3 Ways Movies Can Change Your Life

Going to the cinema was a traditional thing in my family. It was mostly during Saturday nights following a good dinner at the local restaurant of which my family were regular patrons since before I was born. My enthusiasm about movies was passed down to me by my dad, sometimes my dad and I would sit up all night talking about movies of all genres, ranging from comedies to romance to world war movies.  He had some really good taste in his movies I have to give him that. Some of the best trips I have made with my dad were those to the video store so we could stop on some good national and international movies. There were some that we regretted watching, some that I practically watched every day over lunch.

There were three phases of movie watching in my life.

First phase: never really followed the story or the scripts, I just watched the movies for the cute animals (Homeward bound), the magic (Harry potter) and the monsters (Jurassic park). This gave me some things to share with my friends so I could look cool.

Second phase: I watched it for the cute guys or just because the person that I was currently crushing on was in it.

Third phase (the most critical one) was watching movies for the sole purpose of studying the most powerful characters, learning the methodologies followed by these characters, incorporating the inspirational actions and speeches in my own life with the hope that it could help me achieve my goals. These goals were of many types: to achieve popularity, for fashion/makeup inspiration, to handle arguments and build my skills at having good comebacks to criticisms etc.

Now, there are so many trashy movies out there and I am pretty sure I have watched most of them. But I have reached a point where I can take even from the trashiest of movies some pretty great life lessons.

The first time I watched Harry Potter, I swear I never followed the story, the first time I watched the Philosopher’s stone was during my first phase. I loved the scenes where stuff levitated, I longed for my letter of admission to Hogwarts.

When I watched the whole series again when I was older I truly saw the beauty, strength and depth in all the characters in the movie.

Watching movies has taught me a lot of values than any class or lectures from my parents did. You can learn too but if you choose your movies wisely and decide what to adopt and what not to.

In this article, I will talk about how movies

Movies broaden your mindset about contemporary issues.

How you can learn the values and benefits of discipline and good ethics.

How you can carry yourself with strength and grace and come out looking like a god damn boss!

How movies encourage you to embrace diversity

How good things will happen to those who take a stand and fight for the greater good.

Can reveal your compassionate nature.

The actors that play the different roles in a good movie invest a lot of time and energy to do their characters justice.

It helps you understand complex personalities

If you have a look at this article , you can read about how some actors sacrificed their comfort, luxuries and even their relationships to pick up the behavioural traits. One of the craziest effort was how during the shooting for Rocky, Silvester Stallone actually requested his co-star Dolph Lundgren to really hit him… hard… His injury was so severe that he had to be flown to the US for treatment and was hospitalized for five days. So when you have all these talented men and women playing such strong characters, it reveals the inner drive, personalities, insecurities and believes of different kinds of people. It truly makes you understand why people are the way they are. It gives you a better perspective in handling a group of people with different characters.

The next time you watch a movie with characters that have depth and intensity, study them, try to visualize how their life was and what made them that way. Map it over your own life and try to understand how you would fight the same fight as the character.

  1. Movies encourage compassion.

It is not really easy to turn off all of your feelings (https://tinybuddha.com/blog/small-acts-of-love-and-compassion-can-change-the-world/) and just hope for survival. To me, compassion is mainly understanding your duties and loyalty to a person and the ability to put other’s needs before your own.

To truly develop compassion, one must exercise it in the very small deeds he does. One of the movies that truly opened my eyes in this regard is Forrest Gump .

Here’s this guy who had every reason to just give up and pity himself for all his physical shortcomings, but with the powerful thing that is his mind, he goes on to try and excel at things even the physically fittest would have doubts on. Forrest’s strengths inspired me and also made me feel very little inside. On many occasions, you see him putting others needs before his own. The scene where he saves wounded soldiers in the Vietnam War; when he lets go of everything and runs to his mother to take care of her when she is ill; when he donates so much of his hard-earned money for various causes and to help the people who have helped him once. How can you not feel inspired after watching this movie?

The best movies are those that create an instinct in viewers to do a good deed. Movies like these can affect your life and actions so much that they become a part of your life. This post talks about compassion can be cultivated in adults by envisioning the display of compassionate behaviour towards those who are suffering  Watching movies really help us in this process by showing what compassion and kindness can do to another person.

2. It makes you a better speaker.

This was something I practised since I was very young.

Whenever I saw a movie where a really strong character gave a powerful speech, I reflected and repeated it in my head a number of times. I would practice those speeches in my room in front of a mirror; not because I wanted to audition for a role or something, because I was addicted to the high it gave me.

It made me feel powerful and invincible even during the darkest of times. To this day, some of the strongest arguments I have given were inspired by the movies I watched and the characters that I looked up to. Have a look at this post about movies that had the best movie speeches in history. Spend time watching some of the movies or just the speeches that earned the actors appreciation and awards. It teaches us how even amidst a pressing crisis or pain, the power of the human mind cannot be broken. It will inspire you to stay true to your believes and vision and prove all the nay sayers wrong.

3. Movies can keep you grounded to reality.

Yes, I know… how could a billion dollar industry that employs and dresses up people to be something they’re not keep us grounded.

There are some movies that really tap into your mind and make you think about how you would react to extreme situations. We are way too comfortable in our privileged life, we try to keep moving to make ourselves look busy with no idea about the destination. Sometimes, we need to stop and reflect on our reactions to situations and the relationships we build in our lives.

We distance ourselves from the things that could potentially make us sad, but the reality is that we desperately need to hear those stories, feel the anger and cry for the weak and hungry. The exposure to sadness and anger makes us human and we need to allow ourselves to witness the most disgusting dark and sinful deeds one does to another. Schindler’s List is one such movie that tells you a story of how a small idea, a dream, a word could still give hope to millions of people for something better and more beautiful. We hear about all the despicable acts done by humans to other humans, but after all the tremors and the slaying comes the silence… and in that silence one can conjure hope.

This is not written for a film audience and I am no film nerd, this is about what movies can teach humans so the whole species can move towards the greater good. So I would like to advice you to set aside some time watch some good quality movies. I picked up the habit of taking notes, so if I come across anything in a movie that blew mind, i would summarise it and write it down in a notebook, you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, but this practice is a wonderful way to record and relive those scenes in your own mind.