Inkoo Kang is a staff writer at Slate and film critic. She was formally the Chief TV critic at MTV and a film critic at The Wrap.
What inspired you to be a critic?
I grew up reading film and TV criticism as a kid, and I was lucky enough to have a daily subscription to the LA Times from middle school on, since the newspaper had, and has, a great roster of critics. In college -- this is around 10-15 years ago -- I got into online and magazine criticism (Slate, Salon, The New Yorker, etc.) and was inspired by how criticism could take many different forms to address many different topics and issues. I loved reading a lot of those analyses, and I knew I could contribute in my own way in that arena. Plus, I'm the most loudly opinionated person I know.
Why do different critical voices matter?
Different people, and different kinds of people, come with different experiences and different sensibilities. A healthy critical ecosphere would reflect that range in human diversity. And while critics are far from the most important voices in the film/TV industry, we do play a role in tastemaking, advocacy, and cultural commentary. Those are all areas that would benefit from representing a broader cross-section of society. A greater variety of perspectives can only make criticism better, and can hopefully -- fingers crossed -- make the movies less homogeneous too by refusing to settle for the same old stories from the same old points of view.
What films are you excited about right now?
First Reformed! It captures a particular cloud of despair we've all been living under for years that hasn't been explored enough in the media, let alone the movies. I'm still not sure about the ending, but I haven't felt that emotionally charged by a film in a long time. Please see it, everyone who is reading this!
What “hidden gem” do you think deserves more attention?
I think my absolute favorite film that I've seen in the (admittedly few) years that I've been reviewing is We Are the Best! It's a Swedish coming-of-age movie about a group of 13-year-old girls who start a punk band in the '80s (just as punk is on its way out), and it's so poignant and energizing and relatable and special. Also please see this too, everyone who is reading this!