Why do we love films?

Have you ever wondered why we watch films? It must be so strange from an outside perspective, seeing human beings sit in front of boxes and watch moving images for hours at an end. But we’re so used to the idea, that we don’t find it hilarious- we don’t question it altogether. So then, the question remains: why do we like films? Well, there are plenty of answers.

We like stories

We’re told stories from a frail age, even before we can actually understand their narratives and content. And we grow up with stories, told by our parents or grandparents after we’re put to sleep, told by our kindergarten teacher, told by the first books that we learn to read from. There’s something about stories that entertains us, that makes us wonder, and that leaves us begging for more. Films and series have the same effect: they have something to tell us, and we feel obliged to sit there and watch.

Films give us someone to relate to

People have been scientifically proven to be inclined to be interested in those in circumstances similar to theirs – and this applies to fictional characters on a screen, too. If going through a particularly tough breakup, watching a film that features a character in the same situation might just soothe your pain a little bit. Watching a character ace a job interview may motivate you to try and get the same outcome – surely you are at least as capable as him or her.

Films make us forget about daily life

Had a particularly hard day at work, and you came back home only to notice that you have nothing left in the fridge, and that your dog ‘accidentally’ tore apart the book which you were so looking forward to finish? Additionally, you have to pay the rent tomorrow, and get some paperwork done – the one which you’ve already been postponing for a couple of days. Sure, you want to rest, but you’d rather relax and forget about everything for a while. Then you should watch a film – it’s a wonderful way to jump in a different mindset, and deal with fears and worries that are someone else’s, for a change.

Films tell us (and others) who we are

I don’t know about you, but I quite often choose my best friends depending on what kind of movies they enjoy the most. Sure, what we like and don’t like might be determined by more temporary factors, but i still regard such preferences as accurate indication of personality, attention span, artistic inclination and, why not, intelligence. Also, by watching films and reviewing how we feel about them, we can better understand ourselves – what we like, what we stand for, resonate with, or outright reject. So there you are, an efficient self-analysis tool!

Article written by Julian Leu for The Monthly Film Festival



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