Critic friendo, written three years ago: “An audience film immediately announces what it’s about, tells a linear story with characters who are not only easy to understand and identify with but who make you eager to root for them. Audience films invite you in, show you around and make you comfortable so that you always know where you are. The Post is a good example of a well-made audience film.
“Critics’ films make you come to them. They challenge you to essentially jump aboard an already moving train and figure out where it’s going. The best critics’ films pay off that bet for audiences who believe the critic and take the challenge; the worst critics’ films (like The Master) have champions who make you believe there’s more than meets the eye here when, in fact, it’s all in their film-theory-addled imaginations.”
The current Best Picture nominees are The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Mank, Minari, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal and The Trial of the Chicago 7.
Based on the above assessment, which could fairly, even-handedly be called audience films and critics films? Here’s my impression — they’re all audience films. They all pretty much come to you. None are especially difficult to jump aboard. The most complex are Judas and the Black Messiah, Mank and Sound of Metal, but that doesn’t make them critics films.