WHAT SHE SAID: THE ART OF PAULINE KAEL – Review by Diane Carson

The transparent goal of the documentary What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael is measured praise for this influential film critic best known for twenty-four years of reviews in The New Yorker, beginning in 1968. Determined to make the presentation entertaining, director Rob Garver excessively inserts unidentified film clips reflecting and reinforcing comments and context.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 20, 2019: WHAT SHE SAID: THE ART OF PAULINE KAEL

In an era in which a cacophony of critical voices competes for potential moviegoers’ time and attention — and yet not nearly enough of those voices represent the diversity of the public they’re speaking to — Pauline Kael’s iconic status seems like even more of an achievement. Her remarkable career is the subject of Rob Garver’s insightful documentary What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael.

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WHAT SHE SAID: THE ART OF PAULINE KAEL – Review by Leslie Combemale

Pauline Kael famously said that critics need only do two things consistently. We must always work to be better at our craft, and we must always be courageous. Whether you love or hate her work, this is a great reminder to anyone, regardless of what part of the business world they are in, from a woman who proved an important part of film history.

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WHAT SHE SAID: THE ART OF PAULINE KAEL – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

There are snippets of Kael’s own voice in archival footage although first-time director Rob Garver fills in the blanks by employing actress Sarah Jessica Parker to read sections of her writing while the critic’s daughter Gina James and other associates provide commentary. Kael, who had a way of picking just the right searing or celebratory word, rattled the intellectual crowd while pooh-poohing the backers of critic Andrew Sarris’s auteur theory.

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WHAT SHE SAID: THE ART OF PAULINE KAEL – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

I don’t know whether to be heartened or depressed by What She Said, a terrific documentary about the life and work of legendary film critic Pauline Kael. We hear how challenging it was to make a living as a critic, the abuse she took from readers, and just the general awfulness of men, in her personal life as well as professionally.

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