Reviews can be dangerous. Personally, I tend not to read too many of them until after I've seen a film—and even then, only after I've processed my own thoughts. What's the point in seeing a film if you're just going to walk out of the theater and think, Well that was a disaster, but I know I'm supposed to love it or being profoundly moved by something but knowing that critics felt just the opposite so, I'll keep this absolute joy to myself. Come on, now. If there's a discussion to be had about the film before its release, it's always more interesting to learn about the person or people behind the film and how that person made this specific piece of art and what it meant for them, so you can at least learn the intentions behind the work.
But when it comes to festivals, reviews can really make or break a long-waited anticipation—they can squash the thrill of those nine years of waiting to see if one couple gets together or elate you to know that a director whose first feature you loved didn't fall flat in their sophomore effort. And for the movies debuting at this year's Sundance Film Festival, most theatrical releases are still unsettled, so a long-lead review may not have the ability to hinder your perception as powerfully as it might if you knew you were seeing the film tomorrow. So for those you not in Park City this week, check out a collection of snippets from this weekend's reviews, covering some of the most anticipated films of the festival from Linklater's Before Midnight to David Gordon Green's Prince Avalanche.