Netflix seems to have a lot of opinions about my life, but I appreciate that they are posited without judgment. “Mari, you’ve been watching a lot of Feel-Good Teenage Dance Romances recently. Try these!” the homepage greets me. Unless I get a really flattering recommendation–“Cerebral French Documentaries About Arcane Historical Subjects,” for instance–I feel the need to explain myself. Here are my explanations:
Dysfunctional Family Dramas
My anecdotal research suggests that there are two types of people when it comes to art appreciation: those who see art as an escape, and those who see art as a mirror. I’m on Team Mirror. I know a lot of people who only really enjoy action, sci-fi, thriller, and fantasy movies–the ones that don’t look anything like normal coffee-drinking jeans-wearing public-transportation-taking life.
I recognize that many of those movies have powerful universal themes, but I’m not as interested in powerful universal themes as I am watching characters who look and act like people I know and give subtle insight on the complexities of relationships and decision-making through quiet dinner conversation in the foreground of a melancholy soundtrack. I get that Lord of the Rings, for example, has a lot to say about death and community and courage and teamwork, and I appreciate that. But Mrs. Doubtfire has insight on some more immediately pressing matters in my life–changing my hairstyle, for instance.