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15 Great Female Film Critics You Ought to Be Reading

So come to find out, there’s not just a shortage of women acting in movies and making them; we’re also seeing fewer and fewer women writing about them. A new study conducted by San Diego State professor Martha Lauzen of Rotten Tomatoes’ “Top Critics” found women were writing a mere 18% of reviews — down from a still-ugly 30% six years ago. It’s not a new issue, but disturbing nonetheless: yet another area of the film business in which female talent is going severely underused, a self-closing loop where more often than not, men make movies for men that men review. But there are a few voices in the wilderness — a handful of female critics for outlets big and small whose words are worth seeking out and savoring. (Note: these recommendations are limited to those who primarily focus on criticism, as opposed to news and blogging and so on.)

Manohla Dargis
WRITES FOR: The New York Times
FIND HER AT: The Times; she’s not on Twitter and seldom makes public appearances (but when she does, they’re worth paying attention to).
STYLE: She’s not chief critic at the paper of record for nothing; her prose is sharp, confident, and stimulating.
SAMPLE: “‘Stories We Tell’ has a number of transparent virtues, including its humor and formal design, although its most admirable quality is the deep sense of personal ethics that frames Ms. Polley’s filmmaking choices. Although it touches on intimate points, many recounted by Michael Polley in voice-over, the movie is revelatory rather than exploitative. And while the movie finally proves as much an autobiographical tale as a biographical one, Ms. Polley resists turning it into a flattering self-portrait of a young artist in search of her origins. Instead, building on the interest in narrative form that she expressed in earlier movies like ‘Take This Waltz,’ she explores storytelling itself and the space between a life lived and its different, at times conflicting representations.”

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