If you ask around people have stark contrasts in opinion when it comes to anything in life, even movies. Everyone has a different idea when it comes to what makes a good film good and a bad film bad.
Sure, there are films the majority of people say are classics such as the Godfather and Shawshank Redemption. However, what one person sees as a cinematic masterpiece could easily be seen as a so-so movie. No matter how we try to sell it, some people just don’t have the same taste in movies. Speaking of taste, some people are more sensitive to certain things more than others, i.e. the “man disguised as a woman” troupe could be seen as offensive to trans people.
With the internet giving a voice to everyone, it is nearly impossible to make any content: be it film, short story or even a YouTube video without someone claiming to find the material offensive. Films have the same problem. Anyone who works in advertising will tell you that the best publicity is from word of mouth. Chances are you picked up a book or watched a movie thanks to a friend’s recommendation at least once. The internet is more or less a more powerful version of that.
Not only can this put off people from seeing it, but some go so far as calling for others to boycott the film or petitioning for said movie to be banned or sometimes the opposite. Take the film Unbroken for example. Since it features some of the unpleasant things Japan did in World War Two 8,000 Japanese nationals called for it to be banned in Japan. However, after 2,790 people signed a petition for the film to be shown in Japan, it was.
Films can have different meanings for different people for different reasons. A child might like a Pixar movie because of the bright colours and attractive animation, while and adult can appreciate the more subtle jokes and deeper messages. By the same logic, what one movie goer considers a comedic film another can see it as mindless nonsense. For the most part, both sides are correct. It’s the eye of the beholder in action.
Is it possible to like a movie completely objectively? No. Not only do people view the movie in different ways but the events leading up to and after the movie can leave just as big an impression as the film itself. Say two people went to go see Mad Max: Fury Road. Person A saw the film then got proposed to after the credits and Person B got in a fight just before the movie started and their date left. The film is the same but the way each person remembers it and therefore what they think about the film might differ. Also, I should point out that people remember negative events more strongly than positive ones. Meaning person B might have stronger feelings about the movie.
Think about some of your favourite movies. Chances are you think about a film you saw as a child. Part of the reason you love that film is because it reminds you of a simpler time.
That right there is the true power of movies. They can impact you on so many levels.