Recently someone I know asked me what I would rate a film I’d reviewed out of 10. I responded that I don’t do that sort of scoring system and I figured it’s something I should probably elaborate upon, especially as I’m about to embark on my most intensive period of reviewing of the year with my attempt to review most of the Oscar nominees before the awards are presented on February 22nd, the progress of which can be seen here.
Firstly, with my reviews I try to highlight some good points about each film, picking out what I most liked or noticed about what it did well or maybe just what I personally enjoyed. Often I can find some interesting points when doing background research about a film, sometimes gained from articles I read or interviews I have heard with cast and crew. Then there’s the need for balance, so I try to mention any bad points even with the best films, maybe something that distracted me from fully loving a film or something that could have been improved upon in my opinion.
Too often I think that scoring films out of 10 scores puts films up for comparison that aren’t really comparable. If I was to assign a score to a film, it would heavily depend on my feelings at the time I write the review. Often I feel differently about a film maybe days, weeks, months later. Therefore scores could vary too much on my mood, and I would be concerned that they need regular adjustment, or that for example a fun animated film that I watched and put me in a great mood one day and a heavy depressing but masterfully made drama another day could both be given the same score, or worse, the better made of the two could have a lower score just because I hadn’t fully appreciated it at the time of writing my review and assigning stars. I can’t always be going back to re-review things to adjust for these changes.
I feel that by highlighting some good and bad points I offer information that helps people to decide if they want to watch something. More often I like offering interesting points whether positive or negative, and on more than one occasion I’ve had people tell me that my reviews in that way have prompted them to try a film they had previously been uninterested in or retry one that they hadn’t thought much of on first viewing.
The only time I think the star system works quite well is IMDb, as it’s a consensus over time and always adjusting. Being voted and changed at anytime by anyone from anywhere means that it takes into consideration all the things I couldn’t possibly weigh up. The views of different people with varied backgrounds, moods at time of watching, love of the genre, time, etc. can all have an effect on the scores, though I don’t always agree with them either.
What you’ll get here on this blog is what I think about a film, and if someone or something has had an influence on that then I’ll try to say so. A reviewer can only offer their own view on things, and while mine may differ from a lot that you will read, it’s up to you as the discerning reader to decide for yourself I merely offer an opinion that I am constantly working on keeping well attuned.