Willing suspension of disbelief is to a great film like icing is to cake, you can have
a movie without it, but it just won't taste as good. Willing suspension of disbelief
is, in its simplest form, the ability to make an audience forget that it is only a
movie. When a film is working well people become so engaged in it that they forget
everything around them and are effectively caught up in the action. How do you know
when this is happening? Well one sure sign is when people start talking back to the
screen. If you have ever been in a horror film where people start shouting at the
performers on screen - telling them not to go down into that darkened basement for
example - then you know what I mean. Conversely, if you find yourself checking your
watch repeatedly, wondering how it was you were convinced to shuck out the bucks to
watch this turkey, or simply contemplating any of a zillion other examples of life's
little mysteries, you know the film has not pulled off willing suspension of
disbelief . Ultimately if a film does not manage to attain willing suspension of
disbelief it does not work.
Debbie Twyman. All rights reserved.