Movie Article

Political Impact

Why do you let your political views influence how you rate movies? Check out today's Ask the Critic question and post your own

Why do you let your political views influence how you rate movies?

Why do you let your political views influence how you rate movies? — Samuel

Do you mean why, in reviewing An Inconvenient Truth, did I state unequivocally that I agree with Al Gore's views on global warming? Several readers objected — not just to my opinion, but to the fact that I'd deign to include that opinion in a review. Stick to the movie, they said. Yet is that desirable, or even possible? When you write about a documentary, you're evaluating, among other things, how well it penetrates and defines a particular subject, be it Rudy Giuliani, the war in Iraq, or the Pop art scene of the 1960s. To omit your own thoughts and feelings wouldn't just be dishonest, it would be fruitless and boring — the reduction of reality to a vacuum. That said, there's a difference between writing that reflects a critic's politics and writing that's ruled by them. I've seen docs I agreed with politically yet questioned as films, like Fahrenheit 9/11 or The Corporation. The goal is to be open-minded, which requires revealing one's mind.

(Got a movie-related question for Lisa or Owen? Post it here.)

Originally posted Jun 09, 2006 Published in issue #882 Jun 16, 2006 Order article reprints
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