The rumours are true – I have never cried at a film in my entire life. I have been called heartless, cold and soulless, so through a small amount of persuasion, I decided to write about why I find it so hard to shed a tear at any on-screen action.
Firstly, just because I do not cry does not mean that I don’t become emotionally attached to characters. However, the act of watching people on a screen – having that separation between myself and the action that is happening – prevents me from feeling sad enough to cry. I don’t know what it is about the piece of glass in front of me which acts as a kind of desensitisation, and unfortunately, no film has ever been able to break that barrier to my ‘cold heart’.
However, this inability to cry at films doesn’t make me immune to other forms of entertainment. If you handed me a book that happened to be very sad, chances are you’d catch me blubbering like an idiot at regular intervals. So what’s the difference between the words on a page and the images on a screen? For me, the answer – a lot. When I read a book, my mind has the creative freedom to shape the characters to whatever my heart desires, and – most of all – it feels like I’m actually part of the story, instead of some omniscient onlooker.
When I watch a film all I see and experience is what somebody else wants me to. I truly believe that’s the biggest reason I cannot cry at films. For me, the joy of reading is that I am more involved in the story, and thus, more likely to cry. This is usually very personal to me – something which has a connection with my own life experiences. Films just don’t achieve this in the same way; the use of music and effects tell us if part of a film is ‘meant’ to be sad, and I don’t enjoy being told what to feel!
So, there you have it. I am not heartless, I am just careful on what I become emotional invested in – that’s just the way I am. I am sure (I hope) that there is someone out there who feels the same, and if there is, maybe we could form a society of cold-hearted human beings?
Images sourced from Titanic, 20th Century Fox, and The Notebook, New Line Cinema.