Why do so many people seem to regard sentimentality in movies as a negative thing?

It is a great question. In film it seems that realism is king. If a film portrays life as it is then that is somehow objectively better. Even our fantasy films have to have a gritty real feel to them. A movie cannot be too realistic.

Perhaps it is because we somehow equate sentimental films as simply pacifying us or worse (in the eyes of some) creating a vision of the world that allows us to not see all of its injustices. A movie that appeals to sentimentality while others in the real world are being oppressed bothers some people--and Hollywood isn't Hollywood if movie makers cannot pat themselves on the back for addressing the problems of the world.

"They're are painting a too rosy view of the world while other people are suffering!" Such an attitude however belittles the viewer and does not trust the viewer to understand that what is depicted on screen is not necessarily how the real world operates. Our parents or great grandparents' generations did not watch movies expecting verisimilitude. They weren't idiots either. They understood what was on the screen was not necessarily a mirror to life and didn't mind.

The truth is that realistic movies are not objectively better than sentimental movies.

/r/movies Thread