What qualities are necessary to be a film critic? I'm going listicle on this one:
- A great love and knowledge of film -- but it can come from seeing many, many films and doesn't have to come from a grad program.
- A strong notion of story: does the narrative work?
- A strong and consistent critical voice. A lot of people have opinions; all good critics have a voice in words.
- An understanding of the human condition -- the closer to Balzac or Chekhov or Austen (add in your favorites) the better.
- A knowledge of their biases and how to see around them. I may not love sports movies, but I can appreciate the genius of Tin Cup. I am weary of male coming-of-agers, but I can be shown Moonrise Kingdom a second time and put that aside and appreciate the movie for the genius it is.
- A willingness to laugh and to weep -- to be genuinely moved by films not be distracted by literal or figurative note-taking.
- An ability to put aside one's mood or distractions in the theater and see the movie as the makers intended.
- To see each movie fresh once the lights go down, and the images appear.
- A willingness to change one's mind or stand one's ground against the throng as needed.
- The strength to passionately champion artists and works that demand to be seen by a larger audience.
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