Social issues drive the importance of film

May 7, 2019


Social issues in film play a vital role to the story. Often times, an entire plot or theme can be drawn from the social issue(s) displayed in a film. 

Social issues add context, shed light onto many overlooked problems in society, and at times they attempt to predict the future of society. 


Different social issues can bring a negative review just because an audience does not like the topic itself, or the way the issue is presented is inaccurate. 


The use of social issues in a plotline can be very beneficial if executed correctly as well as if the message impacts the audience. In the film Get Out, screenwriter Jordan Peele decided to display racism as well as slavery with several other hidden messages and symbolism. 


The thought-provoking plot sent us all into a world that may or may not be entirely false or fantasy at all. According to BLACKLGHT, this plot goes in depth and in a somewhat satirical light to discuss organ harvesting within the black community.


Believe it or not, still to this day there are many white people who believe that black organs and blood are stronger than any other race. There have been cases of black people, especially teens, going missing all over the world and country due to this organ harvesting and with plenty of proof to back the theory. 


Proof such as Kendrick Johnson, a young black high schooler who was murdered and rolled up into a gym mat in his school. Once he was discovered, the police were horrified to find that the boy’s organs were removed prior to his body being rolled into the mat.


Social issues like these are not only detrimental to society and should not be ignored. They are causing more hurt than any amount of good anyone is gaining. Screenwriter Jordan Peele again attacked the social issue of society as individuals to be the real monster in his new film Us. Again, he uses vital symbolism and imagery in this modern horror film that depicts a family who is fighting this malevolent group of monsters, only to find out that they are fighting themselves. 


This is not meant to shame society or the world but rather to get the world to admit to their own mistakes instead of always pointing the finger and wondering why the bad things keep happening. Although the primary purpose of a film is to entertain, in this technologically advanced era that we are living in, sending subliminal messages is often the only way to reach the minds of this world now. 


Many directors and screen writers are now finding a way to incorporate both entertainment and a powerful message to both excite as well as awaken the audience. Alternatively, there are many topics that people prefer to keep buried and not speak or think about it. 


For a large amount of people, it is simply because of their own personal issues and encounters with the issue at hand. 

For others, people just prefer to ignore problems and be entertained. Topics like domestic violence are often ignored due to the amount of triggering it does for both men and women. 


In the film Enough, we see Jennifer Lopez take on the role of an abused mother and wife on the run. She escapes her husband time and time again, but he never stops coming back. In this film, we see Jennifer decide to do a more hands on approach in order to finally end this situation with her husband. 


She finds that she cannot seek any help from the police because she has no real proof of this abuse and that her husband is a danger to their daughter. Knowing this, she decides to prepare for the final fight with him and begins training to kill him. 


While this all seems a little extreme, for many men and women this is actually their only option at times, it is either life or death. This reason alone is one of the biggest reasons this is an underacknowledged topic, because it is a huge trigger for many people. 


The most hated topic of our generation has become one of the best social issues to casually bring up in films. Feminism. 

In the most recent film Captain Marvel, many critics did not like the film just because of the message of feminism being displayed. However, there are a couple of ways to view this movie. 


There most definitely was a decent amount of feminism, but the main message was to never give up no matter what anyone else says or does and that you are good enough the way you are. The message and the social issue are two entirely different things, but most people only acknowledged the feminism flares throughout the film.


In the Captain Marvel film, we see Brie Larson as Carol Danvers being dragged down by everyone and constantly told that she is not good enough throughout her whole life. She was a tomboy growing up and wanted to do what the boys were doing and often times failed at it. 


When Carol became an adult, she joined the Air Force and still continued to have this stigma of men telling her she can’t do this or that and that she was not good enough. When all the action happens and she truly understands her powers, her lead mentor and captain is groveling on his knees for her to not fight him with her powers because he knows that he will lose. 


Carol lets off one strong punch to his jaw sending him flying across the fields and she tells him that she does not have to prove anything to him. In these moments we see a larger amount of feminism but also a strong mentality of never giving up.

In conclusion, without the appearances of social issues and the symbolism used to catch one’s attention, movies would be pretty bleak. There would be very little action or even a story at all. Almost every single movie you see will have some sort of social issues being brought up and displayed throughout the picture.


It is at times our own job as the audience to figure out what the issue is exactly or why it is being displayed because in a lot of cases, the director or screenwriter will not let us know themselves. The film Get Out is a great example of this just due to the symbolism alone. 


Even in the script there are so many hidden messages behind what the characters are saying and feeling. This film was so in depth that it had actually trimmed the bushes out front of the house into the shape of omega letters as a symbol of superiority. 


Therefore, had all these little well thought out details not been displayed, this film would most likely have done very bad in theaters. A social issue can make the entire movie and make it better than anyone has ever imagined. 


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