Movies have varieties of categories that are produced to satisfy the different needs of audiences. Not only giving entertainment, but also movies can be a tool to send messages from media producers to audiences. What is happening in society is one of the messages that many people receive while watching movies. Many movies are produced around the world and different parts of the world that have different societies and cultures may reflect the society through movies in many different ways and views. Can movies really reflect society? So, let’s find the answer together.
Animation movie representing diversity
The world has more connections by communicating through media which exchange of culture and information create more diversity in society. People seek more knowledge and solutions for a better community making people accept the change and innovation of ideas.
Animation movies or Animated cartoons are a kind of movie that were created by using computer generated images. These types of movies allow a new way for the storyteller to be more creative as there is more technique that can be added to make unrealistic things become alive in movies. Disney, Pixar , and Dreamworks are some of the well known companies that produced many famous animation movies such as Ratatoullies, Moana, Coco, FInding Nemo, Big hero 6, Toy story, Soul, Luca, The Incredible, Shrek, and Minions.
Zootopia, one of the movies that encourage and reveal the diversity in society.
“Anyone can be anything in Zootopia”.
The diversity in society is portrayed through animal characters that can easily be recognized by children. The movie changes the old representation of animal’s characteristic that we usually see in children’s tales and fables. Stereotype is one of the issues, as when you see this animal you will interpret the character of it from what you remembered.
The protagonist in this movie is a fox named Nick Wild who was first represented as a tricky scammer, the same as many tales that use fox for a character.. Nick gradually develops his character when he has to help his police friend, Judy Hopps, solve her assigned cases. Nick tries to prove himself that not all foxes are as dangerous and untrustworthy as people think. In fact, he is a character that is very wise and considerate of others.
At the beginning both characters seem to not accept each other because both of their species and job are opposite. A rabbit named Juddy Hopps is a character that is full of dreams and idealism. Police is a job that Judy dreamed of since she was a kid. She was pressured to be a carrot farmer like her family. So, she tries to break the status quo but she was insulted because of her species and gender. However, she proves herself showing that not all prey are weak. This breaks the old image in the story that cops have to be big and strong. From her hard work and her effort to find the missing animal cases, eventually everyone accepts her as police. As Judy and Nick have to work together, they end up accepting each other’s differences.
In addition, the movies present varieties of community containing many species of animals to portray the diversity of the society and differences in today’s world. For example , Bunnyburrow is a town in the movie that represents countryside communities where the main character, Judy, lives. She has a simple life at Bunnyburrow but has to enter a Savanna central town which is a place contrasting with her hometown as Savanna central is full of innovative technology and chaos. The movie also presents different beliefs of people such as the naturalist club which is a club for people who want to be close with nature by being naked come together.
Even though the movie emphasizes that ‘anyone can be anything’ and ‘ideal life’: everyone can live in harmony, the movie also presents that ‘life doesn’t work the way you want’. Real life is more complicated. In the movie not only stereotype, acceptance and limitation was shown as issues and obstacles but also social status and power from the elite is what the main characters Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde have faced in the movie.
Can movie mirror system and issues in society ?
There are many systems in society that people can use to adjust to society. Every system has flaws and gaps for people to seek for their opportunities and profit. Capitalistic system is a system that operates by money and profits. Money plays a big role in this system as when you have money there are a lot of chances and service provided for you. This is an issue when that system of society has people that are facing poverty. Poverty means that there are people facing economic issues and financial status crises. Many people did not get the same service and opportunities. The capitalistic system is a big part of the society but there are also other issues that occur in every system. Legislation is one of them and it is not strong enough to control people leading to other conflicts: bullying, hate speech, and harassment.
The psychological thriller film consists of characters with mental disorders which the film focuses on and shows in depth in both physical and mental action of the character. Some movies , including this type, will provide us with the background of the character which tells us why the character does something or why he or she has a mental disorder. The reason why some characters went psycho may be caused by the environment around them such as family, friends, and society.
Arthur: “Is It Just Me Or Is It Getting Crazier Out There?” (Movie: Joker 2019)
Joker, an american psychological thriller film, is a very impressive movie that reflects the dark side of society caused by the capitalistic system. The main character, Arthur Fleck or Joker, was affected by the issues from the system of the society. The society under a capitalistic system that dehumanizes others and the gap between financial status is what Joker is facing in the movie. The movie shows the contrast between the elite that are wealthy and many people that are left out from society.
Joker and his mom are one of the disposable people facing poverty. Also, The therapist and the place where Joker received treatment was shut down because there is no financial support. This can be assumed that even though some important occupations such as a therapist and social worker are needed in the community, it is still being abandoned because of lack of financial support. The Joker is a comedian and he also received an impact. You can see throughout the story that Fleck is struggling with his financial status such as where he lives, where he works, and how he uses his daily life. In addition, there was a scene where Joker was expelled from his work because they have no money to pay for all the workers. Not all dreams can come true without money and support although you have passion and talent.
