How Film Analysis Improves Self Understanding

There is nothing quite like finding a film that you love, that resonates with you, and that even feels like it was made for you. Well, what if I told you that it probably was made for you- or, at the very least- people like you? Take Steven Spielberg’s E.T. for example. Though the film appealed to many, it was especially popular among those whose parents separated or divorced. Spielberg explained recently that the film was inspired by his own parent’s divorce, stating that he “had been working on an actual literal script about [his] parents’ separation and divorce” and that he transformed it “into a story about children and a family….” Understanding why a film is made can help people to better understand why a film may or may not appeal to them. Through film analysis, people can deepen their understanding of the movies they watch and in turn themselves. Film analysis improves individuals’ knowledge of psychology, and their own self-awareness. 

One way in which film analysis can help people deepen their self-awareness is through the study of basic film elements such as cinematography, light, and sound design (to name a few). When we examine the way these elements are used in films, we can see certain patterns that can teach us about how we each react to certain movies. One of the most explicit ways that filmmakers use psychology to influence their audiences is through the use of color. Color can be everywhere or nowhere in a movie, and it all depends entirely on what the director is trying to say. Depending on when and where certain hues appear throughout a film can tell us a lot about a movie and in turn, how we as audience members will respond to it. Take the Wizard of Oz, for example. It’s one of the most groundbreaking films in its use of color, but it’s also worth noting that the way it uses color is very strategic. When Dorothy is in Kansas at the start of the film, where all of her real-world problems occur, the film is in black and white. It is depicted as a scene that is somewhat devoid of joy, and it’s reflective of Dorothy’s own emotions. But once Dorothy arrives in the Land of Oz, a world where she makes new friends and has her fantastical adventure, the film is cast in bright colors, which is reflective of Dorothy’s temporary escape from the problems that face her in her waking life. What does this have to do with us? Well, it helps us to understand how color affects us. We’re meant to feel excited when the screen fills with colors showing us the full beauty of this magical land. It raises our moods. You’ve no doubt heard the idiom about “feeling blue,” but it’s grounded in some fact. The color blue has connotations of feelings of coldness, isolation, and sadness. This is an idea that is heavily reflected throughout Picasso’s “blue period,” wherein the artist painted many monochromatic (or nearly monochromatic)  blue paintings. By looking at the colors in films, we can better assess why and how they make us feel in certain ways.

While breaking out the visual and auditory elements of films can be very useful for deepening our levels of self-awareness, it is not the only way to assess a film. One can gain knowledge by studying characters and their arcs. We can learn from characters and the mistakes they make and relate them to our own lives. When we understand the motives, a character might have for their actions, it can offer us insight into why we might behave certain ways and perhaps even show us how to grow past our own struggles. Overall there is a lot to be gained from studying the films we watch. By understanding what we watch, we can better understand how the content affects us and what we can learn from it. The next time you find a movie that you have to watch twice, why not pause once in a while and make some observations? You might just learn something about yourself.

Share:

Join Our Mailing List

    Recent Articles

    25th Anniversary of ‘Titanic’: How Titanic Became an Under-the-Surface Sensation in Taliban-Ruled Afghanistan

    In honor of Titanic’s 25th anniversary, the iconic movie will be shown in movie theaters on February 10th this year. Because of how iconic this movie was internationally, there is an interesting story behind how the people in Afghanistan were able to see the movie when it was released, as they were under Taliban rule. All forms of entertainment were outlawed in Afghanistan when the Taliban initially took power there in the 1990s. Residents of Kabul and other cities frequently describe finding video and audiotape ribbons that were torn to pieces as if they had also been executed.

    3 Tips and Resources for Beginner Screenwriters

    Are you a fresh screenwriter looking to improve those tentative first drafts? Or are you a screenwriter-to-be, struggling to relay your creative vision onto those daunting white pages for the first time? As a former university student with a concentration in screenwriting and a couple of screenplays under my belt, I understand how it feels to feel lost when it comes to the ins and outs of writing industry-standard screenplays. Even if you aren’t looking to pen the next big box office hit, knowing how to write a screenplay with engaging characters within industry standards can get you far. So, if you want to learn more about the basics of the craft, read on.

    5 Anticipated Horror Movies of 2023

    A new year means a slew of new thrills at the movies, and 2023 is shaping up to be a good one for horror fans. We’ll see the return of a few beloved franchises as well as the introduction of original properties that’ll be sure to leave you looking over your shoulder. Here are five of the most anticipated horror movies releasing this year, so don’t miss them!

    Most Anticipated Movies of 2023

    It’s still hard to believe that 2022 is officially over! This year saw theaters back at full capacity for the first time since the start of the pandemic. With this in mind, it is exciting to think about what 2023 will have in store for movie lovers. This year is sure to be packed with plenty of action and superhero flicks, along with some spine-tingling horror and a few throwback surprises! Here are some of the most anticipated movies of 2023 that critics and watchers can’t stop talking about:

    Angola, Do You Hear Us? Oscar Shortlisted Doc Takes on Mass Incarceration

    One of the most important documentaries of 2022, Angola Do You Hear Us? Voices from a Plantation Prison has just been shortlisted for an Oscar nomination. The documentary follows esteemed playwright, Liza Jessie Peterson, as she performs her play The Peculiar Patriot for the incarcerated population living in Angola prison. The documentary follows her performance as it gets shut down in the jail and uplifts the voices of those who live there.

    ‘Avatar 2: The Way of Water’ Faces Boycott and Backlash Over Cultural Appropriation

    Avatar 2: The Way of Water has come out, and critics are not happy. The sequel film to the original Avatar movie is facing calls for a boycott over its alleged “appropriation” of indigenous and African cultures. The film, a sequel to James Cameron’s 2009 smash hit Avatar, focuses on the Na’vi, the blue-skinned inhabitants of an alien planet called Pandora.

    Hey! Are you enjoying NYCTastemakers? Make sure to join our mailing list for NYCTM and never miss the chance to read all of our articles!