Your Emotions Never Lie To You

April 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

“Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions never lie to you.” –Roger Ebert (1942-2013)

For a while after seeing a film I would go to Roger Ebert’s web site just to see what, if anything, he had written about it. Not to see if he liked it or not, but to see if there was anything he may have noticed about it that I had missed. The fairest methods of criticism might distill authorial decisions—what the director chooses to show and chooses to withhold—and assess how it lines up with intent. But that doesn’t jibe with how we respond to stories. Some of the best artistic work is made on gut alone. The images and sequences cast a feeling that we struggle to explain later. To just say you liked or hated something is too easy to be of any value. To try to grasp why it moved you or didn’t, as Ebert (and Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris) eloquently and painstakingly did, reminds the artist where his strengths are, which shouts into the hole are being heard at the bottom.

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