Selling a sentimental movie aimed at adults is not an easy feat in the current atmosphere. The market has given itself over almost completely to the old target demo, that 13-going-on-30 group of young boys and men who are among the few groups still willing to shell out hard-earned dough to go the movies. Many adult people would just as soon stay home and watch HBO on their plasma HDTV and not have to worry about the cost and the hassle of getting there. Boys and teens don’t care as much – that’s a chance for them to get out of the house and experience a little independence. Families will take their kids to see any manner of trash just to have something to do on the weekends. Those young generations are being reared on films that put the (usually male) protagonist in the middle of the muddle that he then saves the day and the world in doing so. Our younger generations are being reared, essentially, to like movies that are anything but challenging.
Meanwhile, in 2011 we’re stuck in a kind of limbo. The chatter online is incessant and this year the film offerings have been more divisive among the various critics and discussion streams than they ever have been. Twitter has clumped people together into mini cliques and teams. When Margaret was struggling to get seen by people there was the hashtag #teammargaret. That movie, and movies like Melancholia, Tree of Life seem to be more comfortable to today’s chattering class because in truth, with those movies, they are open to interpretation. Any film that tells a more linear story, makes a point about the human experience for instance, is given more harsh treatment; if they don’t “relate” to it they don’t “like” it. There really isn’t any dividing line anymore between critics and fans. Everyone’s opinion is thrown into the boiling pot.