David Oyelowo & Angelina Jolie’s ‘Come Away’ was being review-bombed

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Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo’s new film, Come Away, comes out in two weeks. Critics haven’t seen the film yet. Fans have not seen the film yet. The only thing anyone has seen in the trailer, which came out a few weeks ago:

I mentioned it in a Jolie post at the time, and I said that while I support Angelina’s projects, this just looks like a really strange film? Like, it’s being marketing as a family film, but I feel like all of the Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan references will be missed entirely by kids, and I think parents will find it dull and depressing, probably. But that’s just me! Those are just my thoughts, based solely on the trailer, and my thoughts are going no further than this blog. Other people – mostly white dudes, I suppose – are apparently super-upset about this movie though. They’re so mad that they’re “review bombing” Come Away on IMDB and other movie sites. Again, no one has seen it yet.

IMDb has taken down user ratings for the upcoming film Come Away, meant as a prequel to ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Peter Pan.’ As it pertains to Hollywood, “vote brigading” — which can also be referred to as “vote stuffing,” “dislike mobs” and “review bombing” among other monikers — is the practice of augmenting user-generated ratings and reviews to influence the perception of a film, television series or other content. For the better part of the past decade, the practice has impacted Hollywood projects: Marvel movies, Oscar winners and indie features alike.

“The thing you fear most as a filmmaker is for any kind of stink to build up around your film,” explains David Oyelowo, who stars in and produced Come Away, an upcoming feature that has been subjected to such efforts online. “In an era when there is so much content to take in, all it takes is looking at the rating on IMDb or on a trailer to subconsciously make a decision as to whether you are going to engage with that content or not.”

User-generated ratings on sites such as YouTube, IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes have long been weaponized as a means of driving down possible perceptions of and interest in upcoming features. The 2016 female-fronted remake of Ghostbusters was targeted in a campaign that, at the time, made it the most “disliked” in the site’s history. Many films, including James Baldwin doc I Am Not Your Negro and the female-led Marvel feature Captain Marvel, have been the focus of targeted online campaigns. Many of the movies that have been targeted in the past touch on themes of race or gender, or were fronted by women or nonwhite casts.

For Oyelowo, Come Away is not the first one of his films that has experienced this harassment. He saw a similar online reaction to his 2016 feature A United Kingdom, where he plays Prince Seretse Khama, who falls in love and marries a British white woman, Ruth Williams, played by Rosamund Pike. “We had such a tirade and influx of racial negative comments that Fox Searchlight had to take down our Facebook page,” remembers Oyelowo.

“This has been something I have experienced in my career, regularly,” he says, “being a Black person who tends to gravitate toward aspirational content. It seems like these folks find that the most deplorable.”

Traditionally, the IMDb rating system, which is measured by one to 10 stars, becomes available to users after a title has been shown, publicly, at least once. While Come Away is due out on premium video-on-demand and limited theatrical locations Nov. 13 via Relativity Media, the ratings were made available earlier because the title debuted at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in January. While the user ratings had been available for months, filmmakers noticed a change to the IMDb score following the Oct. 9 release of the trailer. (The newly relaunched Relativity Media picked up U.S. rights to the film this month.)

“For a film that hasn’t been released yet — the ratings are supposed to be based on the people watching the films — it was clear there was something about the tone and nature of the film that was bumping certain people,” says Oyelowo. “One of the first things I did was to make IMDb aware of this because I know it had an effect on A United Kingdom five years ago.” The user ratings for the movie have since been taken down.

[From THR]

Yes, it’s basically incels and white supremacists who hate it when there are movies involving women or non-white actors and they all organize their little hate campaigns. They’ve done it so often, people know it when they see it now. Oyelowo pointed out that on IMDB, most of the user-comments were focused on the fact that the fictional characters played by Oyelowo and Jolie (who are Black and white, respectively) are parents to mixed-race non-white children. For real. That was triggering to the review-bombers. That a black man and a white woman would be married and have mixed race children who appear more black than white.

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Promotional images from ‘Come Away.’

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42 Responses to “David Oyelowo & Angelina Jolie’s ‘Come Away’ was being review-bombed”

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  1. TheOriginalMia says:

    And liberals are called snowflakes. It’s a shame this film won’t be judged on its merits.

  2. Edna says:

    Good Lord. It’s supposed to be 2020 not 1920. What the hell is wrong with these racist pricks? I’m so sick and tired of these white supremacists thinking they can intimidate and scare people. Not happening. If they don’t like people of color living their lives or interracial relationships, they can suck it. The world is moving forward whether they like it or not.

    • ChillyWilly says:

      We can’t let the mouth breathing Magats scare us. I got a little freaked out over the past few days about militias threatening to start a war if Trump loses and I actually considered taking my Biden sign down. But then I was like, No! Eff that! I will not let these monsters intimidate me. I’m leaving the sign up. If I get murdered, at least I die standing up for what I believe in.

