Citizen Kane is no longer the perfect movie, at least according to Rotten Tomatoes. As the Orson Welles classic is universally acclaimed and widely considered to be among the greatest movies of all time, it's long held a perfect 100% Certified Fresh score on the review aggregator website. After Rotten Tomatoes recently added a negative 80-year-old review to the 115 positive reviews, the score has since dropped to 99%.
The negative Citizen Kane review was written for the Chicago by Mae Tinée, likely a pseudonym as a play on the word "matinee." The headline for the review reads, "Citizen Kane Fails to Impress Critic as Greatest Ever Filmed." Tinée (if that is her real name) goes on to critique the classic movie in ways most other reviewers hadn't.
"It's interesting. It's different," Tinée writes. "In fact, it's bizarre enough to become a museum piece. But its sacrifice of simplicity to eccentricity robs it of distinction and general entertainment value."
The unimpressed reviewer added: "Citizen Kane presents an almost clinical dissection of a complete egotist. It runs to gargantuan sets and arty photography - shadowy and spooky - which, however, according to our Eddie Johnson, is something for the books. I wouldn't know about that. I only know it gives one the creeps and that I kept wishing they'd let a little sunshine in."
Released in 1941, Citizen Kane was directed, produced, and co-written by Orson Welles. Starring Welles in a lead role, the movie also starred Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Everett Sloane, Ray Collins, George Coulouris, Agnes Moorehead, and Paul Stewart. The movie has also earned a lot of particular praise for its acclaimed cinematography by Gregg Toland. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning the Oscar for Best Writing.
Inspired by the life and legacy of Charles Foster, Citizen Kane is very well known for its opening scene. Played by Welles, Charles Foster Kane utters the word "Rosebud" before dropping a snowglobe and dying. The meaning of the word isn't revealed until the very end of the movie, but just for the sake of anyone who has yet to see the classic movie, we won't be revealing exactly what that is here.
Rotten Tomatoes ratings have long been a source of controversy. Sometimes the audience score will drastically differ from the critics' score, and sometimes vice versa. This had led many to believe that the site shouldn't necessarily be relied upon to gauge the critical consensus of a particular release. Still, considering Citizen Kane as one of the all-time greats seemed to be a universal opinion, and not until now have most of us ever seen a negative review for the legendary movie.
Causing the classic to lose its 100% fresh score, it's unclear when the review was added to the Rotten Tomatoes catalogue, but it happened sometime between Feb. 25 and April 15 this year. The odd addition was just recently noticed on Twitter, and the post quickly started to gain attention online. It was @Caulimovirus on Twitter who posted the original tweet. To check out all of the reviews for Citizen Kane, you can visit Rotten Tomatoes.