Isabel never saw a movie she didn’t like
until she was 30.
That’s my father speaking: Well, it’s my father’s voice in my head. I remember it clearly, although I’ve long-since forgotten who (besides me) he was sharing this insight with. And I never knew whether he was identifying a sad lack of discrimination or a happy ability to be pleased with whatever came by.
Funny? Yes. True? Not quite. Some of those late-night WWII movies I watched as a teenager were pretty drab. I watched them to the end anyway. With a handful of TV channels, all of them off the air for 8 hours/day, my choices were limited.
Maybe that early experience explains in part why I recently finished watching a movie I thought was truly awful. I kept thinking, “This has to get better.” But it never did, and then it ended.
I’m not much for rating stuff online, but I reached for the remote control for this one, keen to warn others: Stay Away! Then I stared, aghast, at my options.
In what possible universe does one star mean, “I hated it”? No no no. One star means:
- “I wouldn’t watch it again but it was OK.”
- “The screenplay was silly and the acting was only OK, but it was mildly amusing.”
- “This is a typical vehicle for so-and-so. Not a film for the ages, but OK.”
One star means “I hated it” only when the objective is to get a star even from people who hated it, so others will say,
Look, it gets one star. How bad can it be?
One star — all the stars in this rating scheme — should be averaged from viewer input. My “Yuck!” should dilute “Wow!” ratings from critics who apparently and inexplicably liked it. And I’m still unexplicked even after reading their comments:
— a brilliant allegory for the increasingly superficial systems of contemporary courtship —
— visually stunning, narratively bold, and totally singular —
— [the director’s] most accessible and purely enjoyable film yet —
Yikes. Remind me not to watch any of this director’s less accessible and enjoyable movies.
One critic did offer some small-c criticism:
elegant and eccentric in Lanthimos’ familiar style,
but appears to run out of ideas at its mid-way point
And the rating that he gave to a movie that ran out of ideas halfway through? Three stars out of five. Three.
Is that a sad lack of discrimination or a happy ability to enjoy whatever narratively bold and brilliant allegory comes by? I don’t know, although I have some singular suspicions.
I do know that I’m paying more attention to rating systems. And from now on, I’m only playing if I get to select from the full range. The real full range.