Roger Ebert's death yesterday is a sad moment. There are many reasons I think why its so sad. He was one of those writers that made you feel like he would be fantastic to meet. He wrote with such engagement and enthusiasm that it was hard not to share what he thought. He also incarnated I think one of the key functions of a critic- he was an essayist rather than a writer of articles. The difference is that whereas often reviewers of films seek to write about the film and its story and the performances- Ebert often managed to use the film to think about wider issues. This didn't mean his reviews were an excuse to write about those issues: rather Ebert allowed the film to grow those issues inside his head. I didn't always agree with his reviews- some of them I downright disagreed with- but I always found his reviews interesting to read and rewarding. Sometimes I read a review of a film I wanted to review on this blog and thought having read his article that I couldn't say anything- there wasn't anything left to add. More often I found his perspective was interesting and different. His writing about his later cancer was moving and profound at moments and his blog came across like the blog of someone who you could like.