Gosh I miss him already. I love his reviews. For so long, after I’ve checked out a movie on imdb.com, I would click the ‘review: critic‘ link, which would lead me to a page of links to external reviews, which I would scan to see if there’s one by Mr. Ebert. I didn’t read every single one of his reviews, and my opinion of the movie may differ from his, but it was nice to know he was always there for me to turn to for a review that’s insightful, and many times humourous and entertaining.
That’s also why I have the link to his site here, under the blogroll list here I call ‘Movie Magic’, for the times when I already know which actors form the cast and other facts about the movie, and I just want to go straight to his review.
It’s so nice and fitting somehow that his last one, published posthumously last Saturday the 6th, two days after his passing, was for To The Wonder, a movie by Terence Malick, one of my favourite storytellers. I have loved Terence Malick’s dazzling and dreamy poet-like gift in seducing and breaking the hearts of his audience since his Days of Heaven.
“I did read it… I thought it was lovely. I went and visited Roger last summer and talked about Argo. I was in his home, and met his wife and saw how tough (conditions) were after his surgery. I was so moved by the cheerfulness that he had towards this, the sort of way that he bore that burden. I mean, for days after I left – he gave me a copy of his book and I read it, I just was so inspired by that. By a guy who was fighting something that was really debilitating, and was so gracious and warm and loved life.”
According to the Wikipedia page on him, Mr. Ebert was diagnosed with cancer as far back as 2002, but his dedication to his work continued. He would take some months or so off to recover from surgeries and other challenges to his health over the years, but would then return to his writing. He wrote of death in his journal entry on the 2nd of May 2009, entitled Go Gentle Into That Good Night. The first paragraph, and I was already blinking back tears so they didn’t have a chance to fall:
I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear. I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. What I am grateful for is the gift of intelligence, and for life, love, wonder, and laughter. You can’t say it wasn’t interesting. My lifetime’s memories are what I have brought home from the trip. I will require them for eternity no more than that little souvenir of the Eiffel Tower I brought home from Paris.
Here’s a great video of him being interviewed by a Mr. Allan Gregg, and uploaded onto YouTube by the Allan Gregg channel there.