Janet Maslin

Last updated
Janet Maslin
Born (1949-08-12) August 12, 1949 (age 74)
New York City, U.S.
Education University of Rochester (BA)
Years active1970–present
Employer The New York Times
Known forFilm and literary criticism

Janet R. Maslin (born August 12, 1949) is an American journalist, best known as a film and literary critic for The New York Times . [1] She served as a Times film critic from 1977 to 1999 and as a book critic from 2000 to 2015. In 2000, Maslin helped found the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, New York. She is president of its board of directors. [2] [3]



Maslin graduated from the University of Rochester in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. [4]


Maslin began her career as a rock music critic for The Boston Phoenix and became a film editor and critic for that publication. She also worked as a freelancer for Rolling Stone and worked at Newsweek . [5]

Maslin became a film critic for The New York Times in 1977. From December 1, 1994, she replaced Vincent Canby as the chief film critic. [5] Maslin continued to review films for The Times until 1999, when she briefly left the newspaper. [6] Her film criticism career, including her embrace of American independent cinema, is discussed in the documentary For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism (2009). In the documentary, Entertainment Weekly critic Lisa Schwarzbaum recalls the excitement of having a woman as the lead reviewer at The New York Times. In a 2005 interview with Aaron Aradillas at Rockcritics.com, Maslin explained she quit reviewing films because she experienced burnout, expressing gratitude it ended when it did. [4] Filmmaker Harmony Korine, whose directorial debut feature Gummo (1997) Maslin famously called "worst film of the year", [7] [8] [9] noted how Maslin stopped working as a movie critic not long after. [10] [11]

From 1994 to 2003, Maslin was a frequent guest on Charlie Rose . Overall she made 61 appearances on the program. [12]

From 2000 she worked as a book reviewer for The New York Times; from 2015 as a contributor as opposed to being their full-time critic. [6] As of 2023, Maslin continues to review books for the newspaper, albeit sparsely. Her latest[ when? ] review is for Dennis Lehane's novel Small Mercies , speculating it might be the author's last and concluding with "As epitaphs go, you could do a lot worse." [13] Among her reviews are many enthusiastic discoveries of then-unknown crime writers, the first American assessment of an Elena Ferrante novel, and a 2011 essay on the widowed Joyce Carol Oates's memoir, A Widow's Story, which offended some of Oates's admirers. [14] [15]

Related Research Articles

<i>Boxing Helena</i> 1993 US mystery thriller-horror film by Jennifer Lynch

Boxing Helena is a 1993 American Avant-garde thriller film directed by Jennifer Lynch and starring Sherilyn Fenn, Julian Sands, and Bill Paxton. Before its release, the film's production was hampered by legal battles with Madonna and Kim Basinger, who both backed out of playing Helena. The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 1993, where it was received poorly. After receiving an NC-17 rating from the MPAA, the film was given an R rating on appeal and released in the United States in September 1993. It was a critical and financial failure.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chloë Sevigny</span> American actress (born 1974)

Chloë Stevens Sevigny is an American actress, model, and fashion designer. Known for her work in independent films, often appearing in controversial or experimental features, Sevigny is the recipient of several accolades, including a Golden Globe Award, a Satellite Award, an Independent Spirit Award, as well as nominations for an Academy Award and three Screen Actors Guild Awards. She also has a career in fashion design concurrent with her acting work. Over the years, her alternative fashion sense has earned her a reputation as a "style icon".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joyce Carol Oates</span> American author (born 1938)

Joyce Carol Oates is an American writer. Oates published her first book in 1963, and has since published 58 novels, a number of plays and novellas, and many volumes of short stories, poetry, and non-fiction. Her novels Black Water (1992), What I Lived For (1994), and Blonde (2000), and her short story collections The Wheel of Love (1970) and Lovely, Dark, Deep: Stories (2014) were each finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. She has won many awards for her writing, including the National Book Award, for her novel them (1969), two O. Henry Awards, the National Humanities Medal, and the Jerusalem Prize (2019).

