Deano’s answer to: “Why is it so frustrating to watch an unrealistic scene in a movie?”

Mark Zuckerberg, is that you?

Seriously, though, all that's required to eliminate frustration about the unreality of movies is a little thing we call "suspension of disbelief"… We all have it to some degree, because if we couldn't suspend disbelief, we also couldn't take things on faith – so, basically, everyone would have to learn that they couldn't fly by actually jumping off cliffs… In evolutionary terms, that would be a bad thing.

Still, this quality varies from person to person, and it's not strictly linked to things like how creative we are, or how imaginative. Based on the question, though, I'm assuming the querent has a comparatively high "suspension threshold", or perhaps watches too many movies that map closely to their own life experiences (thus making it easier to spot the "unrealistic" bits – I know a few cops who just can't watch police dramas for this reason).

In the latter case, the reason for the frustration is much clearer: you're drawing a conclusion that the filmmaker (or even the other enrapt audience members) "just don't get you"… I've been there, it sucks. Still, complaining about it doesn't really fix things, and harping on it when you discuss the movie with people later just makes them stop inviting you out.

A good strategy to employ, that may help reduce your frustration level, is to stop focusing on how the movie isn't like the real world, and instead think about what would happen if things really did work like they do in the movies! Think about it: you're a fighter pilot, and you're seeing those F-22s doing some just plain impossible maneuvers. Well, what if they were possible? What would change about your missions, or your job in general? What other technological advances are suggested/inferred, and how cool would they be to have in your day to day?

Talking about that in the diner after the movie is something that doesn't piss off your friends, but instead helps them see how unrealistic the movie was, in the context of seeing how cool/difficult/impressive being a pilot in the real world is.

Remember – a lot of the tech we see today comes from inspired scientists and engineers who cribbed the concepts from science fiction! "What if" is a powerful tool in the mental toolbox, so make use of it whenever those "frustrating moments" arise, and maybe see things in a new light, or even learn something about yourself!

Why is it so frustrating to watch an unrealistic scene in a movie?

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