One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to try to be nicer to people who like movies I hate. For some reason I’m not bothered if someone hates movies I love, but when someone loves movies I think are bullshit I fly into attack mode. I guess I consider being critical of someone for not liking a movie you like to be pushing an ideology on someone, while being critical of someone for liking a movie is … puncturing an illusion? Or maybe I’m just a jerk. I don’t know. At any rate, I apologize to those who have felt attacked by me and vow to (try to) disagree more elegantly. Though a recent trail of comments on my Facebook status indicates my struggle:
Cynthia hated slumdog millionaire, what is wrong with you people.
Facebook status updates get most of my film criticism these days. I also posted a link to this article
, with which I fully agree, but which also does the kind of criticism I tend to do but want to move away from: criticizing the critics rather than the film:
A quick scan through the critical reactions on a review aggregator like Metacritic
or Rotten Tomatoes
reveals a fountain of excessive praise, as if, with the year’s end approaching and the award-movie field looking paltry and weak, many critics found themselves in possession of use-it-or-lose-it superlatives and decided that Slumdog
was their only chance to get rid of them.
But on the fundamentals of the film itself, I fully agree with him:
Slumdog isn’t a terrible movie, but it’s sappy, suspense-free, and packed with one-note characters, including a female lead who’s more object than person. In terms of violence, it’s grittier than most similar pictures, but mostly in a desperately “edgy” way that seems designed to gloss over its blatant sentimentality. The best you can say about it is that it’s stylish schmaltz.