Over the past few years, Netflix has come under fire for occasionally changing the aspect ratio of the movies and TV shows that they offer via their streaming service. Although they claim that most of these instances are accidental and that they are working to fix them, the problem continues to persist. Now this week one of the affected filmmakers has decided to take a stand. Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s acclaimed film Mommy was added to Netflix UK last month, but the unusual 1:1 aspect ratio was apparently locked to fit a 16:9 screen. That’s a problem because the aspect ratio changes during two key moments in the movie, which doesn’t happen on the Netflix version. Dolan was none too pleased and posted the following open letter to social media:
— Xavier Dolan (@XDolan) January 4, 2016
Netflix has since responded and claims to be working on fixing the issue. However, it seems odd that a filmmaker is required to complain in order to get their work shown as it was originally intended. The assumption here is that Netflix is catering to the lowest common denominator, preferring to quietly alter aspect ratios while hoping no one notices as opposed to pissing off the masses who simply don’t want to see black bars on their TV screens. Considering that Netflix is slowly becoming a primary gatekeeper for movies and TV shows, shouldn’t they have some sort of responsibility to ensure that the presentation matches the original vision of the creators? What do you think? Do you have a problem with Netflix tinkering with the aspect ratios of movies?