Meet 'Blind Film Critic' Tommy Edison + Watch His Video Reviews
This guy! What an inspiration. Thanks to a great profile in The Guardian, we have been introduced to and must share this story of Tommy Edison, a man from here in America known as the "Blind Film Critic". Edison got the most attention in 2011 and 2012, being profiled by Roger Ebert and earning news coverage from CNN and other TV media by publishing YouTube video reviews of films he "watched", or rather, he listened to. We're just catching up to him now, but watching his reviews (see them below), seeing that smile on his face, and hearing his enthusiasm for film even though he can't actually see the screen - is infectious.
So how does it work? If Tommy can't see the movie, how is he reviewing it? Well, he's listening and judging the film based on his own imaginative experience. "I thought it might be fun to review movies from a blind person's perspective to show sighted people what that frustration is like." What is his smile-worthy response to those who say to him: "How can you even review a movie? You can’t even see it"? Edison: "After 1928, they started putting dialogue in films. They’re not all silent any more! Before that, [okay] yeah, I couldn’t review movies. But now I can and I love it." His motto: "No spoilers. I don't even know what happened."
Below is a collection of some of his best video reviews, mostly recorded around 2012. He hasn't posted many reviews since then, but is still actively involved. He's at a film festival judging audio descriptions of movies, the next level in watching a movie (beyond listening to the sound/music and dialogue). Enjoy any of these:
This final embed includes a full playlist of all of Tommy's most popular Blind Film Critic review videos:
In his review for Die Hard, Tommy explains the original idea behind doing this: "A conversation about this film inspired the idea for the Blind Film Critic YouTube channel. Tommy's friend, Ben, said even though Tommy has been blind since birth, he would be able to enjoy an action film like Die Hard because of its strong story and performances." As mentioned in The Guardian, some of his other favorite movies he's
seen heard: "I loved Hugo. And you wouldn’t think so, because it’s this giant beautiful thing to look at. But that story just was cooking. I love Goodfellas. I mean, who doesn’t love Goodfellas? That’s a film I believe any sighted person could watch that without pictures, on a broken television, and be able to understand. [Kevin Smith's] Clerks was another one like that. I also really liked American Hustle." Very interesting. I don't know many who'd agree with him on American Hustle, but that's why I like him and his unique opinion.
Right now, Tommy is a guest of The Other Film Festival in Melbourne, Australia where they often cater to disabled cinephiles. He's judging a competition to create the best audio description of FW Murnau’s 1922 horror classic Nosferatu. To see more of his videos or learn more about him, visit Tommy's YouTube page.