Good Criticism Digs Past the Tangible Details
A new review of Mamoru Hosoda’s film The Boy and the Beast came out today that has caused me to rethink my initial reaction to the film. While my review was largely positive, this review is largely negative, and I agree with every point it makes. This has caused me to write this short reflection piece. To wit, why have reactions to the film been largely positive when the film has such significant missteps? I wrote back in September how the film stumbles the most in its first section, though noting how it improves over time. I could have gone on to criticize the pacing problem in the first part, the characters who merely exist for exposition, but I tempered my criticism by emphasizing the more positive aspects to the film. I believe that because the film’s triumphant ending feels so cathartic, it largely erases from out minds the missteps that occurred along the way. I think back to Matt Singer’s review, and how he was in tears by the end when he first saw the film last year. I too left the theatre energized and content, perhaps too distracted by the good surface details to be concerned about its deeper flaws. Perhaps this shall serve as an example that films can always be reconsidered, and that good criticism must dig past the tangible details to truly get at the heart of the matter.