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Roger Ebert: Movies, Life, and Empathy

Today I decided to read/re-read a few of Roger Ebert’s reviews and I was reminded just how brilliant a writer and thinker he was. As a critic he always stuck to his guns, a trait which I respect immensely. Ebert never seemed to be swayed by popular opinion, yet always welcomed a discussion. Above all his love for film is evident in every review he wrote, no matter how brash or complimentary.

Here are a few quotes from Roger Ebert that I especially adore. Enjoy!

“In my reviews, I feel it’s good to make it clear that I’m not proposing objective truth, but subjective reactions; a review should reflect the immediate experience.”

“Movies that encourage empathy are more effective than those that objectify problems.”

“By going to the movies, and because of other things too, going to college, making a wide variety of friends, moving around and traveling, I became a lot more open-minded than the heritage I was born into might have suggested.”

“Every great film should seem new every time you see it.”

“It is reckless to make broad generalizations about any group of people.”

“My motto: No good movie is depressing. All bad moves are depressing.”

“Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.”

“Life is made up of challenges that cannot be solved but only accepted.”

“No good movie is too long and no bad movies is short enough.”

“To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”

“That’s what fantasies are for, to help us imagine that things are better than they are.”

“I like smart movies about smart people, and enjoy it when most of the facts are on the table and we can contemplate them together.”

“Many really good films allow us to empathize with other lives.”

“We can’t help identifying with the protagonist. It’s coded in our movie-going DNA.”

“When I am writing, my problems become invisible and I am the same person I always was. All is well. I am as I should be.”


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