The common assessment is that Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn is absolutely top tier — one of the most sage and sophisticated critics out there. He has long been recognized as such. And David Ehrlich is also quite the steady and perceptive fellow, and generally an excellent writer — engaging copy just pours out of the guy. And Kate Erbland is…well, consistent.
But I have to be honest and admit to certain premonitions that kick in before I read almost any Indiewire review, and certainly reviews of films that lay claim to any degree of social realism.
My gut belief is that Indiewire assessments of films are first and foremost about “how woke is this?” and secondly about “how good is this?” I realize that to some HE regulars this may sound like one of the biggest “duhhh” observations I’ve ever posted, but it never hurts to reiterate. On top of which this is Sunday.
Kohn, Ehrlich and Erbland may vigorously dispute this view (I’d be hugely surprised if they didn’t) but I’ve been sensing over and over that Team Indiewire is always asking itself “are the attitudes and perceptions in this film sufficiently enlightened by SJW virtue-signalling standards?”
I believe this mindset is a big part of how they see things. Call me overly cautious or even timid for phrasing this viewpoint as carefully as I have here. To some Indiewire‘s “totally in the woke tank” approach is as obvious as the sky.
I fully admit that this impression could be proven erroneous if someone were to conduct an exhaustive inventory of all their reviews over the last two or three years (and certainly since the advent of the movement that was largely ignited by the historic 10.5.17 N.Y. Times story that brought about the fall of Harvey Weinstein.
I’m just saying that one way or the other I can always feel the presence of a woke measurement stick every time I read a Kohn, Ehrlich and Erbland review.
Should woke sticks be put aside when reviewing a film or anything else? Of course not. Every interesting or pertinent consideration under the sun should be included in any intelligent, fully considered review, column-inches warranting. I just happen to feel that a film’s wokeness (of lack thereof) isn’t the meat of the matter. But it sure seems to be a big deal at the woke-iest movie site on the planet.
If someone were to write a woke reassessment of all significant Hollywood-generated films of the 20th Century and the first 15 years of the 21st Century, would it sell? Maybe or maybe not, but reading such a book would almost certainly give me a headache.