By Karin Leonard
husband and business partner, Daniel
Robin and I, have been reviewing films for quite some years , in the
Bay Area’s Connection magazine. Over
time we have discovered that not only is it great fun to go to the
movies, but there is much growth, healing and integration that can be
gained through strategic film “therapy.” Aside from enjoying a film
for its artistic and entertainment value, we can experience a film’s
impact on an emotional and spiritual level.
Even Aristotle proclaimed that tragic plays have the capacity to purify the spirit and aid us in
coping with those aspects of life that cannot be reconciled by rational
thought. As if you
needed more reasons to go to the movies!
provide and perpetuate the myths for life in the 21st
century. All cultures have carried rich legacies of stories that offer
insight, guidance and counsel for the people of all ages.
In the past, narratives were whispered during long fire lit
nights. In our times, tales
are “broadcast” in crowded movie theaters, or the trusted TV lights
the room instead of a fire pit.
inspire and influence as we identify with the characters.
They can lead us to new horizons, re-ignite passion for life,
strengthen values and help us to make sense out of life.
Movies often deal with universal issues and have the finger on
the pulse of our culture as well as the collective psyche.
you ever gone to the movies with someone who rarely cries in real life,
but uses up boxes of Kleenex during certain films (or, maybe you are
one of them…)? In a
darkened theater, defenses that are carefully kept intact in everyday
life can come down and emotions too scary or taboo to face can be
discharged. Films provide a
stage where we can identify with a character and experience how others
have solved (or failed to solve) similar challenges.
comedies such as Bridgid Jones’s Diary, or romantic dramas like
Shakespeare in Love, or Moulin Rouge can help us in
working through our own love stories and disappointments, or may inspire
new hope. A wonderful
example of growing emotionally is Disney’s The Kid, about the
transformation of a high powered professional into a more complete human
we identify with leading heroes, our own courage, hope and sense of
purpose may be strengthened. Stories
of valor, passion and integrity can be found in a variety of films, be
it a dramatic Academy Award winning epics, such as Mel Gibson’s Braveheart
and Gladiator with Russell Crowe; or inspiring comedies such as
the hilarious American remake of the French film Just Visiting,
or Patch Adams with Robin Williams.
the lead in one’s life and pursuing a high purpose are beautifully
mirrored in Billy Elliot and Pay it forward, as
experienced through the lives of young boys.
others to greatness and learning to believe in oneself we find in movies
such as Finding Forrester, Good Will Hunting, Save the
last Dance, or even Princess Diaries.
but not least, there is much to be said for the movies giving us a break
from our busy lives and providing a “mini-vacation.”