Films tell stories. Stories are powerful because they give us an insight into somebody else’s life. They affect how we feel about ourselves and others. When a South Asian watches The Big Sick, or an African watches Black Panther or a Latinx watches Coco, there is excitement to see fellow people of colour on screen. It gives us a sense of belonging and makes us feel like we matter. It connects us to stories like our own and encourages us to be architects of our own narratives.
Coco’s animation style is intricate and painstaking. Close up shots of characters’ faces show freckles and coarse hair follicles that many people stroke through every day. Seeing the characters’ skin and hair treated with so much care and consideration is mind-blowing. It not only makes brown people feel validated, but also normalizes ‘natural’ beauty on screen.
However, other groups such as women are still underrepresented in films and offensive stereotypes still exist. Nevertheless, movies like Wonder Woman, Girls’ Trip and Lady Bird herald a new era of women-centric films. It is important to see that women are more than just ‘sexy attire’ and teenage girls have more to them than simply being ‘dramatic’ and ‘disturbed’ as they are portrayed in films.
Films like Call Me by Your Name, Moonlight and Blue Is The Warmest Colour celebrate LGBTQ stories. Contemporary Hollywood has just started to represent the LGBTQ community which encourages a wider acceptance of love of all kinds. This makes the community feel valued and accepted within contemporary culture, which is something that is of utmost importance.
There are many more ethnic minorities and LGBTQ communities that remain underrepresented and stereotyped within cinema. However, this spark and drive of diverse representation will hopefully bring many more untold stories on to the big screen. Seeing these stories will make these underrepresented groups feel fearless, when they step out to share their stories to the world.