Movies show aspects of real life to us in artificial forms. We see a couple falling in love on the big screen, for example, and it reminds us of meeting someone with whom we once had—or maybe still have—a deep connection. In a very powerful way, movies reflect slices of personal experiences we’ve accumulated for years.
Once we get used to the interpretative process of movie-watching, though, we begin noticing patterns and start making connections between multiple films. Suddenly how we viewed love as it was presented to us in “Good Will Hunting” gets compared to its depiction in “The Artist.”
Every film with a love angle sets us up for our next viewing wherein our concepts of love will be challenged or upheld. The act of seeing “The Artist,” originally a trigger of associations, becomes an association in itself, a story we recall in pieces while watching “The Descendants” a week later.
Some unfortunate folks take their entertainment seriously, pursuing romantic relationships based on movie characters and plots, further blurring the line between fantasy and reality.
The complexity of this mostly unconscious phenomenon leads to larger philosophical questions. Were our earliest ideas regarding love purely ours? Was there ever a point during which our thoughts about love appeared to us in non-mediated forms?
As the credits roll, we’re left dumbfounded, sitting in silence. What is love, after all, in a world where it can be simulated, staged and sold for ten bucks a ticket?