Since I am an aspiring film critic, it came as a shock when I discovered my idol Roger Ebert had passed away at the age of 70 on April 4, due to cancer. He started working for the Chicago Sun Times newspaper in 1967, and became known for his expressive writing and genuine love for the movies. Though I never met him, his words were so personal and poetic I felt like I had.
Known for the “At The Movies” TV series he hosted with Gene Siskel and Richard Roeper, it was a fun show where they gave “thumbs ups” or “thumbs down” to films and sometimes got in huge disagreements
When I gained an interest in film two years ago, Ebert was the first critic I turned to. Reading his articles taught me about the properties of cinema, and his love for movies was so infectious that I too began to share those feelings. He will always be my favorite critic for many reasons.
Never known for critiquing film with a sense of overblown negativity, Ebert always held an honest and sincere reaction. I believe he was the most accurate of critics, because he voiced his exact opinion of the film even if it went against the majority.
His reviews held film directors accountable, informing them of their flaws so they could improve.
He taught me the purpose of writing a review is to capture the movie experience as close as possible.
Being incredibly productive, Ebert released about five or six reviews every week in 2012. His dedication to watching most of the film releases, gave readers a complete look at the theaters. This helped to introduce people to a diverse selection of movies they would have never heard of. By informing people about film, he helped give them insight into how to become active viewers.
Compared to most current film critics, Ebert was in a different class. He wasn’t interested in celebrities or entertainment news, but driven by the magical properties of cinema.
My favorite writings from him are his “Great Movies” collection, which are articles based on films he considered classics.
The real gift of Ebert was his ability as a writer. His weekly articles were always a delight to read, as he sprinkled the same amount of care and attention on every review. Over his career he formed a wise and lively writing voice, one that I will miss reading.
Ebert’s passing will have a great impact on film critics and moviegoers alike. Things will go on, but I’m pretty sure there will never be a voice quite like his. And who knows, maybe one day I could land my dream job of being a film critic. But for now, I will just continue to write about film and use the lessons I gathered from him to further the discussion of film.