Movies and the Meaning of Life: Philosophers Take on Hollywood


"The meaning of life is the most urgent of questions," said Albert Camus. And philosopher Woody Allen has wondered: "How is it possible to find meaning in a finite world, given my waist and shirt size?" Claims about what gives life meaning have not only been analyzed by philosophers but by the primary mythmakers in contemporary culture: Hollywood filmmakers. Movies and the Meaning of Life shows how a wide variety of films have tackled - to sometimes hilarious, sometimes surprisingly pointed effect - the same questions that have obsessed the deep thinkers. These essays draw on such sources as The Truman Show and Contact to explore the nature of reality; Fight Club and Being John Malkovich for cogent lessons on finding one's true identity; American Beauty and The Shawshank Redemption for pointers on life's purpose; Pleasantville and Spiderman for nuggets of wisdom on how to live one's life; and more.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Kimberly A. Blessing
  • Heather Keith
  • Steven Fesmire
  • Kevin Stoehr
  • John Zavodny
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Chicago
Publication year:
  • 2005


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