I went to see Les Miserables on Monday. On leaving, I was told off by Charlie for ‘laughing at the most inappropriate moment.’
It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the film. I sort of did. It was certainly very spectacular, with some incredible performances by certain actors. But I just got the giggles from the start because it featured Wolverine singing, and never really calmed down enough to take it seriously after that.
So, yeah. When Russell Crowe took a swan dive off a bridge to his death… I did kind of snort with laughter.
I was looking up reviews of the film online and came across this article on the Telegraph. It was nice to see someone shared my opinion (I didn’t walk out, but could completely understand why the writer did – by 37mins from the end, I was experiencing extreme backside ache and really wanted to stand up and walk around) but scrolling to the end, I was surprised by the vitriolic comments.
Apparently, the reviewer can’t ‘recognise talent’ and many are ‘disgusted’ by her opinions. There is a lot of negativity – some of it coming from people who clearly read the title and no more, enraged enough to spit bile at the writer without stopping to read her very reasoned article, in which she clearly says she doesn’t have a problem with all the cast, and that some performances were brilliant. And while I do sort of see where people are coming from saying that it was unprofessional to walk out before the end, I seriously doubt her opinion would have been swayed by the final 37 minutes.
This ‘all out attack against people who don’t agree with me’ is one I expect to see among teens (honestly, the arguments I’ve witnessed about which One Direction boy is the best… And when your opinion is asked for and you express indifference or a lack of knowledge, you’re met with such derision – or worse, a pitying look of ‘Oh, you’re so old.’ I’m twenty-four, thanks!) but it seems particularly prevalent among genre fans. On the one hand, I understand it – to see someone attack something you love, it does feel a little like you are being attacked yourself. ‘Your favourite TV show is really silly!’ translates with just a little mental gymnastics and insecurity to ‘You are silly for watching it!’
I know of people who have written hate mail to the producers of their favourite shows for killing off their favourite characters. For instance, there was (there may still be) a shrine to Ianto in Cardiff somewhere, made and maintained by ardent fans who think he was the best thing about Torchwood and that Russell T. Davies should be strung up by his balls for killing him off. I know people who would defend their favourite TV shows until death, refusing to acknowledge that anyone could dislike it, or even that some episodes are better than others.
My favourite TV Show above all others is Supernatural. I love it for all its silliness, predictability and occasional really bad writing. I love it because of the characters and the fact that it’s urban fantasy, and because I first thought Dean was hot, and then fell unequivocally in love with Castiel. The Boyfriend thinks it’s a pile of rubbish. I don’t hate him for it. It’s just not his cup of tea.
And that’s okay, because not everyone is going to like everything. And people are allowed to have a different opinion to you. It’s not any less valid to dislike something as it is to like something, and I really dislike that the internet gives this anonymous forum for people to launch these bitter attacks against professionals because they say something that they don’t happen to agree with.
Especially as a lot of the time, the attacks are completely unreasoned, making the trolls look like utter idiots. Take this gem, for example:
You do understand that this is a film based on one of the greatest novels of the 19th century that you just slagged off, for none other than your own pleasure.
Well, old does not necessarily equate to good. It certainly doesn’t mean you have to like it. And if you want to see someone slagging something off for their own pleasure, just get me started on Great Expectations.
I dare you.