The Midwife - ©Michaâl Crotto/Courtesy of Music Box Films

Exploring the world through film

Table of Contents

Group Discussion at Movies on Chatham

The product of the movie industry is a story . . . told primarily in visual imagery and movement, and . . . dialogue. The movie shares the function of all storytelling, of all literature, of all theater: that of a comment on some phase of existence.
—Hortense Powdermaker (1950)*

A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.
—Marshall McLuhan (1962)*


Movies on Chatham publishes monthly research articles and essays on movies, typically according to a theme sequence, earning reader support as an important source of insight and critical thought on what films communicate to their audiences.

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Changing Times

In the spring, we explored propaganda by watching movies either about the topic, or by watching movies that purposefully and strategically present only one side of a more complicated issue.

Of course, propaganda can be used to influence either positive or negative outcomes. Yet, we know that whether a film is considered positive or negative often depends on the perspective or bias of the viewer.

This fall, we discuss the (possibly unwitting) influence of movies on societal attitudes and behavior at a cultural moment. Our focus on “Changing Times” considers that, apart from any direct pressure to do so, we adapt and change our world view and/or behavior in light of new knowledge, changing technologies and social norms.

Can the simple act of seeing a movie and learning from it change social attitudes and behavior?

Or, do people always tend to respond to a movie based on earlier established sensibilities?

Our December movie, Book Club (Holderman, 2018) presents a group of four women who are changing themselves right in front of us in the present day. Sometimes our societal changes come with such swift and profound effects that we just need to step back and laugh about it.

This is a comedy film starring some of our all-time favorite funny women, including Atlanta’s own Jane Fonda (9 to 5), along with Diane Keaton (Annie Hall, As Good as It Gets),  Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown), star of one of our longest-running TV sitcoms, and Mary Steenburgen (Melvin and Howard, The Help).

What do you notice that is NOT evidence of changing times in this movie! We’d love to hear from you as you watch it along with us this month.

2018 Fall Schedule

1957 Drama 157 mins
Mark Robson, Director

Peyton Place movie poster

1963 Drama 113 mins
Stanley Donen, Director

charade movie poster

1990 Drama 126 mins
James Ivory, Director

Mr. and Mrs. Bridge movie poster

2018 Drama 144 mins
Bill Holderman, Director

book club movie poster


Holderman, B. (Director) (2018). Book Club [Motion Picture]. USA: Paramount Pictures.

McLuhan, M. (1962). The Gutenberg galaxy: The Making of typographic man. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Powdermaker, H. (1950). Hollywood, the dream factory: An Anthropologist looks at the movie-makers (1st Ed.). Boston: Little, Brown.

Located in Atlanta, Georgia, film capital of the South, Movies on Chatham provides monthly film critiques to a public audience.
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Movies on Chatham