Mother! up­sets pun­ters

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - What's On - - CINEMA - with Mike Shaw

There’s a gulf in cin­ema be­tween crit­ics and au­di­ences, and as some­one who walks both worlds, it’s one I al­ways try to be mind­ful of. I’m not per­fect but I’m not as bad as some. For ex­am­ple, I doubt many crit­ics went to watch Bay­watch for plea­sure.

It wasn’t great, but I was will­ing to give it a fair shake. Usu­ally the movies that get unan­i­mously bad re­views from the broad­sheets have some re­deem­ing qual­i­ties. In gen­eral, the movies that crit­ics rave about aren’t the same as the movies the pub­lic queue up to see. Com­pare the Top 5 rated films of 2016 with the Top 5 gross­ing films of 2016: Top rated: Moon­light Zootropo­lis Ar­rival

La La Land Hell or High Wa­ter Top gross­ing: Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War Find­ing Dory Zootropo­lis

The Jun­gle Book

The Se­cret Life of Pets

So there’s one film in com­mon.

This year the gulf be­tween peo­ple and pun­dits is even wider.

The most crit­i­cally hyped film of the year so far is Mother! di­rected by Dar­ren Aronof­sky and star­ring Jen­nifer Lawrence.

Now, to be fair, not all crit­ics have been head-over-heels about it.

The New York Ob­server’s re­viewer said: “I hes­i­tate to la­bel it the ‘Worst movie of the year’ when ‘Worst movie of the cen­tury’ fits it even bet­ter.”

De­spite this, the over­whelm­ing ver­dict has been gush­ing praise.

How­ever the film just re­ceived an “F” score from a Las Ve­gas mar­ket re­search firm called Cine­mas­core. The com­pany hands out sur­vey cards to movie au­di­ences as they leave the­atres, col­lates the re­sults, and con­verts them to grades from A to F.

An F for fail is very rare. Few films carry the badge of shame.

An au­di­ence re­ally has to hate a film for it to get an F. To il­lus­trate the point: Bat­tle­field Earth scored a D. So why does this gi­ant dif­fer­ence in opin­ion ex­ist? There’s a pos­si­bil­ity that the au­di­ences polled felt the film was pre­ten­tious. They could have flat-out hated the story (the film’s twists and turns aren’t to ev­ery­one’s taste). But it’s most likely about cast­ing and mar­ket­ing.

Jen­nifer Lawrence fans ex­pect main­stream en­ter­tain­ment. Hunger Games, Amer­i­can

Hus­tle, Pas­sen­gers, that kind of thing.

What they got in Mother! was a hard go­ing, slightly sur­real, con­ti­nen­tal-style shocker. Lawrence gets put through hell, and peo­ple don’t want to see their Os­car­win­ning dar­lings ter­rorised. The clos­est la­bel the ev­ery­day fan would recog­nise is “hor­ror”, but tra­di­tional hor­ror fans would be turned off too. Yet, the pro­mo­tional posters fo­cused on gory hor­ror-themed im­agery. Mother! does what its mak­ers wanted it to do, and that’s re­volt, baf­fle, ex­cite and stim­u­late. But for the cus­tomers it’s a dif­fer­ent story – no mat­ter what drew them into the cin­ema in the first place, it’s easy to imag­ine that the reg­u­lar punter felt they’d been mis-sold.

Jen­nifer Lawrence fans might have been sur­prised by the sur­real, con­ti­nen­tal style of the con­tro­ver­sial mother!

the se­cret Life of pets was a top-five hit

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