Last Updated on January 12, 2024
Unless you’re getting a shout-out from an instructor, chances are quite slim that you’ll hear your name mentioned during a Peloton session… unless you’re Christopher Nolan.
While accepting the Best Director award from the New York Film Critics Circle for Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan revealed he found an unlikely critic while using his Peloton. “I was on my Peloton. I’m dying. And the instructor started talking about one of my films and said, ‘Did anyone see this? That’s a couple hours of my life I’ll never get back again!’” Nolan said. “When [film critic] Rex Reed takes a shit on your film he doesn’t ask you to work out! In today’s world, where opinions are everywhere, there is a sort of idea that film criticism is being democratized, but I for one think the critical appreciation of films shouldn’t be an instinct but it should be a profession.“
Nolan didn’t mention the film or the Peloton instructor, but the internet got to work and quickly discovered a clip in which instructor Jenn Sherman let loose on Tenet. “What the f*** was going on in that movie?” Sherman said. “Do you understand? Seriously, you need to be a neuroscientist to understand. And that’s two and a half hours of my life that I want back. I want it back!” No matter what your thoughts on Tenet were, it’s a little funny to think about Nolan taking some time out for a workout, only to have to listen to the instructor ripping one of his movies apart.
“Directors have a complex emotional relationship with critics and criticism,” Nolan said. “A question we’re always asked is: Do we read reviews? Let’s start with the fact that I’m British. A typical family gathering will involve relatives saying to me, ‘You know, Christopher. You probably shouldn’t open The Guardian today.’“
Nolan continued, “In today’s world, as filmmakers you can’t hide behind authorial intent. You can’t say, ‘This is what I intended.’ We live in a world where the person receiving the story has the right to say what it means to them. I for one love that. It means the work should speak for itself. It’s not about what I say it is. It’s about what you receive it to be. In that world, the role of the professional critic, or the interpreter and the person who tries to give context for the reader…it’s incredibly important. I’ve never been so grateful for careful, considered and thoughtful writing about one of my films as I was for ‘Oppenheimer.’“