June 18, 2011

A Birthday Note to Roger Ebert

Dear Mr. Ebert,

I'd like to start off by wishing you a very wonderful and happy 68th birthday today. It really is amazing that you have been writing reviews for the Chicago Sun Times since 1967 - that's 44 years of reviewing film.

So yes, being one of the longest running and most famous film critics in the world is a true accomplishment, and it is no secret that people trust and respect your opinion more than any other critic today.

But the truth is, it's more than your consistency and skill in reviewing that has made you arguably the most important film critic today. It's the fact that you, along with others, such as the amazing Pauline Kael (I must give credit where credit is due), finally gave a VOICE to criticism. I took a film class first semester in which we read a bunch of reviews for Katharine Hepburn films, from both the time of release and more modern times. The truth is, reviews that came before seemed to have no spirit, no spark that reflects whether the critic had a passion for the film or not. It was either great, good, average or bad.

And then I read your review for Guess Who's Coming for Dinner, which you wrote in your second year of reviewing for the Sun Times, and I was immediately engrossed.
You actually started the review by saying, "Yes, there are serious faults in Stanley Kramer's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, but they are overcome by the virtues of this delightfully old-fashioned film." I had read many of your reviews before, but never in the context of reading reviews from 1936. And I could see the difference right away. I felt like you were talking to me, letting me know exactly what was good and bad with the movie, but with a style of writing that was an artistry in itself that engaged me.

I read your reviews all the time (it helps that it is so easy to follow you on Twitter), and I wanted to thank you for changing film criticism so that there are others who can bring their own voice to the art. You are really one of the reasons that I feel comfortable sharing my own criticisms with comfort that while people may disagree with my opinions, my voice is my own and helps make my criticism unique.

So thanks again Mr. Ebert. I hope you have an amazing birthday today and I hope that there are many more to come. 

Happy Birthday!

A devoted fan,

Adam Pearlson

No comments:

Post a Comment