Does the society affect the movies or is it the other way around? Most likely is that is it both. After all, we are all connected. Now more than ever before. Certainly, there have been some that showed us a new perspective which we were unable to see before.
Someone may argue that changes come in two shapes, good and bad. Similarly, the affect movies have on society can also be seen this way. Perhaps constant violence in movies has turned the society numb. Why aren’t we shocked and outraged after another report on the news about bombings, terrorism and the loss of the civilians’ lives? Perhaps we got used to seeing it so much on the movies? The Avengers ride into New York, destroy half of the city, presumably kill a lot of innocent bystanders and yet, in the end all that is matters that the team is ready to face another villain in the next movie of the series.
Movies mislead societies
The is also a case of changing societies through misinformation. ‘Based on a true story’ are five magical words that (filmmakers unanimously agree) help bring in more money. But ‘based’ does not mean a true depiction of the events. And yet, many people believe that what they see in the movies to be true. For instance, in the Imitation Game, Alan Turing and is team crack the Enigma machine but in order to hide that fact from the Nazis, they have to sacrifice a squad of soldiers. The truth is, it was the whole town that was sacrificed. Every movie has these details that are different from reality but in an hour and a half movie they are impossible to pick out.
The Bright Side of the Movies
But as long as there are bad things, movies can also transform whole societies in a positive way. Think about the movies like Philadelphia (1993) or Milk (2008). They may not change societies in an instant but they do inspire a discussion that may grow into a countrywide or even global discussion.
Let’s be honest, people find it really hard to see something from a different perspective. Heterosexuals versus homosexuals, men versus women, blacks vs whites. The list may go on and on. Movies and TV shows make the job easier. Now, when I watch Mad Men I am appalled by the standard of treatment women in the workplace in the 1960s. It’s not ancient history. On the contrary, when you hear that someone like Bill O’Reilly was fired for sexual harassment on numerous accounts, you understand the perspective of those women.
Similarly, transgender issues, slavery, the life during the World Wars, or any war for that matter. Without movies, it would be so much harder to imagine what a soldier endures when he comes home from 12-month deployment, what it is to feel you were born in a wrong body, where single-moms and dads struggle, etc.
Societies are not changes in one day. Research has proved that we still sometimes act based on primal instincts. But one day at a time, one movie at a time societies do change. Luckily, for most part in a positive way.