Three Ways You Can Learn From Movies
We all have favorite best spiritual movie, favorite memories relating to movies, and in some cases movies that help us define our lives. While you may not think about it, movies have probably enriched your life.
Movies are stories told in a rich medium. Stories are how we make sense of the world. They hold tremendous power to surprise and delight; to affect in ways far beyond entertainment. Stories, well told on film, can affect our views of ourselves and alter our perspectives of our world. Stories, without question, have made our lives better.
Learning is one of the most important parts of life. In fact, the ability to learn in a multitude of ways is one of our most human qualities. We learn best when we are immersed in a situation, actively involved in the learning process. Movies can help us learn because they wrap us up in a story. If you’ve ever jumped or screamed or cried during a movie, you’ve experienced the power of film.
While most think of movies as entertainment, a diversion or an escape because of their very nature they can be much more than that. As the previous paragraphs show, they likely already have become a source of learning in your life.
There are some general questions that can be helpful when reviewing a movie – whether to reflect personally or to spark a conversation. These questions can be used with any movie and can be, by themselves, the foundation of meaningful learning opportunities. These core questions include:
Your state of mind, current thoughts, and life experiences all play a part in how you “see” a movie.
This is one reason why you can watch a movie twice, even if only a few days apart, and have a very different experience. Your mental filters are the reason why you may experience a movie differently on different viewings.
Some of your filters are life-long, based on your values, early experiences and deeply held beliefs. For example, people who grew up in India will have a different perspective and therefore view the movie Gandhi much differently than Americans will. Different filters are largely the reasons for these distinct perspectives.
Other filters are related to more recent events and the various roles you are playing in your life at that time. If you saw The Sound of Music after recently being widowed, your reaction to Captain von Trapp might be different than in previous viewing of this movie. These more recent filters are the main causes of unique experiences during various viewings of the same film.
The question “If you’ve seen the movie before, how was your experience of the movie different from past viewing(s)? What struck you the same or differently?” is included to help you examine your filters. Often by thinking about these filters, movies can help you reflect your own growth and change over time, as well as how current situations are shaping you.