Film Thought: My Rating Scale is Optional

Rather than taking up room in a post I decided to write about this matter here.

Whenever I sit down and dissect a film down to all its component parts and how well I feel each facet affected the whole, of course, I can give it a score from one to 10. When I figured out how to write my rating scale, I worded it such that there can be varying degrees of film within each ordinal number but a definite stratification from one number to the next.

However, the nature of the internet is such that sometimes you will just want to scroll an article, or stop reading it after a certain point. That is fine. That is certainly the reader’s prerogative.

Hugo (2011, Paramount)

However, I saw a comment on Twitter that crystallized what I didn’t realize consciously:

If you’re not being forced to assign that grade, why do it? Why incentivize someone to skip your explanation? Why force a reader to fight against human nature to skip to the grade.

Most of the reviews I read that affect my viewing options do not have a number or stars but they stick in my mind based on how the reviewer discussed it.

The Critic

Memorably unfavorable reviews have made it clear to my mind why I would like something. I’d rather be intrigued by what is said about the film rather than a fairly arbitrary number that means different things to different people.

For example, many people would classify a film rated 5/10 as a middle of the road, mediocre film. However, when I rate something as a five I could tend to be quite angry at it because it’s usually a minor slip up that cost it being what I consider to be a good film (6-10).

Furthermore, there are many examples of times wherein I’ve dedicated many words or whole paragraphs of a review to explain “This movie does not work for me because but here are some reasons why you may enjoy it…”


This is the only image I could think of that matched the keyword “Enjoy.”

Having a hyperlinked number down there tempting eyes to skip explanations that may underscore why they’ll like or dislike a film.

So if I feel a film should have that number at the bottom of the review, I’ll surely add it. However, sometimes it’s caused significant consternation on my part and delayed getting reviews up. No more.

Hope you enjoy the numberless reviews to follow.


  1. Paul S · November 15, 2016

    I’m with you. I don’t use any scale or rating when I do a review. I think spelling out what you enjoy (or don’t) in writing stands on its own. Or it should.
    I must admit I do log and rate the films I watch on Letterboxd. But the star ratings I give them are usually a “gut feeling”.

    • bernardovillela · November 15, 2016

      I pass on Letterboxd more often than not.

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