“An open mind is essential. Too many critics pigeonhole a film even before they’ve seen it because they might not like the actor or director or whatever. Every movie you see should start out as a blank slate.” – Harvey Burgess, Long-time Film Critic, Southeast Film Critics’ Association
“Be totally open minded and objective. Films play to or against so many of our emotions, life experiences, and social trends,… Give each film a clean slate.” – Brady Brandwood, Filmmaker
“Somebody — Sartre, I think — said “Look longest at what displeases you.” I did that with a Jackson Pollock painting once; I thought it was meaningless squiggle, until I finally started to perceive some thought behind it. I still don’t like that kind of work much, but I get why some people DO like it. The point of criticism is not to get everyone to think the way I do or agree with my tastes but to give the reader an idea of what kind of experience he or she will have by watching a film. Remembering Sartre’s advice helps with that.
Nobody goes into a film with an open mind. Even if all we know is a sentence or two about the plot, we go in with a slight feeling pro or con about what we are about to see. Don’t pretend you have no prejudice; realize what your prejudices are (for or against) and, as you reflect on what you’re seeing, keep them in mind. Ask “Is the film really prompting this reaction, or is it my own preconception that makes me feel this way?” Lawrence Toppman, Long-time Film Critic, Charlotte Observer