Chicago Sun Times - Roger Ebert
Contrary to many of the other reviews, Roger Ebert begins by focusing on the art form of voguing and it’s descent into popular media. He explains the art and the model-like style of the dance. Although many see Madonna as the frontrunner of this dance form, Paris Is Burning is quick to correct this. Jeannie Livingston’s portrayal of the ball world brings to light the culture roots of voguing.
Ebert then addresses, similar to other reviews, the nature of the competitions. Categories such as “the gay basher who beat you up on the way here tonight” are competed in and judged based on how believable they are.
Finally, Ebert argues that although many see the film as depressing, “I was no depressed. What I saw was a successful attempt by the outsiders to dramatize how success and status in the world often depend on the props you can buy, or steal, almost anywhere - assuming you have the style to know how to use them.” Through this, Ebert is able to show the audience that this is simply a reality for the ball performers, and not something depressing that should be looked down upon.