This is a great piece on the art of criticism, by film critic Alissa Wilkinson. Alissa used to write for Christianity Today and now she writes for Vox, and in my opinion constitutes the best of contemporary film criticism. She’s easy to read, yet intelligent and insightful. Here she talks about how she sees her craft.
From the article:
“Critics are, themselves, creators of art. It’s an art that’s usually funneled through the medium of journalism, but criticism is still fundamentally an art form.
The art a critic makes is a review or an essay, something that is less about “supporting” a movie and more about drawing on an individual’s experience with a film to make an argument about that movie. It includes evaluation of the film, but it also, done well, is a passionate argument for the importance of art itself.”
“The marketing departments of film studios and distribution companies exist to deal with those commercial aspects of film. But critics have a different job. Critics are primarily interested in the art of the film. That means that critics are looking for things about the film that work or don’t work. They’re interested in the aesthetics and the content. And their main interest isn’t in serving as some kind of Consumer Reports for movies.”
“I’m less interested in telling you whether to go see it — I’m not you, I don’t know what you like — and more interested in working through what the very existence of the movie means. There’s a reason that most critics, if you asked them, would rather you read the review after you see the movie.”