Love in the Movies: Happily Ever After?

Going to the movies isn’t bad in and of itself.  It’s a form of entertainment and may even be considered a form of art, which if used correctly, can be for the glory of God.  But let’s not forget that it’s also a way to send a message and transmit ideas.  Unfortunately, up until today, it’s been used more for evil purposes than for the good.  So, even though you may love going to the movies, it’s not a good idea to become too attached to this form of entertainment.
Movies have a huge persuasive influence on us.  We like to identify ourselves with the main character and this affects our way of thinking, our ideas, and our actions.  Movies have some serious dangers.  One of the biggest dangers is how many movies portray sexuality.  And don’t think that the danger only exists while we’re watching the movie.  What we see gets recorded in our imagination and can later become a source of dangerous temptations.  

Even worse than this, though, is the way that movies can transmit ideas.  They have a huge influence over our emotions and in a way win us over, allowing messages and ideas to slip inside of us without us even noticing.  You may think you have clear that adultery is bad, but then may start to think that there may be certain cases where it might be acceptable.  And the same goes for pre-marital relations and certain scenes in movies that could almost be considered pornographic.  The more we get used to them, the less they scandalize us, and the more likely we are to end up saying, “Well, everyone watches it or does it, so it must be acceptable”… or at least, “Well, I’d never do that” and the fact that we’d “never do that” somehow justifies “so, it’s ok to watch it.”   
If we’re Catholic, we might even start to think: why does the Church not permit divorce and re-marriage at least for couples that aren’t happy in their marriage?  And if two young people are in love, what’s really wrong with pre-marital relations?  We don’t think further what might happen to the family, and in particular the children of that married couple, if divorce is permitted.  We approve of pre-marital relations for the couple that has won us over and little by little… our mentality changes without us even realizing it.  

Love, as portrayed in the movies many times, isn’t real love.  And if it’s “pre-marital” or “extra-marital” love that’s being portrayed, in real life it doesn’t bring the happiness that it seems to have in the movies.  In the movies, the end always seems to be a happy one but in real life, how many marriages have failed precisely because they were based exclusively on bodily attraction and didn’t give importance to higher values?  

And how can we not make mention of the harm done to women and the image of women in movies?  It can’t even be adequately expressed.  How many young girls today think that unless they dress and act like they see in the movies, no guy will ever fall in love with her?  She imitates what she sees without thinking of the consequences because in the movies, nothing bad ever happens.  But in real life, it isn’t like that.  How many girls later cry because of their mistakes?  But then it’s too late…

If we could define how love is portrayed in the movies, how would we define it?  “Love is based on bodily attraction.  Love looks out for itself.  Love seeks its own interest.  Love is pleasure.  Love can be adulterous.  Love can be fornication.  Love doesn’t require commitment.  It accepts wrongdoing… Love can fail.”  Is this the kind of idea we would like to have of love?  No person in their right mind would define true love like that.  So, what is love?  Scripture tells us: “Love is patient, love is kind.  It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated.  It is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails” (1 Cor 13:4-7).  

God is Love.  

So, is love like it is in the movies?  Let’s not be deceived; rather, let’s be vigilant.  If we’re not careful, perhaps our idea of true love has been, is being, or could be manipulated by what we see in the movies.