Many people read movie reviews because there is an automatic (and often times subconscious) assumption that they will provide insight into a movie. Another reason is that we some how are inclined to wanting to know what other people think about practically everything.
Whether or not it’s the writer’s intention, the main purpose of a movie review is to inform an audience about a movie. This sounds so simple that it’s almost ridiculous to state. The fact is, to review something is to dissect it to come to some conclusion while showing how you arrived at said conclusion. If a reviewer thinks a movie is ‘bad’ then he or she must show how that conclusion was drawn if the review is to be considered as having much (or any weight). Simply put, a review demands a certain level of analysis and it’s this analysis that people look for.
There are many persons who read reviews simple for the facts. Some of us just do not want to go into a movie without at least having an idea of what to expect. So even if we ignore the rant about the movie’s length or how bad the dialogue is, we still know approximately how much time we will spend in the theatre. We may accept that the reviewer may be biased or malicious but at least we’ve gather a few facts: we know who wrote it, who directed, who’s in it, where it’s set and what the basic story line is.
How Reviews Help Us
Reviews act like referral reports. Most times you feel like buying a product or service but you want to know if anyone else did the same and how they feel about the purchase. The thing about any review is that it’s an opinion or ‘product rating’ even if the reader does not cling to the reviewer’s every word. Some of us may want to see a movie but get the impression that it’s not worth the trip to the theatre so we’ll wait for it on DVD while some may wonder if the movie is overrated based on the marketing campaign so we go in search of reviews and read a couple to get a general consensus. For this reason some people will look at only ‘professional’ reviews while some will look for reviews from the lay person who (more than likely) has nothing to gain from endorsing or bashing a film.
Why Curiosity Leads People to Reading Reviews
The reason is the same as to ‘why people read tabloid magazines’. Collectively we are gregarious animals but we not only come with the innate tendency to be social, we also come with an innate curiosity that often gets the better of us. So even if we decide not to read someone’s opinion of the movie so we can form our own after watching it, the fact is, someone said some something, we want to know what and (sometimes) why. Whether we are information hounds, reading reviews is our hobby or we’re just plain inquisitive or bored, we will always want to know what other people think about almost anything we have an interest in.