Writing about films: contribution profiles and critique practices

Based on an automated textual analysis of 40,000 film reviews posted by 18,000 French contributors on a web-based platform providing information on cinema, this article examines the relationship between the profiles of contributors (number of reviews posted, length of time of subscription to the site) and the type of reviews posted (choice of films, date of publication, models of argumentation, modes of ratings). The study identifies two strongly contrasting reviewing models (film-centered and reception-centered) and shows that the regularity of practice significantly influences reviews, with regard to both form and content. The more often an author posts reviews, the closer the critique will be to the norms and formats of a professional critique. This finding challenges the idea that online amateur critique can undermine the hierarchies of evaluation of cultural goods.