Consensus Comparison: Nate Parker, DuVernay, Malick, Téchiné October 8, 2016

Even though the internet outrage machine has moved on to new transgressions, I couldn’t let the week end without addressing the idea that some critics have been biased against The Birth of a Nation because of Nate Parker’s rape controversy. That could certainly be true in some cases, but I don’t think it applies to the critics whose reviews have been used on this site.

For several months, the only negative review gathered here was from Manohla Dargis, but she’s arguably the most cinephilic of all mainstream film critics. As he noted on Twitter, Michael Koresky had written his negative review in July, the month before the controversy surfaced. The New Yorker’s Vinson Cunningham mentioned in his essay that he initially saw the movie in April. And the New York Film Festival snubbed, and almost certainly rejected, the film when they announced their Main Slate lineup on August 9, a week before Parker’s troubles began. Dissent was gathering in the days and months prior to mid-August. If you knew where to look, you could see signs that a strong backlash was on the horizon.

On top of that, movies that are considered “Sundance sensations” should be eyed with skepticism. To put it delicately, while the hardcore cinephiles that attend festivals like Cannes and Locarno are legion, the number that attends Sundance is much smaller, which means Sundance reviews are less reliable than those of other major festivals. This is precisely why Critics Round Up’s Birth of a Nation score is so much lower than the other aggregators.

On to the stats.

Westworld (Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy)

Rotten Tomatoes: 88 • 74 reviews
Metacritic: 73 • 41 reviews
Critics Round Up: 96 • 7 reviews


The Birth of a Nation (Nate Parker)

Rotten Tomatoes: 79 • 145 reviews
Metacritic: 69 • 46 reviews
Critics Round Up: 55 • 14 reviews


13th (Ava DuVernay)

Rotten Tomatoes: 98 • 40 reviews
Metacritic: 91 • 22 reviews
Critics Round Up: 96 • 6 reviews


Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience (Terrence Malick)

Rotten Tomatoes: 94 • 18 reviews
Metacritic: 79 • 10 reviews
Critics Round Up: 96 • 6 reviews


Being 17 (Andre Téchiné)

Rotten Tomatoes: 100 • 9 reviews
Metacritic: 88 • 10 reviews
Critics Round Up: 88 • 10 reviews


Homeland (Iraq Year Zero) (Abbas Fahdel)

Rotten Tomatoes: N/A • 3 reviews
Metacritic: N/A • 2 reviews
Critics Round Up: 83 • 6 reviews


Under the Shadow (Babak Anvari)

Rotten Tomatoes: 98 • 48 reviews
Metacritic: 85 • 18 reviews
Critics Round Up: 85 • 10 reviews


The Alchemist Cookbook (Joel Potrykus)

Rotten Tomatoes: 78 • 9 reviews
Metacritic: 73 • 4 reviews
Critics Round Up: 83 • 6 reviews


Blue Jay (Alex Lehmann)

Rotten Tomatoes: 90 • 20 reviews
Metacritic: 70 • 14 reviews
Critics Round Up: 80 • 5 reviews


Newtown (Kim A. Snyder)

Rotten Tomatoes: 92 • 24 reviews
Metacritic: 87 • 14 reviews
Critics Round Up: 90 • 5 reviews

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