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Chris Hewitt: Reviewing movies and theater in the age of COVID

Movie and theater critic Chris Hewitt previously worked at the Pioneer Press in St. Paul, where he covered movies and then theater. A native of Racine, Wis., he grew up in a tiny town on the far northern edge of Illinois, moving to the Twin Cities in 1991 to do theater public relations, which he did badly for a couple years before joining the Pioneer Press. As an 11-year-old, his grandma turned him on to Agatha Christie’s mystery novels and, a few years ago, he decided to re-read all 78 of them in the order they were written. His blog,, includes mini-reviews of each book and a ranking of them, from first (“The ABC Murders”) to 78th (“Passenger to Frankfurt”). He’s probably reading a good book right this minute.

You were a history major in college at Illinois Wesleyan University? How did you get into journalism and criticism?

It is a small liberal arts school, so there was no journalism degree program, but I had the opportunity to edit the paper and write reviews for it, not thinking at the time that it’s what I’d do for a living.

Your job has changed dramatically since COVID-19. How have you dealt with that?

Although there is something to be said for not working so many nights and weekends, I’m definitely mourning theater and kicking myself for taking for granted the time not too long ago when I saw live theater three times a week. Movies have found it easier to pivot to streaming (and are now coming back to theaters), so it feels like that part of my job has been pretty much the same, except I’m “screening” a lot of movies in my basement. Which, by the way, I am really sick of, like everyone else.

Where are you getting ideas for the Film

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