Although Christopher Nolan is well-versed in the workings of Hollywood film reviewers, it’s safe to assume he wasn’t prepared for criticism in the middle of a fitness class.
During his acceptance of the New York Film Critics Circle’s Best Director award on Wednesday, the Oppenheimer director revealed how a Peloton instructor had taken him by surprise by offering her critical analysis of one of his films.
“I was on my Peloton doing a high-interval workout. I’m dying,” Nolan said during his acceptance speech. “The instructor started talking about one of my films and said, ‘Has anyone else seen this? Because that’s a couple hours of my life I’ll never get back again.’”
The instructor unintentionally referenced a Christopher Nolan film that he was actually present for during a Peloton class. Later on, it was confirmed that the movie in question was Nolan’s Tenet released in 2020.
Though Nolan acknowledged that “directors have a complex emotional relationship with critics and criticism,” he expressed his appreciation for the continued relevance of film critics in the industry.
“When [film critic] Rex Reed takes a shit on your film, he doesn’t ask you to work out!” the Oscar-nominated director quipped. “In today’s world, where opinions are everywhere, there is a sort of idea that film criticism is being democratized. But I, for one, think the critical appreciation of films shouldn’t be an instinct, but it should be a profession.”
Nolan resumed, addressing the professional critics at the ceremony, “What we have here tonight is a group of professionals who attempt objectivity. Obviously writing about cinema objectively is a paradox, but the aspirations of objectivity is what makes criticism vital and timeless and useful to filmmakers and the filmmaking community.”