Are Film Critics Still Relevant?
For many film studios, it is still the golden age of cinema. Specifically, it is the golden age of cinema for Marvel, Disney, and other large franchises. Theatrical box office success for most releases these days are determined by a passionate fan base and source material with a rich history. Also, word of mouth is often the main reason behind movie attendance. People trust their friends more than they trust critics. So in a landscape like this, are film critics and reviews even relevant?
Critics are needed more than ever. As films are reflecting a broader spectrum of humanity, and producers are hiring more women and people of color, it’s natural that critics should reflect that diversity. As actress Brie Larson said in 2018 at the Crystal + Lacy Awards, “I do not need a 40-year-old white dude to tell me what didn’t work for him about A Wrinkle in Time…It wasn’t made for him.”
For over 20 years Rotten Tomatoes has been the go-to website for casual moviegoers to check reviews, and the Tomatometer itself is often the only criteria moviegoers use. Wide release films with a score of 60% or higher are considered “Fresh,” and if they hit the 75% positive mark or higher, they are “Certified Fresh.” Below 60%, and the movie is considered “Rotten.” But critics of Rotten Tomatoes argue that since the majority of the critics on this site are white males, then the results are not a true reflection of the opinion of audiences.
But now audiences are seeking reviewers that reflect a variety of moviegoers. Cherry Picks is an aggregate website, like Rotten Tomatoes. However, Cherry Picks features the analysis and reviews of only female critics. Says Cherry Picks creator and movie producer Miranda Bailey “This is a way for us to cherry-pick out female opinion because there’s not enough of us.”
Filmmakers are closing the gap in representing diverse audiences, and critics have a long way to go before they reflect the movie-viewing population. With a wider variety of voices critiquing theater, the role of critic will remain relevant. As long as our film audiences embrace diverse storytelling, then there will be a need for an equal reflection in film critics.Article originally published on LesterParris.net