BURN THIS HERETIC, or when you express a different opinion…

Experience shows that an opinion that differs from the popular opinion – even if it is argued, of course – is usually met with great indignation on the part of the general public.

Lukasz Budnik

13 July 2023

I find Manchester by the Sea a deadly boring movie. I value emotions in cinema, I like to experience subsequent events with the characters, sympathize with them, support them, share joys and sorrows, but looking at Casey Affleck’s stony face did not arouse absolutely no reaction in me.

I can already hear the sound of wood being thrown on the pile, where some readers would probably like to see me. Before you tie me to a pole, let me be clear: the above introduction is not intended to cause controversy. The recently watched Manchester by the Sea really tired me out, completely contrary to what I expected from this film. It’s not that I didn’t want to like or appreciate him, but the proposed solutions completely missed my sensibilities. I respect the opinion of the majority, but I do not agree with it. For me, the apathy and persistent mutual dislike of the characters did not allow me to get involved in their tragedy.

And yet the pyre burns.

Experience shows that an opinion that differs from the popular opinion – even if it is argued, of course – is usually met with great indignation on the part of the general public. Unfortunately, this agitation does not create any discussion at the same time. It is difficult to refer to the allegations when they are aimed not at the opinion, but at its author. Don’t like a movie widely regarded as successful? Don’t share your love of acting, music or photography?

You have no taste!
You know nothing!
Shut up forever!

The degree of aggression that it manifests towards those who stand in line is astonishing and even distressing, and this is actually a very brave move. Sure, no one will take seriously someone who says “shit” against all odds and ends their review there, but if someone actually expresses a factual opinion, what’s the reason to scold them? Who said that if a movie is universally considered good, it is automatically an indisputable, holy right? You may not understand someone else’s opinion, you may want to stand up for your beloved film, but for the sake of it – start a dialogue. Exchange arguments, and if you see holes in them or think they are wrong, kindly point it out. Both you and your interlocutor have a chance to get something valuable from this conversation and at least accept the difference in your tastes. Cinema is great not only because it is an audiovisual pleasure – its value is also manifested in how many interesting conversation topics it generates. Just make it a conversation, not shouting.

This type of debate is also attractive to third parties who can compare the opinions of both interlocutors and take sides while adding something from themselves. Maybe it’s a pipe dream, but I would love to see a situation in which a different opinion about a given film does not normally divide moviegoers, but creates a kind of bond between them. After all, we are all on the same ship built for the love of cinema as art. Let’s just get a little understanding. Let’s just accept the fact that we don’t all perceive the components of films in the same way, that we are moved by other things, that we have a different sense of aesthetics.

I would love to read these discussions. A lover of screen superheroes with an opponent of this type of cinema. A fan of musicals with a person who doesn’t digest them. Examples can be multiplied, but the essence is always one, perhaps too utopian: I would like more substantive arguments. Respect for the interlocutor and his different opinion. More word culture. What a sad conclusion that I call utopia behaviors that should be treated as standard. I just have to ask for it.

Łukasz Budnik

Lukasz Budnik

He loves both silent cinema and contemporary blockbusters based on comic books. He looks forward to watching movie with his growing son.

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