Criticism is as old as the arts themselves. We humans love to voice our opinions on the world around us just as much as we enjoy taking in all the sights and sounds. However over the past century with the advent of things such as film and television we have seen much of our efforts in this aspect dedicated to both the analytical dissection of these mediums as well as the unabashed praising or crucifixion of works depending on our outlook of them. In modern times with the advent of the internet age any of us for better or worse have the ability to do this with ease. “Everyone is a critic” as we finally see the old saying come to fruition. While this can be a positive thing as it helps give us a diverse range of voices and opinions towards a work I also personally feel there has been a negative effect to this as well in regards to the actual profession of film criticism.
In theory a proper critique of a film is an analytical dissection of the work, with the reviewer going through and sharing what they saw as strengths and weaknesses in the film and giving their piece on what possible paths could be taken to avoid any potential repeats of these mistakes in the future. While still subjective as all opinions are a professional critique is meant to be more or less similar to a teacher grading or reviewing a students work. It is meant to come from a good and helpful place, it is meant to be a way for those who enjoy a form of art to contribute their voice to help it grow and improve in the future. More or less critique is meant to be a good thing, not a bad, even if the overall review of a work is more negative than positive, it still comes from a good place. This however no longer seems to be true in modern film reviews for the most part as helpful critique is far too often set aside for more brash, cruel and mean-spirited criticism on sites for easy clicks.
Modern film Criticism often goes beyond helpful or professional analytical critique as many big sites and names put aside calm professionalism and instead bathe in the volatility and toxic miasma of modern internet culture. And while a desire to be more casual and honest with ones opinions is indeed admirable, the fact that for better or worse many of these professional critics and big sites can have an effect on the box office of a film to some degree is a dangerous thing given the fact that there is increasingly blurred line between a traditional “professional critic” and the rest of us ranting and raving on our blogs, twitter & YouTube channels. The truth is though we need that divide stable to some degree. We need film critics to be more analytical and balanced in their criticism of film instead of spending so much time and effort to attempting to destroy a film before it even comes out or attacking it or anyone who enjoys it long after it is released. Again, critique should come from a good place, a desire to see the form of art you enjoy improve and succeed in the future. I know all to well film can easily disappoint and emotions are just as much as part of what make a film good or bad for us as the characters and the narrative. But even with that in mind it is important for mainstream critics to be better then the rest of us on the internet, for their reviews to not be born out of spite, but to come from a place of good intent the same way a good teacher would want a student to improve.
In closing I beseech thee dear reader to take all reviews in modern time be they from some nobody like me or a big wig on Variety or Rotten Tomatoes with a hefty cup of tea. At the end of the day art in any form will always be subjective and no one can truly decide weather a film is good or bad in your eyes but you. In an age when very few critics are much better than a twelve year old or a madman like myself rambling on twitter, the best person to trust about your feeling towards a film, be it positive or negative is indeed yourself.