Whether you’re watching shows, movies, or documentaries, the benefits of a film can be undeniably life-changing. The power media has on the brain, including all the different effects, makes adding movie watching to your schedule completely worthwhile. These effects can include creativity, knowledge about things completely different, unique outlooks, and more. Movies and shows have the ability to shift and alter the way you view things. When shown the right movie, you can come across a transformative and even enlightening experience. So many emotions and ideas are poured into you, even through just one episode of a series. The power media holds is one that can potentially change your entire understanding of a concept or topic. There are multiple ways in which these benefits are carried out, so let’s talk about them.
1. Gives new perspectives on important issues
All great movies tend to be known for capturing a new angle that shocks people. It can be in a good way or a bad way, but a light is being shed in a way that is different or unexpected. Often, these kinds of movies and shows are directed with a specific goal, to change the viewer’s perspective or give them new things to consider. Sometimes it can even be in a way that isn’t clear or specific, just a feeling. The kind of feeling that reminds you about another way your life can be, another way it can be thought of. It’s the kind of thing that expresses a change and a new attitude. Enlightenment. But this can also go in the opposite way, when the film wants the viewer to realize something that’s being unsaid or unchanged. A kind of call to action for something that is being forgotten about and needs realization. Examples of movies like this are “To all of the bright places”, which can be found on Netflix. This film shines a light on depression and suicide, which can go unnoticed from another perspective. The reason films have such power is that every angle and perspective shown has meaning. Everything shown in a movie is a perspective on whatever issue is being displayed.
All the Bright Places starring Elle Fanning & Justice Smith | Official Trailer | Netflix
2. Brings together those that can relate.
Movies are powerful because of the way it allows audiences to connect with each other. The audience can see themselves in certain situations that are shown on the screen. This brings up the idea of film relatability. When an audience can relate to what they’re seeing, they might feel a sense of importance, like the things they’ve been through are valid and seen. Audiences can be impacted by what’s being focused on in a movie because it’s almost like their story is being shared. The feedback from these audiences is incredibly important not only because it’s what they have actually been through, but also because others will learn from it as well. There are countless shows that were made to bring together people who can relate to something very difficult and give them a platform to be seen.
An example is the Netflix series (Trigger warning: Bullying, sexual assault, suicide, violence. Skip to the next list item to avoid) “13 reasons why.” This is a show that shows characters, high school teens, who suffer through different emotional and physical battles at such a young age. Many times these kinds of shows show very real struggles like alcoholism, suicide, mental health, and more. This show was able to bring many people who were, or are, going through difficult times together. People come together when it comes to sharing experiences, even difficult ones. By having a show that’s able to display such difficult things, people are able to have this platform for their feelings and experiences. They are able to relate to what they see and even feel closer as an audience.
3. Sharing an experience.
We all have wondered what it would be like to experience a certain way of life. There really is no way to truly do this, but luckily, we have media to capture moments and challenges that are different than our own. At a time, we could learn the different life challenges people experienced through oral and written stories. But now there are genres of movies that are meant to help people relate, even those who know nothing of that experience.
For example, movies about cancer and other terminal illnesses have been very popular in past years. The main audiences are people who haven’t gone through these illnesses themselves! It’s no surprise that people who don’t know what it’s like to go through said things are the ones who watch these movies and shows. Media has its ways of setting a perspective in a specific direction. A movie can really choose to focus on a specific hard-hitting experience that will be demonstrated in a visual aspect. Sometimes this is the best way for a person to understand certain things. An example of a movie that captures real-life challenges is “The Fosters”, found on Freeform, or Netflix. This is a show that shows the challenges that come with the foster care system, adoption, same-sex parents, teen violence, school shootings, and more. Another example is “Shameless”, a very popularly watched show because of the various challenges of life that are best demonstrated through film.
4. Learning outside of yourself
Movies also have the power to be extremely informative. You can actually be learning a lot while laying back and watching movies. There are films that are meant to teach and relay information about very serious or important things. When you learn outside of yourself, you’re getting out of your head and retaining new information. You’re not just learning about another person’s experience and continuing on, instead, you’re developing new concepts using outside knowledge. Many times things like these are in the form of documentaries or clips of major events being shown. The visual effect of media contributes a lot in this case. Sometimes actually seeing video proof can elevate the effects that events have. When an audience is able to see what was or is happening, a stronger connection is created to the story. This is very important in the case of historical events because they specifically tend to be difficult to understand without seeing.
