Writing about a film is like committing a murder of sorts; why don’t we let it kill us before we kill it?
Many people like to voice their opinions about a film by writing a traditional review of it, mimicking that of the so-called professionals. These reviews are, objectively, very poor – at best they are cold lists of evaluations of each filmmaking factor of the film; at worst they are comments on the story or the characters themselves.
Of course, social media has changed the discourse and made it easier for us to share our personal opinion on everything. Yet, it somehow seems that the norm, for film more than other arts, is to refer to speak as if we were all authorities on it. That’s fine and dandy, except nobody really knows what objectively makes a film good. Furthermore, as we know, social media discourse is far from legitimate, and dominated by norms of its own, based on what is trending, likeable, and shareable.
The problem of expressing a reaction to a film right after seeing is relatable to that of recognizing the quality of just about anything immediately after experiencing, especially when that thing is new and unfamiliar. We know that in film, as in life, that is seldom the case. Think, for example, of how many films have won Oscars and are now frowned upon; think, on the other hand, of how many films were initially panned and are now praised.
Granted, there are exceptions. However, it is only fair to ask: what is the point of copying the writing style of critics who are trapped, whether willingly or unwillingly, in a style and methodology of film reception that prevents them from truly living a film and letting it seep into their lives?
I would suggest to those who can and want to express their reaction to a film shortly after watching it – go for a walk, run, cycle, swim…
Instead of writing a review, why not paint it, or dance it?
Why not play an instrument, if you can; or, if you want to write, why not write a poem inspired by it?
Why not use the energy it left you to communicate with others, strangers, loved ones, people you haven’t talked to for the longest time…
In the meantime, you may want to keep a notepad with you at all time, where you can note your film thoughts the moment they pop into your head. When you finally think you’ve figured it out, that’s when you may be ready to write that review! Or maybe, that’s when you’ll have changed your mind about writing a review about the film entirely…
No doubt if you do write a review, and if it will be heartfelt, honest, and personal, it will be far more interesting than that of most of the so-called professionals. But for that, there’s always time. Remember… film reviews can be great, but they can also kill the magic of a film a little by trapping its endless power into language and words that will truly replicate its radiance and life. In other words, remember that reviewing a film means committing a murder of sorts – so, before you kill it, let it kill you!