Articles, Blog

The Art of Overanalyzing Movies

100 Comments

  1. cat owner Author

    Book: boy runs away from dad cause hes scared.
    My teacher: this represents the african slave trade.
    Me: the boy is running away. Nothing to do with slave

    Reply
  2. WillDaBeast 850 Author

    Long comment incoming:

    In the novel “A Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy,” an extremely intelligent computer is built. A scientist asks the computer what the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is. The computer prints out a response. On the sheet of paper is printed the number 42.

    42 is the Answer to Life, The Universe, And Everything. The author made this decision as a joke, and nothing more, but readers studied and studied, stating that for a rainbow to form, light must pass through water at an angle of 42 degrees. I’m sure you know the Google Easter Egg: type “the answer to life the universe and everything” in Google search, and it will display the number 42 on the calculator.

    Reply
  3. Tiana Tampico Author

    I love the video. I felt bad that I used to be so heavily on the other side of analysis.

     I used to think the author's word always triumphed over outside interpretation, then I started playing pen and paper role-playing games. Looking at each others characters we could all see how our characters unconsciously mirrored their ourselves. We could see each other demons, hang ups and biases in our characters and stories. (Example: One friend who said he loved his terrifyingly controlling parents but made only characters that hated their parents and had to escape them).

    I realized some authors I read could have the same thing in their writing, they to can be prone to playing out inner stories in their work and not realized it while readers might. We are our perspective so intimately it can be totally invisible to us.

    Reply
  4. SkinnySnorlax Author

    More and more, I have been focusing on authorial intent ONLY if the author of a work is doing so competently. Now, watching Kubrick films, I will know to focus more on the emotions that he skillfully brings up, and have that become the meaning of the work. Whether Tommy Wiseau intended for The Room to be a serious film, it IS a comedy.
    One of the reasons that I don't push for death of the author when looking at serious, well made work, is because it almost boils down to fanfic. If a work inspires you to think of new themes, meanings, and symbols, good! Make something with it. But that doesn't believe they belong in the author's work.

    Reply
  5. Flüster Text Author

    In german class i tell pupils every interpretation is right as long as they provide a checkable, an immanent truth of the text, which the class and me are able to comprehend while reading the text again.

    Reply
  6. Eric Daniel Author

    My ninth grade English teacher taught me in 1992 that if it's explicable, it may well be intentional. Even if the director or author or composer didn't specifically intend a certain meaning doesn't mean it isn't there.

    Reply
  7. This is Not The Algorithm Author

    Art, music and ALL forms of creativity are true freedom. An individual or group passionate process then transcends time and space to connect with the recipient becomming part of their life. Creativity is the only thing so malleable it becomes a part of after the release of.
    #ThIsIsNoTThEaLgOrItHiM

    Reply
  8. Cyber Wasp Author

    Yeah, my philosophy teacher was guilty of overanalyzing. She once had shown in class a painting of Socrates drinking poison when he was sentenced to death. The painting was set in an underground dungeon so there were stairs that were leading up. However, she told us that this wasn't what the painter intended with the stairs, but he wanted to symbolize that Socrates will ascend to a higher plane of existence, above the mortal man (there were guards near the stairs). Also, there was a window-like structure in the painting, which the teacher interpreted as "Socrates shining his wisdom to people".

    When I told her that the painter just wanted to paint a famous historical moment, she told me "that's what a narrow-minded person would think, not a true philosopher". Gosh, I really cannot stand philosophy.

    Reply
  9. Eriamjh 1138 Author

    When the question is “what did the director/author mean by…” it MUST be backed up by documentation that they actually meant it. Otherwise it’s one’s OWN interpretation. There’s a big difference.

    Reply
  10. 9000ck Author

    It is possible that the creator is not fully aware of the meaning of a text. Much in the same way individuals do not fully understand why they think, feel or act as they do. Hence the usefulness of psychoanalytic approaches to film.

    Reply
  11. Aeimos Author

    The fear white people had in the 1930's of black people was based on an honest assessment of black people as a class. See, for example, how black and brown people are when given free reign by political correctness to say how they really feel about white people. "Demons", "Nazis", colonists". The dehumanization is directed at all white people as a class, never only individuals. See, also, South Africa. White farming families are targeted for the most brutal and evil tortures. Farming families who have done nothing other than farm the land and feed South Africa their whole lives. White people have every reason to fear their predators and to want to keep them at bay.

