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 is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” called Through a Screen Darkly, and a four-volume series of fantasy novels called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast. Jeffrey is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, and he writes about art, faith, and culture for Image, Filmwell, and his own website, LookingCloser.org. His work has also appeared in Paste, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today (where he was a film columnist and critic for almost a decade). He lives in Shoreline, Washington. Visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/jeffreyoverstreethq.

  • Alex

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


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