Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Theory vs. Emotion in Film


When we say we like a movie, what are we really saying? Sure we can appreciate and admire  films for their form or content and we can like them for the ideas they convey or for their beautiful cinematography, but what is it that leads us to say we like a certain film? It’s the feeling they evoke in us. There are film theorists who will go great lengths to describe what signs are present in films that cause us to like them, or the ways in which certain films connote or denote things that make them ‘good’ films. But I don’t think that all that theorizing gets to the heart of what makes us like films. I think the power of film really lies in how they make us feel, rather than certain qualities that might be inherent in the film. How often do we like films solely because of their form or content and cast aside the emotions they evoke in us? Perhaps there are truly genuine film connoisseurs who can look at a film only for the ways in which it excels in terms of its medium (and I’m sure there are), but I find it virtually impossible to separate my emotions from my appreciation for a film while I am watching it. If this makes me an average film spectator, then so be it. I would rather remain an emotional film spectator than take the emotion out of the film-vieweing experience and look at films purely from an intellectual standpoint.

2 thoughts on “Theory vs. Emotion in Film

  1. James Ian Gray

    Reblogged this on Being A Jnr. Cinematographer and commented:
    Its one of those things and something that I have thought of myself from time to time. But what actually makes us like something. We know we love or hate something. But that likeability that sticks into our minds.
    From my opinion I’d always say that its down to the fact we are human and the first thing that we access when ever we do anything is our limbic which is our emotional side. This affects everything that we know in the world and is something that changes our perceptions of an object to a person. Therfore we are more likely to associate and believe what and how the characters are feeling and most of the time relate to that character.
    I feel that the only reason why we like a film is that we as the audience have emotions and understand what the film is about before we go into the cinema or putting a DVD/ BluRay on that we want to feel a certain way.
    Although I know I’m leaving out Netflix, Amazon, NowTV, Hula, etc. This is mainly because the audience is normally a younger audience watching and tends to have a smaller attention span or has an understanding that they will try out that film before committing to it and if they like it or can put up with it they will carry on watching. Where as going to the Cinema and buying a DVD/ BluRay this is normally down to committing to this and spending the money.
    This is where Genres come into it and show you actually what you want to feel and if you are in the mood to feel that way.
    Genres also come with the same formula that has you understanding what say an Action film will make you feel, or even a Romance film will have you feeling.
    They are all different and depends on what mood you are experiencing at the time you want/ book that film.

  2. Madison

    Reblogged this on A World Noticed and commented:
    I love this post by gooollysandra. She offers a thought provoking mediation on what it means to objectively and subjectively critique films. This is exactly how I feel when it comes to critiquing films. If I am emotionally invested in it, there is more of a bias when it comes to giving it a good review. I might be more lenient on how the cinematography is or the minor faults in the script. There is more to analyzing films than just looking at the technical aspects. Of course I can take a step back and look purely at the cinematography, and the directing, and form an opinion about the critical quality of the film, but I won’t come away satisfied, ready to say I loved it just because the set design was near perfection . It is human nature, just as she writes in this post, to be drawn to things that we can relate to, understand or find meaning and purpose in.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: