|5 Movies That Make You Think|
|ARTICLES - FILM|
|Written by Brooke Taylor|
|Tuesday, 05 February 2013 17:05|
"We watch films to explore different ways of thinking, to expose ourselves to alternate ways of living, and to reflect upon our own lives through the characters and plot lines."
Written by: Brooke Taylor
While watching movies has become one of our favourite forms of entertainment, films have far surpassed the ability to simply keep an audience entertained for a couple of hours. We watch films to explore different ways of thinking, to expose ourselves to alternate ways of living, and to reflect upon our own lives through the characters and plot lines. There have been many excellent thought-provoking films that have been created over the years, and it would be near impossible to list them all as what strikes a person as thought-provoking is highly subjective, not to mention personal. With that in mind, here are ‘5 (of many) Movies that Make You Think’.
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind features Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet as Jim Barish and Clementine Kruczynski, a couple who have chosen to go through a medical procedure to erase each other, and their failed relationship, from their memories. However, throughout the procedure we see Jim desperately fighting to keep his memories of Clementine as they are being erased.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind explores many concepts and questions about human relationships. How much do the memories and experiences that we have affect who we are as people? If we erased the negative memories, would we be better off? Or is the suffering and the journey worth it? The film pursues difficult questions such as: if we knew that one of our relationships was inevitably going to fail, would we pursue it anyways?
2. Into the Wild
Based on the non-fiction novel written by Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild is based on the life of Chris McCandless, played by Emile Hirsh. McCandless leaves his promising life with no traces of him left behind; he donates his life savings to charity, abandons his car and strips the license plate, burns all of his cash and changes his name to Alexander Supertramp in order to live in the wilderness of Alaska. We experience the struggles McCandless goes through, the people he meets along the way, and the draw of ‘true’ adventure to this young man.
Into the Wild is a complex film that audiences may struggle with. On the one hand, we are forced to think about our own lives, and while maybe not on the extreme level as McCandless does, we contemplate the adventures that we longed for but may not have pursued. On a deeper level, we watch a young man’s struggle with his family, his surroundings, and himself-- without the comfort of any real conclusion or insight. The audience may undergo their own struggle between wanting McCandless to be happy and to pursue his idea of adventure, while being pained at watching him hurt people that care about him and wanting him to return home safely.
3. Midnight in Paris
Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams star in Midnight in Paris as Gil and Inez; a young couple who travel to Paris with Inez’s parents. Gil is a successful writer who quickly falls in love with the city and the nostalgic notion that the 1920’s were the greatest age, and uses this as inspiration for writing his first novel. As he walks through the city, he is somehow able to transport back in time to this ‘golden age’ where he meets a woman who his relationship with complicates the one he shares with Inez.
Midnight in Paris gives an interesting perspective of nostalgia. It’s incredibly easy to be swept away with the notions of the past, and that concept that there always something better that we can’t quite grasp. It explores the complications of relationships, while asking the audience to question the romanticized visions that we have of the past, or others lives.
Beginners stars Ewan McGregor as Oliver Fields, whose father, played by Christopher Plummer, makes two large announcements: that he has terminal cancer and that he’s homosexual. Oliver’s mother has recently passed away, and he struggles to watch his father appear to live a happier life while in a relationship with a younger man, even while in the face of death. At the same time, Oliver pursues a relationship with an actress whose lifestyle greatly differs from his own, and attempts to make it successful.
Beginners explores an interesting dimension of growing up. Even at the age of thirty-eight, Oliver has to come to terms with the fact that his parent’s relationship was not what he thought it was. While he’s happy that his father has finally found his own happiness, he has to accept that a part of his life has been somewhat of a lie, all while accepting his father’s illness and while trying to pursue a functional relationship with someone else. This film causes us to think about the fact that it’s never too late to make drastic changes in our lives, the way that family dynamics progress as we get older and we see our parents as people, and how this affects our other relationships.
5. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is a documentary about Chinese activist and artist, Ai Weiwei. We learn about Ai Weiwei’s past, as well as view his artwork and see him prepare for exhibitions all over the world. At the same time, we see him repeatedly get into trouble with the Chinese government.
Never Sorry gives audiences an incredibly interesting and important insight into a different part of the world. In North America where art is increasingly more provocative and we don’t even need to consider whether or not free speech and expression is a right, we are shown an alternative country where people aren’t granted the same degree of artistic freedom. We not only view Ai Weiwei fight for his art, but also against what he views as a corrupt government system.