With hundreds of movies releasing every single year, film critics help us develop a better sense of what a certain film is about and more importantly if it’s even worth watching at all.
The Purpose of Film Critics
Film critics have always played a role in art-related releases. Some would argue there’s no theatre, film, TV show, music… that would be what it is today without the critics who review works of art. Certainly, there are ways one could misuse their role as a critic, however, those with clear moral codes such as “reviewing everything from as much an unbiased view as possible” are the ones truly making a difference.
Critics understand that they hold a certain power of the general audiences when it comes to reviewing a piece of art. People will mostly listen to what critics have to say, and while every single person has a clear right to form their own opinions, if a movie has very low critic scores that usually does play a role with audiences. Whether that role coincides with the box office earnings or not, the way the audience generally views a movie that’s been panned by critics or one that’s been universally well-reviewed differs a lot.
There is also a lot of discourse about whether certain critics have inner unchangeable biases that make them review some movies differently. For example, if a movie about a gay black man comes out (e.g. Moonlight) is everyone going to give it a fair review? Especially considering that a large number of critics are straight white men. One has to possess the ability to look at a piece of art that’s presenting a different kind of experience with unbiased and ready-to-learn more eyes in order to give it the best review possible.
There are scenarios when you check out a recently released movie’s non-professional audience reviews on different sites and all you can see is pure unadulterated hatred and low scores. Certain audiences at times feel somehow offended by a woman or an Asian person being in the leading role or just in the movie at all and then leave all kind of horrible reviews and comments.
A good example of that would be the movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017), which received great reviews from professional critics everywhere, praising it for its new direction and not playing by the rules style. However, those were also part of the reason why a lot of the Star Wars fandom was disappointed as the movie did not live up to their expectations at all. That’s not where the story ends unfortunately, as aside from all the negative online reviews from audiences, there were also A LOT of hateful and racist comments directed towards one of the actors of the move, Kelly Marie Tran. She has quite a major role in the movie and one that the fandom was not ultimately a fan of. They most definitely let the actor herself be aware of this as the thousands upon thousands of hateful replies pushed Kelly Marie Tran to delete her Instagram completely.
That the audience feels very strongly about certain movie franchise has been well documented. Nevertheless though, that’s not an excuse to hatefully review something you did not like. In fact, it often happens that the critic and audience scores vary a lot. Movies such as The Greatest Showman (2017), Us (2019), and Hail, Caesar (2016), are some great examples of a huge divide between how the critics rated the film and how the audience felt.
The Importance of Critics
Considering there’s an overflow of art being released at all times, the world needs professional critics to better explain certain things within the art world. For movies, pretty much every weekend there’s a new huge release that millions of people pay money to go and watch. Now, with new blockbuster films being released constantly, people need to have some kind of idea what is worth watching and what can they skip for the meanwhile. It’s not exactly cheap going to the cinema every week, and that is where film critics come in.
Sites like Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic assemble critic reviews and generate overall scores for each movie in percentages. This gives everybody a general idea as to what the critic world thinks of a movie. Rotten Tomatoes for example gives a “fresh” score to any movie with a 60% or higher rating, and “rotten” score to any movie 59% and under.
Working as a film critic can offer a decent living wage and the possibility to watch movies for a living (which a lot of people would love as a prospect). There are downsides to the job as well though, as there’s always the chance that fans of a movie you gave a horrible rating to are going to harass you online, or that you start losing the joy of watching movies due to always thinking like a critic. But in the end one thing is for sure, the world still needs film critics to better understand film and the film world itself.
Picture: Shutterstock/ ID: 1122316238
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