Image Credit: Unsplash

Art exists to hold up a mirror to society. When we watch films, we are immersing ourselves in a different world, and oftentimes we can come out of the experience with a new outlook and perhaps some perspective into another walk of life. Here are several films that succeed in showing us what it’s like to be a different person, in a different place.  


The job of a director is to craft a world that you are completely absorbed into. In the 1996 Martin Scorsese film Casino, the viewer is transported into the glitzy and glamorous world of Las Vegas. The fascinating thing about this film is how detailed the world is and how we are able to see the inner workings and business side of these luxurious casinos.

While on this journey as the viewer, we are able to see a realistic look at the culture and phrases that are commonly used in Las Vegas. From there, the narrators of the story give us an in-depth look at the inner workings of casino practices. We see the rooms where they count the profits, the security systems in place, and how they make sure the entire operation is running smoothly. Some films take this route and demonstrate a wildly inaccurate look into certain industries, but Casino feels very authentic. 

Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire is a story of triumph against the odds. In some corners of the world, poverty is widespread and abundant. In a country like India, with a massive population of over one billion people, there are many cities facing overwhelming poverty and life can be exceedingly difficult from day to day. Slumdog Millionaire shows us a no-holds barred look at this life, and what the residents do to survive. The story is centered around the character Jamal and his brother Salim as they try to navigate this demanding world and create a better life for themselves. Ultimately, Jamal’s path in life leads him to being a contestant on the show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? 

Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan gives us a raw and unfiltered look at the tragedy of war and how it affects us mentally and physically. Films often give us over the top effects and cinematics, but Saving Private Ryan keeps it very grounded and makes the user face the overwhelming tragedy of World War II and the battlefield in general. Looking deeper into the film, we realize that we are witnessing more than that. We see the bonds of soldiers forming, and the lengths that they are willing to go to protect one another and achieve their mission goals. Many films may touch on these lessons, but Saving Private Ryan demonstrates them in an honest and completely unglamourous fashion. 

Crazy Rich Asians

The 2018 film Crazy Rich Asians was a smash hit internationally and is a treat for the viewer to watch. Despite being a romantic comedy at heart, Crazy Rich Asians exposes us to real issues that exist in many different societies. The film centers around the character Rachel Chu, an Asian-American, and her relationship with Nicholas Young, the son of a wealthy Singaporean family.

Constant themes of the film include the separation involved in societal status, and the boundaries Chu has to overcome being American and from a lower class. This demonstrates the alienation Asian immigrants can feel both abroad and in their home countries. While these themes may be glossed over by the viewer, they also get to peek into the lives of the lavishly rich. From mansion parties, designer fashion, and luxurious spa days, it is interesting to see how the wealthiest people in the world live. 

Image Credit: Unsplash

The Fighter

There are many movies centered around the sport of boxing, but few show the true gritty world that professional boxing is. Based on a true story, the film tells the story of real life boxer Micky Ward and his half-brother Dicky Eklund. As boxing fans all know, the history of the sport is plagued with seedy undertones and outright criminal acts. The Fighter showcases this with a completely raw look into this world. However, the lessons and takeaway from the film are the hardships that a fighter must go through to succeed, even if it means turning back on family and the coaches that helped build them up.

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