Movie magic and the over glamorization of reality in the film haven’t stopped our favorite writers and directors from hitting soft spots with us, their audience. All bodies of artwork, films included, are meant to appeal to us as consumers, but sometimes, both comedic and serious, scenes can speak a truth that is just too real to deny. What is art without some nerves being hit here and there, or a chuckle followed by a few tears shed? Here’s to really feel something and being deeply moved by the projections of a creator’s imagination. Here are 5 times that your favorite films hit you with some true-to-life realness in a single scene.
“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” – Good Will Hunting (1998)
The brilliant Sean Maguire, played by the late Robin Williams, hit us with a lot of good quotes throughout this Academy Award-winning film. A movie that makes you laugh and cry, wanting to know more about the characters’ lives, even after the screen fades to black. The dialogue between the characters throughout this narrative is the most monumental piece of what makes it resonate so well with audiences. This line in particular was said to the plucky Will Hunting, played by a young Matt Damon, during one of his therapy sessions with Maguire. These two characters have been through many trials in their independent lives, but Maguire was able to step out of his own grief for a moment to offer a selfless bit of advice from one old oak to a young budding sprout, a lesson of life. It is true, the bad moments in life, though daunting and downright unfair, can often lead us to look back at all the good that sits opposite to it on our timelines. I mean, who doesn’t need a little reminder of the goodness in life? A scene that can offer a perspective like this, one that lives within and outside of its script, has a quality of humanity that will allow it to transcend time, and connect with the generations to come. That quality is the ability for others to have hope for those who come after them, and the future of the world.
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
Where my Potter fans at?! It’s funny to think a film full of fantasy and the impossible can have so many relatable moments jampacked inside it. In essence, a story about a teenage boy trying to find himself, growing up, and realizing his true potential isn’t too hard for a muggle audience to connect with. As Harry, played by Daniel Radcliffe, stood in front of the Mirror of Erised staring at the images of the late Lily and James Potter standing before him, he was interrupted by the Albus Dumbledore, played by Richard Harris, to be reminded that dwelling for too long on the aspects of life that are no longer in our reach, or no longer apart of our perceived future, can lead us to sit in a place of stagnancy, not experiencing progression, and missing out on the life to live ahead of us. In his words, Harry was able to acknowledge that sitting in a room wishing for his parents to come back wouldn’t help to bring them back. Though seemingly harsh to say to an 11-year-old, Harry absorbed this wisdom, able to move on honoring his mother and fathers’ memory, reaping major success in the remaining films of the series.
“It’s a funny thing about coming home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You realize what’s changed is you.” –The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
This is one of those films that really throws the mind for a loop (maybe a few loops if you walked into it not knowing what to expect). The plotline is unique, and relies on the depth of Benjamin Button’s character, played by Brad Pitt, to pull the audience into loving this character’s story. Button was born with the body of an elderly man, reversing in the physical aging process as time progressed; a premise around which the plot follows as we observe his life experiences, watching him change, grow, and fall in love. He was an anomaly of his time, the 1920s, but was still (sort of) raised like your average kid. Being different from everyone else around him, his world view was unique, and for that, he is such a relatable character. The experiences Button underwent throughout the film-shaped him into a mentally mature man as his body did just the opposite, and this quote came at a point in the film where his naivety was truly dissipating now that he had seen more of the world around him. Familiar places can never be looked at the same when we are no longer the same people inside, looking at them. Our experiences alter our perception of the world around us, and in that, maybe we can see where we’ve changed a bit deep down. Now, this isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing, but it is simply a fact of life. We definitely don’t stay the same forever, and the large tables we could barely see over when we were mere toddlers, become just tables once we’ve become big enough to sit at them… maybe for Ben, it was the reverse.
“Did I leave the stove on?” – Deadpool (2016)
Perhaps the most relatable scene on this timeline, the comedic and noble hero that is Deadpool, played by Ryan Reynolds, swoops in our countdown at number four. Deadpool is witty and clever, with a sly attitude and confident demeanor; not your plain Zayn who flies around saving cats from trees, and speaks using an overly formal game show host’s voice. He always has an answer for everything, even if no questions were asked, speaking his mind fully and unapologetically; this is what audiences love so much about him (and how can you not? Ryan Reynolds is basically the same in real life, scope his Twitter if you don’t believe me). In the midst of a chaotic action scene on the highway, glass particles and bad guys flying about as Deadpool took them each out one by one, the time is brought to slow motion, and the noise in the background is silenced just for Deadpool to casually ask himself this burning question. This scene is funny for a variety of reasons, but the main one, and most relatable one at that, is at the worst and most inconvenient times, people always wonder if they’ve turned off the faucet, locked the door, fed their goldfish, or most notably like our friend Deadpool here, left the stove on. The fact that he’s a crime-fighting hero full of flair and can still have moments like this makes him a personal hero of sorts for fans of the average Joe who speaks his mind and so bluntly and proudly lacks perfection. It’s a nice change from the boy next door who fell into a vat of toxic waste or a young billionaire taking on a life of fighting crime because of the loss of a loved one, and we are here for it. For all the reasons people love Deadpool, scenes like these make us love him more because, despite his extraordinary capabilities, he’s a goof just like you or me.
“If I’m too good for him, then how come I’m not with him?” – Clueless (1995)
That… that right there is a great question. The comedy-romance film Clueless is a classic for the kids and teens of the nineties. The iconic outfits, phrases, and high school experience we wish we all had makes the movie a must-watch for people of all ages or simply anyone who wants a glimpse into the time capsule of nineties style. Tai, played by the late Brittany Murphy, is local rich-girl Cher’s, played by Alicia Silverstone, a passion project. Taking her under her wing to make her the ideal new girl on campus is Cher’s idea of charity work, giving her an extreme makeover right down to set her up with a popular guy from her inner circle to match. Tai is brought from being a full-on Monet to becoming the talk of the town with a new Beverly Hills glow around her. The guy she’s after is Elton, played by a young Jeremy Sisto, who unfortunately has a crush on Cher instead of Tai, not giving poor Tai the time of day. In an effort to cheer her up, Cher and her best friend Dionne, played by Stacey Dash, remind Tai she’s too good for a guy like Elton. My girl Tai here makes her valid point in this scene with one silence inducing question. If she was too good for this guy, then why did her friends try to set her up with him, and why doesn’t she have the upper hand in winning him over? Beats me, but I do know that she’s not the first to have such crummy advice spewed her way. We’ve all been in a place where just to comfort a friend, we’ve given advice that doesn’t do much for peace of mind, but that hasn’t stopped us from trying. Even worse, some of us have been on the receiving end of that stick, where we’ve just had to suck it up and say, “Well…I guess that makes sense,” and keep it moving. Such wise words to come from the mouth of a Beverly Hills teen navigating love, and scarily relatable for anyone in their 20s navigating the pits of Tinder.