Janet Maslin
Born (1949-08-12) August 12, 1949 (age 74)
New York City, U.S.
EducationUniversity of Rochester (BA)
Years active1970–present
EmployerThe New York Times
Known forFilm and literary criticism

Janet R. Maslin (born August 12, 1949) is an American journalist, best known as a film and literary critic for The New York Times.[1] She served as a Times film critic from 1977 to 1999 and as a book critic from 2000 to 2015. In 2000, Maslin helped found the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, New York. She is president of its board of directors.[2][3]


Maslin graduated from the University of Rochester in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics.[4]


Maslin began her career as a rock music critic for The Boston Phoenix and became a film editor and critic for that publication. She also worked as a freelancer for Rolling Stone and worked at Newsweek.[5]

Maslin became a film critic for The New York Times in 1977. From December 1, 1994, she replaced Vincent Canby as the chief film critic.[5] Maslin continued to review films for The Times until 1999, when she briefly left the newspaper.[6] Her film criticism career, including her embrace of American independent cinema, is discussed in the documentary For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism (2009). In the documentary, Entertainment Weekly critic Lisa Schwarzbaum recalls the excitement of having a woman as the lead reviewer at The New York Times. In a 2005 interview with Aaron Aradillas at Rockcritics.com, Maslin explained she quit reviewing films because she experienced burnout, expressing gratitude it ended when it did.[4] Filmmaker Harmony Korine, whose directorial debut feature Gummo (1997) Maslin famously called "worst film of the year",[7][8][9] noted how Maslin stopped working as a movie critic not long after.[10][11]

From 1994 to 2003, Maslin was a frequent guest on Charlie Rose. Overall she made 61 appearances on the program.[12]

From 2000 she worked as a book reviewer for The New York Times; from 2015 as a contributor as opposed to being their full-time critic.[6] As of 2023, Maslin continues to review books for the newspaper, albeit sparsely. Her latest[when?] review is for Dennis Lehane's novel Small Mercies, speculating it might be the author's last and concluding with "As epitaphs go, you could do a lot worse."[13] Among her reviews are many enthusiastic discoveries of then-unknown crime writers, the first American assessment of an Elena Ferrante novel, and a 2011 essay on the widowed Joyce Carol Oates's memoir, A Widow's Story, which offended some of Oates's admirers.[14][15]


  1. ^ Maslin, Janet (December 17, 2012). "Janet Maslin's 10 Favorite Books of 2012". The New York Times. p. C35. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  2. ^ Elder, Sean (September 23, 1999). "Maslin Bails, Critics Rail". Salon. Archived from the original on July 31, 2011. Retrieved December 21, 2007.
  3. ^ Barr, Jeremy (May 19, 2015). "Times book critic Janet Maslin shifts into contributing role". Politico. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Aradillas, Aaron. "She's something else. Janet Maslin in a rockcritics.com interview". Rock Critics Archives. Archived from the original on February 12, 2018. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "New Assignments for 3 Times Critics". The New York Times. October 27, 1993. p. C18. Retrieved February 7, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Barr, Jeremy (May 19, 2015). "Times book critic Janet Maslin shifts into contributing role". Politico.
  7. ^ Maslin, Janet (October 17, 1997). "Cats, Grandma and Other Disposables". The New York Times.
  8. ^ Keogan, Natalia (October 21, 2022). "Gummo and the Tradition of American Cruelty". Paste.
  9. ^ Jenkins, David (January 7, 2016). "What's so great about Harmony Korine's Gummo?". Little White Lies.
  10. ^ Baron, Zach (August 23, 2023). "Harmony Korine's Hi-Tech Vision for the Future of Movies". GQ.
  11. ^ Schimkowitz, Matt (August 23, 2023). "Harmony Korine is too busy admiring stomachs to direct a script Terrence Malick wrote for him". The A.V. Club.
  12. ^ "Janet Maslin". Charlie Rose. Retrieved 2023-08-06.
  13. ^ "Recent and archived work by Janet Maslin for The New York Times". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 6, 2023. Retrieved August 25, 2023.
  14. ^ Weinstein, Deb (February 14, 2011). "Janet Maslin vs. Joyce Carol Oates's 'Widow's Story'". Thewire.com. Archived from the original on October 7, 2016. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  15. ^ "Unethical, Immoral. Crude and Cruel and Unconscionable". Crossing the Border. February 14, 2011. Archived from the original on November 10, 2011. Retrieved 2024-01-26.
Media offices Preceded byVincent Canby Chief film critic of The New York Times 1994–1999 Succeeded byA.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis