By: Efrat Malachi  | 

Life is Not a Movie

There are many moments in which we find ourselves daydreaming and fantasizing over what our lives would be like if only we were the protagonist from our favorite movie. We sometimes might ask: Wouldn’t it be nice to be the one who saves the day? Couldn’t he be the guy who finally gets the girl of his dreams? And can’t she be the popular girl with a large and loyal following for once? There are countless things that we feel are lacking in our lives and result in us turning to movies for solace; to a screen that hosts images which are mistakenly perceived as the most real and ideal pictures of what the “good life” must look like. But soon after the movie’s conclusion, we are awakened by the tragic truth. It always comes back around to gently whisper in our ears and remind us of the obvious.

We all know that life is not a movie – especially not a Disney one. Regardless of this fact, we still look up to our beloved superhero and/or celebrity for some inspiration and motivation that will guide us down the path toward success in every aspect of our lives. This is mostly due to the characters and actors having achieved the very thing we’re constantly chasing down – self-actualization. According to the Google dictionary, self-actualization is defined as “the realization or fulfillment of one's talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone.”

No matter what we’re occupied with, our focus is always brought back to seeking a purpose and fulfillment; to complete our own mission in life. That doesn’t mean we need to have “Eye of the Tiger” playing on repeat in the background of our everyday lives, but we do need to have in mind that this world isn’t an arbitrary existence. There is a larger, greater plan in the works, an exquisite, beautiful tapestry being woven and a perfect, harmonious song being composed. Human beings are born with this inherent desire to find meaning in everything and demand nothing less from their own selves.

Although movies can be empowering, they can also be damaging. It’s easy to sink into a couch with our 10th bowl of popcorn and watch a movie purely for entertainment purposes. It’s much harder to rid ourselves of the effects that follow. Then, once the fun is over, they latch onto us like a pesky mosquito and its bite. As soon as our temporary reality, which our minds have adopted, has faded to black along with the credits, only then does the aftershock hit.

Waking up from that trance and having to reintegrate back into real life is oftentimes devastating. Since we must eventually come back down to earth after being on an incredible high, it leaves us with this unsettling feeling inside. All we believe is that we’re returning to an ordinary and boring life; nothing worth our time or interest. This isn’t necessarily true in all cases, but a majority of people at certain points in their lives feel unhappy with their lot and simply wish to be living lives of movie characters or stars.

The issue lies mainly with the expectation and idolization built up around these films and TV shows. Even though people might think they need to shape their lives according to how movie directors and writers have shaped their personal worlds of fiction, they simply cannot and should not limit their vision and opportunities to a script. Trying to emulate a non-existent character and play the same part in real life situations only disturbs what’s there and what’s meant to be. What is seen and done in the movies are staged and brought to life through exact measurements and calculations that are meant to form a perfect imaginary reality! In addition to that, it’s practically impossible to predict how the future will unfold. There are countless factors that can affect all the possible variations and outcomes of a given situation, and then combined with reactions that have only been practiced and tested on camera makes these predictions even more doubtful.

This stems from our need to achieve success in all facets of our lives, which is deeply rooted in our nature. While our intentions are good, the consequences of our actions are not always as pure. Movies give us that instant thrill. They provide us with a purpose by having us enter the lives of the characters and join them on their journey. It’s as if we dress up in their persona, take on their life’s mission and fulfill it along with them. As a result, we end up feeling satisfied and accomplished, which is what we crave.

On the flip side, movies and shows do benefit us in several ways. We can often take comfort in the fact that life is far from being a movie. All the disproportionate drama, violence, and misfortune that exists on the TV screen will always and only remain on that screen as its own entity, separate from the real world. There are also numerous things we can pick up from a movie in under two hours that might have taken us longer to learn if we had chosen to walk down the longer and more common road – life experience.

Our primary concern though is with our soul, which never ceases to seek out the beauty and value in everything. Not only do movies aid us in our street-smarts but also push us during our most vulnerable times. They can inspire us to think of the unthinkable and allow us to believe that we can truly be whatever we want to be. There are no limitations or boundaries as to what we can do in the realm of wonder and imagination. Sometimes, after walking away from a movie, we feel like we’ve been transformed into better and more confident versions of ourselves. It’s as if we’ve been elevated to a whole new level, one that was inaccessible before.

In conclusion, movies do have their flaws, but they also possess special powers that can ignite the spark of revolution within the world. They inspire people to initiate change and strive for greatness. We simply must be aware and cautious of the side effects that often tamper with our perception and judgement of what’s real and what’s an illusion. Movies are useful tools when needing to escape from reality for a while, but it’s all about moderation and how long we intend to live in the scenes from our favorite motion pictures. Even though movies can accomplish great things, our own lives hold even greater potential within them. Instead of looking all around us for meaning and worth, we need to start turning inwards and look within ourselves because that’s where all the answers lie. We all can do remarkable things and lead fulfilling and beautiful lives if only we pull our eyes away from the screen and draw them towards the real world in which we live in. Life is the ultimate journey, and our own, individual lives are the most captivating storylines you could ever come to write or watch.