A suggestion can be a powerful thing; a means of subtle control. Something as simple as complimenting your spouse on their appearance can be subconsciously interpreted as a suggestion and since we are very much the same as Pavlov’s dog, we repeat actions that have resulted in praise or a reward in the past.
The power of suggestion can propel athletes to play above their means. It can take root in a deep seeded belief system and cause people to do unspeakable things. It can convince a person to be something they are not.
The versatility and power of this idea can be seen in many different forms of storytelling. Here are four movies that utilize it.
Red (2011) – A new film from Kevin Smith in which an ultra conservative southern preacher convinces his “family” that they are representatives of God and need to “wash” the earth of sin. Seeing through the blood; this film is actually quite good. The plot is original enough and the actor who plays the preacher will make the hair on your arms stand up.
The Mighty Ducks (1990s) – If you grew up in the 90s you have probably seen these movies more times than you care to admit. The power of suggestion is a common theme in sports movies, frequently used to convince a less talented underdog that they have what it takes. Here a coach (Emilio Estavez) takes a rag tag group of hockey players and turns them into a real team. They win and everybody feels good. “We Are the Champions” plays and it’s good family fun.
The Bourne Identity (2002) – All three movies in the trilogy qualify here. Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has his memory wiped out by an off the book branch of the FBI and then they create a new super assassin. He begins to have flashbacks of his former self, which motivates him to seek answers.
City of God (2002) – This is an award winning Brazilian movie set in the slums of Rio de Janiero. The story follows the lives of a few young boys. Mixing beauty, cruelty, violence and truth, this movie shows that if you treat a child like a hood, he’s going to grow up to be a hood.