With so much going on in the world, I was not going to post today. But then I thought that is exactly why I should post. I am not going to reiterate the news because I think that we all know what is going on, I just want to talk about the power of movies and why I love them so much. They have had such a profound impact on my life and I want to take a moment to appreciate them.
With so much negatively weighing us down, I think movies are a way to reflect and get away, just for a moment, so we can try our best to continue thinking clearly, even in such an unpredictable time. Movies have taught me so much and made me who I am today. They have the power for positive change, especially right now.
1. New Perspectives
When you watch a movie, you are often presented with a new point-of-view, or a new way of life, that you may have never thought about before. Whether you watch a film like Harry Potter, the Avengers, Rocketman, the Quiet Place or Dirty Dancing, you are learning about another person’s life and how and why they make the decisions they do.
Similar to reading a book, movies open our eyes to thoughts that we may have never thought were possible. I have been spending more time reading and watching new films, and I am learning so much. Whether I watch a comedy film, like Ghostbusters or Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, in the end, I spend time thinking about the characters from the movie and what I liked, or did not like about them. Then, I take what I learned and apply it to my own life. First, don’t go looking for ghosts and second, do not crash weddings in Hawaii.
A lot of the people that I am close to rarely talk about their emotions. I, on the other hand, talk about my emotions freely and it seems to make people uncomfortable. When I watch a movie, I can almost guarantee that I will cry. But I was not always like this. I used to keep all my thoughts to myself. This changed when I started to watch more films and realized the value of wearing your emotions on your sleeve. How can people know what you are thinking if you don’t tell them? (Kindly, of course.) I learned through movie characters who have conflicting wants and needs, how important is is to talk about things, even when they are hard to talk about.
I think movies have the ability to get people more connected to their emotions, so they can open up more to the people that are closest to them. Emotions are beautiful– the bad, the good, the horrendous, but having people to talk to can make the hard times a little more bearable. Movies reminded me the importance of that.
It can be hard to evaluate our own lives and see the mistakes that we keep making over and over again. But, when you watch a movie, it can be easier to look at a situation from the outside. I have learned a lot from characters: how to evolve, be more accepting, more confident and kind. How to be determined, have courage and not let unsettling words hold me back. Films allow us to see a glimpse of ourselves in characters, stories, relationships and conflicts, as long as we are open to the experience. We could all have a different reaction to the same film because we relate to the film in different ways.
For instance, I love the Harry Potter films, but I know quite a few people who are not fans. I have liked the character of Harry Potter since I was a kid. It was probably partly because he had glasses and so did I. It was also probably because he was nice and got bullied because so did I. I could relate to the character and I learned a lot from watching him. I learned to stand up for myself, like Harry did to Malfoy, but not to be mean. I learned to push for what is right and be ok with what might look like a failure, because it could end up being a win in the end.
Films are good teachers. Even the worst films often have lessons built into them, like, it’s ok to fail because at least you gave it a try. Trying something and failing is better than not trying at all, especially when you learn from the experience.
4. Not Alone
This is the most important reason why I like movies and why I like to tell stories. I was going through a hard time that caused me to feel desperately alone. I had a head injury and no one understood what I was going through, not even the handful of doctors I went to weekly. No one could tell me if I would ever get better, or how long my recovery would take. I spent years just laying down on a couch in so much pain, no friends, I could barely walk or talk, and my thoughts ran wild in my mind 25/8.
Once I slowly got better, I was able to watch movies again. But now, watching a movie was a much different experience. I felt movies. I felt them, I did not just watch them. When I saw a character cry, I felt their sadness because I felt it in my life, too. When a character was betrayed, I cried from their pain because I felt it, too. Watching films made me feel less alone in my struggle. I related, even when characters were magical or had super powers, their emotions were realistic and I felt understood for the first time in so long.
That is the power of movies.
I love films. They are great. But there are definitely things that can be done to make the movie industry a more welcoming place.
When I was younger I rarely, if ever, saw films that had people that looked like me in them. I was made fun of for the majority of my life for being Asian. (Even though I am also Polish and Italian, and I am just 1/4 Asian.) I was made fun of every day for my eyes, my hair, my good grades. For so long I thought that because I was Asian, I was not good enough for anyone and that no one would want me. It hurts me to type that, but it is true. I believed that to my core.
Television and movies reinforced that mindset because I rarely saw people that looked like me on screen. I hope this generation of cinema can change that and make it so incredibly normal to see a wide variety of people on that big screen. That is what I will be doing for my future films, I will have a diverse cast.
I have hope. I think we can do it, but it needs to be a conscious choice because without that, I fear the next generation of kids will have to deal with the same thing that I had to deal with. I did not have someone that looked like me that I could look up to. I did not have someone to tell me that being and looking different was beautiful, too.
I know we can do better and we will.
I hope you are doing ok.
I am sending you happiness.
I am sending you hope and a smile, even if only for a few seconds.
I know we can do better and we will.
I hope this post helped you in some way.
I will continue educating myself as much as possible.