Half Nelson

Posted by Jeni in BAFTA | 1 March 2007

I am a member of BAFTA, which is one of the great treats of my life. I was nominated two years ago and accepted. So, I have the privilege of voting for films and telly. I take it very seriously, although I hate being judgemental. Standing in line at BAFTA is an experience. Everybody is a critic.

Sometimes I think critics can only criticise because they can't do it themselves. I don't know who said it but one definition of a critic is somebody who shoots the wounded once the battle is over.

Anyway, I went to see 'Half Nelson' starring Ryan Gosling. It's a tough film about drug dealing, teaching, dialectical materialism and friendship. I thought it was gritty and good, even if the camera work give me a bit of a headache. See, not great criticism, but my reason for telling you the story at all is that at the end of the film, as the credits rolled, my film buddy and I were whispering how we were going to get home. When the lights came up a REAL critic, handsome and grey haired, wearing a suit and glasses turned round and asked if we were members of BAFTA. Yes, I said proudly. 'Then you should know better than to talk when the credits are rolling', he said officiously, flouncing off. I felt like I was been reprimanded by the head master. I nearly laughed, the way you do when you've been naughty in assembly. So I apologised like a six year old.

Hanging my head, I walked out into Piccadilly, jumped into a taxi and, utterly ashamed of myself, decided to tell the Nation about the idiot who had berated me. I hate critics. If you can't say anything nice, to quote my mother, then don't say anything at all. Critics are nothing but shadow boxers, who feed off other creatives because they are too frightened to do it themselves.

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