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By Ashlie McDiarmid

Why are movies so entertaining and what do viewers really get out of a good movie?

Movies are one of the biggest forms of entertainment. People will watch and connect with heroes, under-dog protagonists and sneaky sidekicks. These characters and their stories make for fulfilling entertainment, but they lack realistic qualities that most people face in their day to day life. Many movie situations reflect a common thread to the viewers, but these situations are less real and more hyperbolic. However, movies do represent values and lessons of the real world that should not be overlooked.

Is Conflict Funny?

People fight all the time. Movies take conflict to a new, and sometimes unrealistic, level, but conflict is funny. The brash, over-the-top actions and dialogue create and relieve tension at the same time. A perfect example is the movie The Breakup, starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. The movie is about a couple who, in the middle of a sour breakup, try to outdo each other in a series of ugly fights. The person who cracks first must move out and lose the luxurious condo to the victor.

The movie escalates to comical proportions in fits of jealousy, awkward game nights, and horrible pranks. However, it is hard to believe that this story could portray real life. It is unreasonable to think that any self-respecting person would put him or herself through that amount of drama for a condo. Conflict in movies is funny because it is safe. The viewer can place distance between the movie and reality.

Distorted Historical Truths

Movies about fictional couples can be distorted, and there is no harm in that, but what about the stories of true events and actual lives? Take the well-known movie Braveheart. William Wallace was a real person who fought for Scottish independence. He is played by Mel Gibson in a wonderful blend between romance, action, and drama. It has everything, except accurate historical representation. One of the most pivotal characters is Princess Isabella of Wales. In the movie, she and Wallace have a love affair while she is married to Edward II. She gives him information about the enemy. In reality, during the time Wallace was fighting for Scotland, she was nine years old, living in France, and not yet married to Edward. Her role in the movie is merely to create tension and thicken the plot.

The Gift Movies Give

All of this should not detract from the value that movies have. Movies connect with viewers through symbolism of real life. Movies provide some of the best lessons to be learned. They provide laughter, heartbreak, struggle, and victory. Just because these lessons are learned through the X-Men, Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring, or Harry Potter does not mean that they should be discounted. Do these movies reflect the reality of life? No, but they present something perhaps even more important. Their struggles resonate with the viewers, creating a bond that will never diminish. Movies do not give people reality. Instead, they give people something greater than the truth: hope and someone to root for.

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