Some movies that come to mind when thinking about a main character dying are Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and A Walk to Remember. In both movies, a main character dies from cancer. In the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Bailey is a younger friend of a main character named Tibby. She is characterized as a young girl who enjoys filmmaking, a characteristic common to Tibby as well. Unfortunately, Bailey has cancer and gets sicker with time and eventually ends up in the hospital. Tibby visits Bailey in the hospital and offers her the “magical” pants in order to help her. Sadly Bailey dies shortly after. The movie portrays the event solemnly and consistently shows Tibby’s more vulnerable side. As common to real life, the Sisterhood portrays death through the use of a casket, all black funerals, and individuals mourning the loss through crying.
In A Walk to Remember, Jamie is laying in a hospital bed, ill from cancer, with her boyfriend Landon by her side. While in the hospital, Jamie tells Landon that “God has a bigger plan for her” and that he is her angel sent from God (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hM9TUoD-rjA). Unlike the Sisterhood, which portrays death in a more magical, hopeful way, A Walk to Remember portrays death in a more religious way. But both movies have a sorrowful portrayal after the death has occurred. Of course, when we experience death, we are sad and we do mourn; but people experience death in many different ways.
At times I do believe that death in the movies can be misleading. In A Walk to Remember, Jamie was able to experience love and true happiness before her death. In reality, not everyone finds their significant other before they die. Death can be sudden and often occurs when the individual is alone. In real life when a child dies that young, they often have not experienced what true friendship is. In Sisterhood the audience hopeful that at least Bailey found what she was looking for but, unfortunately, children sometimes die unexpectedly and have not had the chance to experience love and friendship. Comparing these two movies also shows that death is not portrayed diversely in movies. In fact, both Tibby and Bailey died from cancer in hospitals. The actions and emotions of the people who cared for them most were also similar.
I do think that the language and hopefulness of the characters does prove that we as a society are a death denying culture because there is not one single way in dealing with death. We can experience anything from sadness, to anger, to even a feeling of emptiness. We can go into shock, or get sick to the stomach. There is no way of telling how we will deal with death and it is different depending on who it is, how it happens, and when it happens. These movies often teach us that it is merely sorrowful and the main character finds himself/herself getting past it through hope, yet this is not always the case in real life. We leave death to the movies and they do make us emotional, but the emotions we experience from the movie are nothing like what we experience in real life. We put death off to the movies until it happens to us.