Examine the plot line of most films. The character, at the beginning of the film, exists in a certain state. The character is faced with a problem or a challenge, and is therefore forced to find a solution. The character finds a solution and consequently exists in a new and improved state. The reason why these films are so widely and thoroughly enjoyed is because they are universally relatable. They may be projected on a seemingly grandiose scale, however this is merely a magnification of the dilemmas that we are faced with in our everyday lives. The magic of movies, therefore, does not come from their superhuman or larger than life nature, but rather from their all too real portrayal of the common challenges in the life of your average joe.
A good movie, I believe, presents you with a relatable character. With an authentically human character, with realistic flaws and vulnerabilities. With natural imperfections and idiosyncrasies. This character is always faced with a challenge and is often forced to either transcend or transmute their character flaws in an attempt to rise to the occasion and solve the problem at hand. Because what magic would there be in a film where everything was perfect, where there were no flaws or challenges, and the main character or characters lived in a verifiable utopia where nothing could go wrong? What enjoyment could one receive from a film like that? Probably none. It is the inherently dystopian and troublesome aspects of a movie that make it captivating and worth watching. The angst and suspense derived from watching a character struggle within its imaginary circumstances ignites a delicious interest and curiosity in the viewer. A desire to observe the character’s ability to effectively deal with these difficult circumstances and find a practical and successful solution.
This is precisely what makes the human experience itself so interesting. And although it may often seem like a curse of magnanimous proportions, like a stain on the fundamental beauty of life, these challenges are actually what make life worthwhile. And the more difficult, the more taxing and seemingly insurmountable, the more inspiring and captivating it becomes. I think this is why people often become addicted to their problems, to the drama of their lives. And this is also why people become so infatuated by the magic of modern cinema. Because this is precisely what makes life, and movies, so fascinating. This is what makes you feel alive.
Yet, in the end, this transfixion on problems is not the true magic of movies and is not the true beauty of life. It is really the remarkable quality of being able to transcend and overcome these challenges that creates the inherent magnificence in the human experience, and in its microcosm of film. The capacity to fully face these difficulties, the trials and tribulations woven into existence, and instead of giving up, instead of turning away in fear, you do anything and everything in your power to find the answer. And if you do this with an open mind and an open heart, if you do this with a sincere devotion to life and its constant wonder, then you will always find the answer, the solution, the way. Always.