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If you're interested in Sociology, you need to watch these films!

By Shafiyqah  /  17 Sep 2021 (Friday)

Sociology is vital in today's society. It is the modus operandi of society and human social behavior, social interactions, and cultural aspects of everyday life. While most of us are indifferent about it, there are many who commit their life to making society run more smoothly. Social science is important because it can have an impact on our daily life. However, social concerns aren't just about people; they're also about how our activities affect the environment.

Films aid in the dissemination of social issues' messages while also allowing us to critically consider Why, What, Who, When, Where, and How these events occur. It provides you with a completely new perspective on a dismal world you were previously unaware of. Personally, I consider social issues fascinating because they allow me to consider how, as a society, we can contribute to address the difficulties using the principles in place.

Here, I've compiled a list of films that deal with societal matters you can watch. *Viewer discretion is advised.* Believe me when I say that these films will give you goosebumps and make you question your sanity. Some of the films on this list are based on true events that have occurred in the past.

1) The Platform (2019)

In the future, prisoners housed in vertical cells watch as inmates in the upper cells are fed while those below starve.

Despite the fact that the film is set in a prison with vertical cells, my interpretation of the film is that it depicts the social standing and class divisions in society. Some people joined up to be in this 'Hole' in order to kick bad habits or simply to get away from the outside world, believing that the 'Hole' would be a better place to be at. Hundreds of levels are revealed in this fissure. As you can see, individuals on the upper levels get to consume as much as they like, while those on the lower levels have to eat whatever is left. Goreng (Iván Massagué) believed that if everyone ate the appropriate amount of food, everyone would be able to eat fairly.

Symbolic interactionism, on the other hand, demonstrates that those at the top are unconcerned about those at the bottom. If I may, I'll use the upper and lower classes as an example. Although there are those from the upper class who support those from the lower class, we cannot deny that those who live in poverty are exploited. Watch the movie to develop your critical thinking skills and better understand the gist of the story. Also, pay close attention to the character names! These are some subliminal messages to pay attention to. I was perplexed as to why the film's creators chose the name Goreng, which roughly translates to "fried" in Malay. This simply doesn't make any sense till you watch the film to the end.

Watch the film here: Netflix


2) Circle ​(2015)

Fifty strangers facing execution have to pick one person among them to live.

What is right? What is wrong? 

The entire film takes place in a room. You might believe it's a dull viewing but I assure you it's not. You're trapped in this room with strangers. One bad decision could automatically result in the death of someone you don't know. In this space, there are people from various communities. We all have different perspectives on what is right and wrong in society. We may hold our own adamant opinions on others. What happens when these beliefs are questioned in the film? Is it true that in times of distress, only women and children deserve to live? I strongly advise you to try playing along with the movie. Will you be able to make the right decision with limited time? Will you be killed?

With a vote,  you're either alive or dead. 

Watch the film here: Netflix

3) The Purge (2014)

One night per year, the government sanctions a 12-hour period in which citizens can commit any crime they wish – including murder – without fear of punishment or imprisonment. Leo, a sergeant who lost his son, plans a vigilante mission of revenge during the mayhem. However, instead of a death-dealing avenger, he becomes the unexpected protector of four innocent strangers who desperately need his help if they are to survive the night.

What if the government launched a new program to reduce crime in the country on one day of the year? That is, in general, sickening. Why do you have to kill people in order to minimize crime? What if the elite are taking advantage of the situation? What if I told you that something like this happened? Watch the movie to see how the impossible becomes real since if this happened in real life, the world would be a disaster.

Watch the film here: Netflix

4) The Green Mile (1999)

Paul, the head guard of a prison, meets an inmate, John, an African American who is accused of murdering two girls. His life changes drastically when he discovers that John has a special gift.

This movie was excruciatingly hard to watch. John Coffey is an innocent inmate who has been wrongfully accused of a heinous crime he did not commit. In a nutshell, it was completely unjust. Isn't it the job of the legal system to find the true perpetrator? There are a lot of layers to this story that needs to be revealed. It also entails the fabrication of social justice and the correction of systemic defects. I believe it is critical that we consider what may have been done to present this case in a more favorable light. The presence of Tom Hanks in the film added to the enjoyment. 

Stephen King was a phenomenal writer for being able to turn something unexpected into a masterpiece. In addition, King highlighted that the impoverished, social or racial minorities, and the mentally ill are primarily victims of the death penalty in his novel. A Native American, a humble French Canadian, and a black handicapped man are among those being executed in the film.

 As quoted in the film:

Sometimes the green mile seems so long.

Watch the film here: Netflix


5) Wonder (2017)

August, a boy with a rare facial abnormality, enters the fifth grade in a private school where he befriends Jack. The two form a strong bond while facing the bullies in their class.

While most of us are born with no disabilities and are just the norm, there are those born with disabilities that may look different. But, does it mean it's right for us to look down on them? Certainly not as these people are just like us. They have feelings too. This film in some ways tests the characters with how they interact and react to those who are different. 

