ROUNDTABLE: Critics vs. Audience opinion, who do you trust?

How do you decide which movies to watch? Do you listen to the critics or think they are unfair with their opinions? Could it be that your friends and followers influence your opinion? Chloe, Anand, Cherokee, Bella and Reba got together for an hour to discuss their views on the subject.



Anand: Audience, i think mass appeal is a big part of a movie’s success and one critic can’t speak for a whole bunch of people.

Cherokee: It definitely depends, mostly I will rely on the audience’s opinion, but other than that, I go off gut instinct on what I think I’d like to see, which to be honest is most things.

Chloë: Totally agree, I tend to read reviews AND listen to audience but usually just ignore them all regardless, I’m not huge on letting other people shaping my opinions for something I’ve never experienced personally.

Bella: I think it depends who the audience is and who the movie is intended for, because some movies are really good but just won’t work for mainstream because it’s for a certain group of people.

Cherokee: The problem that I have had with critics over the last few years is that their views, and what the film actually turns out to be like, are completely and utterly skewed. Everything they love, I hate, everything I love, they hate.

Anand: Gut instinct is a big player for me too, usually i’ll read opinions and reviews etc but at the end of the day if in your gut you know you’re gonna watch it regardless of opinions, then you’re gonna watch it regardless.

Georgia: It depends who the critic is, because if it’s someone who has similar taste in films as i do then i’ll trust their opinion, which is why it’s important to have a variety of critics.

Cherokee: Exactly. I think that our opinions aren’t valid until we have seen, or read, or watched whatever it may be. It’s important to listen to others, but if you make a judgement slowly on what someone else has told you is good or bad, then, well, you didn’t experience that film or listen to that album, how can you justify it?

Chloë: If I had to pick a critic I’d trust the most I’d go with Mark Kermode (I think he has a funny reviewing style and can reference other elements of pop culture without directly comparing them, and he gets the whole ‘movies solely for entertainment’ thing).

Reba: Mark Kermode is the only critic i know by name!! but usually I never know what to trust and listen to audience/my friends instead.

Anand: A lot of big name newspapers use the same “flavour” of critic if you get what I mean..

Chloë: I find it kinda strange cause the reviews feel like they are written for film buffs only, people who know their directors and references, not the average public who are the ones more likely to be reading reviews cause they are more cautious about where they spend their money.

Cherokee: I guess that falls in line with the kind of critics there needs to be, ones that can cater for all different film fans, the ones who know it all and the ones who just casually watch films.

Reba: Yes I get what you mean Chloe, I find i’m always Googling things when i read reviews because I have no idea about their references – usually when the critics are old men.. when its younger people writing the reviews I understand them better.

Cherokee: There is a very pompous (as much as I hate that word) nature about critics, a lot of the time.


Bella: I always give things 10 on IMDB if i think it should have a better rating than it does.

Chloë: LOVE IMDB RATINGS, I think they are probably the most accurate format going, the mix of critic and audience seems to strike a great balance.

Anand: I usually appreciate IMDB/Rotten Tomatoes reviews more than real critical reviews.

Cherokee: I cannot stand Rotten Tomato ratings, they’re completely unbalanced, especially for films in their back catalogue of film listings where they will have a really low score for a film that only has like 10 reviews.

Reba: I’d be interested to see what the demographics of IMDB users are?? I know its not teenage girls because ‘The Cheetah Girls’ only has a 4.4.


Georgia: Yeah, tons of reviews from The Guardian have in the past.

Which i now no longer trust.

Cherokee: No, never.

Reba: I love bad films so no haha

Anand: I think if anything bad reviews made me more determined to give the film a chance.

Cherokee: I have too little trust in critic reviews, and yes, agree on the bad film topic – I need someone who will rate bad films understanding the greatness.

Bella: I feel like bad reviews wouldn’t stop me from seeing something but maybe paying to see something?

Georgia: I’ve only ever been put off to see something in the cinema by reviews, because then you’re paying to watch it and you don’t want to be let down. if something gets bad reviews from a lot of different people i’ll wait to watch it online.

I think something else I trust more than critics isn’t just blogs but social networking in general, like if people I follow on twitter or something mention a film I’ll probably check it out.

Cherokee: So many people have so many opinions that critics are kinda dying. You’ll have specialist opinions in certain places, but everyone has a blog, everyone has a YouTube account, we’re all critics.

Georgia: I think the idea of paying people to review films seems bit ridiculous, because it’s allowing these select amount of people to speak for everyone else. Maybe that would be okay if most groups of people were represented but it’s a known fact that critics aren’t very diverse.

Cherokee: They seem to all focus on the same areas, too – acting, direction, music, etc. And sometimes, that gets boring. It’s nice to read people experience something, good or bad, and I don’t know if that makes things more personal and rids of a general critique of something, but I find personal posts like that far more interesting.

Anand: Yeah when someone see’s a film they feel something, i don’t want to know about acting/direction/soundtracks always. i wanna know what made them tick during that 2 hours.

Reba: In media at the moment we are studying about how music journalism sort of turned into lifestyle journalism (aka we’re watching almost famous) but i think that would be interesting to happen to film writing… for it to be about the feelings and experience and what reminded them of.

Cherokee: Obviously people don’t evoke serious emotions every time they watch a film, but that’s why I like bloggers in the sense that they have the freedom to do what publications aren’t letting their writers create.

Personal reviews, whether they be funny, or disgusting, or sad – just anything to evoke something out of me to go and watch whatever film they’re talking about.

I just read reviews in free newspapers or magazines for the most part just to see what something is about, not to dictate the quality of it.


Bella: Personal reviews definitely have, but no so much critics!

Cherokee: I read David Sexton’s review of Spring Breakers, and I’d had my eye on that film since I heard Harmony Korine was shooting it. It was the worst review ever, and he completely missed the point (as he has done with nearly every one of his views, being extremely distatesful about Jack Kerouac dying when he wrote his review for On the Road, as an example) of the film. Even when reading it, I knew that it wasn’t like he depicted. And it wasn’t, it was theeee shittttt.

And continued to prove how we need more fresh voices in that circle. Of course he is going to like a film with Steve fucking Coogan in it, OF COURSE!

Chloë: They definitely need more young people reviewing films for publications! And women! Especially when reviewing chick-flicks..

Anand: I think old white men shouldn’t really be allowed to review anything that doesn’t have an old white male lead

Georgia: I don’t think critics appreciate any comedy film in terms of entertainment value either, which is why the films that are nominated for the comedy category at award shoes aren’t actually comedies?? this really bothers me

Chloë: Agreed. I think critics are only really needed for ‘arty’ and serious films. ’12 Years A Slave’ is probably the only film I’ve gone out and seen because of a review, I wasn’t interested in it prior to reading them, and that was a total masterpiece, because it was a serious film it was reviewed from a critical perspective.

Georgia: Yeah maybe that’s it, critics are good at reviewing a select genre of films but there’s so much other stuff to appreciate in so many other films.


What are your opinions? Comment and let us know!

Edited by Chloe

Contributors: Reba, Anand, Bella, Cherokee and Georgia

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