Notes on the Screens That Shape Our Society

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"Our collective view is shaped by what we see on screens," says Adele Lim, the co-screenwriter of the blockbuster movie, "Crazy Rich Asians." Lim notes how the television shows of her youth in Malaysia taught her—and so many of us--much about society, both on a conscious and subconscious level. Popular movies and television shows provide cultural references for generations.

Lin uses her platform to tell the stories of underrepresented communities. She spoke about her work at the Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on March 14, 2019. Lin welcomes the opportunity to bring cultural authenticity to the movies and television shows to which she brings her considerable talent. "There is a false narrative that only one kind of people are responsible for the success of this country," says Lim. Lim and others in the industry are working to dismantle this narrative.

Washington Post chief movie critic, Ann Hornaday, approaches movies from the audience's point of view. Hornaday described her craft as a movie critic on March 13, before an audience of women who are part of "The Wednesday Morning Group."

Hornaday acknowledges that films are a global medium. She describes certain movies, like "Roma" as visual poems. Others, like "Black Panther," Hornaday says, are designed to tell a story or immerse us in other worlds that they create.

Hornaday describes the alchemy of filmmaking and how she evaluates movies in her book, Talking Pictures: How to Watch Movies (Basic Books 2017). Her analysis of a movie includes the following three questions: (1) What was the artist trying to achieve; (2) Did they achieve their goal; and (3) Was it worth it? She noted that the movie "Greenbook," which won the 2019 Academy Award for best picture, told a good story and told it well.

 --Maria Leonard Olsen is a Washington, D.C.-based attorney and author. Her latest book is 50 After 50: Reframing the Next Chapter of Your Life (Rowman & Littlefield 2018). The author may be reached at Learn more at