level because I can imagine myself feeling the feelings of the characters on the screen that I don’t typically allow myself to feel. Movies allow me an hour or two out of my day to feel without putting a screeching halt to the hustle.

We’re all here to serve a purpose, a greater one and sometimes those of the smaller sorts. We play our roles and throughout our lifetime, we’ll acquire many different roles: mother, sister, daughter, girlfriend, wife, friend. How we play those roles is up to us; doting wife, loving mother, hell-bent sister, respectful daughter. Movies appeal to my empathic nature in a way that allows me to take what I need from the experiences playing before me without experiencing them myself.

There are so many lessons in cinema – direct and implicit. The Wizard of Oz, originally a novel, is a metaphor for America and her loss of moral fiber and wholesome values. Underneath that metaphor, The Wizard of Oz can also represent your lying ex who used smoke and mirrors to manipulate you and get their way throughout the relationship through guilt tactics and shaming. Forrest Gump is my favorite movie because it most skillfully plays out the many roles one is capable of playing throughout their lifetime. Breakfast at Tiffany’s tells the story of every lost girl who ever grew up without a father figure. The Joy Luck Club explores the beauty and heartache in mother/daughter relationships. Fight Club is full of cynicism towards our society that leaves you questioning everything you’ve ever been taught about conventional ambition and success.

It’s fair that I mention that all of my favorite flicks are adaptations of books written by legendary storytellers. It just so happens that I don’t have the time to dedicate to leisurely read. So let’s get down to it. So, what right? The girl likes movies, who doesn’t?! The way one person interprets a film will differ from the next, just like the way one person interprets a life experience will differ from the next. In line with my lifestyle content, I’ll be rolling out a new series of posts entitled #MovieGems, where I’ll explore the lessons some of my favorite movies have taught me and I’ll invite you to share yours.

What’s your favorite movie? Why does it resonate?

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