Social Question

digitalimpression's avatar

How much impact do movies with a "message" have?

Asked by digitalimpression (9910points) November 24th, 2011

I just finished watching The Siege again and it has a lot of blatant political and moral messages thrown into the script. How much do these messages affect society and change minds?
Do you think people just watch movies without taking anything away from them? Are people’s convictions solidified and affirmed by movie messages which become a catalyst for real change in their life? What do you think?

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19 Answers

SavoirFaire's avatar

I think how much the message affects one’s thinking is a function of how well it is presented and how predisposed you are to or against it. Blatant messages seem to be less effective. It’s better to present a situation and make people ask themselves the questions that might change how they think. Though if someone is already dead set against a view, no film will change his mind.

Movies can get people thinking, though. I’ve had students ask any number of moral and metaphysical questions based on movies—and not just obvious films like The Matrix or Sophie’s Choice.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Don’t all movies have messages? Maybe not purposeful ones, maybe not really blatant ones, but messages none the less?

Mariah's avatar

I don’t think any one movie shown to an adult, on average, probably has a big imact.

I do think multiple movies all enforcing a common theme to a child can result in that child having a fundamental misunderstanding of how the world works.

I think many children who grew up on Disney movies are probably suffering under the delusion that life is fair.

MilkyWay's avatar

I’m not sure about the impact it has on society, but a lot of films always make me think about things.

CWOTUS's avatar

“Message” movies (and books, poems, art or any other medium, for that matter) certainly have “an effect”, but it’s a retail effect, not wholesale. That is, people take their own meaning and ‘message’ from the work, think about it, interpret it and work it into their psyches (or not) on an individual basis.

So the question then becomes “how much effect does an individual have” on anything. Depends on the person and the times.

digitalimpression's avatar

@Aethelflaed What was the message in the movie “Borat” ?

Aethelflaed's avatar

@digitalimpression I don’t know; I haven’t seen Borat.

digitalimpression's avatar

@Aethelflaed Well the answer is that there wasn’t one. It was just a horrendous attempt at “shock factor” that ended up spoiling people’s appetites across the globe.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@digitalimpression As Borat is supposed to be a satire, it is presumably satirizing something. Maybe there’s a message in that. I don’t know. I watched about 30 minutes of the film before deciding not to waste any more of my time.

digitalimpression's avatar

@SavoirFaire Well of course, someone could perceive a “message” from anything. I suppose I’m referring to something more profound than and old British guy from Kazikstan showing off his john piece.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@digitalimpression Do you mean messages, or morals? Because lots of movies have messages that they don’t really purposefully insert, it’s just how their thinking comes out. For example, in rom-coms, a big one is “gay people don’t exist, especially not outside of that fab-u-lous hair stylist”. Or, “eating is how all women deal with their unpleasant emotions”. Or, “All the desirable women are thin, blond, and have a stable job but not one that they couldn’t give up to settle down”. But then the moral of the story is “don’t worry, you’ll find your Prince Charming, he’ll rescue you, and you’ll live happily ever after”.

ucme's avatar

I don’t want to come away with a “message” from watching a movie.
I just want to be entertained, i’m old fashioned like that see.

digitalimpression's avatar

@Aethelflaed Messages and morals. In the Siege they presented yet another greater good conflict.

Earthgirl's avatar

I think it’s possible for a movie to have impact on a person’s thinking. It depends how open the person is to the message. It depends how well done the movie is. Often I think movies affect us in ways that we never realize and books also. I sometimes look back on the movies I loved as a child and I see how formative they were in my thinking about how the world works. Of course that changes and evolves as we get older.

Sometimes I am perplexed as to why I loved a certain movie so much as a child. I had good loving parents but somehow I always liked the stories about orphan children. I don’t know why I identified with them so much. I also always loved the underdog.

Movies are good at manipulating our emotions. That can change our perspective or just be self indulgent ways of feeling good, or feeling good about feeling bad. You know what I mean?

Mariah I was just thinking of the messages in the movie Beauty and the Beast. Belle is the most intellectual of the Disney heroines. She loves to read! A girl after my own heart! There are a lot of morals lessons in the movie. First, you can love someone not based on looks but on the kind of person(Is the beast a person?) they are. Second, self sacrifice is noble. (Belle agrees to stay with the beast in order to save her father) Third, if you love someone set them free (as the beast lets Belle go to her father when he is sick.)

digitalimpression's avatar

@Earthgirl Impressionable youth. Yeah, that’s when the “message” is most effective. Lots of messages in B&theB.

Earthgirl's avatar

I forgot that I wanted to give this link to a great song by Angus and Julia Stone
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5Er0-YQ2_Y&ob=av3e

I blame you Hollywood,
for showing me things you never should
show a young girl,
In a cruel world.

Because life’s not a happy ending,
I’m sure there is some,
like Johnny and June,
and maybe other people too.

They all would have been killed
in the sound of music,
they would have found out that
Pinocchio could never tell the truth.

She never would have made it to shore,
the little mermaid. He would have married a whore
from a wealthy family, after all he was royalty.

Cinderella would have scrubbed those floors
till her hands grew old and tired,
and nobody would look away,
that’s the way it goes today.

I blame you Hollywood,
for showing me things you never should
show a young girl,
In this cruel world.

Because life’s not a happy ending,
I’m sure there is some
like Johnny and June,
and maybe other people too.

And maybe other people too
Like me and you.

digitalimpression's avatar

Cool song with unique vocals.

It’s interesting that the argument about how violence in video games etc is always a topic, but the messages in movies slip on by without a hair raised many times.

Earthgirl's avatar

digitalimpression Yeah, Julia’s voice with it’s high pitched girly quality is not for everyone, even for me it can be annoying, but sometimes it just works.

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