Manohla Dargis grew up in the East Village in New York, where she attended public school and was a frequent attendee at both St. Mark’s Cinema and Theater 80. She started writing about movies professionally in 1987 while earning her MA in cinema studies at New York University. A class with the longtime Village Voice critic J. Hoberman led to her being hired to write about avant-garde cinema for the Voice. She kept on writing and since then has written about a lot of movies for a lot of publications and her work has been anthologized in several books. She has been the co-chief film critic for The New York Times since 2004. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband.
On September 23, 2019, The New York Review of Books and David Zwirner Books hosted “The Power of the Critic,” the first in a four-part series of public talks bringing together leading writers, artists, and thinkers to explore the role of power within the cultural sphere.