This is a description of the film Paper Town in a film critique.

"Despite likeable performances by the young cast and some resonant moments, this gauzy teen drama is, sadly, paper-thin."

Source: http://www.filmjournal.com/reviews/film-review-paper-towns

I've looked up a couple of dictionaries and still cannot find out the figurative meaning of this word "gauzy". The dictionaries' definitions are more or less the same which point to "made from a type of light transparent cloth that is usually made of cotton or silk" or "having the qualities of gauze; light, thin, transparent, hazy".

When "gauzy" is used to modify a film, drama, or a piece of artwork, what does it really mean? My guess, for now, is something like "superficial" or "empty". Please give me a clear and unambiguous definition. Thanks in advance.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Mitch, Hellion, Hank, Rory Alsop, NVZ Feb 21 '17 at 3:43

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    You're asking in the wrong venue. People can guess, or suggest meanings. The reviewer is being obtuse, using an ambiguous, uncommon word in a non-obvious way. The reviewer's job is to provide information about the film. A smarmy, unintelligible piece is just bad writing, an exercise in self-aggrandizement. It's a sign that the review doesn't really contain useful information. Don't waste time trying to figure out what the reviewer meant. Or, ask the publication to explain it. If people can't understand what is being published, there will be an incentive to improve writing quality. – fixer1234 Feb 19 '17 at 6:14
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    To me, it seems like a redundant way of saying the same thing as "paper-thin" in the next part of the sentence. I agree with @fixer1234 that this is not great writing. People other than the author cannot tell you what it means unambiguously because it is a vague metaphor. – sumelic Feb 19 '17 at 6:32
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    It has no substance. Of course, I'm using "substance" metaphorically. – Hot Licks Feb 19 '17 at 13:09
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    Dictionaries don't traffic in "clear and unambiguous definitions" of metaphorical uses until a definition is close to being a dead metaphor. But it's easy to guess that the author intended gauzy's primary definition of 'easy to see through visually' to be extended to something like 'easy to see through conceptually', that is, not particularly deep (metaphorically profound). – Mitch Feb 19 '17 at 17:14
  • In the realm of cinematography, gauzy can be used to describe a certain type of soft-focus, from the practice of literally using gauze over a lens, especially around the edges. In extended use, it often is used to describe films that are a little hazy on details and perhaps unrealistically idealized in some way. – 1006a Feb 23 '17 at 9:11

Let's see if this helps:

gauzy: so light and insubstantial as to resemble air or a thin film. (thefreedictionary.com)

I like your idea of superficial. Empty would be the next logical step; I don't think gauzy by itself necessarily means empty.

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