After watching the French movie AMOUR, I gave it a rating of 4 on Netflix. It’s a quiet yet stunning drama about the way a retired couple’s life disintegrates after a stroke disables the wife. It held me completely riveted, but I would never watch it again. The emotionally crushing effect is augmented by the claustrophobic dimness of the set in many scenes and the complete absence of background music. If you fall into the age range of the characters or have close relatives in that phase of life, you’ll probably find this movie as powerful as I did; just be prepared to be depressed. Anyway, Netflix will probably respond to the 4 rating (unusually high for me; I give most movies a 3) by recommending a batch of other depressing foreign films for my viewing pleasure. In general, I have little interest in depressing foreign films or, in fact, any hyper-realistic drama or fiction. The high rating results from the selection process that leads me to rent very few such movies. I wouldn’t watch one unless I had good reason to believe (from reviews or word of mouth) that it was outstanding. So of course the ratings will be skewed high. In my favorite genres, however—fantasy, horror, and light science fiction—I rent lots of movies. I judge them more stringently, partly because I know those genres better and partly because of course a larger sample group will include fewer brilliant standouts. Therefore, my ratings aren’t a reliable guide to my tastes, because on the whole ...