We typically see these kinds of films in school, but there are different things that we can learn about that are equally as important to see. An example of this is “The Boy In The Striped Pajamas” which can be found on Netflix.
5. Escaping a difficult situation, and finding comfort.
We all know the feeling of getting home from a long day at school/work, wanting to cool down with a delicious snack, and turning on our favorite comfort show. The feeling of melting away all our stress, and an escape from reality for even just 30 minutes before the next day. Watching a comforting movie or tv show can be very stress relieving and even have various soothing qualities. We’re able to travel somewhere else in our brains to a place that is relaxing and does not have the everyday stresses that we go through. For many people, everyday life is chaotic, and home life may not do the same thing for them that media does. Not everyone can go on vacations, go somewhere else, or even talk to someone in their community.
When we deal with a difficult situation, a natural instinct is to want a break, to take a breather in order to better process. But, that’s not possible for everyone, especially those going through major conflicts or situations. The only way to achieve this state of ease is to watch something that’s about something completely different. All of a sudden a person in this scenario is able to laugh, smile, and overall switch their focus to give themselves a break. Life can be more than challenging at times and can begin to feel too heavy on one’s mind, so it’s important to forget your troubles every once in a while to maintain clear-headedness. Examples of these kinds of shows are: “Gilmore Girls,” “Friends,” and “The Office.” These are all shows focused on humor and feel-good content. These are the kinds of shows that are meant to be light and give you a laugh when you might really need it.
6. Capturing impactful emotion
Of course, we all know how powerful a movie can be, but do we actually talk about the emotional aspect of it enough? We know the different ways that our emotions can take place, whether that’s screaming, shooting, or trapping them all inside, it’s usually a visual process. The way we allow our emotions to rise is visual, we are able to see what we feel and how others feel. This is through our actions, our words, and all the different ways we understand. A scene in a movie has the potential to describe exactly how a character feels, thinks, and acts all in one take. We ignore the ability a movie has to break down emotional outbreaks. In that way, film is the most effective in this process. A show on HBO Max, “Euphoria”, has gained a lot of recognition recently. This is mainly because of the emotion it’s able to capture and the rawness of the people in it. The way emotion is captured in this show is not only through the script, but also the way it’s being shown.
7. Creativity and big thinking.
Imagination is something we don’t often consider to be a positive aspect of film. We need an outlet to challenge our minds in ways that many movies do. Of course, there are many ways people can achieve this, but when it comes to film, it’s more of a challenge. It’s not something that we were doing ourselves, we are allowing the films themselves to attempt to blow our minds. And, sometimes it’s a complete surprise. You may be watching a movie that’s on, and begin to really find that you’ve thought about something you’ve really never thought of before, or in that specific way. The artistic factor is something that should also be thought about. With film, directors and film artists can create all kinds of backgrounds and unique characters. These kinds of things can really impact the way we see things. For example, “The Sandman”, on Netflix, is a recent example. A series that captures a dream realm in such a beautiful way. A more popular example is all the Marvel movies. These are movies that are excellent examples of nonfiction that capture stories about characters in such a way that allows the viewer to think in larger ways.
When we were younger, we watched all kinds of cartoons like Disney or Looney Toons, whatever it may be. But why are we pressured to grow out of imaginative kinds of movies? The visual aspect is very ground-changing in our imaginations. It’s usually about hands-on when people think of creativity, but why can’t it be also encouraged to watch movies? The mind is creatively challenged when we watch a good movie or show that’s meant to get us thinning. It can be argued that watching a film is just as, or even more creatively challenging than painting or building something. We should not be doubting the power movies and shows have on our minds because we as humans are very visual and intellectual beings, so why is physically watching something interesting less effective than doing it? It’s all subjective, but the art of film should not be counted out.
Movies and shows are amazing and we should value what they add. From serious implications like building empathy and learning about others’ experiences to finding our own escapes and building creativity, they add a lot to our lives. Next time you sit down to watch a movie or a show, really try to soak it all in.