Do Critics Take The Movie Industry Too Seriously?

dilo: inside big newport by emdot is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
“dilo: inside big newport” by emdot is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Moviegoers and critics have been at odds for years, and 2022 was a new low. According to, critics were typically rating movies 19.2% lower than audiences; and that’s a lot when you take the 449 movies released that year into account. This year is turning out to be no different, as movies are being released to disappointed critics and raving audiences, which raises the question as to whether or not critics may be too harsh when it comes to movies.

In order to find out if critics are too harsh towards the movie industry, it’s important to look for trends in the way that they rate movies in comparison to general moviegoers. Below, there is a data table that goes over the differences between critic and audience scores for 14 movies released in the past 3 months.

Movie Name Date Opened Audience Rating Critic Rating Difference of Ratings
Five Nights at Freddys October 27th, 2023 87% 30% 57% Audience Favor
The Eras Tour October 13th, 2023 98% 99% 1% Critic Favor
Killers of The Flower Moon October 20th, 2023 84% 92% 8% Critic Favor
Priscilla November 3rd 2023 63% 83% 20% Critic Favor
What Happens Later November 3rd, 2023 28% 52% 24% Critic Favor
After Death October 27th, 2023 87% 53% 34% Audience Favor
It’s a Wonderful Knife November 10th, 2023 72% 55% 17% Audience Favor
Saw X September 29th, 2023 89% 80% 9% Audience Favor
Anatomy of a Fall October 13th 2023 96% 90% 6% Audience Favor
Gran Turismo August 25th, 2023 98% 65% 33% Audience Favor
Freelance October 27th, 2023 77% 7% 70% Audience Favor 
The Marsh King’s Daughter November 3rd 2023 74% 38% 36% Audience Favor
The Creator September 29th, 2023 76% 66% 10% Audience Favor
The Marvels November 10th, 2023 83% 61% 22% Audience Favor

Of these 14 movies, 8 had the audience’s favor over critics by 10% or more, 2 were favored by critics, and 4 had no discrepancies over 10%. There still is a noticeable trend of audience favors mostly being either below 10%, or way above it, which shows just how harsh some critics can be.

Out of all these movies, one especially sticks out. Freelance, which came out in late October, has a critic rating of 7%, while the audiences gave it a score that is 70% higher than it, at 77%. Critics stated that the movie has “a lack of tone, romance, comedy, and action.”, and that it’s “tasteless, forgettable, lifeless, and generic.” One reviewer even went as far as to say that it was the “beginning of the dark age of modern comedies.” 

The audience reviews don’t defend the movie, or even call it good. Instead they outwardly admit that it’s not a solid film, stating that “It won’t win any awards but it’s fun, keeps you interested,” and that it’s a “ big, fun, dumb, popcorn movie.” Some of the reviewers even mentioned that the critics take themselves too seriously. It’s clear that the general audience and the critics had different expectations for what the movie would be, which reveals a lot about the mindset of a critic.

Critics have lost touch with what the generic movie-goer is interested in. They’re looking for art in a hand turkey that a kindergartener made for their family. Movies can have deep, artistic meanings, but they aren’t made for viewers to analyze the lighting on the actor’s faces during a two minute scene, but rather to provide an escape from the monotony of everyday life. This is why critics are always so harsh; this isn’t an escape, but rather a career.

So, let’s not thrash them for having a different perspective than us, but rather take their opinion with a grain of salt, as they’re not the target audience of movies: we are.

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