Back in the good ol’ days, people used to find new movies to watch from the newspaper, magazines, neighbors, and friends. Nowadays, we are lucky to have websites like Rotten Tomatoes, IMBD, Criticker.com, and a handful of others, but the platform that stands out the most has to be Letterboxd. In my opinion, it stands head and shoulders above the rest of the free, online services and is now my goto for all things movies.
Each service has their approach for providing value to movie lovers. Rotten Tomatoes is mainly focused on reviews, both amateur and professional. Many people prefer read critic reviews before deciding to watch a movie, and Rotten Tomatoes has capitalized on that, pushing their own trustworthy scoring mechanism based mainly on critic analysis. IMDB changed a lot over the years going from the main data source for movies, actors, directors, etc. to an all encompassing platform for everything media. Both of these services are fantastic and offer tons of value for most, including features like a ticketing service and related news articles.
Letterboxd is different. It is a well-done social network for everything film. Unlike the other platforms, every user can build their own movie watchlist, publish reviews/ratings for films, and follow their friends and other popular profiles. It also somehow stays up to date with every movie ever made, the classics, today’s blockbusters, and even indie documentaries.
It is a true blessing that people who are on Letterboxd don’t abuse the public service. The free plan that most people are on has everything and more for the average movie watcher, and there is plenty of room for trolls to push bad content. The service has done a fantastic job at content management, and therefore, everything is rather trustworthy and extremely useful for people trying to learn more about a movie or find new movies to watch. I personally find the reviews of Letterboxd much more helpful than those on the competing sites. Since there are no obvious professional movie critics, the reviews page feels much more like conversation than a formal set of reviews. Users can like and comment on reviews, and the most popular ones, which are always the high-quality reviews, are bubbled to the top. Nothing beats the community on Letterboxd.
Top reviews for The Mirror, Andrei Tarkovsky
Letterboxd perfectly exemplifies the phrase, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” There are countless features that I’m only starting to use, Lists, Followers, Watchlists, Likes, Diary, etc. Individually, these features could because their own standalone service, but because they are all together on one film-focused social network, their effects compound. Their scoring mechanism is another crowdsourced element of the platform, and it is a humble yet extremely precise evaluation of a movie. Anything >4.0 is usually considered an all time favorite by someone or already a timeless classic. As time goes on, I am constantly finding amazing movies off of popular Lists, learning about how my friends enjoyed films, and documenting my film journey.
Cover Photo: one of the all time greats, Yasujiro Ozu