Life Lessons From Movies
What Movies Do You Find Meaningful?
Backed By Science!
"moviewise: Life Lessons From Movies" is a newsletter that catalogues the life lessons (guides to life) found in films.
Here we discuss the movie wisdom revealed in great comedy, documentary, drama, and fantasy films.
Why? Because “meaningful movies help people cope with life’s difficulties”— ScienceDaily, and this is backed up by science!
The beauty of movies is that they model behavior. They allow us to experience another person’s life: live their frame of reference, see their point of view. And in so doing become, as film critic Roger Ebert wrote, “the most powerful empathy machine.” It even goes further than this because movies are also the embodiment of our collective knowledge. The collaborative nature of making and producing movies means that when there is a message expressed, it is likely upheld by multiple people who believe others should hear it.
Clearly then, there is a lot of wisdom to be learned from watching movies. If you think about all the resources, all the money, all the people, the heart, energy, and thought that needs go into making a feature length film, it is reasonable to consider what the main message is in a film. Why go through such a public medium with the hopes of reaching a large audience, if the creators, the auteurs, didn’t have something significant or valuable to say? Yes, some movies are just mindless entertainment, but even these reveal some truths about ourselves and our lives.
Meanwhile, great movies leave you thinking about ideas and beliefs. While it is possible that the filmmakers did not set out to transfer wisdom, they nevertheless gave us a product of the mind for the mind. And although our tendency to look for meaning where there isn’t any may get the best of us occasionally, sometimes it is infinitely clear that we are meant to learn something from watching a movie. And what’s easier than learning by watching? We humans are very good at that.
Indeed, we are a social species that has used storytelling as a means to connect to one another, to teach and learn from each other, since before the beginning of civilization. The prehistoric cave paintings that date back 40,000 years in Spain (El Castillo) and 30,000 in France (Chauvet) are the progenitors of modern movies. Why did our ancient ancestors immortalize images of large wild animals such as horses and bison, and imprint human hands on the walls of caves? Could the reason be the same one that drives filmmakers to immortalize moving images on the screen? Like the cave paintings, perhaps movies are trying to communicate something. Movies are truly a treasure trove of insight into the very core of human existence.
These insights, these guides, are the Life Lessons chronicled on moviewise. Film criticism is a public service profession. A good film review is a reliable guidepost that informs of the good and the bad. It can point people toward movies that are not only well made and entertaining, but also insightful in a way that leaves viewers satisfied and perhaps wiser.
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Visit the moviewise catalogue—a searchable database of one sentence movie summaries, movie quotes, and movie wisdom—for movie recommendations.
Also visit the moviewise store. Get a t-shirt, bag, or pillow with your favorite #LifeLesson from a movie. Reply to this or leave a comment below to make a request.