Should a movie review include references to gossip or buzz surrounding the celebrities or filmmakers involved with that movie? That's the issue that the Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) is pondering this week on the AWFJ blog. For example, a number of Georgia Rule reviews have included sly mentions of co-star Lindsay Lohan's personal life, or reminders about the rumors about her behavior on the set of that film. AWFJ isn't only considering salacious gossip, though, but also discussing whether references to the late actress/director Adrienne Shelly's life (and death) are appropriate when reviewing Waitress.

The film critics and journalists responding on the AWFJ site have a variety of opinions that are well worth reading. Some reviewers note that Waitress may be receiving "softball" reviews because critics have been influenced by their feelings about Shelly's tragic death. The AWFJ members are more divided on whether it's appropriate to mention gossip about Lohan -- some feel that comparisons can be drawn between the actress and the character she plays. I'd argue that even though we are surely affected by rumors or news about a cast or crew member, and that it is impossible to be unbiased, we should at least try to be as fair as we can. Rehashing celebrity gossip seems to decrease the perception of fairness in the eyes of readers -- sometimes it even seems like a cheap shot.

So what do you think? Does it bother you to read celebrity gossip, news or buzz in a movie review, or does that add welcome spice and entertainment to the piece? AWFJ doesn't have space for comments on their blog, but Cinematical does ... so feel free to share your thoughts about this issue here.