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The Contextual Meaning of a Movie: It Isn’t The Same To All

I’ve been thinking a lot about context lately.  More specifically, the meaning that things have within a certain context.

For example, a knife in itself isn’t a bad thing.  But, say, in the hands of a baby or a killer, well…  Enough said.

I wish the question of context was as easy when it came to movies.  There is a relationship between real life and movies, but it is a murky one; does art imitate life, or does life imitate art?  Both, of course—and I don’t think there is a way to really know which one comes first.

I do think that someone mature and well-grounded will not watch a movie and think “This is what real life is.”  But it seems to me that, as a society, we should focus on protecting its weakest members.  In this case, the weakest members will most probably think that real life is like in the movies—for better or worse.

Which leads me to suggest that perhaps we should either be more careful with what audience sees which movie, or provide a very solid support system to viewers who do not have the maturity to realise that what is in a movie is not what is in real life.

The former is something that the institutions of our society—the government, in other words—has to look into; the latter, while sounding very complex, can be quite simple.  In the case of a family, it means providing a space—for example, suppertime—in which movies can be discussed, openly, honestly, kindly, and lovingly, and misconceptions analysed and, hopefully, cast aside.  And by “family” is not only meant mom-dad-children; one can also create a regular space with friends, protégées, coworkers, and even random strangers (say, a movie discussion group at a library or online).

I really feel strongly that the current context in which movies are viewed gives them much more meaning than they have—and not often in the best of ways.  I feel just as strongly that there are so many people out there who are well-grounded.  If these people were to reach out and become available to others, we could dissipate so much of the unhealthy misconception that movies perpetuate.

Isn’t it great, how much change individuals can effect?

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6 thoughts on “The Contextual Meaning of a Movie: It Isn’t The Same To All

  1. My girls watch some Disney movies—and then play them later. It’s really interesting to see what they take away from movies as they play them. Every so often they say something that shows a misunderstanding, but one of my favorite things to see is when they take on a character’s best attributes through play.

    1. I never thought about assessing understanding through play, what a brilliant technique! Have they ever understood things in a way that made you uncomfortable?

  2. I often think this about movies that portray relationships as it doesn’t always work out and it isn’t the love story in real life that it is in the movies. I think it gives people a very false sense of what it is. Same as with action and violence. I hadn’t thought about it until my children started watching movies and they ask me about what is real and what is not in regards to super heroes and action films. Of course my views on the Disney films sometimes get a frown, but I think they are getting better!

    1. Oh, I didn’t even think about violence, excellent point–and also the superhero complex of “I am only special if I do this on my own.” How do you deal with this? I have a feeling I saw a post about this on your blog, if I am not mistaken, do drop a link below!!!

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