Reel Therapy

Unraveling the mind through film

Monuments Men: A Vehicle for Positive Emotions

This movie proves its entertainment value with injections of happiness.

“Monuments Men” is a true story about a band of art historians who came together during WW II to save/preserve the art that Hitler was actively stealing/destroying. Random thought: as soon as you start to learn of this story it seems predictable, if not inevitable, in hindsight given Hitler’s intellectual desire to extinguish a race of people, and his personal interest in the art world. 

I found it to be a very well-made and entertaining movie. Critics who have said otherwise (and there seem to be many) are merely disappointed that the movie isn’t what they expected it to be (always a fair point, to some degree).

What makes this movie so well-made and entertaining, among other things, its ability to inject consistently rich doses - sometimes blasts - of positive emotion.

Below are my Top Five Moments (5 scenes that trigger doses/blasts of positive emotions)

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When George Clooney, in a radio address to the artistic band of brothers, gives an arousing pep-talk at the start of the mission.

When Bill Murray and Bob Balaban share a cigarette with a skittish German soldier.

When Cate Blanchett pours her trust and life’s work into Matt Damon’s hands…and he delivers.

When Bill Murray and Bob Balaban stumble onto the first (of a bunch) underground mine squeezed to the brim with German-stolen art/gold.

When George Clooney finally finds (and barely escapes with) Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child sculpture.

They say that experiencing a 2:1 ration of positive to negative emotions in one’s romantic relationship keeps tends to keep the dynamic on a healthy and happy path. I would postulate that one’s daily routine needs to demonstrate no worse than a 1:1 positive to negative emotional ratio if a healthy and happy life is to be lived - “Monuments Men” gets your day off to a good start!

*Also, one could make an argument that the movie provides a healthy mourning process for our collective unconscious when it comes to the Holocaust event. Feel free to email in comments related to this last point or any Top ‘positive emotion’ Moments from the movie you’d like to share.

Jeremy Clyman, Psy.D., attained his doctorate in clinical psychology at Yeshiva University.

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