The Glamor of Historical Media


Image via Unsplash

Rachel Ehly

Titanic, Hamilton and The Crown are some of the most popular motion pictures from the past 30 years. Although seemingly unrelated, these productions all have one thing in common. They portray history in an enjoyable way. 

Society has shown to love historical media for many reasons. For the drama it builds, the information it produces or the nostalgia it brings. People love historical media. Although it doesn’t always represent the truth. 

When depicting certain events many of these movies fall short in portraying the bad sides of history; the racist, homophobic and misogynistic sides. It is important to acknowledge these faults in the historical media we consume, especially when it isn’t clear in the narrative how certain events have harmed people. Sometimes it is the responsibility of the viewer to research and understand the consequences of many famous historical events, as many powerful people think that the bad parts of history can just go away if they are ignored. But history can’t be erased, even the bad parts. It needs to be accepted, the wrong and the right. Even then, the most important thing to think about when consuming historical media is if the film or novel is portraying the truth. Many disturbing events are shown in a good light. Especially in historical fiction. 

Historical fiction is a very popular form of storytelling. These works of fiction take place during true historical events, but the story is told through fictional characters. If the work is written well, people of all ages and backgrounds may be able to relate to the characters no matter what the setting of the story is. People should be able to reflect on themselves and wonder what their actions would be like if they lived during this time. What would it be like to live through the same events as your favorite characters? Believe it or not, some viewers don’t have to imagine what actions they would take.

There are people still alive today that have experienced historic events themselves. Consuming this type of media is a way for them to experience the nostalgia of their past. Humans crave a feeling of nostalgia, especially in times of stress or when feeling intense emotion. Consuming historical media is a way many people are able to escape their problems and completely immerse themselves in the past. 

Some people would rather not get caught up in fiction, instead choosing to opt for factual documentaries. The use of historical documentaries is majorly overlooked by most people even though they provide a beautiful, appealing and sometimes easier way to learn. The art engages a younger audience and allows them to retain more information through visual storytelling. 

The knowledge of what has been done right and wrong in history is one of the most important things someone can have. Historical documentaries are one of the best ways to get this information out. 

Learning from history is one of the only ways people can learn to grow and change the way they view the world and others. It helps when you have a beautiful work of art to help you do it.