Should movies have a social message or just be for entertainment?

I have come to the conclusion that movies should not contain any overt social messages. I don’t go to films to take political cues from Hollywood. Unless the film is about a political or religious figure, I don’t see why there should be a message. I’m a conservative, and would not want to see a movie that trashed liberals or promoted a cause I believe in. It amazes me how Hollywood keeps making anti-Iraq war films despite the fact that they don’t make any money. I think a lot of people agree with me.

One film I was considering going to see had a social message. I won’t say what it was because I don’t want to give anything away, but the fact that this movie contained a message was enough to make me not want to go see it.

^ That’s one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. Why would anyone spend money to see something that has nothing to say?

Anyway, “social message” or “just for entertainment” are not the only options available. Movies, like any art, can show truth to an audience. They can be entertaining too. If you consider movies as art, though, they don’t have to be entertaining in the common way (like a fun action flick or something). They do have to reflect life in some way, and that’s almost always going to necessitate some type of interpretation. And then you’ve got a message.

Every movie has some sort of message, whether the film-makers were conscious of it or not. It doesn’t have to be social, but it’s going to be there. An attitude toward the characters, the situations, life in general, you name it.

I’ve written several screenplays and keep working on getting them optioned (no luck so far).

Some are just for entertainment. But others have definite messages.

I think it is up to the VIEWER to filter the message and respond to it. Whether you agree or disagree with a movie’s message, hopefully you will be inspired to live out your convictions more faithfully in real life.

Sometimes a movie opposing what you think can be a spur to more rigorous examination of your convictions and perhaps lead to an epiphany–either you will reject your convictions, or you will be even more convinced of their truth.

Movies that oppose entrenched beliefs can be very valuable in changing culture. Many movies have presented anti-racism messages that have literally changed the way people feel about various races. I’m not thinking of anything heavy; the movie that comes to my mind is the adaptation of Finian’s Rainbow–this delightful musical about leprechauns and pots of gold contains a scathing denouncement of racism. I’m sure that it was one of the movies that helped to change our society in the U.S. to a place where people of all colors are legally free to pursue the American Dream.

Some of the anti-war movies force those of us who approve of the current war to study the war and verify that our conclusions are valid. I am not swayed in my opinion by anti-war movies, or by movies that are anti-Christian. Rather, I am encouraged to become more knowledgeable so that I can answer the objections that the movie presents.

I do believe it is very important to screen movies for age appropriateness and guard the minds of our children and teenagers. While some movies can be filtered by adults with a complete understanding, many movies would be confusing and disturbing to children and teenagers. Teenagers may be able to view these movies as long as responsible adults help them to sort through the various messages and arrive at a legitimate conclusion. But children who can be warped in their thinking should simply be kept away from certain movies until they are older and have the intellect and experience to be able to correctly assess a movie’s truthfulness.

I think it is a “safe” option to make a movie with no real message because then you can create ‘light’ entertainment that won’t particularly tick anyone off if they either disagree with your message or are just sick of movies trying to give them messages. However on the other hand a message can really add to a movie if it is a message that the viewer likes or if they like how it is presented. My favorite movie ever is Terminator 2. One of the reasons I like it is because of the message of sanctity of life. However I also like it because of the exciting action scenes, the characters, etc.

All theatre has a message or cultural comment of some sort. It is unavoidable. To attempt a play without one is simply absurd. Even “Waiting for Godot,” a play in which nothing happens… twice, has a message.

Matthew

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