Let’s get down to business, to analyze movies

How I’ve absorbed cinema and let it influence my character


Shriya Vanparia

Movies can have a great impact personally such shaping one’s outlook on various issues. Staff writer Anika Arutla shares her opinion on movies such as Mulan, Anastasia and Troy and how they have impacted her.

Anika Arutla, Staff Writer

Often times, we enter a movie theater, spend the next two hours engrossed in a film and after we leave, we push it to the back of our minds where it sits until eventually, it leaves our thoughts. There are some movies that are made to not be serious and provide a good laugh.


However, movies are made for much more than that, they are made to impact lives and that is usually forgotten because we fail to analyze them.


For example, my personal favorite movie of all time, Mulan, conveys a message that has had influenced my life in all aspects. To most people, Mulan is just another Disney princess and takes her father’s place in the war and in the end, she helps a group of male stereotypes win the war against the Huns.


Through my eyes, Mulan did much more than, as the emperor said, save China. Mulan battled an issue that ran generations deep: patriarchy. The movie skillfully shows Mulan embarking to prove how much trouble a woman could go through to be accepted in society, by having her transform into a male by cutting off her hair and feigning to be in pain when hit in the private parts.


Without completely being able to understand Mulan’s motivations or her circumstances, the movie would not have been half as memorable or impactful to my life.


Similarly, one of the most underrated movies, Anastasia, on the outside may seem like the tale of a long lost princess simply fulfilling her royal role because whenever a princess is mentioned, the entire movie is deemed feminine or childlike. The movie is based on the royal Russian family, the Romanovs, and one of its children, Anastasia, who escapes her family’s brutal execution. It begins with her getting kicked out of an orphanage and feeling completely clueless about who she is. Anastasia goes beyond the typical princess facade and explores identity and the depth behind feeling lost and alone.


The story of Anastasia should not be overlooked. Anastasia’s struggles are, unfortunately, very prevalent in today’s world and without realizing there is more to this princess than just finding her family and having a whirlwinding romance, her character loses its purpose.


Contrast to animated movies, live-action movies can also be interpreted in multiple ways. As a child, the infamous greek tale of Helen of Troy fascinated me beyond words. I was not allowed to watch Wolfgang Petersen’s masterpiece Troy until I was in middle school and it was well worth the wait.


Troy, which features actors such as Brad Pitt (Achilles), Eric Bana (Prince Hector), Orlando Bloom (Prince Paris), Diane Kruger (Helen of Troy) and Rose Byrne (Briseis) playing some of the most iconic characters in history, completely blew my mind. Until the movie, I thought of the characters as those in history textbooks, two-dimensional. Troy takes them and makes them realistic in all aspects.


The film has so much depth that every time I watch it – which has been at least a dozen times – I find a completely new way to view it. The first time, it was pure romance. Romance between Helen of Troy and Prince Paris and romance between Achilles and Briseis. As I continued to analyze and understand the film, it became a movie about honor, pride and fighting for one’s country no matter the costs.


Although movies are made to entertain, analyzing them and recognizing all of the components only helps you appreciate the movie more and guides you to see it in a new light. Mulan could never have shaped a huge part of who I am if I saw her as a simple animated character; she means something to me because she is real. The possibilities are endless and the messages interpreted are due to your imagination, it is up to you whether or not you analyze to find out.

Follow Anika @anikaarutla