Certain movies contain subliminal advertisements using product placement. Does this contribute to alcoholism? Films did sway the public in favor of cigarettes for a while. Popular opinion implied, all the protagonists smoke, so it must be the cool thing to do! To some extent, the presence of alcohol has similar effects.
In just the past few years, there have been several movies that would not exist without the presence of alcohol. Take for example, the majority of Seth Rogen and James Franco’s work. The movies are always completely out there, and always involve at least two friends getting into some kind of trouble while using drugs or alcohol.
Seth Rogen and James Franco, though not strictly good role models within their films, are admired. They are funny and go on crazy adventures. Viewers may subconsciously relate alcohol and other drug use to the adventurous side of life.
How Can Such Consequences be Avoided?
The aspects of film that usually stick are the short clips provided at key moments. If there are montages or possibly dream sequences including news clippings that provide details of consequences from heavy drinking or other drug use, the message may sink in. It will present opposition to the subconscious belief that alcohol and other drug use is inexorably tied to adventure.
Knowledge is the greatest tool available to prevent such misunderstandings. Audiences need to have warnings available at the beginning of the film stating that things viewed should not be taken too much to heart.
What Else Can be Included?
Psychologically, the majority of people are drawn to a protagonist. The character is made to be more likable so that good can triumph. So if alcohol needs to be included for dramatic effect there are a couple of methods that can be used to prevent alcoholism from seeming like a worthwhile path. One technique is to only have the protagonist drinking moderately or not at all. There are characters who go on adventures without alcohol guiding every step, like Indiana Jones.
Another method would be to have an antagonist demonstrate aspects of alcoholism. Fewer people would be tempted to use such a character as a role model, and dramatic effect will not be compromised.
Remember That Films Are Not Reality
At times it can be difficult to separate fiction from reality. Stories can take anybody to another world, and that is one of the greatest qualities of the movie industry. This is a powerful trait, and it is valuable to find something that keeps you grounded so you can return to your own life.