Movie Mom

Movie Mom


What Are Movie Critics For?

posted by Nell Minow

Thanks to the Online Film Critics Society for including my thoughts in their round-up of commentaries about what movie critics are for. The question was “Do critics do anything nowadays except give out awards? What is the purpose of a film critic in today’s entertainment industry?” Here is what I said:

The film critic is not a part of the entertainment industry. The film critic is a part of the journalism industry. We are there to report on, assess, and illuminate the entertainment industry and its products. We are there to guide audiences away from the over-marketed and under-produced products of that industry and to encourage them to try movies they might not have heard of, even those without big stars and in other languages. We are there to challenge their thinking, provide context, and provoke discussion. And we are there to set an example with the diligence of our study and the excellence of our writing to engage them in our passionate attention to stories, characters, meaning, and even entertainment.

All of the entries are provocative, well-written, and worth reading. Take a look.



  • Julie

    By your own criteria, you are an excellent critic, Nell. Thankyou very much for your illumiation, guidance, and excellent writing. My family and I rarely will go to a show you don’t give at least a B+, but I read your reviews on all the other movies because I love your writing so much. Do you know anyone who does as good a job for books?

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Julie, you made my day! Thank you very, very much.
    Common Sense Media has book reviews. But there are so many books published every week it is hard for anyone to keep up.
    Thanks again. Your kind words mean the world to me.

  • iorek

    I agree you are an excellent critic.
    Movie critics don’t seem to me to be much different from art critics or book critics. They provide factual background and history about the artist; they provide a broader context for appreciation of the work by comparing it with other work by the artist, or work by different artists; they point out things to watch for, so that someone who is coming to the work harried from a day at the office and with no background can get a head start; they serve a consumer advisory function, increasing the chances that you won’t waste time and money on something that is likely to disappoint you; but most of all, good movie criticism, like good art criticism or good literary criticism, is an art in itself. A film critic responding to a movie is similar to an artist responding to a landscape of a bowl of fruit. It is a subjective reaction based on taste and judgment and talent.

Previous Posts

Thursdays in September on Turner Classic Movies: The Jewish Experience on Film
This month, TCM has an excellent series of films about the Jewish experience, every Thursday. TCM proudly presents The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film, a weekly showcase of movies focusing on Jewish history and heritage as portrayed onscreen. Co-hosting the films each Thursday is D

posted 9:21:56pm Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Start the School Year With a No-Screen Week
A new study shows another good reason to detox from all screen time now and then, especially for kids.  Children who take a five-day break from all screens are better at reading real-life facial expressions to understand the emotions of the people around them.  Psyblog described the study, which s

posted 3:56:33pm Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

COMING THIS MONTH: September 2014 Movies
Happy September!  There isn't much new in theaters this Friday, but next week things start to pick up. Here's the best of what's coming in theaters this month: September 12: "Dolphin Tale 2"  This sequel to the endearing fact-based "Dolphin Tale" brings back stars Harry Connick, Jr., Morgan Fr

posted 8:00:52am Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Labor Day 2014: Movies About Unions
Today we pay tribute to workers, especially those who worked for better conditions for everyone. Sally Field won an Oscar for this real-life story about a courageous woman who helped mill workers form a union. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45CX8W9peTs[/youtube] Doris Day plays

posted 7:00:42am Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Summer Summer-y: The Summer Movies of 2014
A few concluding thoughts on the summer movies of 2014: A good summer for food movies: "The Chef," "The 100-Foot Journey," and "The Trip to Italy" had some big-time actors but the real stars were the luscious meals. Special mention of the delicious French comedy "Le Chef," starring Jean Reno, as

posted 3:46:47pm Aug. 31, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.