It’s Not Like in the Movies…

Have you ever thought about why we get so much pleasure from watching movies? Or reading books come to that? It’s a question that comes up so often at the start of relationships isn’t it? What’s your favourite movie or your favourite book? Why do they hold such significance for us?

Have you ever thought about why we get so much pleasure from watching movies? Or reading books come to that? It’s a question that comes up so often at the start of relationships isn’t it? What’s your favourite movie or your favourite book? Why do they hold such significance for us?

Is it purely escapism? In movies or books we can lose ourselves in another life, one that we’d prefer or one we’re glad we don’t have. Maybe it’s a way to better define our own realities? We see characters develop and watch the paths that they follow; does that give us a way to better forge our own paths – learning from their successes or mistakes?

Do we learn more about life from reality or from films and literature and are we ruined by what we see or read? Great love stories can leave us feeling inadequate because our own relationships don’t live up to the passionate maelstroms depicted but can also uplift and inspire us to seek out such a love. Do we feel defeated because we are not the handsome hero or the beautiful heroine or are we encouraged to improve ourselves physically? War films are rarely made without depicting heroism on one side and depravity on the other; does this give us a distorted view of a terrible tragedy or does it promote patriotism?

Lord of the RingsDo we like movies and books that make us laugh, that take us back to our childhoods in some way? To a time when we believed in magic and other worlds hidden behind a wardrobe door? Does a glimpse into the World of fantasy take us away from the mundane in our own lives? Are we looking for confirmation that good will always really triumph over evil? Do we look to our super-heroes to carry us away to a place where there will always be someone standing by to give us protection when we need it most?

I had all these questions running though my mind this morning so I decided to look up which books and films we love the most according to sales; the list might surprise you:

  1. Avatar (Fantasy)
  2. Titanic (Love Story)
  3. Starwars: The Force Awakens (Fantasy)
  4. Avengers: Infinity War (Fantasy/Super Heroes)
  5. Jurassic Park (Fantasy)
  6. Furious 7 (Action/Adventure)
  7. The Avengers (Fantasy/Super heroes)
  8. Avengers Age of Ultron (Fantasy/Super Heroes)
  9. Black Panther (Fantasy/Super Heroes)
  10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II (Fantasy)

8 of the top 10 grossing films of all time are stories that take us completely away from reality and into another world. Is that what we are looking for?

The same can be said of books. There is not much from real life in the top selling books of all time (in the western world); Don Quixote tops the list, followed by a Tale of Two Cities but then we have Lord of the Rings. The Little Prince, Harry Potter , the Hobbit and the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The fantasy stories somehow cross the line between adulthood and childhood, meaning that they can be read and appreciated by both so what’s they key? Why are they so popular to so many people?

I honestly don’t know the answer, what do you think? Why do you read what you read and watch what you watch? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

Lisa x


Author: All About Life

Middle-aged 20 something

17 thoughts on “It’s Not Like in the Movies…”

  1. it’s a very good question. To get the ball rolling, I would suggest it is not so much the setting or the time in which the movies or books are set but the themes which energise them: suggest as the triumph of love over adversity or the triumph of good over evil. It seems to be about triumph, optimism, the consoling thought that things will be set right

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I lived LW&Wardrobe when I was young, I loved the first Harry Potter film when I was not young, but it took me back to school days when I wanted to go to a boarding school because that sounded more exciting than my life! Both these books and TV series and film are fantasy, but they are about real children having adventures we would live to have.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It’s surprising how few of the top 10 I’ve seen, or read. I find film going rather irksome now. The sound tends to be far too loud, the smell and noise of mountains of food is off putting, and my bladder cannot last the full film length! (plus, the ice cream lady doesn’t come round any more!)

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’ve always been an avid reader. The classics from Hemingway, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald etc. Historical bios, True crime. Oddly, I never indulged in Fantasy. Tolkien, Dune etc., was huge when I was young, I never read it. I was into horror, a little sci-fi ( Ray Bradbury) and slice of life with a taste of the bizarre (John Irving). I loved a character that I could dive into.
    My taste in movies is similar, Comedies and Horror above all, drama and crime. I hate movies that rely on effects and CGI.
    I’m surprisingly fussy about what I read and watch, I’ll only indulge if I feel it will better me in some way. I regret that I never had the inclination towards fantasy, to be carried off, taken away into a Narnia if you will. I’m just not wired that way.
    I can’t change now.
    Great post, as usual

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Excellent post and excellent questions. I read and watch for two main reasons: for relief/escape and to feel. Films and literature, every single piece of it, shows a heroes journey. To realize each one of us is a hero makes me feel not so all alone in my own journey.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. There’s a website called where you compare movies over and over and over again until you’ve compiled (1) your all-time favorites in order, and (2) a list of “greatest movies” you’ve never seen. It’s pretty cool and I was addicted to it 5-6 years ago, a bit. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve updated it but at the time (and maybe even now) 18 of my top 20 would be considered “fantastic” in the sense that they do not reflect reality. Serenity. Guardians of the Galaxy. Avengers (and most of the rest of the Marvel) movies. Contact. Star Trek. The Time Machine. Hellboy. Pirates of the Caribbean. Etc. Only Moneyball and Get Shorty reflect “real world” scenarios and only one of them would be in my top twenty today (Get Shorty; love Chili Palmer).

    Do they distort my reality? I hope so!

    Alternately, my reading choices reflect an entirely different world. I hardly ever read fiction (except for a few comic books). I read Harari and Stiglitz and books about political realities and possible actual futures of society and technology. I read about personal development and positive psychology. I read about history and economic theory. I read about business and time management. About religion and its impact on society.

    Does that keep me grounded in reality? I guess I hope that, too!

    What does it say? I don’t know, but this is a fun exercise!

    P.S. Only two of the top ten movies you listed are in my top ten, and both are Avengers movies. 😉

    P.P.S. I’ve seen all of the top ten you listed except Furious 7. 😁

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This is a very interesting thought, and you’re probably right. I think we enjoy more of the ‘unknown’ because the world they create is something we don’t see in day to day life

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I read because its like a movie going in your head. You imagine every word and piece them together. It is like you are right there when it is happening. That becomes your realm and not your physical world.

    Liked by 1 person

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