How to Look at Films

© Copyright 2017 Erin Bryans, Ryerson University

When film is brought up in conversation the immediate thought of most, is of its creators. The geniuses and award-winners behind film are seen as the innovators, the “masterminds”, and inventors of popular entertainment. One may instantly think of Scorsese, maybe Tarantino, or Woody Allen. It is not just the directors, and producers that create a film, but the minute personalities that add their touch to it as well. Films require teams and crews for every aspect seen and sometimes not seen in the final cut. An editing team will influence the sequence of the film, and the dialogue that gets added and removed. A sound team will match gunshot sounds to when the trigger is being pulled and create noises to match the content of the film. It is these categories that are commonly disregarded at award shows and such as the Oscars. To further “look” at film, one must analyze all elements that play key roles in any film. The film Inception (Nolan 2010), uses film editing to make the dream sequences seem truly “dream-like”. Without sound mixing, the viewer would not be able to establish the difference in tempo in Whiplash (Chazelle 2014). It is easy for someone who disregards “quality” (script writing, acting, editing, sound) to enjoy a film. Someone who is more critical of these aspects is more likely to notice the flaws which cause them to dislike a movie or observe a lack of quality in them.

                                Marty-Arts. Untitled. 2018. Pixabay. Downloaded by author.

It is the viewers past experiences with films that influence their interpretations. If someone thinks the Sharknado (Ferrante 2013-2017) films are high quality, they may not enjoy films with higher budgets and better script writing, etc. If someone’s favourite movie is The Departed (Scorsese 2006) it is more likely for them to enjoy other crime/dramas or other films directed by Martin Scorsese. It is everyones personal preferences and their interpretations of film that decide for them whether or not they will enjoy a movie. If someone who is incredibly sexist or racist ends up watching Moonlight (Jenkins 2016) it is highly likely (due to the content of the film) that they will not enjoy the film and see it as a “bad” movie. A female who has passed through high school that watches Lady Bird (Gerwig 2017) is more likely to relate to the film and enjoy it than a man. As important and vital as editing, producing, sound, effects, etc, are it is the viewers discretion that allows them to enjoy a film. It is the multitude of components that influence the creation of a film but, it is every single individual viewers life, emotions, experiences, and beliefs that will govern their perception and appreciation for a film.

Today, through the internet, viewers are able to read other people’s responses and opinions on the films before or after they watch them. Many read reviews beforehand to dictate whether or not they see a film. One may enjoy a film until they read a negative review which can cause them to change their minds and agree with the critics. As stated previously, a woman may enjoy Lady Bird and relate to it, where a man may leave a negative review due to a possible lack of experience in the field of teenage girls.

To “properly” look at film, one must be able to appreciate every aspect that goes into its creation. Although it is not required, relatability greatly affects one’s likelihood to enjoy or put value on a film.




Work Cited

Chazelle, Damien, director. Whiplash. Sony Pictures Classics, 2014.

Ferrante, Anthony C, director. Sharknado Series. SyFy, 2013.

Gerwig, Greta, director. Lady Bird. Universal Pictures, 2017.

Jenkins, Barry, director. Moonlight. A24, 2016.

Marty-Arts. Untitled. JPEG. Pixabay, 2018.

Nolan, Christopher, director. Inception. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2010.

Scorsese, Martin, director. The Departed. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2006.