When we first began making movies, I hated reviews. I considered movie reviewers “Filmmaker Enemy #1”. Any time we got a negative review, which was quite often in the early days, I cried, convinced the reviewer was just being mean.
As we’ve continued in the industry, I’ve grown to appreciate and, yes, even love reviewers. I’ve learned they’re not trying to be mean. They don’t hate filmmakers. They’re not trying to make our lives miserable. No, they’re trying to help us by pointing out our strengths and our weaknesses. They also help spread the word about our movie to audiences who might never otherwise know about them.
Movie reviewers watch a lot of movies, good and bad, big and little, thrillers, action, chick flicks, and horror. They watch secular and Christian. And while they each have their preferences, most reviewers try to judge films on what they are and who they’re targeting. As a Christian woman who makes chick flicks, I’m always honored when male reviewers say they weren’t sure what to expect, but they enjoyed watching my movie.
With Providence, we assumed it would only appeal to a Christian audience and were surprised to discover secular reviewers liked it. They called it artsy. New York reviewer rated it higher than several blockbuster films that were showing at the same time. Christian reviewers, however, didn’t always appreciate it because it was too different. That happens.
With Summer of ’67, we marketed it as a Vietnam War love story, not focusing on its faith element. And, yet, almost every reviewer has called it a faith-based film. The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive from a wide variety of film critics.
A veteran filmmaker gave us the wise advice to not listen to the reviews, good or bad. And he’s right in that we can’t believe everything in the negative reviews, nor can we take to heart the raving reviews. What we can do is prayerfully consider each one, determine if it’s something we need to work on in the future, or feel a moment of affirmation, and then move on with life.
So what do you do when you get reviewed? You promote it however you can. If it’s positive, you share the link on your social media and add it to your website. Then get on Canva and make a meme with a screenshot that has open space. Pick a phrase or sentence from the review and include it on the meme along with the author and where it was published. If it’s a negative review, that’s ok, too. You may not want to share the entire review (or if it’s over the top or funny, you may want to, and just laugh at it), but even critical reviews usually have a compliment or two thrown in. Take that snippet of encouragement and use it in a meme.
Good or bad, reviews are one of the best ways to spread the word about your movie, so don’t be afraid of them. Use them to your advantage.