People enjoy watching movies to escape their ordinary lives, but sometimes ordinary lives can be the most fascinating way to escape. The goal isn’t to leap into a fantasy world altogether such as one populated by Harry Potter magicians or superheroes. Instead, movies about ordinary life can help explain life and show how to go forward in your own life.
In the old days, primitive people told stories to explain their world such as explaining why the leopard had spots or why the sun is in the sky. These simple stories were often fanciful and illogical, but they had the nothing effect of helping people make sense out of the world around them. That’s exactly what stories about ordinary life can do as well.
In the movie “Eighth Grade,” the story is about a girl being raised by her father, who’s getting through eighth grade. That’s basically the whole plot but it involves the girl liking boys, not being sure of herself at parties, dealing with mean girls in her school, and wondering what her future will be like after high school. While ordinary, the story is interesting because it shows us that we all felt awkward and unsure of ourselves while going through middle school and moving on to high school. We also all felt a desire to separate from our parents while still being dependent on them.
By simply highlighting the moments of life that we’ve all gone through, “Eighth Grade” creates an interesting story because we can all relate to the trials the hero is going through. There’s the uncertainty and awkwardness of being with a member of the opposite sex for the first time, the fear of being taken advantage of, and the desire to be linked at almost any cost. “Eighth Grade” doesn’t just show us a girl’s ordinary life, but lets us see we were never alone in going through the same life experiences because they’re universal to all of us.
Movies like “Eighth Grade” will likely never be blockbusters, but they can be interesting and enjoyable. These types of movies simply dramatize elements of our own life and make us smile at the way we survived and reacted to similar events. The story is all about how the hero gradually grows to like herself and feel hopeful about the future, which is something we can all earn from.
Movies about ordinary life can be extraordinary. Just focus on making the scariest and happiest moments real, common, and relatable. There are no serial killers, but there is a hint of danger, but no guns, hit men, explosions, or spies from the CIA. “Eighth Grade” is just about what a confusing time of life middle school and growing up can be. It’s refreshing.
So whatever story you’re writing, decide whether you want a complete escapist movie like a superhero movie or a fantasy movie, an exaggerated sense of reality like a horror movie or a comedy like “The Spy Who Dumped Me,” or a realistic story like “Eighth Grade.” There is no wrong choice, but just realize that every story doesn’t have to be outlandish and exotic. Sometimes being ordinary can be the most fascinating story of all.