That said, it’s also part of the critic’s job to subjectively spout off. Underneath all the evidence and context lies simple opinion. And sometimes I get a little worried that Twitter is right.
Take “Arrival”: I thought it was a fine movie. I thought Amy Adams was fine in it. I thought “Nocturnal Animals” was fine. I thought Amy Adams was fine in it. But it seems everywhere I turn, both movies and both performances are being heralded as Oscar-worthy. And I … don’t get it.
It confuses me to hear “Arrival,” “Animals” and Adams being discussed as some of the best that film had to offer this year because, fundamentally, all of them left me cold. I can offer arguments as to why, but it boils down to the fact I simply didn’t like them much. They are the equivalent of my usual Subway order: It’s fine and I’ll eat it, but really only to fill space.
That opinion doesn’t make me wrong in the World of Film Criticism, but it does make me an outsider, a role I’m not particularly comfortable playing. It makes me wonder if I missed something, or if I somehow responded to the films in the wrong way. I think it’s important, though, that I feel like this from time to time: It reminds me that opinion is what links evidence and context together, and opinion is what makes discussing film so much fun.
If those of us who love talking about movies relied only on objectivity, we’d be ignoring emotion, which is what movies exist to produce. My thoughts on “Arrival” shouldn’t separate me from someone who loved it; in fact, our views can bring us together for a deeper discussion. Thinking someone is wrong about a movie — and admitting you might be wrong, too — is OK if it leads to the right kind of conversation.
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