With the increase in popularity of sites such as Rotten Tomatoes, film reviews have been simplified down to whether a film is “good” or “bad.” The dilemma with this form of review is that films are not just “good” or “bad.” Films often have a specific audience and are filled with intricacies that are worth exploring and discussing. On top of exploring films, reviews can work simply to steer an audience in the right direction with more information or a viewpoint, leading them to something that they would otherwise miss or be unaware of.
The crumbling interest in film review seems less of a generational problem than it does a consequence of societal change. As newspapers and magazines go off the shelves, so do the film reviews—which has decreased the exposure that the reviews once received. The key to increasing interest in film criticism is to increase exposure. It’s hard to convince people that it is worth their time to seek out and read film reviews when they are able to get a simple rating that is understandable with a glance. Film reviews must transition from papers and blogs to social media and look to have discussions with the audience. By becoming easily accessible, film reviews will not be something that interested audience members have to seek out, but instead, a tool to turn people onto films that they would otherwise not see. Creating increased interaction through social media can also promote reviews to a wider audience.
That being said, I remain unconcerned by the so-called “death of the film review.” As long as there are passionate movie viewers, there will be an audience of people looking to talk about them; and as long as there are passionate film writers, the writer and the reader will be able to find each other. Although film reviews may still need to find their place in the modern world, there will always be the discussion of film, whether in the papers, on social media, or between friends after a screening. Film review and analysis will survive as long as there are movies worth discussing.