I watch many movies these days, and I often feel happy when the main character gets what they want in the end or sad otherwise. Is there an adjective to describe this? It appears to me that vicarious is not the right word because it applies only to people watching other people in real life, but I might be wrong. For example,

I am so _____. I always feel good when the protagonist wins and bad when he loses.

Phrases and other parts of speech are also welcome.

  • 3
    Empathetic? You feel empathy for the characters. (Not that "vicarious" must be restricted in the way you suggest. The Google definition for "vicarious" includes the example "I could glean vicarious pleasure from the struggles of my imaginary film friends")
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 23, 2016 at 1:44
  • @HotLicks I would suggest that either vicarious or empathetic are probably the words he's looking for.
    – dwjohnston
    Mar 23, 2016 at 1:55

4 Answers 4


You are "identifying" with the character and placing yourself into his or her situation in the work of fiction. Having empathy for the character is one-step removed from this since it still connotes distance, emotionally, from the actual character. I hope this helps. For more words of interest to you, check out

      Jack's Handy List of Words 

607 Words That You Can't (or Shouldn't) Live Without by Jack Forbes

It's funny and incredibly useful in expanding one's vocabulary in English beyond the usual limited vocabulary. Available on barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com in soft cover and epub.


The literary Greeks have handed down a couple of words that are specifically to describe the experiences that you may have as a consumer of art/literature/theater:

Catharsis is the process where the climax or end of a movie/play releases the feelings you've built up watching the characters.

The hero's victory after a long journey was cathartic for me.

Pathos is an appeal to your feelings as a viewer. Pathos is most commonly associated with negative or sad emotions.

The death of Bambi's mother is a source of great pathos for many Disney movie viewers.


If you want to fit the word to the sentence structure I am so _____, then you should consider something like impressionable There is certainly a btter word than impressionable, but right now I can't remember it.

With vicarious, you will need a noun, like vicarious pain/pleasure

Catharsis and pathos are loaded words, for serious reviews.

I'd also second the idea of 'identifying with the character' which is mentioned in Wordbird's reply.


Another term for identifying with the character could be, viewers "vicariously" live through the experience.

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    The word “vicarious” (and forms thereof) have already been mentioned a couple of times.  Do you have any new information to present? Apr 17, 2019 at 5:01