About “300″… A Clarification

I have been out of line in some of my statements in relation to 300. I wrote things that made it sound like I was condemning the film. And I made some people who really liked the film uncomfortable.

That wasn’t my intention. And I apologize for getting so worked up about it.

As a critic, I should not judge films I haven’t seen. That’s unprofessional.

Now, technically, I haven’t judged it. I would, in fact, be delighted if I were to discover that the film was meaningful and worthwhile.

All I really wanted to do in my previous posts about the film was to point to other people’s reviews of that film, so that I could make it clear why I am not planning to see it, and so that people would stop asking me what I think of it.

I don’t think that film critics are automatically dismissed from listening to their own consciences about what they should and shouldn’t see. I know how I feel when I walk out of a movie that is intensely violent but ultimately rather shallow. I feel battered, weary, and like I’ve wasted my time. Since the reviews incline me to believe that 300 might make me feel that way, I’m going to steer clear of it for now.

But I don’t judge others who see it, and I have not judged the film. I can’t. I haven’t seen it.

Was I wrong to say it is full of sex and violence? Well, no… the film’s marketers practically flaunt that fact. And my friends who have seen it almost unanimously confirm that.

Still, they might be wrong, and the marketers might be misleading me. I’m sorry for sounding presumptuous. 300 might be a beautiful, meaningful work. Go see it if you wish. All I ask is that we all proceed with caution and discernment.

If you want to respond to this, email me.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.