    Reply
  12. Anime Tomboy Enthusiast Author

    I've been writing movie scripts for about two years now. A lot of the time, I think about hidden meanings, but mostly, I just write whatever feels right.

    Reply
  13. Anime Tomboy Enthusiast Author

    Some songwriter: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer used his glowing nose to guide Santa through fog and save Christmas.

    "Deep" thinkers: This is a song about how you're only liked if you're useful. It's communist propaganda.

    Reply
  14. Paul Mertens Author

    Dutch author Harry Mulisch was always very accepting of and interested in his readers' interpretations, admitting that readers would discover meaning that might have slipped in unconsciously, and viewing these interpretations as part of the artistic process.

    Reply
  15. TheFuturist Author

    'Objective' meaning isn't meaning that was intended by a creator. In fact, as far as art is concerned, we can't really have 'objective' meaning, and the closest we can get is agreements about meanings, such as 'blue means sadness' (it would only be objective if blue couldn't possibly mean something else, regardless of who's watching). It's misleading to use the subjective/objective distinction, and it's much more useful to think about why someone is interpreting in the way they are (because all interpretation is partly social and partly psychological; it's like the former is being fused with the latter).

    A creator can't tell us what their work means; they can only tell us what they were trying to do when they created it. An author can't tell us that a certain character represents (e.g.) black people in America, and can only say that they were trying to convey something (though they might have been trying to convey the same thing that we're finding, this is still a coincidence, as we could easily interpret it in other ways, and they could be lying).

    All that being said, while we can't really disagree about what a work of art means, we can point out when someone seems to be stretching things a bit too far. If I claimed that Robocop represents the struggle between Freudian and Jungian psychoanalytic thought, I'd have to do a lot of work to show you how I've been led to think that, and unless I do a good job of explaining it you'd think I'm just making it up to sound clever (and you'd probably be right!).

    Reply
  16. Paije Peri Author

    If you create something and never show another living soul then it means whatever you created it to mean. But the moment you share art, your creation isn’t solely yours anymore. It becomes open to the interpretation of the viewer. As a creator your function is to connect your art with other people.

    Reply
  17. McNugget Author

    i join art competitions often and almost always i have to create meanings for my photography so that judges can even see my art.ive won awards more off my skill to spew bullshit to old people instead of actually taking a game changing photo.

    Reply
  18. Jacko Ringo Author

    Woah hold on. If meaning is objective then the author (or anybody) can't be an absolute authority on the meaning, because then meaning would be arbitrary.

    The meaning being objective means it's open for discussion/discovery.

    Reply
  19. Epicvampire800 Author

    Unlike real life we're not allowed to look wherever we want in a movie, what we see was put there by a person so to we yearn for it to have some special meaning because we look for patterns in everything. Or maybe we just like feeling smart.

    Reply
  20. Claire Carter Author

    The way I see it the author and the audience are both subject to the same forces. We all come from a particular society with a particular culture which we have a particular relationship with which will in turn shape our ultimate worldview. Our own worldview will shape how we read a piece as well as how it's made. Objectivity is impossible and I find the pretense of objectivity to be insufferable and dishonest; our subjective personal universe will always shape our understanding of any text. Sometimes I'm arguing with the english teacher about the curtains, and sometimes I see a story about trauma and running from reality where the author just wanted to spook us a bit. It all depends on how you see the world.

    Reply
  21. Mr.PianoMan Author

    Analysing and speculation is really great, especially if it's an ongoing TV series or will have multiple movies in the future. It just keeps the audience forever on edge and keeps people talking about what they think will happen or how something will happen.

    Therefore, I think even though analysing can become quite far fetched or simply over the top, it's still a great thing and everyone's point is still valid if backed up of course.

    Reply
  22. Tomderstorm 44 Author

    “The problem isn’t that its not what the artist meant, the problem may be that the teacher got so caught up in analysis that they missed what made the book so great in the first place”

    Reply
  23. Lu Author

    Maybe if you understand something behind the choice of blue curtains it is because you're film is art and so, he is interpreted like every others forms of art. Don't see "over"analyzing like a bad thing, you'll be grateful of yourself.

