The Art of Film Criticism: A Subjective or Objective Discipline?

The Art of Film Criticism: A Subjective or Objective Discipline?

Film criticism is a crucial part of the film industry. The opinions and reviews of film critics can have a significant impact on the success of a movie at the box office. The role of a film critic is to evaluate and critique the various aspects of a film, including directing, writing, acting, and cinematography. However, there has always been a debate about whether film criticism is a subjective or objective discipline. In this article, we will explore this debate and examine whether film criticism should be considered a subjective or objective discipline.

Subjectivity in Film Criticism

Subjectivity in film criticism refers to the personal preferences and biases that a critic may have while evaluating a film. Every person has their own unique taste in films, and this can significantly influence their opinion about a movie. For instance, some people prefer action movies, while others prefer romantic comedies. Critics' personal preferences can affect their reviews and lead to varying opinions and ratings about a particular film.

Another factor that contributes to subjectivity in film criticism is the context. A critic’s opinion about a film can be influenced by the time and place when they watched the movie. For instance, the cultural or social background of the critic can impact the way they view and evaluate a movie. Therefore, it can be argued that film criticism is inherently subjective as it depends on the individual opinions and preferences of the critics.

Objectivity in Film Criticism

On the other hand, objectivity in film criticism emphasizes the importance of evaluating a movie based on its technical aspects and merits. Objectivity in film criticism involves analyzing a film based on its structure, style, narrative, and technical features. Critics who follow this approach may pay less attention to their personal preferences and biases and focus more on the film’s quality and execution.

Objectivity in film criticism also involves the use of objective criteria and standards to evaluate a movie. For instance, a critic might evaluate a film based on the acting performance, the direction style, or the screenplay’s structure. By focusing on objective criteria, film critics can provide more accurate and reliable reviews to their audience.

The two Sides of the Debate

The debate about whether film criticism is subjective or objective has been going on for a long time. Some film critics argue that the evaluations and assessments of a movie should be based on the personal opinions and preferences of the critic. They believe that there is no objective or universal standard for evaluating a movie, as every person has their own unique taste in films.

On the other hand, some film critics believe that film criticism should be treated as an objective discipline that involves evaluating a movie based on its technical and creative merits. They argue that objective criticism can provide more reliable and trustworthy reviews for the audience.


In conclusion, the debate about whether film criticism is a subjective or objective discipline is complex and multi-faceted. While there are valid arguments on both sides, it is essential to understand that film criticism is not a clear-cut discipline. Ultimately, every film critic may have their own approach to evaluating a movie, based on their personal preferences, experiences, and beliefs.

It is vital for film critics to strike a balance between subjective and objective evaluations. By combining subjective opinions with objective criteria, they can provide comprehensive and insightful reviews to their audience. In the end, the most successful film critics are those who can find a balance between personal preferences and technical analysis that can inform and engage the audience in the world of cinema.