The State of Criticism


Connor Patterson, Featured Writer

Film critics, once considered to be the leading voice on what is and isn’t good, have come under fire recently. For years, critics have acted like a next door neighbor, providing reliable recommendations for what’s worth watching. With social media being as prevalent as it is today, the need for critics has decreased, and so the divide has grown.

Typically, audiences view movies for the entertainment value. People tend to rate movies based on how much they enjoyed them. Critics, on the other hand, are often looking for the technical elements such as cinematography, directing, lighting, acting and how well these elements are executed. That’s not to say that audiences don’t pay attention to these elements, but they’re generally weighted heavier by critics. This is one of the main reasons horror movies show such a great divide in their ratings between critics and audiences. When someone buys a ticket to a horror movie, they go with the intention of being scared and they’ll rate the movie accordingly. Critics care less for the scare factor, and many try to hold the film to an unreasonably high standard. Supposedly being “out of touch” with audiences is one of the most common critiques of critics. Critics that cannot connect with audiences have failed at their job as the entire point of their job is to provide recommendations for audiences.

With the rise of social media, anyone can venture into the medium of criticism. No longer are the days where you have to buy a copy of the paper to see the current movie reviews. Anyone with an audience willing to listen is a critic, whether it be your 200 Facebook friends, viewers of your blog, or anyone who buys the Boston Globe. While the divide between critics and audiences views on movies certainly exists, the line that divides critics from any other audience member continues to blur.