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Guillermo del Toro rallies for optimism in powerful new essay: “No hope is ever too small”

Photo: Presley Ann (Getty Images)

When faced with our current political landscape, the looming threat of climate change, and the general callousness of strangers on the internet, it’s easy to be a pessimist. That’s why, in his new essay for Time magazine, director Guillermo del Toro repeatedly refers to optimism as the “radical,” often more difficult choice. It’s a good message, and one that needs to be repeated again and again, if only to combat the ceaseless swarm of negativity polluting the cultural airwaves.

“Optimism is our instinct to inhale while suffocating,” del Toro writes. “Our need to declare what ‘needs to be’ in the face of what is. Optimism is not uncool; it is rebellious and daring and vital.” While the director concedes that, as American sci-fi writer Theodore Sturgeon once said, “Ninety percent of everything is crap,” he believes that that must mean the remaining ten percent is “worth the damn effort.”


Del Toro’s essay is featured in Time’s 2019 Optimists issue, which is edited by Selma filmmaker Ava DuVernay. The issue also features essays from Laverne Cox, Bill Gates, former Top Chef contestant Preeti Mistry, and luminaries from a vast array of other industries. Each uses their platform to discuss the importance of hope, optimism, and the future. Not a bad way to kick off 2019.

You can read Guillermo del Toro’s full essay here.

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Dan Neilan

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Have Fun — Will Travel.