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Moira MacDonald’s “Middling Movie” Is a Middling Review

In response to Moira MacDonald’s 321‑word review of The Counselor on Seattle Times

By ,

There are some subjects too complex to cover in only three paragraphs, and The Counselor appears to be one of them. That is, at least, if those paragraphs were written by Moira MacDonald, whose “‘The Counselor’: Great cast, middling movie” does not convey enough information in its three paragraphs to be worthwhile reading.

The first paragraph is all setup, giving a brief overview of the movie by way of listing its main actors and the characters they play. The description here is nice, as it is elsewhere in the review. MacDonald obviously has the ability to elaborate when she wants to. It just happens that she does so a bit too sparingly.

MacDonald makes reference to the quality of the screenplay in the second paragraph, in what is the review’s most intriguing bit of information and something that sets it apart from other reviews of its type. She has obviously done her homework, as it’s not often movie reviewers have read the screenplay to the movie they’re reviewing.

Ultimately, that’s what makes middling movie so unsatisfying: MacDonald obviously has real talent, but it feels far too constrained by her low word count. Whether the brevity of the review was her decision or that of her higher-ups, someone somewhere along the way made a mistake.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation