Roger Ebert is in the building: five reasons we’re happy to have the world’s best-known film critic in town

Roger Ebert is in the building: five reasons we’re happy to have the world’s best-known film critic in town

Roger Ebert with his wife Chaz at the George Christy luncheon at last year’s TIFF (Image: George Pimentel/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images) 

We’d feign resistance to making this terrible pun, but there’s really no way around it, so here it goes: Roger Ebert touched town in Canada last night to grace Toronto with his presence, effectively giving TIFF two thumbs up. At 69, Ebert has been attending the festival since its inception and his opinion has only become more respected throughout the film world over the years. After the jump, a few reasons why we’re so happy to have him in town.

1. He knows the fest well
Having attended TIFF regularly, Ebert is familiar with the festival’s screening venues: he refers to the steep climb at the Scotiabank Theatre on Richmond as the “escalator of terror.” We can relate.

2. He’s seen it all
Ebert has penned a memoir entitled Life Itself, which covers everything from his days as a student and young newspaper writer to his wild party nights to surviving cancer. He’s one incredible man.

3. He’s a fighter
Three years ago, Ebert lost the use of his voice due to complications from thyroid cancer. After multiple operations and close calls, Ebert now communicates solely through writing, whether on pad and paper or online (his website is a black hole that’s nearly impossible to climb out of).

4. He’s got good taste in music, too
Ebert may be the quintessential film buff but he’s also a music fan, specifically of the Canadian variety—Esquire reports that during one of his many hospital stays Ebert played “I’m Your Man” by Leonard Cohen on repeat.

5. He respects his readers
As a film critic, Ebert feels he is a populist writer: “All reviews are subjective,” he told the Globe and Mail. “One must admit it. I may be populist, but I write for a smart populace. I try to be a friend describing an experience he just had.”

Unspooling the story of Roger Ebert’s Life [Globe and Mail]
Roger Ebert: The Essential Man [Esquire]