Why I Love Film
Film is not only the central passion of my life; it's my very reason for being. Watching and sharing my thoughts on movies has been my greatest pleasure since I was little. But for a long time throughout my upbringing, I never gave any thought as to why. Eventually, as I progressed into adolescence and began to watch a wider variety of cinema, this question still didn't plague me. But lately, I've come to a profound understanding of my love for this everlasting art form.
As mentioned, my fandom for movies has been a part of me since childhood. Growing up, I devoured tons of animated classics from Disney and Pixar, including Beauty and the Beast (1991), The Lion King (1994), and Monsters, Inc. (2001), all three of which remain all-time favorites today. As I got older, I grew a curiosity to watch other types of films, mainly big blockbuster action and sci-fi movies, i.e. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), The Dark Knight (2008), The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Once I progressed into my adolescence, I discovered the work of the late Roger Ebert, which prompted an urge to breach out and watch a greater variety of genres. Because of him, I was inspired to watch classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Singin' in the Rain (1952), The Godfather (1972), and Lawrence of Arabia (1962). I view this period of my life as ground zero for my open-mindedness towards different types of cinema.
At age sixteen, I was diagnosed with autism, and gradually, I began to contextualize my obsessive interest in movies, why I'd watch them countless times, or listen to their soundtracks just as often. While still in high school, I also saw the Oscar-nominated documentary Life, Animated (2016). It followed an autistic man named Owen Suskind, and how he used his lifelong love of Disney films to help him navigate the world, as well as understand himself. Watching it, I realized I was doing the same with movies as a whole, and related to Owen's story intensely.
From thereon out, I began to consciously use movies as a tool to make my way through life and understand myself. For instance, when I struggled to come to terms with my bisexuality, Princess Cyd (2017) helped me start to accept it as just another part of who I was, which was what I had always wanted. Seeing this story, about the titular character (Jessie Pinnick) visiting her religious aunt for two weeks, whilst she also starts a fling with a local barista (Malic White), treated in such a leisurely and casual manner was oddly cathartic. When I lost both my Mimi and my cat Ozzie last year, A Monster Calls (2016) helped me through it. The film, about a young boy who befriends an imaginary tree monster (voiced brilliantly by Liam Neeson) to cope with the impending loss of his mom (Felicity Jones), felt deeply relatable to me. Facing my emotions directly via my passion for movies was the biggest thing that bolstered my ability to accept the fact of their deaths, and progress onward in life.
So how does all of this tie into why I love cinema? I think it's because I not only appreciate the entertainment value they can provide, but how relating to the characters and story can help me understand myself, and weather through difficult times. Similarly, they can help others do the same. No other art form can quite equal cinema's universal impact.