When Life Imitates Art

life art

Have you ever made a life-changing decision after watching a Hollywood blockbuster? Trekked across the Far East after watching Eat Pray Love? Taken up martial arts after a viewing of Kill Bill?! If so, you’re not alone. More than half of Brits have made a life-changing decision after a night at the movies, a survey has revealed.

Researchers studied 2,000 adults in the UK and revealed the average Briton now watches four movies a week on average –  that’s a staggering 208 every year! And according to the report, films trigger a host of changes in our lives, including around the world trips, changes in careers – even ending relationships.

In terms of decisions made, 23% said they were inspired to go travelling after watching a movie, with a further 19% claiming they had changed the way they look, including their hairstyle and clothing. More dramatically, 9% said a movie had helped them to forgive someone in their lives and 3% had decided to propose! A further 3% changed their political opinion, 1% said a film had inspired them to come out as gay – and a staggering 2% claimed they had even made the decision to change their gender. Wow!

Overall, more than half of people questioned said watching a film had resulted in them re-thinking their life-plan or current situation.

Yesterday, Eileen Campbell, Chief Marketing Officer for IMAX, which commissioned the study to coincide with their new ‘love for movies’ campaign, told Belle About Town:

“Movies have the power to inspire passion and fire up a range of emotions in people. This study gets under the skin of our love and obsession for cinema, revealing how movies can serve as a catalyst for many to find the courage to deal with important issues or provide that extra push to make the leap towards someone or something they’ve been searching for.

“Just as IMAX’s immersive movie experience transports cinema lovers into the world of the film, the survey shows that the extent with which people live and feel movies is often felt long after leaving the cinema.”

When asked directly how particular films had moved them, one participant said watching Philadelphia made him realise he should treat others the way he wanted to be treated himself. Another respondent claimed watching Raiders of the Lost Ark, starring Harrison Ford, had led her to read a Masters in Egyptology and subsequently go on to become an archaeologist.

After watching the film Lost in Translation, one respondent said he booked a life changing trip to Japan and watching One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest helped one participant understand her mother’s illness.

Another (slightly confused?) individual claimed the movie Babe, which is about a talking pig, made him realise “animals are cleverer than I thought”. Okaaaay….

Dramas are the genre most likely to spur us to re-evaluate our lives, followed by comedies, action films, and then Sci-Fi.

The extent to which movies influence our day to day lives was revealed – with 67 % admitting using movie dialogue and quotes regularly in conversations with friends and family. And it also emerged that around seven out of ten film fans reach for a movie to cheer themselves up, while 55% do so to escape reality.


1.       Made me appreciate what I have (33%)

2.       Inspired me to go travelling (23%)

3.       Forced me to examine what I want from life (18%)

4.       Made me aspire to achieve more (15%)

5.       Made me more tolerant (14%)

6.       Gave me an understanding of different cultures (11%)

7.       Changed the way I dress (9%)

8.       Inspired me to forgive someone (9%)

9.       Began to help others through charity (7%)

10.   Learned a new language (6%)

11.   Inspired me to end a bad relationship (5%)

12.   Made me change to hairstyle (5%)

13.   Inspired me to change the way I look (5%)

14.   Made me change job / career (5%)

15.   Inspired me to find love (4%)

16.   Changed my political opinion (3%)

17.   Inspired me to move to another country (3%)

18.   Inspired me to propose (3%)

19.   Made me buy the car of me dreams (2%)

20.   Booked a course (2%)

21.   Inspired me to take a sabbatical (2%)

22.   Changed gender (2%)

23.   Inspired me to move house (1%)

24.   Made me start a family (1%)

25.   Inspired me to come out as gay (1%)

Emily Cleary

Emily Cleary

After almost a decade chasing ambulances, and celebrities, for Fleet Street’s finest, Emily has taken it down a gear and settled for a (slightly!) slower pace of life in the suburbs. With a love of cheese and fine wine, Emily is more likely to be found chasing her toddlers round Kew Gardens than sipping champagne at a showbiz launch nowadays, or grabbing an hour out of her hectic freelancer’s life to chill out in a spa while hubby holds the babies. If only!


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