These Are the Six Most Divisive Movies of All Time

These Are the Six Most Divisive Movies of All Time

According to Rotten Tomatoes.

According to Rotten Tomatoes.

Text: Thomas Freeman

Auteur directors tend to relish in polarizing critics. After his hyper-violent Only God Forgives debuted to booing—and some cheering—at the Cannes Film Festival, director Nicolas Winding Refn told Vulture, “Art is meant to divide, because if it doesn’t divide, it doesn’t penetrate, and if it doesn’t penetrate, you just consume it.”

Why some viewers deeply connect with a film may be why others so vehemently object to it. Fellow Dane Lars Von Trier, who puts his leading ladies through every degradation imaginable, has been praised for spotlighting female suffering as much as much as he has been vilified for producing misogynistic torture porn. No matter how you slice it, his films get people talking.

In the spirit of films that people love and hate in equal fervor, MEL magazine rounded up the “most divisive films of all time.” Its method was to look at which films had exactly 50 percent on the Rotten Tomatoes “Tomatometer,” meaning critical response was evenly split. Naturally, Lars Von Trier made the list.

Antichrist. It’s the Lars Von Trier movie where Charlotte Gainsbourg runs around the woods screaming for an hour, which won her Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival. Genital mutilation and evil talking animals are also involved.

Kingpin. It’s a movie from 1996, set in the ‘70s and starring Woody Harrelson as a down-on-his-luck celebrity bowler. Naturally, it’s a bit of a cult classic among his fans.

Maleficent. The movie is proof that a killer performance, on the part of Angelina Jolie, can elevate a humdrum project. Critics found it to be a bit of a slog but loved the richness and complexity Jolie brought to the iconic Disney villainess.

Fast Food Nation. Before Richard Linklater stole America’s heart with Boyhood, he directed a dark satire about various people caught up in America’s food industry, from executives to immigrant laborers. Critics say it is worth viewing for the sympathetic characters and pointed social commentary while others found it overly-ambitious and messy.

My Girl. It sort of plays like a sweet, made-for-TV movie about two childhood friends, until one of the most devastating endings in film history (Spoiler: Macaulay Culkin gets stung by bees and dies). Whether it was a cheap ploy for tears is up to viewers to decide.

Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. Kevin Costner plays Robin Hood, enough said.


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