It is a bit of a cliché to say that everything looks better in films. Films always seem to have that happy ending, they dramatise the moments that are not so dramatic in real life and play down the more serious moments. It seems important for us to remember that television and cinema is there for our entertainment and, more often than not, we cannot learn exactly how life will play out from watching films, just occasionally life lessons.
However, more and more television programmes and films are using their platforms to discuss hard-hitting and taboo subjects.
When my mum was told that her cancer had spread to her brain and that the next course of action was whole-head radiotherapy, she became really invested in Coronation Street. In particular, Sinead’s storyline where she was dying of cancer. I remember asking her why she was watching the episodes leading up to and including her death, as I thought they would just upset her. Looking back I think she may have been watching to think about what death might be like, and to feel less alone.
It was excellently done by Coronation Street, showcasing the reality that cancer does not win because the victim didn’t fight hard enough, but because it is a cruel and unforgiving disease which knows how to take over your body. Of course, TV shows cannot showcase every detail and the exact harsh reality that comes with a disease like cancer, but what they can do is educate people and spread awareness of the different circumstances we can find ourselves in.
There are other examples of film, television and literature that are excellently conveying important messages through their work. It is great to know that people out there want to tackle the issues present in society and this continous effort will help to reduce the taboo surrounding death, grief and other subject matters.