I wonder if the popularity of art/independent/foreign films at a given period of time is directly related to how seriously the reviewers & critics at that time period take the medium/the works/the art form. Although it is not the job of the critic or reviewer to do so, well written movie reviews can add value to a movie, in the eyes of the audience. Or, if reviewers take a movie seriously and spend some time thinking about the many things that are going on in and around a movie - actual content as well as related ideas, even if the bottom line is that the movie failed to greatly entertain or convincingly make an argument for something- the audience might also allow themselves to pay more attention to the movie and think about it more, watch it closely, and in turn they might enjoy the experience more. I think the reviewer or critic can, through their writing, invite and make it OK for a non-expert/ordinary audience member to confidently deal with a movie as a work of art. One positive element of the internet is that since space is cheaper than at newspapers, the net reviewers can write at length about a movie, which will allow him or her to examine many aspects of the movie and ideas related to the movie.
Bigger budgeted or well established foreign and art and indie/indiewood films do seem to receive more thought and attention from most reviewers. In ShortEnd Hannah review case, it is nice to see a very low budget, no star real indie movie receive the same kind of thoughtful treatment.