The raison d’être of the humanities is widely held to reside in its unique ability to generate critical thinking and critical thinkers. But what is “critical thinking?” Is it a generalized mode of reasoning or a form of political critique? How does it relate to discipline-specific practices of scholarly pursuit? How does it relate to discourses of “post-truth” and “alternative facts”? How is it best taught? This essay explores these issues via a case study of conceptualizations of critical thinking among cinema scholars at Stockholm University, whose views are interpreted against the backdrop of (a) debates about the value of the humanities; (b) higher education scholarship on critical thinking; and (c) the legacy of certain disciplinary traditions within cinema studies, especially the paradigms of “post-theory” and “political modernism.” The interviews attest to the persistence of critical thinking as a fundamental, yet highly elusive, concept to higher education in the arts and humanities.