<i>Kids</i> (film) 1995 film by Larry Clark

Kids is a 1995 American coming-of-age drama film directed by Larry Clark in his directorial debut and written by Harmony Korine in his screenwriting debut. It stars Leo Fitzpatrick, Justin Pierce, Chloë Sevigny, and Rosario Dawson, all in their film debuts. Set in 1995, Fitzpatrick, Pierce, Sevigny, Dawson, and other newcomers portray a group of teenagers in New York City. They are characterized as hedonists, who engage in sexual acts and substance abuse, over the course of a single day.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Harmony Korine</span> American film director and screenwriter

Harmony Korine is an American filmmaker, actor, photographer, artist, and author. His methods feature an erratic, loose and transgressive aesthetic, exploring taboo themes and incorporating experimental techniques, and works with art, music, fashion and advertising.

<i>Julien Donkey-Boy</i> 1999 film by Harmony Korine

Julien Donkey-Boy is a 1999 American experimental drama film written and directed by Harmony Korine. The story concentrates on Julien, a man with schizophrenia, played by Scottish actor Ewen Bremner, and his dysfunctional family. The film also stars Chloë Sevigny as Julien's sister, Pearl, and Werner Herzog as his father. Julien Donkey-Boy was the sixth film to be made under the self-imposed rules of the Dogme 95 manifesto, and the first non-European film to be made under the Dogme 95 "vow of chastity".

<i>Gummo</i> 1997 film by Harmony Korine

Gummo is a 1997 American experimental drama film written and directed by Harmony Korine, and stars Linda Manz, Max Perlich, Jacob Reynolds, Chloë Sevigny, Jacob Sewell, and Nick Sutton. The film is set in Xenia, Ohio, a Midwestern American town that had been previously struck by a devastating tornado. The loose narrative follows several main characters who find odd and destructive ways to pass time, interrupted by vignettes depicting other inhabitants of the town.

<i>Running on Empty</i> (1988 film) 1988 film by Sidney Lumet

Running on Empty is a 1988 American drama film directed by Sidney Lumet and written by Naomi Foner and starring River Phoenix, Judd Hirsch, Christine Lahti, and Martha Plimpton. It was produced by Lorimar Film Entertainment. It is the story of a counterculture couple on the run from the FBI, and how one of their sons starts to break out of this fugitive lifestyle.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pamela Reed</span> American actress

Pamela Reed is an American actress. She is known for playing Arnold Schwarzenegger's hypoglycemic police partner in the 1990 film Kindergarten Cop and portraying the matriarch Gail Green in Jericho. She appeared as Marlene Griggs-Knope on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation. She is also well known as the exasperated wife in Bean.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vincent Canby</span> American film and theatre critic (1924–2000)

Vincent Canby was an American film and theatre critic who served as the chief film critic for The New York Times from 1969 until the early 1990s, then its chief theatre critic from 1994 until his death in 2000. He reviewed more than one thousand films during his tenure there.

<i>Losin It</i> 1983 American-Canadian comedy film by Curtis Hanson

Losin' It is a 1983 comedy film directed by Curtis Hanson, and starring Tom Cruise, Shelley Long, Jackie Earle Haley and John Stockwell. The film follows four teenagers trying to lose their virginity. It was filmed largely in Calexico, California.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">A. O. Scott</span> American journalist and film critic

Anthony Oliver Scott is an American journalist and cultural critic, known for his film and literary criticism. After starting his career at The New York Review of Books, Variety, and Slate, he began writing film reviews for The New York Times in 2000, and became the paper's chief film critic in 2004, a title he shared with Manohla Dargis. In 2023, he moved to The New York Times Book Review.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Linda Manz</span> American actress (1961–2020)

Linda Ann Manz was an American actress. She made her feature film debut at age 15 in Terrence Malick's period drama Days of Heaven (1978), playing an adolescent girl growing up in rural Texas in 1916. She followed this with a supporting role in The Wanderers (1979). Manz earned critical acclaim for her portrayal of a troubled teenage girl from a dysfunctional family in Dennis Hopper's drama film Out of the Blue (1980).

<i>Two Girls and a Guy</i> 1997 film by James Toback

Two Girls and a Guy is a 1997 American black comedy-drama film written and directed by James Toback and produced by Edward R. Pressman and Chris Hanley. It stars Robert Downey Jr., Heather Graham and Natasha Gregson Wagner.

<i>The World According to Garp</i> (film) 1982 film by George Roy Hill

The World According to Garp is a 1982 American comedy-drama film produced and directed by George Roy Hill and starring Robin Williams in the title role. Written by Steve Tesich, it is based on the 1978 novel of the same title by John Irving. For their roles, John Lithgow and Glenn Close were respectively nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Actress in a Supporting Role at the 55th Academy Awards.

