Film Reviews, Short Review

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)


E.T. is the pinnacle of Steven Spielberg the tearjerker. As a work of craft, I admire as much as I do most of his work; it is seamlessly put together, the work of a master who makes the filmmaking process look effortless. There are flaws of course, there always are; in its majority-white, endlessly middle-class suburban setting, E. T.’s epitomises the narrowness of Spielberg’s worldview (this is after all, a filmmaker who struggles to produce historical films that encroach beyond his own liberal conceptualisation of history). To quote Jonathan Rosenbaum: “[E.T.] remains a veritable manifesto about what it feels like to be ten years old, male, suburban, lonely, and captive to the Spielberg spell…the movie’s unusual achievement is to make it seem that way.” He’s right in a way. Dreamlike, wondrous, and sentimental, this is Spielberg at his best.


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