Having been in the film industry for more than two decades, Christopher Nolan is no stranger to critics. However, the Oscar-winning director was probably not expecting to get dissed by his Peloton instructor amid a grueling workout.
While accepting the award for Best Director during Wednesday night’s (Jan. 3) New York Film Critics Circle, Nolan recalled the time one of his films was given a surprise review by the instructor in a Peloton class he was taking.
“I was on my Peloton doing a high-interval [workout]. I’m dying,” he said, per Deadline. “The instructor started talking about one of my films and said, ‘Has anyone else seen this? Because that’s a couple hours of my life I’ll never get back again.'”
He playfully added, “When [film critic] Rex Reed takes a shit on your film, he doesn’t ask you to work out!”
The Oppenheimer director’s story served as a segue into a deeper conversation about the professionalism of film critics.
“In today’s world, where opinions are everywhere, there is a sort of idea that film criticism is being democratized,” he said. “But I, for one, think the critical appreciation of films shouldn’t be an instinct, but it should be a profession. And what we have here tonight is a group of professionals who attempt objectivity.”
Nolan’s speech later went viral on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter), where users quickly found the original Peloton clip in which instructor Jenn Sherman tore into his 2020 film Tenet. According to Sherman, she found the science fiction flick, which stars John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, a little too confusing for her liking.
“This song is from a soundtrack of a movie called Tenet,” she said in the video. “Anybody see this shit? Did anybody see this besides me? Because I need a manual. Someone’s got to explain this. Yeah, I’m not kidding, what the fuck was going on in that movie? Do you understand? Seriously, you need to be a neuroscientist to understand.”
She added, “And that’s two and a half hours of my life that I want back. I want it back!”
After learning that Nolan heard the comments himself, Sherman responded on Instagram yesterday (Jan. 4), where she posted a video explaining herself. She told her followers, in part, “Listen. It was 2020. It was a dark time. I’m on the platform, teaching my little class, and I’m running my mouth off like I’m known to do. And I make a random comment about a movie I had seen the night before. What do you think the odds are that the director of said movie would take that ride some four years later? That would only happen to me.”
She later offered Nolan to take one of her classes at the Peloton studio, telling him, “You can critique my class. You’ll have a great time. You’ll sit in the front row. And I promise you it’ll be insult-free.”
I guess we know what three-hour movie Sherman probably skipped out on seeing last summer (hint: Oppenheimer).