      • Desert Lizard says:

        Wow. I am really proud of you. It’s hard to stand in the face of hatred sometimes and you’ve made a choice to do that. Scary times. Stay strong. Love will win.

      • ChillyWilly says:

        Thanks Desert Lizard. I’m still nervous about it but I just need people to know that my house is a home of love and acceptance. Stay strong everyone. We can do this.

      • Kealeen says:

        “I just need people to know that my house is a home of love and acceptance.“ That is such a beautiful way of stating how you are standing up for our country and what it should be, Chillywilly. I live in a red state, and whenever I’m driving and see a Biden/Harris lawn sign, I feel a sense of hope and comfort.

    • Darla says:

      It’s absolutely sick. I think it stops a lot of casting choices out of cowardice. I remember when The Pelican Brief was made, I saw it because I liked the book, and I just remember thinking that if Denzel’s role had been played by any white actor, there would have been a romance and sex between him and Roberts. And I am sitting here thinking, 20 years later, has JLaw ever done a sex scene with a black actor? Have any of the white young superstar actresses?

  3. MLouise says:

    I think it looks intriguing and would def watch it

  4. Nero90 says:

    Shame on these people. I also see PR manipulation going. .it’s dad not a single industry person calls out this backlash bigotary …… Shame on all no one is better ..

  5. Nero90 says:

    I hope there are lots of people who will support this movie

  6. Gotcha says:

    True and believe it’s more than white men screaming it’s the women too! The same ones who didn’t want Aeriole the mermaid to be played by a mixed actress. They are sick. The world is such in so many ways.
    And judging a movie isn’t ok either. Jolie has a small role in this movie and hopefully we hear from her soon.

  7. Mignionette says:

    ““This has been something I have experienced in my career, regularly,” he says, “being a Black person who tends to gravitate toward aspirational content. It seems like these folks find that the most deplorable.””

    ^^^ The above sounds like a bi-racial Princess we all know and also the experience of any upwardly mobile black person.

    • Myra says:

      “I’m not racist. I’m the least racist person in the room. I don’t have one racist bone in my body. I don’t see colour.. but let me tell you all the ways (which I will have difficulty naming one when asked) that I mysteriously, just happen to dislike this successful black/biracial person”

      2020 mindset is so tiring. Bomb-reviewing projects because seeing interracial couples onscreen offend your existence.

  8. Mignionette says:

    Ok so I’ve watched the trailers on YT and it all makes sense now. The White supremacists seem up in arms bc;
    1. This is a film with black people not engaged in slave roles or some sort of modern day struggle slavery / hood life.
    2. Lots of thinly veiled references to racial and social injustices (SJW alert)
    3. Black people / children are presented as noble, worthy, attributed to high class and social standing. Dressed nicely as if re-writing period pieces and fairy tales etc
    4. Lots of references to popular children’s books which would piss off the white supremacists as black children seem to be ‘appropriating’ these ‘sacred spaces’. Especially when you consider that traditionally black children are often not written as carefree, adventurers for the big screen or even children when it matters.
    5. Angelina Jolie is seen as problematic for white supremacists due to her Josephine Baker-esque rainbow tribe of children
    6. David Oyelowo posted on Insta during the June protests and garnered a lot of hate from the supremacist nutters so he’s also on some sort of problematic hit list.

    I wish these two luck with this project. Gonna buy a few tickets for nieces and nephews to support.

    • fluffy_bunny says:

      There’s people who find Angie problematic because she has adopted children? Do they also have a problem with the new justice having adopted children? Could it be the fact that Angie has adopted children and she’s not straight that they actually have problems with?

  9. Valiantly Varnished says:

    It looks interesting to me. And even if it didn’t I will STILL watch it just on general principle.

  10. Athyrmose says:

    I watched the trailer a couple of weeks ago, and was so incensed by the comments that I tweeted a complaint to YouTube. People are quoting Mein Kampf in there.

    Those quotes pass the hate speech algorithm. It’s disgusting.

  11. L4frimaire says:

    It looks like an interesting with good visuals film worth checking out. I’m getting an impression of the children in the story/ adventure but no idea from the brief trailer about Oyelowu’s and Jolie’s characters or chemistry but there is intrigue and a bad aunt of something. Whoever styled Angelina’s wig makes her look geriatric. That’s what I found distracting.

  12. Honora says:

    Weird looking movie. I’ll wait for the actual reviews… Racist incels are pathetic. They probably also don’t like that there’s no white man main character. The main bad character seems to be a woman, it’s usually a man. Things are changing. I love Jolie but is her British accent bad? Sounds funny to me but then I’m not British. Interesting to be that she chose to do this film, as she’s working less than she used to. maybe it will be as good as maleficent

    • Lily P says:

      It’s a bit weird – I’d say it’s reminiscent of an early 20th/late 19th century theatre English accent. We still have user similar accents and tonal emphasis for our portrayal of Victorian era plays – bit OTT maybe for a Hollywood film

      • antipodean says:

        I think it’s what is known as Received Pronunciation, and used to be used widely in the British Theatre and Radio shows as a standard sort of English. Jolie is attempting it, and not too badly, but it is a little dissonant to my ear. Good for her for trying though. I will definitely see this movie and add my ticket to the support for what looks like a good fantasy tale.