    Reply
  24. Derek the half a bee Author

    Analysis of 'Kong is an allegory for slavery analysis'. Fitting with the times, that some people see Kong as an allegory for slavery, makes sense. A common racist trend is to liken black people with apes, so naturally that racist association would extend to film analysis. It is understandable that self important film students would see white people fleeing from a 50' ape and come to the obvious conclusion, Kong must represent a black man, because that is what any thoughtful analytical film critic would think upon seeing people fleeing from a giant ape. Clearly, they are not running from certain death, they are running from their own racist fear. This leads them to write thinkpieces and thoughtful analysis on the subject. On the surface, one might think that an analysis that uses a racist trope as the basis for an analytical conclusion is, in fact, racist. On the surface, that is true. But the authors hide a deeper meaning in their writing. What you don't know is that 'Kong is an Allegory for racism' is really an allegory for 'using racist tropes in self-important movie analysis to mask your own racism'. The authors are actually putting their own racist associations on display in order to draw attention the dangers of attributing meaning to the works of others based on your own internal bias. Or to distill it further, it is essentially a critique of those who overanalyze movies and books. Brilliant really.

    Reply
  25. FlakeTillman Author

    If artists can put things in subconsciously maybe the blue curtains DID reflect the characters depression unbeknownst to the author!

    Reply
  26. Davey Blue Eyes Author

    If you want to hear people over-analyze a movie go to a film festival. They will even analyze the fn popcorn saying it's repetitive of the fall of the human spirit in today's over analyzed world.

    Reply
  27. ZodiacProd Author

    Decisions made when filming are always of a practical nature and almost never with some nefarious deeper meaning in-bedded in whats shown on screen.. its the same with art work. critics will extrapolate reasons that never existed. its like..the symbolism within the red clouds you painted is so profound.. why did you do it? I ran out of blue paint..

    Reply
  28. udayn82 Author

    I over analysed this video and subconscious trying to get a deeper meaning of me wasting ten minutes to get a metafor and convincing that there is meaningful to this video…. gosh

    Reply
  29. count69 Author

    0:11 But the teacher is right, maybe not in the final analysis but by looking for something. Much like movie making there is little point showing/mentioning something unless it has some relevance. If you were making a movie, and the set dresser used blue curtains because they were the first ones on the shelf in the prop room, or they chose them because they matched the couch, then yes you could be over analysing the curtains. If the director just wants a furnished room to film in and couldn't care less if they were red, blue or pink curtains yes you are over analysing. BUT, if the director breaks from showing the characters in dialogue and shows a close up of the blue curtains, then you need to be asking yourself why… what is important with the curtains…? Is it the colour? Does it reflect his blue mood? As an author of written word only, there is no need to dress the set. The characters are in the room about to talk, yes give a quick description to set the scene, but if you mention the colour it has to have significance. Same as if you are writing a script, and you mention the colour of the curtains, it must have significance, otherwise set dressing would be simply 'curtains'. If set dressing says 'blue curtains', it suggests we the audience should be aware of that, so we may get a shot to focus on that.

    Reply
  30. MindGem Author

    Sure you can overanalys things but when the author says "the curtains are blue, for no other reason than blue" he means that but at the same time the analysis of that is that we as the viewer subcontiously know that blue is associated with cold, depression, power and so on.

    So…more like. both are right.
    I'm a painter and I can paint something without any deep thoughts behind it but oboy do I get to hear a lot of theories why that color was there or what it all means.

    Reply
  31. Fried Mule Author

    LOL this is a true story: A teacher had asked the students to analyze a text as homework.
    Many students had analyzed the text as the teacher would and got great marks, other less so, one particular student had nearly wrote nothing and said that it was just a story not much more and he failed totally. Until the next day he took his father to the class, the father had helped his son write that analyze, oh and yes, the father was the original author of that text! 🙂

    Reply
  32. Dennis Ellerkamp Author

    Just coming from your opening shot video, I couldn't help but laugh when I saw the title of this video since that video was pretty much the definition of over-analyzing a movie. Literally everyone (yes, literally literally) is hypocritical in a way so not trying to bash on you, just found it a funny coincidence 🙂

    Reply
  33. mayder 40 Author

    Lots to digest.  Effective analysis in most fields so often depends on the bigger and longer picture.  Does someone get a rep as a liar if he tells one lie? Does one warm winter mean climate change? Analysis holds up better if one can point to numerous details that contribute to an idea.  What does one do with one solitary detail? skip it.///  A better English teacher teaches the junglings how he/she came to that conclusion? I know the curtain  was not used here as a serious example but there are teachers who still need to work on their symbols btw. The slang adj blue means sad in English, but the color does not.  In French, Italian and German, bleu, azurro and blau do not mean sad. Who says an author can't be clumsy with his/her symbols? Usually his work doesn't last that long. as for director's assertions, we think we know ourselves. We all make claims about our habits and personalities that make the people who know us say, "huh, Are you kidding?" We don't even know the impressions we make till others who live with us or work with us tell us, and then we deny or agree.

