Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Character-driven movies have captured the human experience

Not all movies need a plotline
The Breakfast Club | IMDB

People find a great deal of comfort in films, which is perhaps why character-driven films, or films that seem to have “no plot,” resonate so deeply within people. Though many of these movies still have plots, they have non-linear storylines and unconventional narratives that frame the story. Such films focus on characters, and viewers tend to see parts of themselves within the characters those movies portray.

Many of these films also seem to portray daily life in a way that nurtures sympathy from viewers. Most of these movies feature coming-of-age plotlines and deep emotions. Here are some spotlights of films that capture the essence of character-driven movies.

The Breakfast Club (1985)

“The Breakfast Club” focuses on five teenagers who meet in detention. The rest of the film develops each character, giving the audience a sense of their personalities, backgrounds and motivations, which helps the viewers empathize with them. The film relies on interpersonal conflict, rather than a stark turning point to drive the story forward This forces the characters to confront their own biases and assumptions, ultimately leading to personal growth and change.

Ladybird (2017)

“Lady Bird” is a coming-of-age story that explores themes of identity, family, love and self-discovery. The film’s director and writer, Greta Gerwig, strongly emphasizes the characters and their interactions. Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) is a complex and multi-dimensional character who is flawed, relatable and sympathetic. Each character is given depth and nuance, and their interactions with Lady Bird help to shape her journey.

Additionally, the film’s setting in Sacramento, Calif. serves as a backdrop for Lady Bird’s growth and development. The city becomes a character, reflecting Lady Bird’s struggles and aspirations. “Lady Bird” places a strong emphasis on character development, relationships and personal growth. The film’s themes are universal and relatable, which allows viewers to find parts of themselves in different aspects of the film.

Aftersun (2022)

“Aftersun” by Charlotte Wells is a short film that captures the spirit of character-driven cinema uniquely. The film’s plot centers on a father and daughter on vacation in Turkey. There is a strong focus on the father-daughter dynamic, and much of the film relies on the emotional journey of the characters, rather than action or narrative twists.

“Aftersun” captures the spirit of character-driven films through visual storytelling. The film’s tropical setting is more than a background; it is a character in its own right. The beautiful views, brilliant colors, and surreal visuals add to the story’s emotional effect. We watch the characters in happy and sad times, and the beauty of the setting only helps to underline their difficulties.

Character-driven films offer a deep exploration of the human experience through the eyes of complex, well-developed characters by focusing on the characters’ inner lives, motivations and struggles. Audiences find themselves relating to the characters’ experiences or learning more about the complexities of human behavior and relationships.

There is a sense of authenticity and realism that is lacking in action-driven or plot-heavy films. By delving deeply into the characters’ emotions and motivations, these films create a more nuanced and believable portrayal of human behavior.

Kaviya Raja can be reached at [email protected].

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