a peek inside the fishbowl

16 Jul, 2013

Film as brain food

Posted by andrea tomkins in: parenting|Publishing/writing/career stuff

Rainbow Cinema, Ottawa

There’s a memoir by Canadian writer and film critic David Gilmour called The Film Club: A True Story of a Father and a Son. It’s essentially about how the author finds himself underemployed with a 15-year old son who wants to drop out of high school. He lets him do this on one condition, that they watch three movies each week together. It is pretty unconventional parenting, and I find it interesting for several reasons but it really hit the idea home that watching a great film with your kid may be as important as sitting down to dinner together.

What do you think?

And does the act of watching a film shape us in any way? If you took two identical children and had one fill its head with a decade of utter crap while the other watched critically-acclaimed films, would they be different at the end? If so, how?

The act of watching a film can certainly be escapist. Sitting in a theatre, enveloped in darkness and air conditioning and the smell of popcorn can transport people away from their cares. Car chases, explosions, and cinematic DRAMA seems to be at an all-time high too.

I’ve been wondering how 9/11 affected the film industry. Have you ever thought about WHY there have been so many superhero movies coming out of the U.S. this past decade? Do ordinary people need heroes more than ever? Have movies become even more escapist as a result of 9/11? With more extreme story lines, visual storytelling, sound effects etc., or has this shift occurred for other reasons?

All this to say, I have a post about watching films as a family over at MediaSmarts.ca this week. In it I wrote that it’s a mistake to think about film as merely entertainment. I think MOST people see the experience as pure escapism, but there’s more to it than that. Read the post and let me know what you think.

Anyway, yes, there are lots of reasons to watch great films. And even though I counselled parents to try to find ways of balancing screen time in one post, I’ve now come right out and told you to watch MORE in this latest one. :)

So yes, my advice? More good stuff, less crap. :)

Tomorrow’s post is about the cheapest way to catch a movie in Ottawa. Stay tuned!

3 Responses to "Film as brain food"

1 | film buffy

July 16th, 2013 at 5:06 pm


911? Or did you mean 9/11?

2 | andrea tomkins

July 16th, 2013 at 5:15 pm


9/11! Post is corrected now. Thanks for the catch! I think my brain is melting today.

3 | The cheapest way to catch a movie in Ottawa >> a peek inside the fishbowl

July 17th, 2013 at 11:10 am


[…] This is the continuation of yesterday’s post on the topic of movies! […]

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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