The truth is, most of us might not even know how to interact and react. In school, we are taught about subjects catered to help us intelligently and emotionally. While these aspects are crucial, I believe that this film is an eye-opener as to what can be done better. How can we include curriculums in schools to make our environment inclusive to every distinct individual?  I cried while watching this film as I feel that Auggie (Jacob Tremblay) deserves the same treatment as the rest of us do. What will you do to make others feel more at ease?

*P/S: The following films are based/inspired by true events*

6) Dead Poets Society (1989)​

John Keating, a progressive English teacher, tries to encourage his students to break free from the norm, go against the status quo and live life unapologetically.

Carpe diem, seize the day. 

What is the correct way to teach students? Teachers played a crucial role in our advancement as students in order for us to get to where we are now. Do you have a particular teacher who you remember to this day?

John Keating (Robin Williams) employs unconventional teaching methods to encourage his students to be who they are rather than conform to cultural expectations. There are a variety of unusual approaches to success. Professor Keating did exactly that in order to motivate his students to pursue their goals. He taught his students how to do just that: "What defines you is not who you are, but what you do."

Keating imparted this message because he didn't want his students to be limited by society's preconceived notions. Because the reality is if we continually do what society tells us to do, would we ever be able to break free from our own shell? What if deviating from the standard results in society is better?

Watch the film here: Disney+ 

7) Freedom Writers (2007)

Erin Gruwell teaches a class of at-risk students who are divided by their race and harbour animosity against one another. Soon, she decides to unite them and pursue education beyond high school.

Reading is a method of gaining knowledge.

That is exactly what Erin Gruwell did. Erin Gruwell feels that these pupils were more than what society has to say about them, based on genuine incidents where society failed at-risk students. Why does one's background have to stand in the way of a good future? Regardless of how mischievous these children were in their own ways, it's better not to judge a book by its cover. There were a variety of reasons why these kids lived their lives the way they did. Erin Gruwell was the kind of educator we all needed. Several attempts were made to help these at-risk pupils become the individuals that society needs.

Erin Gruwell gave the students something others didn't, she gave them a voice.

Watch the film here: Google Play

8) 3 Idiots (2009)

While attending one of India's premier colleges, three miserable engineering students and best friends struggle to beat the school's draconian system.

What does it mean to be successful? How can one achieve success?

This film depicts the detrimental consequences of the constant pressure that many parents place on their children. Okay, so what exactly does this have to do with societal issues? It most definitely does. Education is a big part of how most of them describe themselves. When you step out into the real world, you'll very certainly have to explain where you
studied and other details. Obviously, you'll have to demonstrate it in order for it to serve as proof of your abilities.

But when does it become excessive? It's excessive to characterize your personality with a piece of paper. When parents put pressure on their children to express their insecurity, it's too much. It is excessive when teachers demand too much when, in fact, everyone has a limit. 

At the 57th National Film Awards, this film received multiple awards for its message, including the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment, the National Film Award for Best Lyrics, and the National Film Award for Best Audiography.

Watch the film here: Netflix


9) Article 15 (2019)

The grim realities of caste discrimination come to light as an entitled but upright city cop ventures into India’s heartland to investigate a murder.

The film was inspired by events of several genuine stories, including the 2014 Badaun gang-rape allegations and the 2016 Una flogging incident. Individuals in India are still separated by the caste system.

What is the purpose of the caste system? Before you watch the movie, you must first understand why the caste system is so important to comprehend. In Indian society, the caste system has been in place for a long time. As a result, those in the upper caste have taken advantage of those in the lower caste. As a result, before you watch the movie, I will share with you a short and quick guide of this caste system before you watch the film.

The Hindu caste system separates people into groups: Brahnims, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Shudras, and Dalits. The Brahmins are at the pinnacle of the social ladder, while the Dalits are at the bottom. In terms of social dimensions, the caste system has a direct impact on Hindus' lives. The film essentially demonstrates how corruption and injustice survive in the caste system. While the practice can't be exactly deemed as "improper", as it has been practiced for over 1,000 years, long before Christ was born. Some may add their two cents and argue that we are to blame as people.

In this exhilarating film, watch how IPS Officer Ayan Ranjan fights for the victims and the system established.

Watch the film here: Netflix

10) The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Tired of Chris' professional failures, his wife decides to separate, leaving him financially broke with an unpaid internship in a brokerage firm and his son's custody to deal with.

Based on the true story of Chris Gardner (Will Smith), the film foreshadows Gardner's investment in Osteo National Bone Density Machines, which led to the family's bankruptcy. Several factors can be noticed in this film, such as the Domino Effect, which depicts how he became bankrupt, lost his job, got homeless, and plunged into poverty. Although the events in the film occurred in 1989, similar occurrences clearly still happen in our world today. Chris Gardner's portrayal of unemployment as the dominant element in social ills is apparent in the film. These characteristics assist us to understand how our work helps us live in a society in some ways.

See how Chris Gardner became a successful man by watching the film.

Watch the film here: Netflix

As citizens of the world, we should be mindful of social issues. Only then will we be able to help one another more effectively. Develop fundamental moral concepts and share them with the rest of the world! You, too, can be the superhero you've always imagined yourself to be! I believe that by learning about the various obstacles that people endure, these films can provide you with more insights and pleasure.

What do you think of these films? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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