Cinema can do many things to an audience. From enrapturing to infuriating, so many of us have had the pleasure of delving into a world of adventure and artistic expression. We’ve also seen films that have completely polarised moviegoers to such an extent it’s almost feels like ‘Marmite Movies’ deserve their own subgenre. Here are some of them.

The Tree of Life (2011)
If you love it: An emotional journey and a visual marvel that examines human existence. Terrence Malick at his unique best.
If you hate it: Pretentious twaddle. Watching an actual tree grow would be more interesting. Terrence Malick at his indulgent worst.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
If you love it: One of the greatest sci-fi films of all time. A philosophical experience that asks us to question mankind itself, while offering up dazzling visual art, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a staggering cinematic achievement.
If you hate it: You’d need a lorry load of pro plus to get through this snooze-fest. No story, no questions answered, this is exactly what happens when a successful director believes his own hype.

The Big Lebowski (1998)
If you love it: One of the funniest, smartest and coolest cult films ever made. Who else but the Coen Brothers could make a film about a dude who wants his rug back with so many underlying themes and motifs?
If you hate it: An inspired Jeff Bridges performance can’t save The Big Lebowski from what it really is: a ponderous, overly abstract film that results in an incoherent experience despite flashes of brilliance.

Drive (2011)
If you love it: Gorgeously shot and boasting top-class arthouse action, Drive breathes new life into car heist films. Also has an awesome soundtrack.
If you hate it: Too violent and slower than a Morris Marina, this is a film snob’s wet dream. Ryan Gosling also looks about as interested as a vegan at a Sunday roast.

Anomalisa (2015)
If you love it: Anomalisa is a self-contained and introspective marvel that highlights the fantasy of love, dying individuality and morose despair.
If you hate it: Unpleasant and loathsome. Writer and co-director Charlie Kaufman presents a lead character that’s harder to empathise with than understanding astrophysics.

Lost In Translation (2003)
If you love it: A melancholic tale, with a deft balance of humour and poignancy. Refreshingly vulnerable, with beautiful nuances, the importance of friendship and fear of loneliness are expertly presented.
If you hate it: Lost in Translation is sulky and smug bilge, all while presenting the Japanese population as racial stereotypes and clowns rather than real people.

Romeo + Juliet (1996)
If you love it: With its distinctive visual style and inventive approach thanks to Baz Luhrmann’s direction, this is a perfect first experience of Shakespeare to novices young and old.
If you hate it: Nothing more than a decadent music video with cheap gimmicks. The great bard would be turning in his grave.

Snowpiercer (2014)
If you love it: An excellent example in visionary filmmaking, this human survival story transports you into a strange and unforgettable world. Visceral in both its character development and action, it’s a wonderfully unique experience.
If you hate it: The premise is absurd and about as plausible as a fake moon landing conspiracy. Any chance of embracing Snowpiercer is lost as a result.

Dead Poets Society (1989)
If you love it: Inspiring and heart-warming, led by a terrific performance from Robin Williams, get ready to go on a journey of self-discovery with the boys of Welton Academy.
If you hate it: Attempts at emotional manipulation result in contrived occurrences and convenient subplots. It’ll make you remember why you hated poetry at school.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
If you love it: Pushes the boundaries of the superhero genre to great effect. Packed with formidable action and ambitious storytelling, both skilfully woven together. A worthy finale to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy.
If you hate it: The story is overly convoluted, resulting in a clunky movie that pales in comparison to its predecessor. Doesn’t help that the film has more plot holes than an Ed Wood movie about a colander.

What films do you think you can only love or hate? Let us know below.

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  1. Excellent piece! Seen 8 of the 10 films and love them all! For me, Boyhood could have been included…did not get that film at all and hated pretty much the whole thing!

  2. Tom Batt

    Great article. I found I loved a lot of those films, and a few I'm on the fence.