Who needs film school when you can just follow Guillermo del Toro on Twitter?
The Oscar-winning director of The Shape of Water and Pan’s Labyrinth took to Twitter today to write a 10-tweet analysis of Alfonso Cuarón’s film Roma—one of the top contenders for the Academy Award for best picture. Casting his masterful director’s eye on the film, del Toro deduces Cuarón’s intentions with several of the choices he made. And this was just the latest in del Toro’s long history of using his Twitter feed for insightful film criticism and curation.
Yesterday, del Toro wrote a wonderful bite-sized review of James Mangold’s Wolverine film Logan and how it fits into the Western canon. Before that he explained why Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can was one of the most underrated films ever; hailed Lynne Ramsay as one of the best directors working today; summarized the through-line of the Coen Brothers’ oeuvre; and, best of all, argued in 13 tweets why Zodiac is David Fincher’s best film (it totally is).
Like the best professor you ever had, del Toro’s musings on film theory and history are all genuinely interesting and beautifully succinct. He’ll often put directors’ films in conversation with each other (and with those of other filmmakers), giving followers important context on many popular movies. Del Toro obviously didn’t invent film criticism—contextualizing an artist’s work is one of the main tenets of good criticism—but it’s still refreshing to see in the age of Rotten Tomatoes and the superficial “thumb’s up” or “thumb’s down” reviews that are now the norm.
It’s a bonus that del Toro is an award-winning filmmaker himself who understands the kind of thinking that goes into great movie-making, and is so willing to share that perspective on social media. He is clearly someone with a cavernous love for cinema and appreciation of the work of his fellow directors. (Barry Jenkins and Ava DuVernay are two more directors worth following, who routinely show support on Twitter for their contemporaries.)
Del Toro’s role as the internet’s film curator-in-chief has spilled over into his actual work: Last year the Mexican director was given his own label at Fox Searchlight, where he’ll produce and curate sci-fi, horror, and fantasy films for the arthouse studio. His taste in film is so esteemed that someone compiled a list of every movie he ever recommended on Twitter. There are 350 in total, spanning decades, genres, and styles.
One of del Toro’s best services to followers is his ”Righting a Wrong” series, in which he brings up—often out of the blue—a film that was either unpopular or panned by critics, and argues in 280 characters or less why it’s deserving of another look. In addition to being one of Twitter’s best film critics, del Toro is among its most notable film historians and archivists. His knowledge of cinema is vast. If del Toro says a film is worth reevaluating, it probably is.
As an intro to del Toro’s film course, here are a few of his best Twitter threads (click on each tweet to see the entire thread):