MY VIEW: Movies develop character and empathy

MY VIEW: Movies develop character and empathy

So, apparently, nobody watches movies anymore. Someone told me that a bunch of sophomores don’t watch movies, and I’ve never felt so offended. Who doesn’t watch movies? What do they do with their time? How do they escape reality and all of life’s issues for a few hours?!

  Movies have always had a special place in my heart. As a small child, going to the movie theaters or popping a movie disc into the DVD player was the most exciting thing ever. I was being given the opportunity to travel to a whole different land or a different time, a place filled with things outside mundane life. I watched cartoon movies every night since I couldn’t fall asleep without something playing. Movies like The Road to El Dorado, All Dogs Go To Heaven, Ice Age and Atlantis: The Lost Empire practically raised me. There were tons of other movies, but these were the ones that created an impact on me that shaped who I was.

  You see, movies morph who we are as people. I’ll bet you $5 that one of your personality traits is based on a character you loved as a kid, or you had some kind of embarrassing phase where all you cared about was that one movie. Movies can even reach into your teen years and influence who you are as a person. If you’re like me, you end up looking up every single fact possible about the movie and relate so much to a character that you want to be them. That’s the whole point of a character–a person whom you attach to or dislike. I have definitely formed an attachment to one or two characters from movies over time and let’s just say that my personality is akin to theirs. Is there at least one character to whom you feel like similar? 

  You know, over the course of time, more and more focus has been shifted toward TV or video games for entertainment. People say that movies bore them with their length and that TV shows give you content in bite-sized pieces that are easy to digest. I agree, television is so much easier to watch if you want a long story and intricate plots. Video games are the same way. A player can do all these activities that contribute to an overall plot that keeps the player engaged. It’s long and stimulates the brain in numerous ways over their time playing or watching. 

  To me, movies are pieces of entertainment that are meant to be savored. You watch the plot unfold in front of you in the classic beginning, middle and ending format. They’re easy to follow (most of the time) and usually by the end of one, you’ve spent a nice few hours in a land unlike your own. Spending time with these characters teaches empathy. Watchers learn how to connect with people and their situations, feel inspired and help gather information about the world around them. Even if it’s a fantasy movie with no correlation to the present, it still presents a message that is essential to learn. TV shows or video games take hours upon hours to present a message or story to you, while movies can accomplish the same thing in a much more manageable time. 

  The fact that people don’t watch movies or didn’t grow up with movies is borderline upsetting. As a kid, how did you learn to connect with people? How did you develop that empathetic understanding? Outside of watching your phone or playing video games, what truly keeps you entertained for a few hours? I think it is so important to watch movies because in just a few hours, you can experience a whirlwind of emotions that help connect you to your own emotions and help develop your personality. I think it’s important to watch movies that you like instead of just watching random ones. You have to be interested; otherwise, it doesn’t work. So,  if you’re a kid, a teen or an adult, it is never too late to pick up a DVD that catches your eye and sit down. Immerse yourself for a few hours. Who knows, you might even fall down the rabbit hole.