“give a sh*t about people like you Arthur, and they really do not give a sh*t about people like me either.” April Grace – Joker 2019
The movie did show another issue that mirrored the society which is harassing, bullying and hate speech. Joker was insulted in many scenes. Bullying comes in many forms and one of it is physical. When he was wearing a clown suit and doing his work on the street, a group of kids came to persecute and attack him physically. Also, he was attacked on a train by a group of working men who were harassing a woman. Joker has a Pseudobulbar affect or PBA which means he cannot control when to laugh or cry. He began to laugh out of sudden when those men were harassing the women. The group of men change their target to attack Joker instead. Disrespect, ridicule, insulting, harassing and hurting physically was all included in this scene. Insulting and harassing verbally are included in the movie as well. The main insult that Fleck faced is he can not be a comedian. Murray Franklin, a veteran talk show host, who talked and made fun of Fleck’s clip by calling him “Joker”. He discredited Fleck’s jokes in the clip and said that not everyone can be a comedian like him.
Another issue from the previous problem was not clearly mentioned but can be seen which is no people going to jail or getting any legal punishment after doing these actions. Is the law not strong enough or government officers such as police did not do their jobs? Do all people get the same right to be protected by law in society? Why are there still issues such as poverty in society if there is a government that works to run for a better society?
As there is no treatment provided and no law that can protect, with mental illness and cruel society Joker changes himself to be a vigilante or a criminal to protect himself and what he believes is right for him. This can be a message we can receive from the movie telling that the world is one of the causes that shapes him to be like this. There are a lot of issues in society that reveal the dark side of the society that have not been fixed. In Joker’s mind, when the world is polished with sickness and madness, he will not let anyone treat him as a victim for society, so he fights back in a psycho way.
Educational system portray in Thai Movie
In the Thai educational system, there is a very high competition among children, creating stress and waste of money in many ways. The real picture of Thai society prioritizes results over methods, as you can see in the Thai educational system that values grades, not the knowledge you received. The one who received the high score will get more opportunities but the one who is good at doing activities, but whose grades are bad may get insulted by others. There are many obstacles for students and issues in the educational system that have not been fixed yet.
Heist film is a movie that represents a story focusing on people who want to steal something and planning robberies. A thriller film will focus on giving the audience an intense feeling of stress, surprise and excitement in the movie. Heist thriller film is a mixture of those two genres of movie. How can this stealing plot and story mirror society if some of the classic things that thieves in the movie want to steal are exclusive jewelry, cash, historical objects and secret files?
Bad Genius is a famous Thai Heist thriller film that has a unique story. Instead of stealing valuables, they are only a bunch of teenagers who are just trying to pass the exam by cheating. The cheating plan begins to be more intense as they try to develop the plan for cheating in a bigger test which is a world wide test to apply in university. This movie provides many points that should be concerned.
Everything depends on grades, making teenagers in the story have to work hard on their studying. You can observe that many students start to participate in the cheating process for a better grade. They need grades for different purposes such as for applying for a recommended university, for receiving a prize, for a position in a school event or for a better chance in their future. The main character named Grace wants to participate in an important role in the sports day but her grade cannot apply for that position. She needs to improve her grade, so she asked her friend, Lynn, to help her which led to the first cheating.
The first cheating reveals another issue as the teacher opens a course for gaining money and the special course that he gave is a question in the exam that Lynn and Grace did. Before they cheat, they have studied the special sheet that came from a math teacher who opened a special course and Lynn noticed when she did the test. The teacher also encourages the student to study his special course while taking the test. Students who have money to pay for expensive extra tuition with the teacher who teaches the subject. Instead, they can score higher than other students. Is giving out answers for some students who pay for extra courses fair for others who did not take courses? There are many tutorial schools popping up in This society.The course that should be provided in school is provided by a tutorial school instead making students waste more unnecessary money.
Money may be the main idea of why the teacher is doing this action. To provide a more clear example of how money plays a role in the educational system, additional charges or what the school points out that the money is collected for an education maintenance fee. The maintenance fee is collected by telling the parents that if you pay it, your child will definitely get the quota to study here. Lynn is a character who is facing this problem as her family is not rich and she found out that the school collects the education maintenance fee from her father. In addition, scholarships are not enough for all students. Students that have talent in studying may not have financial support and they have to find scholarships such as Lynn and another main character named Bank. Pat, another main character that uses the money as a ladder to reach his success. He uses money to hire Lynn for helping him cheat in the exam in school and also cheating in the international STIC (SAT) exam. Not only the Bank but also many students give Pat the money for Lynn and Bank to achieve the million baht task to send the answer of STIC (SAT) exam from Sydney, Australia.
From all the issues in the movie, there are both good and bad sides that are portrayed in movies and movies can reflect the ongoing society. People are more open minded to accept diversity and changes. In contrast, there are also some systemic issues such as the capitalistic system and poverty. Harassing, bullying and hate speech should be more considered by society. Educational system has a lot of gaps that should be corrected to answer whether the educational system really has an ability to provide support and teachers that can provide knowledge. Different sides of society can be shown in movies and we should support the film industry to produce quality work. Movies are a medium that can really be used to reflect society and make people see more of the problem in society.