Movies tell stories

By Melissa Martin

People love stories because life is made up of our stories. People relate to stories and feel understood by certain characters. People like fantasies and entertainment.

“We all agree movies allow us to escape—and there’s value in that—but it’s more than simple escapism. Movies take us to places we’ve never been and inside the skin of people quite different from ourselves. They offer us a window onto the wider world, broadening our perspective and opening our eyes to new wonders.”

You can also learn from movies and apply the lessons to your own daily life. The content of movies can provide inspiration to make changes.

I like to pick out the themes when I watch movies. And interpret the symbolism. Recently, I watched the following films.


Aquaman, born Arthur Curry, is half-human and half-Atlantean, and struggles with belonging as if he is a man without a country. The fishy guy shows compassion for people of all ethnicities. “A king fights only for his nation,” he is told. “You fight for everyone.” And Arthur is worthy of being the king fish because he thinks he is unworthy. Good triumphs. Humans and humanoids are saved.

The two leading actresses are portrayed as courageous and strong. However, they both wear tight-fitted clothes to highlight curves and skinniness.

Except for Black Manta, the supervillain, and his black father, the actors are white-skinned. Diversity is lacking. The Atlanteans are Caucasian. However, Aquaman is biracial sort of; he’s part human and part underwater humanoid. He’s a wet mess. Is he the first multicultural superhero?

Bam! Pow! Smack! Violence rules—more so than other superhero films. Is wanting a superhero to use words instead of fists to resolve conflict just a pipe dream?

Here’s my beef. Arthur cusses twice and gets drunk on alcohol. Really? Children watch superhero films. Aquaman needs a time-out and rehab.

Aquaman’s half-brother stirs up a storm and returns pollution to the surface. He proclaims ocean pollution is poisoning their children. This is a much needed message for the viewing audience. After all the earth is mostly covered in water.

The special effects are astounding.

The Bird Box

“In a post-apocalyptic world, haunted by beings that cause psychotic behavior in nearly anyone who looks at them, Mallory (Sandra Bullock) tries to protect two small children while traveling to what she hopes is a safe colony.”

Sandra Bullock’s acting was superb in this sci-fi thriller film. Invisible creatures convince people to take their own lives by simply looking. This forces the survivors to blindfold themselves when outside and to cover the windows inside. The story is about Malorie’s mothering journey towards accepting responsibility for the children and eventually embracing them.

The symbolism in this film makes you think about humanity and the stigma of mental illness. “There are characters in the movie who want to stare at the monster, who are not afraid to see and encourage others desperately to do the same. It is pointed out these people have escaped from asylums and they are the key to understanding this layered story. Within the narrative, these characters are in league with the unseen and symbolic ‘alien’. They are cast as evil by the protagonists, not to be trusted and avoided at all costs.”

Diversity shows up with a Latino female, a gay Asian man, and two black men.

Sandra Bullock’s acting was superb in this sci-fi thriller film.

The Shape of Water

I found this film to be both disturbing and fascinating. Orphaned Elisa Esposito, voiceless since the day she was found “by the river, in the water”, is the leading actress along with a genetically modified monster—the leading man. It is an outlandish love story with human and sea creature finding acceptance in each other while living in a bigoted world. It is a fishy fairy tale with watery metaphors abounding.

Diversity shows up with black actors and a gay man. Russian spies make an appearance.

What is the greatest movie of all times? It depends on who you ask. Citizen Kane? City Lights? Casablanca?

A 2017 article in USA Today listed the 50 best films of all time by 24/7 Wall Street. To generate the list, it reviewed movie ratings by critics and general audiences on Rotten Tomatoes and Internet Movie Database. How many of these 50 movies have you watched?

Grease is a 1978 American musical romantic comedy movie. I watched this fun film with my high school friends at the Wheelersburg drive-in. Last year marked 40 years since the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds rumbled and tumbled. From Olivia Newton John’s good girl Sandy to John Travolta’s greaser Danny, we became hopelessly devoted to the soundtrack.

The Drive-In Theatre in Wheelersburg opened May 29, 1948 and closed in 1983, according to On July 23, 1955, the drive-in was renamed the Johnda Lou Drive-In Theatre.

What’s your favorite movie?

By Melissa Martin

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Scioto County.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Scioto County.