The great Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa once said: “Human beings share the same common problems. A film can only be understood if it depicts these properly.”
And the Seven Samurai director is right. To be moved by a film, you have to empathise with the characters. However, there’s also a language to cinema that separates the world of the movie from our own. It’s often tiny imperceptible details that we’ve become numb to over the years that makes the world of movies different to our own.
A recent thread on Reddit titled “What’s something that is totally normal in movies, but never happens in real life?” had movie fans pointing out the weird things that separates life in movies to our own reality, and it’s a real eye-opening thread.
Here are some of the highlights, plus a few others that we had to throw in ourselves.
Ending phone calls without saying goodbye
People in movies never end their phone calls with an interminable exchange of “bye”, “see you soon”, “love you”, “yeah, bye”, “OK then”, “bye”. They just finish their conversation and hang up. No niceties needed.
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Being able to have a conversation in a bar or club
This is a classic. People in bars having whispered conversations despite there being a live band on stage, or a DJ pumping out tunes. Have these people never been to a real pub?
Not making mistakes while you’re talking, or coughing or sneezing
Unless you’re a kitchen sink drama director, you’re unlikely to include dialogue where people mumble, or stutter over their words. As one person on Reddit put it: “if I say a long sentence without stutter I am certainly lying.”
Same goes for those random coughs and sneezes that affect everyone in every day life. Not in the movies though, they are nowhere to be heard.
Telling people to meet you at a predetermined time and place and getting no push back
The hero calls his pal: “Meet me at the clock tower, 5pm, I’ll explain later.” And the meeting goes ahead, no questions asked. In real life, your pal is likely to say, “Can we make it 7? I’m off to the gym”, or “Can we do it next week instead?” Or, even more likely, they don’t even answer in the first place.
Easily finding a parking place
No-one wants to see a detective hot on the trail of the latest clue pull up to the kerb only to find there’s no parking space, but that’s what happens 90% of the time in big cities where movies take place. Oh, to live in the parking utopia of the movie world.
Not eating food
There are many facets to this: the person that orders food in a restaurant or bar and leaves before it arrives, the big family breakfast laid out ignored by the guy rushing out of the door who picks up a slice of toast on the go, the conversation over dinner where no-one eats. Just eat guys, we don’t mind.
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Ordering a drink at the bar and getting whatever you’re given
Anyone who’s ever ordered a drink at a bar knows there’s more to ordering a beer that just saying “I’ll have a beer please”. The bar man will want to know: what type, draft or bottle, how much, how many... Not in the movies. They also never tell them how much they owe when they give them the drink either.
Hacking is just really fast typing
I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure there’s more to hacking than just typing super quick and saying “I’m in.” As one Redditor pointed out – actual hacking is more likely to be: "Hello, this is... uhh... John from the password inspection agency. Our system shows that your password may have been hacked. Can you confirm it for us?"
Sleeping with the curtains open
What kind of lunatic sleeps without drawing the drapes? Lunatics in movies, that’s who. It’s likely to be a choice driven by cinematography concerns, but every time we see someone going to be bed with light pouring in through the windows, it takes us out of the movie.
Unrealistic young people
We get that movies are meant to be aspirational and aesthetically pleasing, but when you see someone in their twenties living in a huge apartment on their own, in central London or New York, it’s just so jarring. On a similar note, how come every teenage guy in a Netflix film is built like a tank?
Waking up with perfect hair and makeup
We wish we looked like people in the movies when they wake up, rather than something that’s just been dragged through a hedge backwards. And, how come people in The Walking Dead always have clean fingernails? Don’t you think people will have given up on personal hygiene once there’s a global zombie pandemic?