One of the unique gifts of the cinema is its ability to simultaneously entertain and affect viewers, prompting a host of feelings and actions through the combination of visuals and music. Research has been done to gauge the effectiveness film has in this regard, with numerous academics concluding that films can prompt individuals to take action against a social injustice, feel a range of emotions never experienced, or expose themselves to an entirely new perspective. One of the added benefits is the growth of discussion from these feelings; individuals are more likely to discuss complex subject matter when they have been exposed to an entertaining presentation of its principles in a visual format. While this is largely positive, the use of sex, violence, and objectification in film can result in a host of negative results (Williams).
Film also allows the voyeuristic element of human nature, a component of our personalities that is traditionally shunned by modern society, to participate in daily life: from the presentation of love stories one can vicariously participate in to the observation of the lives of individuals on reality television, visual presentations allows individuals to become voyeurs, glimpsing an aspect of one’s personal life that is traditionally hidden. The viewer is distanced greatly from the action of these stories, creating a sensation of secrecy and detachment that cannot be obtained from the intricacies of reality (Gunning).