Theory vs. Emotion in Film

I love this post by gooollysandra. She offers a thought provoking mediation on what it means to objectively and subjectively critique films. This is exactly how I feel when it comes to critiquing films. If I am emotionally invested in it, there is more of a bias when it comes to giving it a good review. I might be more lenient on how the cinematography is or the minor faults in the script. There is more to analyzing films than just looking at the technical aspects. Of course I can take a step back and look purely at the cinematography, and the directing, and form an opinion about the critical quality of the film, but I won’t come away satisfied, ready to say I loved it just because the set design was near perfection . It is human nature, just as she writes in this post, to be drawn to things that we can relate to, understand or find meaning and purpose in.

gooollysandra

When we say we like a movie, what are we really saying? Sure we can appreciate and admire  films for their form or content and we can like them for the ideas they convey or for their beautiful cinematography, but what is it that leads us to say we like a certain film? It’s the feeling they evoke in us. There are film theorists who will go great lengths to describe what signs are present in films that cause us to like them, or the ways in which certain films connote or denote things that make them ‘good’ films. But I don’t think that all that theorizing gets to the heart of what makes us like films. I think the power of film really lies in how they make us feel, rather than certain qualities that might be inherent in the film. How often do we like films solely because…

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