CherryPicks only features reviews from female-identifying critics.
If you’ve ever googled a film, you’ve probably used Rotten Tomatoes. The review aggregator site has become a go-to spot when deciding whether to watch something on Netflix, offering an authoritative verdict on whether critics generally liked or loathed a movie or TV show. If a film is certified 100% ‘fresh’ by Rotten Tomatoes, you know you’ve got a winner; if it’s rated ‘rotten’, it’s usually best to steer clear.
However, Rotten Tomatoes’ rating system isn’t infallible. In many ways, in fact, it’s inherently biased, because the critical voices featured are so overwhelmingly white and male. This isn’t so much a fault of the site itself as much as it is indicative of the lack of diversity in arts writing – but it nevertheless means that the opinions on the site might not reflect your own.
This essential flaw prompted filmmaker Miranda Bailey and entrepreneur Rebecca Odes to create CherryPicks, a review aggregation site that only draws on reviews by female-identifying critics.
This system, say CherryPicks’ creators, will “more accurately [represent] the range of critical and audience opinion, along with high-quality content from both established and new critical female voices.”
In an interview with Vulture, Bailey said that she was inspired to create CherryPicks as a direct response to Rotten Tomatoes.
“Because I’m a filmmaker, this [Rotten Tomatoes] is one place where I’ve noticed that film criticism is skewed toward one point of view,” she said. “Even though everyone’s an individual and everyone has different points of view, and all men don’t think alike and all women don’t think alike, in terms of representation of their opinions, there just weren’t enough women.”
Bailey said that she wanted CherryPicks to be “a place where I could go or where women could go and go, ‘Well, what do my fellow women think about this film?’ … We have a bit more, I think, nuanced way of thinking about media and thinking about art.”
Rather than dividing films into good and bad, the site will also feature a four-level rating system. This, said Bailey, will allow for more subtle distinctions in whether a film is worth watching or not. Films that get a ‘bowl of cherries rating’ are unmissable, while a score of ‘the pits’ denotes a movie not worth bothering with.
“But there are also one cherry and two cherries, which are kind of in between — like, ‘That movie was great to see, but don’t bother going [to the cinema] to see it,’” she said. “Or like, ‘Oh, it’s awesome if you have strep throat and you’re watching Bridget Jones’s Diary [kinds of movies],’ or whatever. ‘It’s a perfect movie for a date.’ ‘It’s a perfect movie for staying at home on a rainy day,’ but maybe would get a splat at Rotten Tomatoes.”
CherryPicks is set to launch this autumn – but if you can’t wait that long for some female-friendly film recommendations, check out our round-up of the best feminist films to watch in 2018.
Images: Getty Images / Rex Features