On April 4, 2013, Roger Ebert, often regarded as on of the greatest film critics ever, passed away. Although his life has ended, he has left behind a legacy that will continue to resonate for quite a while.
While there was film criticism long before Roger Ebert was born, Ebert helped to make film criticism interesting and exciting through his reviews and television show with Gene Siskel, entitled “Siskel & Ebert.”
While watching these two tell us about their opinions and feelings on every movie they viewed, we learned so much about not just these two, but also about the world of film criticism and a bit about ourselves.
Week in and week out, Siskel and Ebert would watch around five new movies, sometimes even more, then write their own reviews and come on the camera to make a show about it, arguing with one another over which movies were good and which ones were bad. The two would often disagree and argue over these films, each one saying that the other was wrong.
The reason these discussions got so heated was not because Siskel and Ebert were stubborn or couldn’t see any other way besides their own, but because of their passion and love for cinema. These two were able to take discussing movies, something that many people would argue is just mindless entertainment, and were able to talk about it so passionately and from the heart that it felt like they were taking this discussion to a whole new level.
These two saw film as important, and always wanted to stress how incredibly important it was. They never looked at it as mindless entertainment, but as many things, including art or even representations of life. The struggles, hardships and emotions that people go through every day, captured on camera and given a whole new meaning about how our culture acts and behaves.
People enjoyed watching these two argue about movies, otherwise their show would have been cancelled rather quickly. So why did people keep watching? That comes back to one of Siskel and Ebert’s biggest characteristic: Their passion. Passion for films, passion for talking about films, passion for writing about films and simply a passion for life.
Whether someone disagreed with Roger Ebert on a particular film or not, there was always that passion and energy for cinema to be enjoyed. It’s not difficult to tell that Ebert loved doing what he did, like he had found his life’s purpose and enjoyed every second of it. If we had just an ounce of the passion Ebert had for cinema and life, in any aspect of our lives, we would all have many great things going for us.
Nearly one year after his death, his passion for cinema and life still shines through and speaks to the heart of every one who has something to hold onto.
If there is one thing to take away from Roger Ebert’s life, it’s that everyone should find that one thing they’re truly passionate about in life and follow it. Follow it and center your life around it. That passion will not only bring you happiness, but a purpose.