    Reply
  34. mayder 40 Author

    I just can't shut up. If a director seriously air brushed his image, that's not worthy of serious movie analysis unless it's a surreal comedy. That would have to be enjoyed with bloopers, end credit music, fun facts about the filming and behind-the-scene gossip.

    Reply
  35. Jane Baker Author

    Film: Introduces a character who is eating
    Me: 'oh he's hungry or greedy'
    My English teacher: 'this character has a vast emptiness inside him that needs to be filled'

    Reply
  36. Chris Anthony Author

    Even if an artist doesn't know exactly why they chose all the elements of their creation, there is still a reason and meaning for each one of their choices. Even attempts at randomness can be subverted by the subconscious. A lot of the creative process is emotional and intuitive, like a blitz chess game, and when you try to analyze your own work, it feels like analyzing a dream. There's a definite hidden meaning underlying the main message, and you definitely came up with it on your own, but it still takes a while to realize what the deeper meaning is.

    Reply
  37. comments compilation Author

    Even though many are against over analyzing stuff and that the artist himself said there is nothing to interpret there as he just put it there without any thought, there is a thing called sub-conscious mind that does give you those "just put it there" kind of ideas based on past experiences, what feeling a color invokes, tales of long lost time etc. In other words author choosing to specify blue might have something to do with sadness of the character even though the author himself doesn't acknowledge it but his subconscious mind made that call and people might want to see that exact thing when they over analyze those stuff.

    Reply
  38. Dallybear5k Author

    I heard a musician state that once you release something to the public it is no longer yours. It takes on a life of its own and can take on a different meaning based on who interprets it

    Reply
  39. Steve Seguin Author

    I enjoy when analysis is followed up with facts, rather than personal interpretation being presented as fact. I do see it a lot with these movie analysis channels, but some will present their opinion as an argument, rather than an outright statement. An argument needs Claims, Reasoning, and Evidence.

    Reply
  40. Knowbrains Author

    A quote from the Big Chill – Sam: What's this? Nick: I'm not sure. Sam: What's it … Like what? Nick: You're so analytical. Sometimes you have to let art… flow … over you …

    Reply
  41. Ryan Daniels Author

    Could the same not be said about poetry and playwriting? I always felt as though Shakespeare was overanalyzed. I'm not sure the man himself would pass a high school exam on Shakespearean literature

    Reply
  42. Tore Lund Author

    I always thought that the ambiguity in William Dafoe's character is interrogation technique, to probe him and not to trick the audience.

    Reply
  43. Harrison Kane Author

    When I was in secondary school studying English literature we spent literally two weeks over analysing the "fog" outside of the house and what it means and one girl actually got so sick she emailed Susan hill, the author and asked her exactly what she meant.
    Her reply: "it's literally just fog"

    Reply
  44. Hearthcore Author

    I like the idea that with analyse, you can recreate the original object with your own ideas. That way both the creation and its interpretation by the author and the interpretation of any viewer are valid.

    Reply
  45. Cutie Fly Author

    Man, one of my mums friends thought a painting I did was about sexual abuse but uh, no. Very no. I had to have an extremely awkward converstaion with my mum about it. I'm glad they both cared enough to talk to me but… yea. Made me a little nervous to draw naked women for a while.

    Reply
  46. Daniel Clark Author

    My Humanities professor said that when it comes to art, everything the artist does is intentional. Every word choice, every bit of information passed to the reader or viewer, everything. As someone who writes, I can assure you that isn't the case. Most of the time, descriptions are completely arbitrary and characters do things because it pushes the plot forward.

    Reply
  47. Hermetic Dragon Author

    "The true measure of a great supernatural thriller isn't in its hidden meaning but in if the audience had a good fright, believed the film they were watching and retained some sense of it." KUBRICK

    Reply
  48. Crocoshark Author

    Regardless of intent, the parallel between King Kong and the slave trade pointed out in Inglorious Bastards is still there. It's not the meaning of the film, but it's there.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *