The Quotable Renshaw

One of this film critics’ favorite quotable quotes comes from Roger Ebert:

“A movie is not about what it is about. It is about how it is about it.”

Those two sentences have come in so handy when I’ve taught film seminars, but they’ve also come in handy when I’ve taught creative writing courses or talked about how to read poetry.

I think, though, that I’ll be carrying around another knockout definition of film criticism in my back pocket to help clarify matters.

It was posted today by film critic Scott Renshaw of Salt Lake City Weekly. And I’ve posted it here, right off of his Twitter account, with his permission.

Young critics: Opinion is nothing, insight is everything. Don’t tell people what to watch; tell them what to watch for.

Thanks, Scott. I’ve read whole essays that said what you just said, and far less effectively.

By the way, if you want to hear a great conversation with Scott, listen to Sara Zarr’s podcast “This Creative Life” — this episode, right here.

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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.

  • Alex

    Where’s the “Like” button?! lol. Thanks Jeffery for sharing these insights!


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