Creating a great movie is a hard mission to accomplish. However, a lot depends on the definition of a “great movie”. Is it something you would like to be entertained by in your free time or something that would impact the way you think and alter your understating of things? There are few movies in the world that actually managed to transcend the conventional meaning of a movie as a simple entertaining tool.
Movies like A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015) or Philadelphia (1993) had a great impact on the domestic policy of the country of origin of the movie by emphasizing the severity of the problem at hand. On the other hand, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1974) resulted in severe consequences for sharks. The movie has fuelled fears of sharks among people and contributed to the increasing popularity of shark hunters. Hence, over the years movies have managed to influence the perception of danger or reality and contributed to modifying the policies.
The last decade has not been an exception either. Several particularly striking and conspicuous movies were written and directed since 2010, and below we will present some of them.
- Okja (2017)
Okja proved to be impactful even before the filming process was finished. The director Bong Joon Ho became vegan on set after visiting an animal slaughterhouse for the first time and the searches for vegan increased by 65% after the movie was released. Okja is not only characterized by a brilliant cast composed of Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton, but it is a pure emotional rollercoaster as well. You fall in love with the CGI of a lovely pig at first, then you feel sorry for her and these feelings are replaced with anger and great sorrow caused by the realization of your own helplessness. Discovering that the bunch of scenes in the movie were influenced by undercover documentaries and actual footage from animal’s slaughterhouse hits on a deeper level. Hence, this movie will definitely make you think twice before you eat meat again (or ever).
- Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
This masterpiece of Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey walks us through the experience of early patients of HIV/AIDS. It tells the story of how they were treated and the general antipathy they felt from family members or medical personnel. The movie explores in detail the lack of medical treatment and the excessively priced medicine available to early HIV/AIDS patients. It is based on the true story of Ron Woodroof, who started a commercial operation of smuggling drugs outside from the USA unapproved by the FDA for treatment of HIV/AIDS patients. The movie uncovers unpleasant details not only about the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS disease in its early days but the failure of government institutions in addressing the vital needs of the patients. The Health system remains a crucial problem in the USA, and the eye-opening truth of the Dallas Buyers Club raises issues that might not be fully solved even today.
- Moonlight (2016)
On paper, it might sound like a movie filled with cliches and a typical portrayal of the black community. But it is not. It is not yet another look at the same story, but with a different camera lens or a different name behind the director’s chair. What is it then? Moonlight is a love story according to an actor who plays the main character Chiron’s adult version. The love story of a black boy living in a violent community with a troubled childhood and drug-addicted mother. The truth is that this movie is not unique in many ways. There is nothing unique about portraying a black man as a drug-dealer or touching upon the problems of bullying and violence as experienced at school.
However, what makes this movie unique is the perfect synthesis of love and violence, of confusion characterizing youth and hardships of life. How love can emerge in the environment of extreme violence and how can one allow himself to feel emotions when this might lead him to lose his shield. The movie presents the challenges of an unguided individual in the process of growing up in a violent neighborhood. This is the personal story of just one boy among millions. The fact that the movie won an Oscar is not only indicative of the outstanding character of it but also stresses the severity of the issue of violence and hatred young queer individuals experience especially in highly marginalized communities.