Tommy Edison, the Blind Film Critic

Tommy Edison, the Blind Film Critic

Tommy Edison and the videos he makes on his website, Blind Film Critic, have been making the rounds on the internet lately. Edison, who has been blind since birth, has been giving sighted people a new perspective on what it’s like not only to watch movies as a blind person, but also how blind people perform seemingly mundane tasks like cooking dinner or using an ATM for the first time. His website gives sighted people more information on lives that may seem completely foreign to them. Edison’s comments are different than most film critics’, but he also pays attention to aspects of movies that can get overshadowed by flashy screenshots and attractive actors.

He says that he pays attention to the writing and acting, instead. In addition to rating the film generally, he also rates films specifically for blind people, for whom different elements would make a movie worth renting. In reviewing Scream 4, for example, Edison wrote that sighted people would enjoy the movie, but that blind people should stay home. In his reviews, Edison includes clips of the music and the sound in the movie, illustrating how blind people can relate and should react to the movie. He definitely pays more attention to music soundtracks than other film critics, saying how the music affects the attendee’s mood.

Edison has reviewed a huge number of movies, including War Horse and Bridesmaids. After hosting radio shows for many years, Edison seems very comfortable being recorded—he doesn’t write reviews, but rather speaks them—laughing affably often. Roger Ebert put Edison’s first two film reviews on his own Chicago Sun-Times blog. Other Edison fans include Tosh.O and Howard Stern, who invited Edison to his show in 2004. Edison also posts a number of recorded blogs under the heading of “The Tommy Edison Experience.”

One of the most powerful—“When Sighted People Forget”—in which he talks about the simple things that sighted people do that can really throw a blind person off. In one segment, he mentions that moving one object out of place can really throw a blind person off—literally. His pieces are really relatable because he never condemns any sighted person for being insensitve; rather, he laughs off his misfortunes and encourages sighted people to be a little more aware of their blind friends. What do you think of Edison’s film reviewing and day-in-the-life videos? Do they give you more insight into how blind people live?