    • Halloweenisascam says:

      Amy Walker, accent expert, has done YTubes on accents and said Jolie’s received pronunciation in Malificent was MAGNIFICENT. Apparently her Brit accent (of this RP type) is just very solid.

  13. Sandy says:

    This looks like the kind of rich, absorbing fantasy that kids of 2020 could use right now. I know I could.

  14. MissMarierose says:

    Well, you know what? F**k those racist a-holes.
    I’m going to see this movie TWICE just to spite them.
    I’m sick to death of these bigoted snowflakes.

  15. Lily P says:

    I’m so excited for my nieces and nephews (and all children) to finally start having fairy tales that they relate to a more common norm. I don’t understand how anyone would take offence to a children’s film that is celebrating diversity while exploring the power of a child’s imagination.

  16. Meg says:

    Racism like this is why I still fear the election won’t turn out as I hope. Never underestimate how racism can affect people- the enthusiasm of racists after George Floyd was killed, they traveled across states during a pandemic to loot Minneapolis

  17. Oddsnends says:

    This looks like a good movie. I’m looking forward to watching it on the same day as my daughter watches it in a different state and then comparing notes over a long phone call and pots of tea.

    I looked at some of the nastier reviews. Some of it seems based on historical ignorance of mixed race couples. A lot of it seemed to be what they saw as pushback against the idea of cultural appropriation. If a white girl can’t wear a cheongsam then a black girl can’t be Alice sort of a thing.

    I love the idea that literature and historical heroes and –yes, even fashion– can be for everyone. Maybe it’s time to vocalize this message?

  18. Reece says:

    This movie does look weird in a “Where is this story going?” kind of way.
    Still interesting and cute.

    And I’m buying two tickets/rentals just to spite those @$$holes!

  19. Kiki74 says:

    As a Black woman, part of the issue with movies like this is the persistent invisibilizing of Black women. It is erasure. Black men and women have healthy relationships with each other all the time. And white men and other racialized men and Black Women do the same. Here is yet another movie (commercials do this too) that erases Black women.

  20. Bridgie says:

    People are terrible. I actually saw this at Sundance last year and… unfortunately, the reviews may not get better once people see it. Visually, its beautiful. I loved the idea of tying in Alice in wonderland to Peter Pan. The acting is fantastic. The story just doesn’t keep up to the rest. It’s very dark (addiction, mental illness, financial strain) with some surprisingly violent moments— definitely wouldn’t watch it with young kids. Maybe it matches the audience mood more now than it did pre-pandemic… really wanted to like this movie…

    • Tinnie says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience of the film … hmm. I wonder where they were going with that and why …

    • SomeChick says:

      I appreciate your review. Thanks so much.

      Sounds like it might be iffy for me – I don’t like violent movies or even video games, but it does look very beautiful. I wish the racists could just, you know, not go see it.

  21. Thirtynine says:

    This looks fantastic! I can’t wait to see it! Just hope it has a happy ending…
    I used to use Rotten Tomatoes a lot till it became obvious it was being heavily manipulated. Now I would be more likely to watch a movie based on what commenters from here have recommended.

  22. Nic919 says:

    I saw The Water Man, a film directed and starring David Oyelowo at TIFF and it was another fairy tale type story, but more original and hopefully that one gets an audience.

  23. Juju says:

    I can’t believe people would actually publicly post racist reviews on IMDB. That’s insane.

  24. Lola Coasters says:

    This looks like a great movie!

  25. Case says:

    Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo are pretty selective actors, so this seem like a weird choice.

    People are gross and racist, though, and the whole “review bombing” practice confuses me so much. 1) Why are people allowed to rate movies not available to the public yet? 2) Why do people waste their time giving movies ratings that they have no intention of seeing? Are they that bored and hateful?

  26. AmunetMaat says:

    I know lots of AA women who had issues with his mainly because it is lacking a Black female lead. It feels like erasure as if Black women should be happy because the great Angelina Jolie is in it and that’s good enough. From watching the preview, it shows White female privilege through classism, which makes it even more disinteresting for me. Another discussion point was how the children are being framed in the story. Just messy and problematic. Quite frankly I don’t understand why we can’t have more of these types of stories told with a focus on an all-Black family or all Hispanic family, etc.

  27. Bread and Circuses says:

    Honestly, this looks awesome.

    But I do not have kids, so I wouldn’t know whether the Peter and Alice stuff wouldn’t work for today’s children.