Several 20something (i.e, Zoomer) students in a film appreciation class were recently asked to share impressions of Citizen Kane, which they’d all been asked to watch. Some remarks have been simplified or edited down and I threw in a few [sic] qualifiers, but what follows is otherwise verbatim:

Student #1: “I personally did not enjoy being confused by this movie. I need to watch the video breakdowns to understand it a little better. I did really like the camera angles and contrast in sizes. I liked Bernstein because he was a nice and ambitious man. I did not know the movie is 20 years away from its 100th year anniversary.”

Student #2: “I enjoyed this film, but I didn’t understand at first why this film has been called a masterpiece. It isn’t uncommon for us [huh?] the film that using multiple character points-of-view. However, at the time Citizen Kane was made the cinematography [seemed] sensational and it effected [sic] a lot of films later years. If I watched this film in the 1940s, I could have different thoughts. I found Susan’s perspective the most interesting. The impression of Kane from other characters’ perspective is [that he was] very confident, bold and sociable. In contrast, Susan’s perspective [tells us that he was] dignified, frightful and authoritative. This is because shooting from low angle intentionally in order to show how Kane looks from Susan. We can know what is Kane actually like or what did he ask for through his life from her perspective.”

Student #3: “Citizen Kane is a very confusing kind of film (in my opinion). I had to watch it twice to even get through it. The main character, Charles Foster Kane, is a very reserved and closed-off person whom nobody could figure out throughout his whole life. The whole movie’s plot threw me off on the whole last word ‘rosebud’ because it waited until the last possible second to tell everyone what it represented. I feel like this movie is an older kind of movie and I am a younger audience, so it didn’t appeal to me as much as any other kind of movie would. To be honest, I would not watch this again. It was way too confusing to me and I felt like they could have made this film way shorter.”

Student #4: “Although I personally liked the movie I completely understand it being a movie that requires a specific appreciation. I found it confusing and I did not really know what was going on. I need to watch it a couple more times to get a better understanding of the movie. I think it did not appeal to me because it was a movie from an older generation and I did not understand what they were talking about. I also feel it was a little long so I did not feel entertained while watching it. I think when I watch it again it will help me better understand it. I did like some of the angles of the shots they took. You could tell they used different styles of filming. I liked Mr. Bernstein the most because he was a really smart man and he was a really good actor. I liked him because he just wanted people to like him back and to help.”

Student #5: I agree with you that the scenes were too fast paste [sic] and overlapping with information that made it a bit hard to understand what was going on. I honestly thought at first that Charlie’s father was the one who build the empire and was the one in newspaper and politics…there were just so many things going on that film.”

Student #6: “I honestly didn’t fine [sic] Citizen Kane enjoyable to watch because it was confusing. I didn’t understand what was going on. The only thing that I understood was that the reporter was trying to figure out who was rosebud since those were his last words before he passed away. I honestly like Susan’s perspective of Kane by her story. I was able to see that he was controlling of her life, and that she didn’t want to continue with her singing because she knew she wasn’t great at it and she just felt that she was just embarrassing herself.”

Student #7: “Truthfully, at first I was uninterested in the movie Citizens [sic] Kane because the introduction was a little slow, but as it progressed the film began to grow on me. Even after watching it I still think the various points of views were confusing, but I enjoyed the movie overall. I thought it was creative to use different perspectives and flash backs all revolving around one specific character. The dialogue and settings [were] wonderful and by the end of the film I could definitely see why it is considered a classic, even after it being produced so many years ago. I liked Bernstein the most because his perspective was full of unconditional love, and unlike the others. In sum I think this movie has been my favorite so far.”