We LOVE movies here at Worldie. Black Panther has already featured in one of our articles recently, check it out here in Great Things That Happened in February 2018. Movies are a great way to tell incredible stories about characters, who they are, and the struggles that they must overcome. Sometimes, movies go deeper, addressing social issues within society that have been discussed in public forums at length.
Remember the Titans:
In the United States, racism and discrimination against African Americans has been prevalent throughout history. Although society has made progress towards equality between races, it was not that long ago where segregation was common throughout the United States. Remember the Titans takes place in the 1970’s in Virginia, where T.C Williams high school integrates Caucasian and African American students.
Newly instated Head Coach, Herman Boone, portrayed by Denzel Washington, faces several obstacles from players, parents, members of the community and within his own school and coaching team, that he is forced to overcome to keep his job and help inspire harmony between the people of his town.
Coaches Yoast and Boone celebrate winning the championship
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures (2001)
OK we are just going to own it, we LOVE the Black Panther for so many reasons. Its got an amazing story line, strong characters, and stunning visuals. However, the nature of the conflict between the protagonist, T’Challa, and his adversary, Killmonger, keeps the audience pondering who is right in this scenario. T’Challa, wishing for Wakanda to remain hidden, fearing that outsider knowledge about his society’s technological advancement would inspire external challenge, opposed the ideal of opening borders. However, Killmonger, who grew up in the United States, saw how the treatment of African Americans affected people around the world, wanted to provided the advanced weapons Wakanda produced to his people, to “restart” the world, with them “on top”. Black Panther addresses how racism is still prevalent within society and how it affects disadvantaged people, as well as how wealthy countries often fail to provide enough aid to those in need.
Killmonger (left) faces off with T’Challa (right)
Credit: Marvel Studios (2017)
Super Size Me:
Now this is technically a documentary, but it would be remiss of us to not address issues of health within society. Super Size Me addresses the influences of fast food upon people, as it follows Morgan Spurlock, the director of the film, as he only consumers McDonald’s food 3 times a day for 30 days. Spurlock’s reasoning behind his experiment with fast-food was in response to what was perceived as an epidemic of obesity within the United States, that not was only physically damaging to the human body, but harmful to the human mind due to its addictive nature. 14 months after this experiment, Spurlock finally lost the weight he gained during the 30 day period (11.1 kg), due to his use of a vegan diet. Although scientific studies have detailed the effects of fast food on the human body, this documentary illustrated effectively the physical and psychological toll that it has upon people.
Now we know this is an animation, but it was a great movie for me to watch as a kid and it highlighted what the world would look like should the waste issues get out of control. After Earth has been abandoned, centuries in the future, WALL-E trash compactor robots have been left behind to attempt to clean the world. The movies setting shows that only one WALL-E unit has survived, who has gained sentience. Although this movie showed the WALL-E meeting an EVE probe, becoming friends, and the human racing returning to earth to attempt to restore it, it highlighted several social issues, including the nature of humans consuming goods, the poor use of waste management and littering. Despite being set centuries in the future and an animation, the message conveyed throughout the film is clear, that better management of waste and public consumerism must become more effective going forward into the future.
Credit: The Walt Disney Company (2008)
The Truman Show:
Jim Carey is an amazing actor and comedian, showcasing several memorable performances throughout his careers. His character, Truman Burbank, is at the centre of a reality TV show, where his reality is nothing more than a production for the millions of people who watch him around the world every day. The nature of the TV show has its viewers hooked every episode, highlighting the issues surrounding mass consumerism of content, something that has increased recently with the advent of online streaming services (we are all pretty much guilty of this). After the conclusion of The Truman Show, the viewers immediately ask “what else is on?”, changing the channel and moving on with their need for more content. Additionally, religious undertones are inferred from this film, a social issue which has become more controversial within recent years. On-screen director, Christof, has complete control over everything within Truman’s life, including the elements of weather, daytime and nighttime, similar to the power of a God.
Do you know of any other movies that you can think of that have inspired, or addressed the issue of social change? Write to us here!