The Critic Illustration by Michale Witte
Owen Gleiberman
June 13, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Are critics’ opinions more valid than yours?

Who appointed you as critic and by what authority? And why should I give your opinion more value than that of the general moviegoing public? — Ken

I get asked this question all the time, and I have to confess that it always leaves me a tad mystified. Everywhere you look (TV, radio, newspapers, the Internet) there are pundits and wags and eager advice givers tossing out opinions like so much confetti — opinions on politics, sports, business, fashion. Yet somehow, anyone who deigns to express a thought on movies is deemed to have crossed a line of untenable arrogance.

The best defense I can muster for what we film critics do is really quite simple. Ideally, the thrust and urgency of any one of our opinions hinges less on the judgment than on the depth and passion with which it’s expressed. My opinion, in short, has no more ”value” than yours. I can only hope that I give voice to it in a way that enriches the experience of the art form we both love.

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