The art of reviews

From stars to tomatoes, reviews drive artistic discourse

Reviews are artistic criticism available to all.

It’s easy for us to criticize art.  

Identifying a film’s flaws or a novel’s shortcomings is satisfying and fun. It’s also something we do subconsciously whenever we interact with art. 

We become, for a moment, the dreary, pretentious critic from Ratatouille, ruthlessly picking apart loose plot threads or weak technique. It’s an intimate conversation between art and audience. 

Critiques, then, are vital to our relationship with art. Reviewing films, shows, or books forces us to immerse ourselves in them—it’s a quiet act of introspection, one which is inherently personal.

Of course, these reviews we concoct for ourselves differ from what we might find in a larger publication. Yet the fact remains: reviewing art is essential to understanding it. 

Reviews are wonderful in a practical sense. 

Want to know if the new Marvel movie sucks infinity stones? Check online, read a few reviews, and you’ve got a pretty good idea if it’s worth your time and money.

So, movie reviews, for instance, can have profound impacts on the film market. Droves of five-star reviews do wonders for business; they help ensure that technically proficient art is adequately financially compensated.

Additionally, reviews make art more accessible. 

For instance, if you’ve read Ulysses and wondered what any of it meant, a thorough review can distill the novel’s thematic importance into an easy-to-digest article. These critiques allow us to engage more effectively with what art is trying to tell us. 

Since reviews are so ubiquitous, they’re closely attached to how we experience art. Imagine if there were no reviews for Morbius—not a single one. What would we think about it? 

When we hear negative feedback about art before interacting with it, we’re predisposed to dislike it. When you hear “this superhero vampire movie sucks,” you’ll probably think Morbius is really bad before you even see it. Reviews allow us to form opinions on movies we’ve never seen or books we’ve never read.

Regardless, we need artistic discourse. Discussing art is essential to forming our opinions about it and how we relate to it, and online reviews are an incredible way of bringing everyone into the conversation. Contemporary reviews rid artistic dialogue of academic jargon to make art criticism accessible for everyone.

But what’s so profound about reviews is their human aspect. They are, regardless of impartiality, coloured by an individual’s response to a piece of art. 

When we review something or we read someone else’s review, we’re seeing the result of personal reflection on the merits of art. Reviews expose us to diverse interpretations and meanings which ultimately hone our own opinion on a piece of art. 

Criticizing things doesn’t have to be pretentious. Reviews are a fantastic means to offer opinions on art in a way that’s accessible to everyone—and now, with platforms like IMDB and Goodreads, we can all be critics. 

Reviews, whether written for money or just because you like a book a lot, are vital to breathing life into art. They’re an alternative to academic criticism that are also just fun.

Most of all, reviews incite vivid conversations about art and why it’s important. These dialogues are necessary—without them, art becomes sterile and trivial.

Nothing can exist in a vacuum. Not even art.


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