Critiquing Criticism: Personal Growth Via The Hobbit

I have seen a lot of films since writing about my disappointment with The Hobbit. I loved each to a different degree, yet I somehow didn’t throw myself in front of a keyboard to vent my frothing glee.

Why? I haven’t exactly been too busy. Haven’t had this much free time in ages.

It seems that there’s something perverse that drives me to broadcast all my negative thoughts to the world. Putting something down when I truly believe it deserves it infuses me with a kind of manic energy that is quite unbecoming of someone who believes in love and peace.

Don’t get me wrong- I love telling the world about things I enjoy too. But the things I hate galvanise me into action in a way the movies I love didn’t. I haven’t written a long essay on the elegance of Looper; of the superiority of implied violence; of stripping unnecessary explanation from stories. Hell, I could probably do a whole page just on the amount of crying I did in Les Miserables.

But I didn’t, and as soon as I saw it in myself, I started noticing it around me more and more. We are negative and reactive in our dealings with the world. It could possibly be part of the Anonymous Effect (the internet tends to make people meaner), but I think even that just points to this flaw in humanity.

I think criticism beats praise, because of the inherent vulnerability of love. When we put our vitriol into the world, the worst someone can do is tell us we’re wrong. It’s in the denouncement of something close to your heart that the true damage lies. The things you love live under your skin, and you have to have a pretty thick hide not to feel the arrows aimed at them.

When someone denounces something I love, it feels like an attack on my character. It’s painful and scary to put positive opinions out there, yet that is what I do to someone else whenever I criticise something they love.

Film criticism, specifically, is there so people can find out if they would like certain movies. It sparks debates about the effectiveness of art. I like reviews (Both good and bad) and believe them to be important in the kind dialogue that broadens horizons. My own opinions have been augmented by well-argued reviews before. And this growth is something I cherish.

To coddle my own insecurity and sensitivity by only writing negative reviews, however, is unacceptable. I have decided to endeavour to make myself more vulnerable and write about what I enjoy. I will try to brave the hate machine that is the Internet in the hope that I may inject a bit more love into its unfeeling mechanisms.

The only way to spread love is to make yourself open to rejection. Love is often only something that is reciprocated. And it won’t always be returned. But if we never put it out there, we create a world that is a bit darker.

In spite of my spite towards The Hobbit, I am glad I watched it and put it down. It has given me the opportunity to look long and hard at myself, and attempt positive change.

And if a movie gives you that, it can’t be all bad, right? 


4 thoughts on “Critiquing Criticism: Personal Growth Via The Hobbit

  1. Pingback: Scriptnotes, 78: The Germans have a word for it | A ton of useful information about screenwriting from screenwriter John August

  2. Pingback: Transcript of Scriptnotes, Ep. 78 | A ton of useful information about screenwriting from screenwriter John August

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