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Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

Opinion: Social Commentary is Too Obvious and Prevalent in the Modern Movies
Photo Courtesy of Printerval

Nobody likes being preached at, so I am always rolling my eyes at its abundance in recent movies.

The movies in the past year have too much social commentary and it is not wittily done. Social commentary in films needs to be executed cleverly or not at all. Many recently released movies seem to sacrifice the story for the virtue they are trying to promote and as a result, they ruin the whole plot. 

Take “Barbie,” for example; the story could have just been Barbie’s hero’s journey,  having to go into the human world, find the woman who was playing with her, and come back to Barbieland. They even could have had Barbie encounter some sexism. But, instead of sprinkling some social commentary into a lighthearted plot, the social commentary became the plot. 

This was apparent in “Killers of the Flower Moon” as well. It could have just focused on some white settlers who were murdering some of the members of the Osage Nation to get some money, and how they tried not to get caught. Instead, they were just murdering people for 206 minutes and it seemed like almost everyone in town was involved in this plot to get rid of the Osage members. 

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 The acting was ruined by the constant preaching. In “Killers of the Flower Moon,” both Leonardo Di Caprio and Lily Gladstone were phenomenal actors. In “Barbie”, Ryan Gosling was so exceptional that he made me feel pity for him while also disliking him just enough.

The social commentary itself wasn’t the problem, after all, “American Fiction,” which also came out last year, contained plenty of social commentary, but it was done so wittily that I was laughing my heart out. The story was simple. An author resents that he is only seen as a Black man and people’s perception of Black people is that they are uneducated and criminals. He then decides to write a book that fits that stereotype to satirize the idea of stereotyping Black people.

The difference between “American Fiction” and “Barbie” or “Killers of the Flower Moon” is that “American Fiction” keeps the social commentary to one aspect of the movie. There are still light moments in between that have nothing to do with the point that the movie is trying to make.

 For example, the movie also focuses on a romantic relationship the main character has, his unconventional family members, personal tragedy and his combative personality. In contrast, “Barbie” bombards you with it from sexism in the Mattel board and Barbieland to Ken’s futile attempts to seize control of his relationship with Barbie.

The movie could have focused on any one of these elements without having to focus on them all. Excluding Barbie and Ken’s relationship from the social commentary would have especially helped the plot because Ken was so sad and pathetic it wasn’t even funny. The humor was much more effective in “American Fiction” because the movie makes fun of the main character instead of treating him as if he has no faults and having one of the supporting characters be the flawed one. If you put a character on a pedestal, like “Barbie” did with “Barbie” the movie loses its humor in a pool of pity. 

“American Fiction” also makes fun of both sides, but explains why the main character’s perspective is correct, instead of simply telling you their perspective and not giving any evidence or presenting common grievances that people complain about.

Many people might say we should make movies we believe in, and I wholeheartedly agree. However, this doesn’t mean that the point the makers of the film are trying to make should take up the whole movie. The plot needs variation and different themes and aspects. I agree that movies with social commentary often make important points that need further discussion, but the movies should make their point in a mild and witty way. 

The way movies are now, the only people who will watch them are the people who are already convinced of the point they are making. Why would anybody want to sit down for three hours of being preached at without even being amused?


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About the Contributor
Esha Suhag
Esha Suhag, Staff Writer
Esha Suhag is a freshman at Granite Bay High School. This is her first year as a staff writer for Granite Bay Today.

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