Can movies change our minds?

Maria DiBattista in the Los Angeles Times:

Imagenyet10312121846Movies can envision the need for social change, but it is unclear that they can help bring it about. They are better at pointing the way to a different, happier, more fulfilling life. Not the least interesting thing about the hopeless love dramatized in “Brokeback Mountain,” which garnered eight Oscar nominations last week, is how many social hopes it has inspired. Ang Lee, after winning the award as best director at the Golden Globes, hailed “the power of movies to change the way we’re thinking,” although he later thought it advisable to wait to “see how it plays out.”

So far, “Brokeback Mountain” plays out as a love story that has ignited the cultural equivalent of a range war. Typical of conservative salvos is Don Feder’s denunciation of the film as one of Hollywood’s “agitprop epics” that he lambastes for being “anti-American … religion adverse and into moral relevancy.” Frank Rich pronounced the film “a landmark in the troubled history of America’s relationship to homosexuality,” and he exuberantly declared that it “is not leading a revolution but ratifying one, fleshing out — quite literally — what most Americans now believe.”

More here.