Movie Philosophy: What Movies mean to Me

Gasp! What’s this? This isn’t Game Philosophy!

No, it’s…

Funny story, the tag of “Movie Philosophy” has been on this blog the whole time, I just never actually used it.
And since I’m back to blogging a bit, I might as well use the tag to create a little subsection of this blog, where I talk about movies instead.

With that out of the way, let’s begin.

Today’s Topic:
What Movies mean to Me

If you’ve read my blog post about what games mean to me, you’d know that I play games to learn about myself.

From a certain point of view, movies are pretty much the same. But the main difference lies in what movies lack compared to games. Interaction.

When you play a game, you’re in control of the character’s actions. You can interpret the story based on how YOU want the hero to deal with a certain problem (albeit most of the time it’s just variations of “kill the enemy”, but still…).


Movies vs Games

Basically, games have interaction and movies don’t. Right?

Well… that’s actually not COMPLETELY true.

Sure, you don’t have CONTROL over the hero of the movie… but you DO interact with them. Any time you tense up about whether the hero will survive or not, when you think along the hero what the villain’s ultimate plan is, when you’re saddened by the hero’s loss, when you’re terrified as a creepy ghost suddenly jumps into the frame. You’re still INTERACTING with the movie, right?

In my case it goes a bit further. When I watch a movie, I see an argument. A message that the movie wants to put forward.

Sometimes it’s a very dogmatic argument.
“War is bad!”, “Depression hurts!”, “Everything’s possible when you believe in yourself!”, etc.

Other times the argument is given with ambiguity.
“Does the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?”, “Is it better to be free in the unknown or imprisoned in safety?”, “Do the ends justify the means?”, etc.

The Argument

Whatever the message is, I will think about it. The movie allows me the chance to look at the message from the hero’s point of view. Sometimes the hero’s point of view aligns nicely with mine, other times they don’t. Why are we different? Why would they make a decision differently than what I would do?

It is easy to look at a bad decision in a movie and say “Hah hah! I would SO have done this WAY MORE CLEVER thing!” and smugly smile to yourself for how clever you are. Believe me, I do it all the time myself.

But when I’m done joking around, I don’t just leave it at that “clever comment” and move on to the next point to joke about. I think back on the decision. Take away the benefit of hindsight that I as a viewer on the outside have compared to the hero. Would I REALLY have done things THAT differently if I were in his shoes? And if I did, why would I be certain I’d do something different? Taken into account what happens later in the movie, is what I would do really THAT much more clever than what the hero did? Would it REALLY have worked out better that way?

I’ve made it no secret that I am a huge fan of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. While the Film Adaptation has it’s flaws, it’s still one of my most favourite films of all time. Despite that, both the characters of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern end up doing things that I am CERTAIN I wouldn’t have done myself. I know myself well enough to be certain of it.

Still I love the movie because I ALSO know who Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are as characters. I have LEARNED how they think, even if I don’t agree with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you’re wrong for liking to watch movies that DO conform to your opinions. In the end movies are entertainment, and different people want to be entertained in different ways. Heck, don’t let other people tell you that you’re wrong for loving something that’s “supposed to be bad”. You enjoy what you enjoy, don’t force your opinion on someone else just because they disagree with you. Be free to like what you like. I just PERSONALLY like watching movies that dare to represent a different point of view. A point of view that I otherwise wouldn’t have.


So what do movies mean to me? Challenge. They’re there to challenge my beliefs and acknowledge a different point of view. Sometimes I want to watch something simple to relax, but when I watch a movie seriously I am fully prepared to dive into the world the movie wants to show me. They teach me to think for myself by laying the options in front of me. If two movies have opposing messages that just means I can take notes from both messages and figure out my own.

This post is part of a relaunch of this blog. You can read Part 1 and Part 3 of this blog by clicking the buttons below.

Published by Huy Minh Le

Huy Minh Le is a Video Game Enthusiast, Movie Lover, Writer, Content Marketeer and regular TvTropes reader! His studies in Game Design, Art, and Writing has led to a very creative, yet analytical mind.

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