Identification and Idealization in Movies

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Identification is a mode of engagement with film content in which something in the film reminds us of our own experience.  we then tend to identify ourselves with the relevant character, and with the situations they are faced with in the film.

Idealization on the other hand is a situation in a movie in which something relates with our dreams and ambitions.(Proferes, 2018) We see ourselves in positions of various characters and imagine our paths given their circumstances.

Identification and idealization are the two main ways in which an audience connects with a movie. Successful movies invite the audience to mentally participate in them. As an audience, we get involved in a movie we are watching for particular reasons. The main reason is because movies feature real life situations that make our reactions strong. Studying the movie therefore becomes significant and informative on how we are supposed to experience the real world.

            There are multiple ways in which an audience feels identified and idealized in a movie. The characters, the story itself, the dialogue and the characters emotions are some of these ways.

How we connect with a movie greatly depends on first impressions we get from scenes in a movie, or the circumstances under which we get introduced to characters. For instance, in movie stories that involve action, characters who appear as superheroes saving everyone will make us believe they are just, protective, caring, and up to task whenever needed. In various life situations, we have been faced with situations that are out of our control in one way or another. Idealization kicks in when the audience relates such a scene to that which occurred to them. One will then imagine the hero in the movie in their life, how the real life situation would have been different if only the hero in the movie was there to save them. Someone else will idealize having the abilities of the heroes and being able to use them to handle circumstances they are likely to face depending on how the story relates to them.

In movies that are about love and romance, viewers will find themselves so emotional. Some will cry or have some strong feelings in them activated. It first stars with one identifying himself with a particular character in the movie. Emotions will keep changing based on what the character identified in the story goes through. For instance, if such a character breaks up with another character in the movie, the audience will find themselves emotionally moved and sometimes shedding tears along with the character. The reason behind it is because we are able to idealize situations in the movies and merge them with our own

. After identification and idealization gets cultivated in a viewer of a particular movie, the person’s mind gets occupied with scenes in the film. Such a a person forgets that he is actually watching, become unaware of  the surrounding that is supposed to dictate their emotions.

Successful film writers know how to arrest the audience’s emotions. They do this by using characters that everyone will want to identify themselves with. To achieve this, they go for characters who are smart, both physically and in personality. This technique in itself is able to make someone feel identified to an aspect in the film. The writer will proceed to appropriately choosing scenes that the character will be involved in. this aims at making one idealize the situation in the movie. A good combination of these two makes a film irresistible to the target audience as they cannot wait to know what happens next in the film.


PROFERES, N. T. (2018). Film directing fundamentals: see your film before shooting.

September 25, 2023




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Film Analysis

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