The 1985 adventure, comedy, and science fiction film Back to the Future stars Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, Lea Thompson as Lorraine Baines, and Crispin Glover as George McFly. Robert Zemeckis directed this film, which was originally a screenplay written by himself and Bob Gale. The film takes place in the fictional town of Hill Valley, Northern California, where Marty McFly, an average teenage boy and his family live. Marty embarks on a wondrous adventure taking him back in time through Doc’s latest invention, the Delorean time machine. On this time traveling journey, Marty encounters his parents thirty years younger and learns a lot about their youth, especially about his mother, Lorraine, and her femininity. During his visit to the past, Marty accidentally alters the meeting of his parents, subsequently changing the future. Throughout the film, Marty tries to repair the past and find his way home. In the film Back to the Future, Marty McFly witnesses his mother, Lorraine’s, drastic change from being a tired, hard-drinking, middle-age mother in the 1980s to a forward, bold, and audacious teenager in the 1950s; with the help of time travel, he is able to alter the course of events and re-write her future self.
Marty McFly observes a striking difference between his mom’s everyday unmotivated, alcoholic, and careless behavior in 1980 and the lively, vibrant and caring teenager he sees in 1950 when he travels back through time. According to Marty, he believes his mother was born a nun. She would freak out if she learned Marty was going up to the lake with his girlfriend and give him the standard lecture about how she never did those type of things when she was a kid. In the opening scenes when Lorraine throws the cake on the table during a family dinner, her character is perceived as dull and careless. She has a pessimistic mindset and lacks motivation and passion. The use of an eye level camera angle offers the audience a much more personal view of Lorraine’s life. It makes the portrayal of her character more realistic. In the present, Lorraine looks years older than the age she actually is, but when Marty travels back to 1950, he finds a completely different version of his mother who is vivacious and popular with men. From the moment Lorraine’s dad hits Marty McFly with his car, Lorraine is moonstruck by Marty’s presence. Lorraine’s curiosity and infatuation towards Marty stems from Marty’s state of helplessness, which prompts her to initiate a fling with Marty. Her bold personality allows her to attempt starting an intimate relationship with Marty by showing signs of willingness through touch, facial expressions and even going as far as removing his pants when he is resting. Due to Lorraine’s infatuation with Marty, she fails to notice George, Marty’s present day father. She doesn’t find George attractive because he has yet to prove he is capable of being strong, standing up for himself and protecting the woman he loves. Because Marty has shown to be competent of doing all of these things she is attracted to him. Towards the end of the film when George comes to rescue Lorraine from being violated by Biff, he finally proves that he has the bravery and confidence to catch Lorraine’s eyes. Initially Lorraine sees George helplessly being strangled by Biff, and she comes to aid him when George socks Biff in the face, effectively knocking him out. This act of bravery gave George the confidence he needed to thrive. Lorraine can now see herself being with a man like George.
Upon returning to present day in 1985, Marty finds a healthier and more balanced Lorraine who endorses female empowerment and has a brighter outlook on life. Before Marty went back in time, Lorraine’s character exudes negativity and sadness. In the dinner scene, Lorraine pours and drinks two cups of Vodka which suggests she has a drinking problem. There is no genuine interaction between her and her family. When she attempts to initiate a conversation with George, he ignores her in favor of watching the television and working on Biff’s reports. Not only was Lorraine’s spirit low, but she was also not supportive of other women. Lorraine dislikes Marty’s girlfriend for calling him up and asking for trouble. She thinks it’s terrible for a girl to be chasing a boy or sitting in a parked car with a boy unsupervised. She emphasizes how she never behaved like that when she was a teenager. The lighting used in this scene is low key lighting. This use of lighting accentuates the mood which is depressing, ill, and lonesome. After Marty’s interference with the original timeline, present day Lorraine becomes more confident and exudes positivity and happiness. In the breakfast scene, Lorraine is seen entering the room interacting with her husband and kids. She has a solid conversation with George and comes to show Marty affection. Marty compliments his mom’s thinner figure, which suggests that she has been taking care of herself and abstaining from drinking too much. Lorraine even has a change of opinion regarding Marty’s girlfriend, letting him know she is a sweet girl and letting him go on his big date up to the lake. The lighting used in this scene is high key lighting. This use of lighting highlights the mood which is joyful, warm, and loving. Lorraine’s change of heart not only betters herself, but also the lives of her family. The new and improved Lorraine gives George confidence to live life successfully, which in turn results in Marty having his dream car, his sister juggling many boyfriends, and living in a beautiful house.
The film, Back to the Future, is now one of my favorite movies. Before this Film Analysis Assignment I had never seen this movie. I can understand now why people call this movie a time travelling classic. Aside from being an enjoyable movie for all, this movie made me reevaluate my life in a sense. All my life I had been planning out what is best for me. I was never living in the moment. I was always thinking of the future, and if I wasn’t thinking ahead I was regretting the past. This movie upholds the moral lesson of knowing one’s fate is not eternal and it is always susceptible to change. This message spoke loudly to me. As a senior applying to college–now receiving both acceptances and rejections–it is hard for me not to think about what I could have done differently. I find myself reflecting a lot on what classes, clubs, activities, and even experiences I could have undertaken. One rejection from a particular college threw off the career and life goals I had planned for myself since freshman year. I first started to question what I did wrong. Perhaps it was because I took Statistics instead of Calculus, my grades freshman year, or even my standardized tests. I contemplated on what I could’ve done differently. I was thinking for too long and too hard when I impulsively sent an admission appeal letter to my dream college. The reality was that no matter how much time I spent trying to alter my past and future, in the end it is unknown. We have to take risks, live in the moment, and adjust our expectations. I would recommend this film to everyone because this film teaches many moral life lessons that is relatable to people of all ages.