Tuesday, December 16, 2008

sensible characters

Human beings don't make sense.

We like to think we do. In fact, a common criticism movie-goers make after a film is that some character's action isn't believable because it isn't sensible. Ironically, the criticized action, while not rational, is very realistic. Panic, for example, isn't sensible, but it's real. Each of us does things every day which are not completely logical.

Should story characters make sense?

At first, the answer might seem to be "yes". Afterall, I just got finished saying that movie audiences regularly criticize the illogical actions of story characters, despite being well aware that such actions might be realistic.

But complaints don't always mean something is wrong. Sometimes people prefer a thing even when they don't appreciate it, because they're not truly aware of the alternatives. In other words, they'll gripe and moan about something, but they'd gripe even more if that something was different or absent.

Honestly, I don't know what the answer is here. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Realism, true realism, is very hard to achieve as it requires of the director and actors a complete understanding of reality, which nobody has. However, we have varying degrees of an approximation to reality and some are remarkably close. Some actors are excellent at this, and some directors seem to "get it". Will there ever be the perfect movie that critics cannot assail? No, because movies are made by imperfect people, but can we improve? Absolutely.


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