Film – A spectator sport?

What’s the first thought that comes into your mind when someone criticises a film you’ve enjoyed? For me I’m usually thinking that either that person didn’t get the things from the film that i did, that their expectations were somewhat off kilter or that they just fundamentally don’t like the same things I do.
Now of course, film, like all art forms, is totally subjective. I have no issue with someone disliking films that I love and I’m certainly not going to disparage other people for having different opinions form my own. The part that bothers me is the process by which some people (and I stress the word ‘some’ here, this certainly doesn’t apply to everyone out there) arrive at these conclusions. We live in a world of Social Media and snap judgements – people are able to give out their opinions practically in real time, forming opinions on every little thing (and sometimes causing large scale backlashes in the process). In this kind of environment its easy to see why some people see a film and form an instant opinion. I tend to find though that when someone does this, they really haven’t given it much thought – if you press them on their reasoning there usually isn’t much behind it. Sometimes of course there are good reasons – maybe the script was terrible, they didn’t connect with the characters, the plot was too convoluted etc.. However sometimes people just need to sit down for five minutes, think about what they’ve seen and then form some conclusions.
Personally I make a conscious effort now not to offer any quick opinions when I come out of a cinema. I’ll give a general thumbs up or thumbs down sure, if someone asks. Proper opinions though I like to give some thought. Whether thats the ‘right’ approach I don’t know, probably there isn’t a definitive way to do these things but I do feel these days that increasingly too many people make snap judgements about films (and of course this could be applied to anything from sport to politics but lets leave that one there for now) without really thinking through what they’ve seen and examining their own expectations to see if they were realistic or not. Don’t get me wrong – its impossible to be fundamentally neutral when approaching anything – we all have our own inclinations, prejudices, pet peeves and checklists based on our own experiences and upbringings. However, I do believe that it is possible, with a bit of reflection, to balance out some of the more knee jerk reactions you see out there.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below…

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