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Carla Meyer’s “Poignant Portrayal” Feels Like a Script Reading

In response to Carla Meyer’s 953‑word review of Nebraska on Sacramento Bee

By ,

Wake up! Don’t let Carla Mayer put you to sleep with the epic snoozer that is “Movie review: Bruce Dern delivers poignant portrayal in Nebraska.”

Sure, the critic offers a tiny amount of critique throughout the almost one-thousand word piece, but it feels like Meyer is reading the entire script of the film. She describes, describes, and describes. It’s the ultimate summary-review.

The opening of Poignant Portrayal is a huge tease. Meyer produces a few paragraphs of insightful critique before transitioning into her mega-summary. The word “cantankerous” has become the go-to word for critics to describe Bruce Dern’s character, and Meyer is the latest to resort to unimaginative writing.

Meyer’s early critique in Poignant Portrayal is enjoyable, but far from mind-stimulating. Although it’s not necessarily the critic’s fault, she compares the film to The Last Picture Show, which is also found in almost every review. Cinematographer Phedon Papamichael delivers “stark, gorgeous black-and-white cinematography,” which is about as basic as you can get. Director Alexander Payne is also noted early on, but once again Meyer fails to produce anything informative as far as his techniques in the film.

The rest of Poignant Portrayal is plot summary with small bits of character analysis. The entire review is a collection of basic observations and a giant summary of the film. It’s as if Meyer is pushing hard so the reader will want to see the film, as opposed to producing a legitimate critique that allows the reader to make their own decision.

Poignant Portrayal is a bore, and the mega-summary mildly spoils moments that should be left for one to experience on their own.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation