We all have our own opinions, preferences and life experiences. No two people will watch the same movie or television show and have the exact same opinion. They may agree with certain aspects of each other’s opinions, but they typically will not provide each other with identical reactions. While these unique perspectives can be incredibly insightful, it can also be seen as negative.
A person’s own standpoint will seep into their critiques and influence the way they feel about a particular work of media. This can make it hard for a movie reviewer to stay objective. Also, a person’s emotional state can greatly affect their reaction to a television show and influence their opinions of that show.
The first time I saw the first “Hunger Games” film in theaters, I fell asleep. I thought it was boring and did not want to see any more. Three years later, in 2015, my friends and I watched the first three “Hunger Games” movies in the same night. We screamed at the television set, and probably woke up the neighbors. The three of us did not care. We were all animated, as we yelled at Katniss and Peeta to find their way to safety. At the time, the fourth “Hunger Games” film had not yet been released for streaming or digital purchase, so we made plans to see it when it debuted.
Watching these films with my friends, I had a completely different reaction. I now consider myself a fan of the series and. while I have not read the books, I can understand the hype surrounding the films. I associate these movies with positive memories with my friends, and find myself re-watching them every now and then.
With all of this in mind, is it prudent for reviewers to publish a disclaimer with their reviews? Should readers be aware of these cognizant biases or does all of this just reduce the credibility of reviews as a whole? This is not to say that biases themselves are harmful. It just means that it is important for readers to be aware that such preferences exist. How can a reviewer uphold credibility? I recommend that reviewers take a closer examination of the intended audience for a film, deduce the producers’ intention, and then go from there.
At the end of the day, things are rarely as ever black-and-white as it seems. While I don’t believe it is possible to simply take in a motion picture in the absence of pre-determined judgement, I remain optimistic about the future of reviews. Hopefully, more reviewers will put out disclaimers and take their own situations into account when sharing their thoughts.