Directors Round Table: Spike Jonze wants to hear from critics' heart

Steve McQueen: 'Only a few have I actually learned from... it's very rare.'

Want to know how to quiet down a room full of top Hollywood directors? Try asking whether they read their own reviews.

At the recent Envelope Directors Round Table, filmmakers Paul Greengrass ("Captain Phillips") Nicole Holofcener ("Enough Said"), John Lee Hancock ("Saving Mr. Banks"), J.C. Chandor ("All Is Lost"), Steve McQueen ("12 Years a Slave") and Spike Jonze ("Her") shared a moment of reluctant silence upon being asked whether they pay attention to film critics.

Greengrass eventually broke the silence. "The truth is, you always believe the bad ones and you never believe the good ones," he said. "Isn't that the truth of it?"


Holofcener added, "I stopped reading the bad ones. … I don't need that."

McQueen echoed Greengrass' sentiments. "You're happy if it's a good one, and you feel bad when it's a bad one," he said. "It's just how it is. But do I learn anything from them? Only a few, actually I've learned from. … It's very rare."

Jonze says he likes some distance. "I usually wait till later, till I'm not in the middle of it," he said. "I like the ones where people, whether they like it or not, it's a more personal emotional reaction to it as opposed to an analytical review, or when they say, 'This will translate to this audience.' It's like, just say what you feel. Those are the ones, when people write what they feel, I respect them and I respond to them."

For more from the Directors Round Table, watch the full video above.