Lisa Schwarzbaum
July 23, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

EW’s movie critic talks politics

When giving a positive or negative review to a political movie like ”Fahrenheit 9/11,” is it difficult to put your own politics aside? — Denise Wicker
The official answer is, I can watch anything with a neutral mind. The human answer is, Of course it’s a challenge: We all react instinctively to movies, all movies, through the filter of our own values, and issue-oriented films are meant to goose. Besides, a he or she who is not provoked — one way or another — by the politics of ”Fahrenheit 9/11” is a he or she without a pulse. The key word, though, is ”difficult.” As a private citizen, I’m perfectly comfortable pumping my fist at the screen and yelping ”Right on!” or rolling my eyes and yowling ”Bite me!” But as a critic, I find it perfectly (or at least imperfectly) easy to acknowledge my own political point of view and then step back to analyze what message a movie is trying to convey, how it goes about fulfilling its aims, and what I think of the art that results.

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