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The real reason we need more diversity in film criticism

What do film critics even do?

The cast of Ocean’s 8 seems to have some ideas about that question, blaming some of the more tepid reviews their film encountered on male critics who viewed the movie, as Cate Blanchett put it, through a “prism of misunderstanding.” During the film’s press tour, Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, and Mindy Kaling spoke out against gender disparity in not just their own industry — the Hollywood blockbuster business — but in the separate, adjacent field of film criticism, which yet another study showed this week is overwhelmingly white and male.

They’re not wrong about the makeup of the pool of critics. And this discussion about the demographic makeup of film critics is laudable and necessary.


‘Ocean’s 8’ World Premiere

The stars of Ocean’s 8 at its premiere.
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

But the way it’s being framed has less helpful implications: that the people whose opinions really count are those whom the movie is “for.” Not only does that ignore how most movies actually make their money, but it says a lot about Hollywood’s attitude toward criticism, best revealed in Blanchett’s statement. She compared studio’s “support” of a film — which means, essentially, a big marketing budget — with critics’ roles in a film’s success, which she says are a “really big part of the equation.”

In that view, critics are mainly useful in how they “support” movies the industry thinks they should like because of the demographic group and audience segment into which they fall.

But that’s not why diversity in criticism is important. If that’s the goal, then it will

Article source: https://www.vox.com/culture/2018/6/22/17466246/criticism-film-movie-diversity-annenberg-study-larson-blanchett-bullock-kaling

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