Critique Group

Seeing Is Believing, Or Is It?

In Film, Natasha Hanova on March 13, 2013 at 3:18 pm

I love going to the movies. Hot Tamales/Jelly Beans for scary shows, Peanut Butter M&Ms for romantic comedies, Twizzlers for sci-fi, and popcorn for anything else make the perfect set up for a movie watching experience. The rest is up to the filmmakers. They’re tasked with drawing the audience into the film and engaging them for around an hour.

One key element that helps viewers ‘fall’ into movies is the ability to suspend disbelief. See my critique partner’s post on this topic here. People go into movies willing to leave reality behind and temporarily accept whatever is happening on the screen as real for entertainment purposes. If setup correctly, they’re ready to believe that going to Winchester to have a nice, cold pint during a zombie apocalypse is a good plan.

More importantly, once the movie draws the viewer in, it’s vital to help them stay in the moment. I can think of two movies by the same director/writer that are examples of either holding disbelief or kicking me out of the film. I thought the Sixth Sense was brilliant. Loved it so much I’ve watched it time and again and each viewing revealed new clues that logically led to the twist at the end. However, The Village (which came out in 2004, so most people who wanted to watch it have by now, but just in case **SPOILER ALERT**) had me only up to the point where Ivy, the main character, leaves the isolated, 19th century-like village only to discover a modern world with cars, airplanes, people, etc. I felt tricked, and not in a good way.

What movies do you think did a great job suspending your disbelief? Which ones kicked you out of the moment?

p.s. Next Monday (3/18) on my blog (WritesByMoonlight), I’ll be posting some of my favorite movies as part of Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Top 10 Movies Countdown Blogfest. Click here and scroll down to join the fun.

Happy Reading & Writing!


  1. I LOVED the Sixth Sense but he tried to hard with everything after that. It is so hard to keep that balance between surprising the viewer/reader and just slamming everything at the screen/page in the hopes something works.

  2. I thought Looper did a great job, I couldn’t figure out how they were going to end everything and “fix” it. A movie that let me down was Silver Linings Playbook, to me the characters didn’t really develope and I didn’t believe the romance aspect either. But it won Oscars, so what do I know?

    • Jennifer, Looper is totally on my To Watch List. Popcorn, Coke, Bruce Willis…what more could one ask for in an action movie. After your comment, I’m looking forward to it even more. I’ve heard mixed reviews on Silver Linings Playbook, which I might watch when it comes out on TV.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  3. […] over on Novel Clique, my critique group’s blog, today. Please pop on over to read my post on Suspension of Disbelief in movies. Next week, I’ll be posting on Monday with my Top 10 Favorite movies. Click here (and […]

  4. I thought The Sixth Sense was brilliant, too. It’s one of the few movies (I can almost count them on one hand) that I’ve watched more than once.

  5. I like how you have different snacks for different genre movies. 🙂

    I think Looper is an excellent example of a good film. I just saw the Oz movie and disliked the wizard so much that I kept getting kicked out of the story and couldn’t suspend my disbelief. It was a good film, it just didn’t hit me right. I think that’s where personal perspective plays a role.

    Great post!

  6. A film where I was willing to suspend disbelief? Meet Joe Black. I love that movie. ❤

  7. There are so many worse ones than “The Village.” Even daily TV shows can drive me crazy with their plot holes or having characters do illogical things. I wonder whether it’s the writer’s or the director’s fault. They get paid so much money, it seems someone should have filled the darn plot holes before they released it/aired it, right? Apparently not…

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