Now I am going to say it up front, I am by no means someone one who academically nor professionally studies film so it would be good if someone who has actually participated in Film Studies weigh in on this.

First I would like to say that the following questions are indeed subjective

What is the main theme of The Dark Knight?
Captain Miller's thought process in Private Ryan "School Teacher" scene?
Is the opening break-up scene in The Social Network intended to be humorous?
How do the differences between the replicants and Deckard evolve in Blade Runner?
What fills the void left by the lack of character development in Inception?

Now the reason I decided to place these questions is to push towards analysis of the film though subjective, it is still analysis of the film in the eyes of the viewer. Let's look at the top voted questions currently (I am in no way attacking these questions but using them as examples),

Is there any definitive evidence that Teddy was or was not crazy?

As seen in the Inception answer we have two views. One that Nolan wanted to give. And one that the viewer as arrived at via observations of the film. One could say the ring reasoning is just a coincidence, though it is very convincing. What am I getting at? There is an opinion in there different from what Nolan originally intended and it should give us a deeper appreciation of the film.

It is actually the same thought process for Shutter Island, (interestingly the same actor). The point of Shutter Island was to again lead the audience in limbo.

So do these questions which you actually might end up seeing in your regular film critic review , which are subjective, be left off this site? And if they are, what are we really left with?

  • Identify items (music,objects,names,rooms,origins of items,movie titles)
  • Definition of movie/camera terms
  • Director explanations for why the plot/adaptations turned out a certain way

I am open to not having subjective questions but at the same time it seems to this closes the scope a lot.

I would like to compare this to lit.stackexchange.com but I don't think it works. Works in books are descriptive, the writer uses words and phrases to ensure the reader gets the proper emotions and reasoning. This can be seen when many readers don't like how a film adaptation turns out. Because it is a certain view of how the book should be seen. (Hey this is my opinion, this could all be wrong)

Anyone care to me give me a little wisdom on subjectivity and film criticism and why it would not be a good for this site?

1 Answer 1


Not everyone is intimately familiar with the history of Stack Exchange, so I have to throw in the canonical response to "Is subject [X] too subjective for a Stack Exchange site." The following should be virtually required reading for this site —

Good Subjective, Bad Subjective

It outlines how to develop inherently subjective subjects into a Q&A that is constructive, informative and helpful.

On "Film Study"

It has a nice, academic ring to it. But I'm still a bit leery if such a mainstream subject can keep that academic bent we need to build truly great Q&A. I'm not talking about university-level studies. I'm talking about questions that would be asked by those with an avid appreciation for the subject.

One of the biggest challenges of this site is — believe it or not — the VAST scope of its audience. Everybody has something to say about movies they've seen. That's why there's are 10's of thousands of sites on the subject. But we don't want those questions that have been asked hundreds of times on every other site on the subject!

That's the problem. You have a scope where virtually anyone is well-equipped to throw in their random opinion on a movie they've seen. But what's even worse is the range of the questions that can be asked about those movies. Huh?

"Movie appreciation" has such a broad range of "expertise." Anyone can ask a question about a movie. Moreso, everybody wants to talk about the latest flick or a nostalgic pop classic. But I'm hoping this site can rise above the water cooler chit-chat and keep to the finer points of the subject; the connoisseurs — those who understand the finer details, techniques, and principles of cinema and is competent to act as a critical judge and teacher; One who enjoys with discrimination and appreciation of subtleties of this whole subject.

If we can avoid falling into the predictable patterns of random discussion and trivia swapping that turn a site from a learning experience into a glorified game show, this will be a great site. But I'm leery that a site with such a broad pop-culture appeal can muster up the tough love to actively, aggressively, and jealously guard it form becoming very pedestrian.

  • Agreed, though this may seem like "spoon feeding" is there a question in the main site that currently can be used as a model? As I said, I think I still view this site as just someone who likes films but I would rather like to see questions that hit the finer points. I guess I am unable to see difference in questions, so I don't know what an ideal question would be.
    – phwd
    Dec 4, 2011 at 7:28

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