Among all the labels I like to give myself, I'm a movie buff, a theatre enthusiast, an avid reader and a food lover. So are a bunch of other people I know, and don't know [yet]. If there is one kind of discussion I both enjoy and detest, it is the idea of discussing reviews and ratings for these forms of art - cinema, theatre, books and food, to be precise.
Now, for those who know me well enough to have heard me blabber on and on about my career choice, I would like to review food and films someday [and films about food, if there are any]. This makes it interesting, because I have a dissonant part of me that does not subscribe to reviews and ratings for things. But when I reject reviews when thrown in my face, I do so not with the intention of rejecting the review itself, but in rejecting the fact that the review is absolute.
Take, for example, a cinematic work. It has X rating points on a movie site, Y.5 stars in a newspaper, and some critic in a magazine decided to wax eloquent about it. Now, these X's and Y's and amazing comments may not all comply, and may definitely not comply with the way I see that work of cinema. Case in point: quite a few of them! Easiest one perhaps is Student Of The Year [SOTY]. Now, I will not proceed to shove it down your throat as to how amazing the movie and the plot and music and everything is - because, chances are, most of you won't buy my logic. But that's the point! My life experiences let me understand the movie differently from the way you do. My emotional response is different from yours. Hence, my rating or review is based on a foundation that you don't have, and vice versa.
Now, apply this to the remaining 3 categories of art that I love [as stated above]. See what I mean?
For those who need more clarity, I'll simply say this: art appreciation is a personal process. Our perception of an artwork is limited to our understanding of things and our knowledge, coupled with experience. If you are in a foul mood and I ask you to review a movie like Enchanted, you will first throw something in my face post movie, and then proceed to talk about how the movie made you feel as you watched it. Anyone can get into technicalities to prove that their view is 'unbiased'. But at the end of the day, even that perception is altered and affected by your personal experiences related to it all.
Therefore, I don't mind you consulting a review before you watch or read or eat something. But what I do heavily object to is taking that review and making it the thought process you follow, before you've seen the product for yourself. I believe in sampling things before I outwardly accept or reject them and I think its a decent philosophy to live by. At least it lets us see more, learn more, experience different things, and finally, live to the fullest.