Book Review: It’s Only A Movie

From the Campus Lantern: October 4, 2012

Mark Kermode is a film critic known for his wit and intelligent rants on BBC Radio 5 Live. With his co-presenter, Simon Mayo, they banter through UK’s top ten at the box office, new film releases, and sometimes about Mark’s ‘big, flappy hands’ or Mayo’s All-Request Friday on Radio 2.

It’s Only a Movie is Mark’s autobiography about how he got into reviewing films in the first place. Instead of just recounting his life, Mark imagines his autobiography as a TV movie where certain actors star as the people in his life. Bringing the wit that makes his film program entertaining, or ‘wittertaining’ by fans, he makes his life not only a funny experience, but one where we all can relate to.

From his interview with Wener Herzog at the beginning to his first radio job and beyond, Mark goes into detail about his life. With that, he is not afraid to say that he had been rejected from universities, or that he was nervous being on-air that first time.

Through these experiences, he comes across as an inspiring figure for aspiring critics and writers alike; even warning about the dangers that critics may face. After all, a punch in the face isn’t always a pleasant thing nor is the backlash from someone’s opinion.

The other great thing about this book is Mark’s honesty when it comes to things like politics and film. While he is a critic and there will be disagreements, he is unafraid to speak his mind. After all, he was inspired by horror films, like The Exorcist, growing up that helped him become the film critic that he is today.

Because of how he embraced his past, I kept reading until the end. While I’ll admit that I’ve been a fan of Kermode for four years, this book gave me a whole new perspective. One that goes beyond his, “Hello to Jason Isaacs”, and his rants about 3D and films he did not like.

His experiences, from working at Time Out to the BBC, were realistic to me. Not only inspiring by being outspoken about mistakes, Mark implies that there is a way to get the career that you want, yet, also referencing the hard work it took him to just start reviewing films.

So whether it is for the wit and comedy, or for his moral message, I recommend It’s Only a Movie to book lovers, writers, and fellow students. Let your TV movie be the best it can be.

You can find It’s Only a Movie on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions. You can also listen to his program, Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review online at or download the podcast for additional wit and banter.


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