When Something Is Love/Hate, Do You Love It Or Hate It?


Lots of plays and movies enter into the category of “love/hate”–i.e., people worship at their feet or find them utterly repellent, but no one thinks they’re just OK.

For example, Oz, The Great and Powerful, Spring Breakers, Twilight, and The Tree of Life come to mind as classic love/hate movies, whereas on Broadway, cultural lightning rods include The Lion King, Wicked, Jekyll & Hyde, and from what I’m hearing, the new show about the Virgin Mary. Also, Cirque du Soleil and, I don’t know, Richard Simmons.

I admit that if I do hate something, it’s with a rabid distaste that borders on a war declaration.

But as cranky as I am, I more often fall into the “love” camp with these. I try to be open to controversial projects that divide people. I like stuff that challenges an audience, that isn’t rote, that dares to risk being boring in order to go to offbeat places. That’s usually where some of the best work is done, and if it isn’t appreciated now, it probably will be someday.

Don’t you love that optimism? Or do you hate it?

And more importantly: Where do you stand in the love/hate debate? Ever feel middle-of-the-road about a Terrence Malick film? Can I now admit that I loved Tree of Life?

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting the Village Voice and our advertisers.