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Mary F. Pols Is Masterful in “The Counselor”

In response to Mary F. Pols’s 954‑word review of The Counselor on TIME Magazine

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Mary Pols plants her feet firmly in the upper echelon of film writers with “The Counselor: Hard-Boiled Hokum.”

What separates the women from the girls when it comes to critique? Potter Stewart, the one-time Supreme Court Justice, famously said this in his brief on defining hard core pornography: “I know it when I see it.” This is especially prescient as Pols goes off on the misogyny of the film. More on this later.

While there are quantifiable, objective ways to rate film critique, sometimes you just know it when you see it.

And Pols’ review is “it”. Her prose here has a luster and confident rectitude that one only encounters in the rarified space occupied by the best of the best. She moves gracefully and assuredly from salient point to salient point, never looking for the easy path. This is genuine reflection and steady, considered analysis and Pols’s arguments are the obvious outcropping of a brilliant movie mind.

The only area in which the review stumbles is an overemphasis of the misogynistic aspects of the film. Her contention is spot on to be sure, but too much moralizing can feel heavy handed and takes the reader away from the principle purpose of the review.

But the soapboxing is a tiny quibble in an otherwise masterful critique that deserves to be appreciated.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation