Why Do We Love the Movies?

by | Mar 1, 2020

Entertainment and escape are reason enough to love movies. No one needs to make an apology because he or she writes a movie that wows the audience. It’s about pulling the audience into a world and into a character that gives them a vicarious ride of delight, emotional engagement and surprising turns of plot. But movies are more. Movies compel us to look at ourselves.

The stories allow us to take a focused look through drama or comedy to examine the world of relationships in which we live. Movies are the ongoing record of our own sense of humanity. They pull us into universal truths: family, joy, sorrow, redemption, vengeance, victory. Loss.

Movies, when they’re done well, allow the audience a shared experience of humanity, in a theater while surrounded by strangers. We might sit alone in solitude, having taken a break from a busy schedule: or, we might sit with a film buddy or date. But the movie itself is a singular experience of emotional interaction. When the opening sequence of the film rolls, we are compelled by action, dialogue, tension and conflict to process a story that is about a hero on a quest. A hero of reluctance. A hero who operates in fear and reaction. A hero like us. The hero’s quest is why we relate to movies. The quest compels the protagonist toward an ultimate conflict that will be resolved with finality.

At the end of the movie, the story has resolution. In our lives, we live in shades of gray. The world doesn’t always treat us fairly. The right and just thing doesn’t always come about. Nice guys really do finish last. But in movies, scene by scene, the story culminates in a dramatic confrontation that offers either victory or vanquishment. We know the final answer when the movie credits roll. In life, we don’t always have that sense of resolution. Deep parts of our past and our relationships remain in limbo. So, we go to the movies. We watch characters who make horrible mistakes and bounce back. We watch relationships fall apart and mend again., We see the hope of what our own lives might be. We do it all while sitting in a dark, cool, cavernous theater, that permeates with the smell of buttered popcorn.

That is why we love the movies. Loving you dear writer.

ProPath Screenwriting