What’s the Most Important Thing a Film Should Be?

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday about my thoughts on ‘Allied’. As some of you may know, I very much disliked it and criticized it a lot in my ‘Allied’ review. My friend said that he actually really enjoyed the movie and asked me why I hadn’t liked it. I told him that the plot was ridiculous, the characters were meaningless, the direction was choppy, etc. He said that none of that really matters when the movie made you feel and impacted you. So I started thinking: what’s the most important things a film should be? Is it more important for it be a well-written and well-made production or is it more important that it impacts you?

Image result for film picture

Of course, my friend made a good point. If ‘Allied’ made him feel something and he left the theater changed somehow, what does it matter if it’s a good production on a technical level? But then again, I think I had a point as well. Every movie can find someone to impact, but not every movie is a good movie. Of course, it’s different with ‘Allied’ because I don’t know anyone who disliked it as much as I did, but you get my point.

I rate films on seven categories: acting, directing, technical parts (lighting, sound mixing, editing, etc.), plot, characters, whether a film knows what it is, and whether I overall liked it. I rate films this way because I don’t think you can just give a film a rating and not say anything about it. There is something bad in every movie and there is something good in every movie. But then again, does all of that matter when the film made you feel? I, personally, think it does. So what is the most important thing a production should do? I think that, overall, one is not more important than the other. It’s not more important that a movie is well-made and it’s not more important whether it impacts the viewer. They both matter. Equally? Well, that really depends on the person watching the film, doesn’t it? To me it is more important that the movie has good directing, coherent plot, etc., but to my friend it might be more important whether the film is impactful and there is nothing wrong with that. You can rate a movie with your heart and you can rate it with your brain. Ultimately, I think the most important thing a film should do is reach and impact both.

Thanks for reading,

Mickey Angelov

P.S. Based on this, I’m changing my rating scale a little bit soon. Expect the changes on Saturday/Sunday when I post my ‘Split’ review & analysis.

5 Replies to “What’s the Most Important Thing a Film Should Be?”

  1. Karina Pinella

    I heard the movie was bad too from other people for the same reasons you gave. I think it’s important for a movie to be well written because I would feel I’ve wasted my time and money. As for feeling, I would feel bad alright if the movie is bad. I would feel disappointed. I can’t think of a movie that I thought was bad and made me feel any better or thoughtful other than that the movie sucked. I guess it just depends how distracting the “bad” parts are. There might be good points that outweigh the bad and therefore overpower the bad. In this case, I wouldn’t call the movie bad. I’ve seen movies critics panned, but I liked and didn’t think the “bad” cited were bad. It’s subjective. However, there are some movies that are so bad, you can’t overlook how bad they really are. I had to stop watching a few because the writing was so bad and/or acting so awkward, I couldn’t stay seated. Examples: the remade Ghostbusters, Bewitched, and Mortdecai.

    • Our Movie Life

      Yes, I agree. I think a film can have a good ‘vibe’ and it can make you feel something if the writing is bad. However, those cases are very rare and even then I feel like something is ‘wrong’ or ‘uncompleted’ with the film. As for the films you gave as examples, I didn’t like any of them, especially ‘Mortdecai’.
      Thank you for the comment.

  2. CineMuseFilms

    IMO, anyone who braves the world of film criticism should have embedded in their thinking a broad set of criteria for talking about films. The two frames of reference that we use either implicitly or explicity is ‘textual’ versus ‘contextual’. The first is focused on the film itself (as a cultural text). So this includes criteria like casting, acting, directing, and filming. The second is focused on its external context and includes criteria like social, cultural and political relevance. In practice, we often use both but in various degrees. I personally use four broad idea-sets: narrative arc, emotional impact, cinematography, and message which gives me a workable hybrid frame of reference. A key point to keep in mind is that any film should be critiqued in the context of other films in that genre. It makes no sense at all to compare a feel-good Hollywood light entertainment like La La Land with a gut-wrenching Holocaust film like Son of Saul. The former is brilliant; the latter a masterpiece.

  3. Silver Screenings

    You pose an excellent question, and some commenters here have raised some good points. I wish I were impartial when watching a film and could critique it that way, but I am way too influenced by how the film makes me feel.

    Thanks for this post. You’ve given me lots of things to think about.

Comments are closed.