Citizen Kane is widely regarded as one of the finest movies ever put to film. Movie buffs, film crit professors, and historians alike cite the film as the finest example of composition, lighting, and storytelling in cinema and credit it with introducing concepts that revolutionized filmmaking.
However, it’s not as good as Paddington Bear, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
As the review aggregator shores up its archives, Rotten Tomatoes has uncovered some older print reviews of classic movies that it’s been adding to the site. This can cause movies with set-in-stone scores to have their ratings altered. In the case of Citizen Kane, the discovery of a negative Chicago Tribune review dropped its 100 percent rating down to 99 percent.
In the uncovered review, a Tribune writer using the paper’s reviewing pseudonym (Mae Tinée, get it?) disparages the film and the critics who have suggested it’s the best movie ever made. “You’ve heard a lot about this picture and I see by the ads that some experts think it “the greatest movie ever made.” I don’t,” writes the reviewer.
In the review, “Tinée” explains that they find the film weirdly off-putting. The heavy use of light and shadow gives them “the creeps,” and the film’s pervasive weirdness undercuts its storytelling. While an 80-year-old contrarian review would be little more than a funny curio, the internet age means everything is up for scrutiny.
Since Kane has been knocked off of its pedestal by an octogenarian review, there’s only one film that can claim it’s better: Paddington 2.
Okay, not really; there are several other movies on the site with a 100 percent rating. But Paddington 2 has the most reviews of any of them. It’s also the newest film to reach the 100 percent mark.
The film’s director, Paul King, took his ascension to the “greatest movie ever” throne in stride. “It’s extremely lovely to be on any list, which includes Citizen Kane, but it is obviously quite an eccentric list that goes from Citizen Kane to Paddington 2, so I’ll try not to take it too seriously,” the director admitted in an interview with Hollywood Reporter. “I won’t let it go too much to my head and immediately build my Xanadu. But I have been cooking up a model just in case.”
While film critics and historians might say Citizen Kane is the true “greatest film ever,” real movie fans know that the top spot now belongs to the marmalade-loving bear from darkest Peru.