You cannot serve sweets to a group of people which mostly comprises of diabetic patients. That’s the problem usually encountered by a film critic.
There is a slight difference between a movie reviewer and a movie critic. Both of them are trying to evaluate a process or a product and the key difference between the two is that a review can be compiled by anyone and consists of subjective opinion of a work, unlike a critique which is written by an expert in the field with a technical comprehension.
Now you knew the key defining characteristic of a critic, it isn’t that difficult to be a critic unless few sections of audience attack you ruthlessly for offending their favourite stars. If you are on to critique a Salman Khan movie or any commercial Bollywood movie and attempt to write a doctoral thesis on the concepts of gravity and literature, you are going to regret your existence on this earth later.
The audience is different and unpredictable. Last month, I made my friend sit with me to watch Roma on Netflix. He agreed to my plan because he liked Gravity and also I was praising Alfonso Curoan for his unique lengthy shots. But ten minutes into the movie, he dozed off and I had to wake him up after the movie. The person who liked Gravity didn’t like Roma.
If you want to cater to such a kind of audience, it is not a walk on a piece of cake. A movie reviewer can easily satisfy such a kind of audience by being subjective. If it is a commercial movie, which happens most of the time in India, he reviews it whether it is a good commercial movie or just an average movie. But a movie critique searches for the art and uniqueness of the filmmaking. A critique will call shit as shit whereas a movie reviewer terms the shit as shit but also says it tastes fantastic. That’s why it is difficult to be a critic.
Another problem is the existence of different kinds of clever and intelligent audience. When I wrote articles about intricate concepts and underlying ideology in a few exceptional movies I was lucky to watch, I received a lot of criticism. In spite of putting a disclaimer that I am not a movie critic or a reviewer and that article was not a review or critique, but instead my opinion about the movie, no one cared. Though the criticism was sincere, honest and constructive, it really pissed me off to the core.
Another instance where I was bashed mercilessly was when I attempted to make a list of best movies of the year. There were idiots who asked me why a particular movie was included and why the other was not? I excluded Avengers: Infinity war and few people were hurt.
A critique has to be unbiased and should deeply explore different attributes of the movie. Black Panther received excellent praise from critics who particularly showered praised on its story (step brothers fighting for the throne which is seen in many Indian period movies) and visual effects. Seriously, Aqua man had better effects than Black Panther and no one cared about Aqua man, even the Academy. Here, critics tried to be more politically correct. There was not a single idiot who dared to tell that Black Panther was just an Okay movie. Movies should be made to explore the art by diving into the various aspects of it while gifting the audience a memorable time and experience. No need to celebrate feminism and anti-racism all the time while doing the exact opposite shit behind the doors.
And there are few critics and reviewers who give ratings and marks which is not the proper measurement to ascertain the quality of the movie.
Few critics do a comparison. This year, A Star is Born and Marry Poppins Returns were ruthlessly compared with its predecessors. DC and MCU movies are constantly compared with The Dark Knight trilogy. Indian sci-fi movies are also constantly compared with Hollywood movies, the latest scapegoat is 2.0 and a couple of space adventure movies in Tamil and Telugu. Honestly, I can’t justify whether this kind of comparison is good or bad because benchmarks are what inspire and motivate movie makers but also sometimes crush their hopes and confidence.
What do people look for in a movie review? They look to find out whether that movie is worth their money and time.
What do people look for in a movie critique? Only movie lovers have an answer for this. Answers are many in number.
I am not a professional or a recreational movie reviewer or critic, I am just a movie lover exploring the depths of science, the curvature of character arcs, the diversity of thoughts and uniqueness of art.