Stuff We Love: Lindsay Ellis' YouTube channel bathes our brains in film theory

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Sep 3, 2019, 7:45 AM EDT (Updated)

What’s better than watching movies? Watching videos about film theory. In essence, good film theory explores your favorite medium from multiple angles, yet gets to the heart of the matter. It’s like slicing into films with a sharpened knife.

That’s what Lindsay Ellis does on her YouTube channel, which boasts over 150,000 subscribers. Ellis, who has a master's degree from the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, carves up movies such as Beauty and the Beast and Phantom of the Opera, and serves them to us in memorable pieces.

Her work includes “The Complex Feels of Guardians of the Galaxy 2,” which points out that the film’s true enemy isn’t Ego but ego, and "Planting and Payoff Featuring Mad Max: Fury Road,” where Ellis explains the importance of forgiveness in a film where compassion is hard to come by.

But her work on Michael Bay's Transformers series is where Ellis truly shines. She breaks Bay down in terms of genre, auteur theory, and feminism. But lest you think her work is dedicated to bashing Bay’s male gaze (which is so over the top it deserves its own FDA warning: “Can cause dangerous levels of testosterone”), she notes how Bay treats his male characters—with contempt. Ellis backs up her explanations with a preposterous number of examples from the films. It's enough even for the most ardent Bay fan to rethink his life choices. Lindsay actually authored our Transformers in 2 minutes video. 

Ellis’ work is intelligent yet engaging, and her visual essays stay with me longer than some movies do. Click here to subscribe to Elli's channel. Transformers fans need not apply.