“101 Must-See Movie Moments” is a treasure-trove of the author’s favorite moments from motion pictures big and small.
Author Nell Minow knows her movies, too. She has written for prestigious national publications, and her weekly column on film & DVD releases can be found on Beliefnet.com, or at moviemom.com.
This is certainly an impressive resume, but anyone can start writing film criticism today, and perhaps become successful at it. There are plenty of new theatrical releases and DVD’s each week to dissect, and a good, insightful writer could find an audience somewhere in the global media world.
However, don’t think for a second that a newbie could write “101 Must-See Movie Moments” successfully. Nell Minow is old-school, like a critic should be. She has seen untold thousands of films—Hollywood hits new and old, plus art-house and foreign films—and she draws upon her wealth of experience and critical skill to present this conversational and enlightening collection of gems.
Many of the moments she chooses are from movies I love, and I sat here nodding and smiling. “Yeah. That was a great choice.” Others are moments I hadn’t singled out as special in films I’ve seen, and in reading her explanation, I agreed with her. Sometimes, I’d never even heard of the movie, and other times, she and I disagreed, not on the film but on the “must-see moment” (“The General” was one of those). The beauty of watching movies is that it’s a shared experience: people can respond very differently to the same scene.
Most readers will recognize a majority of Minow’s film choices; some will know more, some less. Written differently, this could have left many readers out in the cold. However, each installment begins with a description of the film’s plot, and sets up the particular moment wonderfully. In a few paragraphs, Minow provides a context for “the must-see moment” so that it makes sense, regardless of whether the reader has seen the movie.
A lovely side-effect (hopefully!) is that readers will not only look back on films they’ve seen, but—having read Nell Minow’s book—add a few (or a few dozen) titles to their “must-see” lists.
This book works so beautifully, because Nell Minow writes in a friendly and conversational style. She doesn’t assume her reader is a film expert, so she doesn’t write that way. She writes for normal people who love movies and love to talk about them, even if they don’t know their chiaroscuro from a hot rock.
This is a marvelous book, and a great gift idea if you have a film buff in your world.
Highly Recommended. (Now, I’m off to rent “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”)
(nb: I received a review copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley)