We’re a Canadian not-for-profit online publication dedicated to a collaborative approach to cultural criticism — mainly film and theatre — through multiple lenses.
We publish slow, thoughtful criticism that makes you think
We aren’t in a hurry to be the first to publish a review, but we do want to be very thoughtful, which often means seeing a film several times in order to do deep analysis. We cover great films that are too often ignored and films we really care about.
When we love a film, we shout about it. We dive deep with Special Issues, which feature multiple articles looking at a single film or subject from multiple angles. We articulate why we love something and what makes it so great.
We only cover films we care about. And we’re often the first (or only) publication to cover hidden foreign and independent gems. At festivals, we seek out under-the-radar films by emerging filmmakers.
We want to understand how filmmakers — directors, cinematographers, writers, and more — think about making films. We dive deep and get technical, but we’ll never go over your head.
Read our interviews
Clear, precise, and engaging writing
We edit. A lot. If one of our editors doesn’t understand a word, a sentence, or an argument, we won’t publish it. No matter how complex the article or its topic, our top priority is to be thorough and clear.
Accessible to everyone
Though we look at film through all kinds of lenses — theatre, sound design, disability, science — we never require our readers to have any prior knowledge of film history or of any subject we address.
Supporting women in film
We’re entirely run by women, and we make a point of covering films directed by women and about women.
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Some of our favourite directors
When we really love a film or a director, we dedicate multiple articles to it. Three of Seventh Row’s favourite directors, on whom we’ve dedicated some of the most in-depth coverage out there, are:
What people are saying about us
“7R is the rare site that still writes about movies with equal amounts of passion, detail, knowledge and love. Every piece is its own little treasure of revelations, reevaluations, and discoveries. 7R has made me rethink movies — or actors — more than once, and thus enriched my movie experiences more than any other outlet today.” – Per M. Mjølkeråen
“Seventh Row writes about the films they love with such unabashed enthusiasm; they champion great art and delve deep. When I’ve fallen in love with a film, I want to pore over the details and consider it deeply, and Seventh Row indulges that. And at times when I haven’t loved a film, I’ve gone to Seventh Row specifically to educate myself and to gain a deeper appreciation for nuances in the movie that I may have missed.
Most often, I go to Seventh Row because they will have beautifully articulated the feelings I have about a film. (‘Aha! THAT’S exactly what was bugging me about La La Land!’ ‘THAT’S why Call Me By Your Name felt like summer.’).” – Jessica Dillon
“Every Seventh Row article is worth reading twice – once to learn about exciting new films to keep an eye out for and a second time for a detailed analysis that adds new layers to the film you’ve just seen.” – Brett Pardy
Lastly, fest after fest, @SeventhRow always goes deep on less heralded films. I loved their coverage of Ava, The Judge, and others. Thanks!
— Nick Davis (@NicksFlickPicks) December 30, 2017
Seventh Row offers great reads for lovers of film, but if you are a filmmaker of any stripe, Seventh Row is your best friend. The interviews with filmmakers offer specific insights into the craft and philosophy of filmmaking from a wide range of critically acclaimed filmmakers. I’ve learned things about filmmaking from reading Seventh Row that I’ve never seen written down elsewhere. If you want to understand film more deeply or make better films yourself, do yourself a favor and read Seventh Row.” – Shaula Evans
“7R offers critical, in-depth analysis of significant, but often marginalized or underseen films. The nuanced, investigatory nature of the pieces on both the site and in the eBooks offers keen insight and commentary in an intelligent, accessible fashion. The site is ideal for flagging festival films that should be our cultural radar or reminding readers about films they may have missed. It is essential reading for fans of quality films and the critical analysis that pairs with them. – Joe Lipsett
Listen to our 21st Folio podcast
We run a podcast about modern Shakespeare productions of stage and screen.
What is interdisciplinary criticism?
Our analysis is often filtered through our writers’ expertise in other areas, like disability, teaching empathy, or climate change. This was inspired by founder and Editor-in-Chief Alex Heeney’s own multidisciplinary background: an engineer by training, with experience in theatre, classical music, and higher education.
We consistently encourage all of our writers to contribute with pieces that truly make use of their unique, personal perspective and expertise. The pieces we publish go in depth into a film, theatre production, or TV series; some even focus on just one aspect of a film, such as sound design, cinematography, or costume.
As our approach encompasses a broad array of topics and perspectives, we aim to encourage a greater awareness of a film’s cultural and sociological context. This attitude implies, and even defines, our feminism.
How do we approach feminism in criticism?
Because films directed by women are often dismissed outright by a sexist industry, this is where they are usually found. For this reason, there is practically no way for our festival correspondents to know which films are worth seeing before they watch them themselves, and so they strive to watch them all. We cannot pretend that these films are part of the mainstream, when they so blatantly aren’t. For many of those films, Seventh Row is the only English-language outlet to pay any attention to them at all.
Our efforts to rid film coverage of unfair prejudice go even further: we subject the film canon to the same uncompromising questioning. We do not blindly accept the classic status of older films, nor do we review every major film on release, even if they are directed by big names. Rather, we focus on those our writers have an interesting response to. We are always looking for fresh, informed, and well-argued perspectives on cinema old and new.
What makes our interviews different?
At a time where many film publications either fold or resort to clickbait headlines, and abandon real editing work for the less costly choice of doing no editing at all, The Seventh Row aims to maintain a high level of quality. Historically, we have been available for free and have operated without ads, but that is no longer financially viable to keep us running – and in such a hostile climate, we are determined to start paying our writers. That is why we have introduced eBooks of our Special Issues and other collected content, available to buy for a very small fee, and memberships: as of Jan 15, 2018, all of our content that is more than 6 months old will be locked for everyone except our members. Whether you remain a member for a month, a year, or longer, your small contribution will significantly help us support unique, uncompromising, dedicated writers doing the hard work they love.