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Roger Ebert's last review: A lukewarm assessment of 'The Host'

April 04, 2013|By Nicole Sperling
  • Max Irons, left, Jake Abel and Saoirse Ronan in "The Host."
Max Irons, left, Jake Abel and Saoirse Ronan in "The Host." (Alan Markfield / The Host…)

Roger Ebert's  last review published before he died Thursday was on Andrew Niccol's "The Host." It makes you wish the final words of the beloved critic could have been spent on a film that was far better -- or far worse.

The 70-year-old critic wrote a mere six paragraphs about the adaptation of the Stephenie Meyer bestseller, giving the film 2 1/2 stars.

"The Host" centers on a tough-minded teenager, played by Saoirse Ronan, whose body is invaded by an alien soul, yet she retains her own identity.

Roger Ebert: Career in pictures

According to Ebert: "This leads to interior conversations between the Soul Melanie and the Earth Melanie. ... This intimate form of self-love leads to dialogue that will possibly be found humorous by some people."

Clearly, Ebert was one of those people.

He added: "True, in our own lives, we pick up warnings on that frequency: No! You'll get pregnant! No! He's from the other side of town! No! He's your best friend's boyfriend! I imagine this as a version of one of those debates where little angels with harps and devils with pitchforks perch on your shoulders."

Ebert went on to comment on director Niccol's oeuvre, which he says centers on "humans living (whether they realize it or not) in artificial societies."

He concluded: "His films' ground rules limit the depth and variety of possible relationships, and 'The Host' is top-heavy with profound, sonorous conversations, all tending to sound like farewells. The movie is so consistently pitched at the same note, indeed, that the structure robs it of possibilities for dramatic tension."

Ebert's recent reviews can be found on his website,


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