I recently thought about the following question : ‘Can a movie character change the world ?’.
I realized that I was never impacted by a character, but always by the story as a whole. I can find answers, receive beautiful insights from a film, but I always attribute it to the events, the situations that are depicted rather than a character. I am never touched by what a character does, his choices, his actions, because they are to me always conditioned by the story. The events all lead to him doing a certain thing, having a certain reaction, and thus, it’s not the character that has an impact on me.
But then, what is a character ? I think we can ask : what is a person ?
When I think about the initial question, my intuition is that for a character (or person) to move me, they need to do so through their reactions, actions, choices or reflections. That is, their sense of individuality, their way of acting needs to have an impact on me for me to give them the credit instead of the story.
But then, if I think about the stories that changed me, I realized that I could, in a way, credit that change to a character, on a few conditions. I could credit the character if by character (or person), we mean not only the individual choices and actions, but also the environments they create around them. That is, the people they gather around them, the kinds of opportunities they are offered, the landscapes they evolve in, … In a word, their reality.
Seeing things that way, I can say that I was changed by some movie characters. Because what I used to credit to the story, I now see that most of it is crafted by the character. The big events of the film are dictated by the story, but all the little events that are begotten by these big events are crafted by the character. The way these undercurrents are manifesting themselves on the surface, around the character is actually completely dependent upon the personality of that character.
I find it’s also an interesting way to see a person. Not simply through what they do or say, but also what kind of life they have created for themselves, from the places they evolve in to the good and bad luck they experience.