<i>A Crack Up at the Race Riots</i> Book by Harmony Korine

A Crack Up at the Race Riots is a novel written by Harmony Korine, writer of such cult films as Kids and Gummo. The book was published in 1998 by Doubleday. A new edition was later published by Drag City.

<i>Mister Lonely</i> 2007 film by Harmony Korine

Mister Lonely is a 2007 comedy film directed by Harmony Korine and co-written with his brother Avi Korine. It features an ensemble cast of international actors, including Diego Luna, Samantha Morton, Denis Lavant, Werner Herzog, James Fox, Anita Pallenberg and Leos Carax. The film follows a Michael Jackson look-alike joining a commune filled with other impersonators as they build a stage to attract people to see them perform. Mister Lonely garnered mixed reviews from critics and was a box-office bomb, grossing $393,813 against an $8.2 million budget.

<i>Wonderful Today</i>

Wonderful Today, subtitled The Autobiography, is the 2007 autobiography by English former fashion model and photographer Pattie Boyd, written with journalist and broadcaster Penny Junor. It was published by Headline Review in Britain, on 23 August 2007, and by Harmony Books in the United States, where it was titled Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me. Beginning with her childhood in Kenya, the book covers Boyd's modelling career in London during the 1960s, her marriage to and divorce from Beatle George Harrison and later marriage and divorce of Harrison's best friend, Eric Clapton. The book's title is in reference to Clapton's 1977 song "Wonderful Tonight", which he wrote about Boyd.

Lisa Schwarzbaum is an American film critic. She joined Entertainment Weekly as a senior writer in 1991, working as a film critic for the magazine alongside Owen Gleiberman from 1995 to 2013.

<i>Spring Breakers</i> 2012 film directed by Harmony Korine

Spring Breakers is a 2012 American comedy crime film written and directed by Harmony Korine and starring James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, and Gucci Mane. Gomez, Hudgens, Benson and Korine portray four college-aged girls who go on spring break in St. Petersburg, Florida and meet an eccentric local drug dealer (Franco) who helps them in a time of desperation, and their eventual descent into a world of drugs, crime, and violence.


  1. Maslin, Janet (December 17, 2012). "Janet Maslin's 10 Favorite Books of 2012". The New York Times . p. C35. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  2. Elder, Sean (September 23, 1999). "Maslin Bails, Critics Rail". Salon . Archived from the original on July 31, 2011. Retrieved December 21, 2007.
  3. Barr, Jeremy (May 19, 2015). "Times book critic Janet Maslin shifts into contributing role". Politico . Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  4. 1 2 Aradillas, Aaron. "She's something else. Janet Maslin in a rockcritics.com interview". Rock Critics Archives. Archived from the original on February 12, 2018. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  5. 1 2 "New Assignments for 3 Times Critics". The New York Times. October 27, 1993. p. C18. Retrieved February 7, 2021.
  6. 1 2 Barr, Jeremy (May 19, 2015). "Times book critic Janet Maslin shifts into contributing role". Politico .
  7. Maslin, Janet (October 17, 1997). "Cats, Grandma and Other Disposables". The New York Times.
  8. Keogan, Natalia (October 21, 2022). "Gummo and the Tradition of American Cruelty". Paste .
  9. Jenkins, David (January 7, 2016). "What's so great about Harmony Korine's Gummo?". Little White Lies .
  10. Baron, Zach (August 23, 2023). "Harmony Korine's Hi-Tech Vision for the Future of Movies". GQ .
  11. Schimkowitz, Matt (August 23, 2023). "Harmony Korine is too busy admiring stomachs to direct a script Terrence Malick wrote for him". The A.V. Club .
  12. "Janet Maslin". Charlie Rose. Retrieved 2023-08-06.
  13. "Recent and archived work by Janet Maslin for The New York Times". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 6, 2023. Retrieved August 25, 2023.
  14. Weinstein, Deb (February 14, 2011). "Janet Maslin vs. Joyce Carol Oates's 'Widow's Story'". Thewire.com . Archived from the original on October 7, 2016. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  15. "Unethical, Immoral. Crude and Cruel and Unconscionable". Crossing the Border. February 14, 2011. Archived from the original on November 10, 2011. Retrieved 2024-01-26.
Media offices
Preceded by Chief film critic of The New York Times
Succeeded by