When we go to the movies, we’re really paying to watch the transformation of the characters before us. It’s what lures us in and perhaps it even inspires us.
It’s like going to an amusement park really. Think about it. Would you actually buy a ticket to take a normal walk down a roped-off patch of sidewalk? Just like the amusement park rides that throw us up in the air and twist us all around, we go to the movies because they arouse within us feelings foreign to our everyday lives. The characters are able to take the steps we cannot. They say and do the things we’re afraid to do. And thus we get to toss popcorn into our mouths with just a little bit more excitement.
In our daily lives, the instant something upsets or makes us feel bad, rather than stopping to take a look inside, we immediately focus our attention elsewhere. In reality, such troubling moments actually contain significant value. During such moments doors can open, allowing us to see and understand ourselves better. Usually, however, we prefer to use short-cuts, like chocolate for example, to make ourselves feel better. Since we never develop an understanding of the real issue, we continue on in circles, re-living the same scenarios over and over with new people at different places and times.
In the movies, the characters generally become aware of the patterns in these events and their reactions, which is what spurs their transformations to begin.
In general it’s the “good guy’s” story that’s portrayed in popular films. It’s easy to identify with such characters, after all they’re “good.” And thus these films easily become popular. There are, however, directors who make movies about and find ways to endear us to the “bad guys” as well. Tarantino is a good example of one of the most popular directors of this type. One of the things that has made Tarantino so famous is his reputation for always choosing to portray the stories of the “bad guys.”
In the movies, ideas of “beauty” and “good” are continuously being imposed upon us. However, everybody is already easily attracted to that which he or she finds beautiful and good. On the contrary, what might it be like to try to understand that which we tend to perceive as bad, ugly or weak? To turn our gaze in the other direction and receive what we see there into our lives as well?
There’s no need to search for this in someone else. The easiest way to start is by looking at ourselves during those troubling moments when we feel guilty. In fact, the times we try hardest to escape are perhaps really the most valuable opportunities we have for understanding ourselves.