10 Films that Critics Loved but Viewers Disliked

People will never agree with each other – it’s a fact. Their tastes, experiences, levels of education, attention spans and temporary factors that affect the enjoyment one can get from a film all impact their perception of a given project. The end result is a wide spectrum of rather different opinions and conclusions. One discrepancy that we want to highlight this week is the one between critics and the average viewer. We used IMDb in order to find 10 of the most noteworthy project that had a high or very high critic aggregate score on metacritic.com. Metacritic is the world-leading website that aggregates reviews of media products.

Furthermore, for each of our 10 selections, we took a few sentences from one user review on IMDb which best highlighted this discrepancy in opinion between critics and viewers. The excerpts by no means reflect our views – in fact, we really liked all of the films listed below. However, we found it interesting to find similarities between these films that are not universally praised by critics and audiences alike – most of them are either a tad experimental, feature a slower pace and are more daring in terms of content and imagery than most mainstream productions. They may focus less on characters and more on generalisable human typologies or showcase the absurdism of human behaviour.

1. Jackie (2016) – 81 metascore, 6.7 user score

” (…) what makes this a truly awful film is the script and the directing. It’s difficult to direct from a bad script, of course, but the protracted use of extreme closeups with an accompanying ominous, repetitious, pounding musical score makes the bad dialogue cringeworthy. One wonders how something like this abomination gets greenlighted. It’s a soulless film that doesn’t get or seem to want any emotional investment from the audience, and once it’s over with, you just think, why spend all this time and effort on such a dismal project?” (ptone-93207)

2. The Tree of Life (2011) – 85 metascore, 6.8 user score

“I just do not understand that how a movie maker can be so self centered, self-hedonistic and narcissistic in his pursuit to compile his art into such a collection of crap. Agreed that this movie contains some great imagery. But you know what….Terrance Mallik almost starts coming across as this pretentious moron who just does NOT know the meaning of the word ‘moderation’. Jesus Christ dude…. grow up, you’re making a movie for god’s sake, not turning in some PhD thesis in a film making school.” (phagunocd)

3. The Lobster (2015) – 82 metascore, 7.1 user score

“You will be better off watching someone sit on a chair motionless for 2 hours. I cannot stress how incredibly stupid this movie is. I kept hoping that it’ll get better, but instead it got progressively worse with each scene. The theme of animal cruelty is vile. A woman kicks a dog to death and takes pleasure from it, rabbits are skinned alive, donkeys shot…only a psychopath could think of this and enjoy it. The human race is doomed.” (gddss136)

4. Melancholia (2011) – 80 metascore, 7.1 user score

“(…) in Melancholia, there’s just slowness… it doesn’t go anywhere, nobody does anything and that weird planet keeps changing colour from green to blue. All Von Trier tells us is what it’s like to be depressed… well, we got that. But that was all… and that kinda depressed me. It has a few stunning shots, but the movie left no impression at all. And honestly. I don’t understand why people love it so, except maybe for the sake that is different from average Hollywood films. But still, especially in this case, form does not win over substance.” (queeq)

5. The Master (2012) – 86 metascore, 7.1 user score

“I don’t know if we have received a different cut of the film here in Australia but Amy Adams has only a very slight role in the film with only two significant moments. One where she is stimulating Hoffman & another near the end of the film in England. She is grossly under- utilised. Phoenix’s character is painful, watching this performance was what I would think it would be like sitting next to Charles Manson on a flight from Sydney to London. The flights around 22 hours and the film feels like the same time span.” (srwhelan-2)

6. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) – 85 metascore, 7.1 user score

“If anybody says they could follow this movie without having read the book, they are not telling the truth. The movie is unnecessarily complex and confusing and not the least bit enjoyable to watch. I would advise people to skip the first 2 hours of this movie and just catch the final 8 minutes. They will find out everything they need to know without having to endure a great deal of confusion and frustration. I think this movie falls into the same category as the story about The Emperor Who Had No Clothes. People just aren’t willing to admit that that they didn’t know what the heck was going on.” (messenger54)

7. Elle (2016) – 89 metascore, 7.2 user score

“If this movie was a person I think it would be diagnosed with having severe ADD and dissociative personality disorder. The movie is so unfocused that every third scene is the climax of a totally different movie. It feels like a soap opera — now this person gets raped, now they cheat, now that one dies, now they kiss, now this one’s true nature is revealed, and on and on. And all through this severe lack of focus none of the characters have normal emotional reactions to anything, which is what’s supposed to make this movie so amazingly absurdly clever but actually just makes it shallow and annoying. And then back to point one — since no one really feels much of anything, it’s very easy to change from subject to subject until we end up with this silly mess.” (charsobees)

8. Timbuktu (2014) – 92 metascore, 7.2 user score

“This film’s story was, for me, a chef’s salad where it should have been a whole tomato. Or a steak, perhaps. It purports to be the story of a small village into which the Taliban, or generically “the jihadists” move in to run the show. There are scenes of these men barking orders to the villagers about what to wear or what not to do, but the center moves to a man, his wife and their 12yo daughter living in a tent on the village outskirts, and another man who fishes with nets in a river which he seems to think is his own property. Then there are the pointless scenes of the jihadists spinning cookies in a Toyota pickup. And the crazy woman in the village. And, and….none of these events seem to bear a relationship with any other.” (jack-52382)

9. Winter’s Bone (2010) – 90 metascore, 7.2 user score

“Seriously, the dialogue is so overblown and tacky. I was laughing at pretty much 80% of the lines spoken in the film. How this was up for Best Screenplay is against me. What very little plot there is relies on the protagonist being ten times as stupid as the characters in most movies today. It’s about a girl at risk of losing her home searching for her father. What feels like an hour of the film is devoted to silent footage of the protagonist walking through the woods. If you cut half of the “walking through the woods” out, the movie would be an hour long. And again, there was a lot of buildup but NO ENDING… it just ends.” (Meven_Stoffat)

10. Shakespeare in Love (1998) – 87 metascore, 7.2 user score

“It seems strange to me that Shakespeare in Love has been given so much space by the critics. I found it to be a dull and uninspired movie. The casting was awful (two unpleasant and barely talented leads in one film). The problem with Shakespeare in Love is that you can see things coming a mile off, jokes, plot, references to historical figures. If you feel the need to go and see this film – take a moment and consider seeing one of Shakespeare’s own plays which provide all the things that Shakespeare in Love fails to. And are a lot less hackneyed.” (Kay-20)



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