My film rating system revised

Sunday, 9 May 2010, 1:17 | Category : Film, Loaves, Uncategorized
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I’ve been experimenting with my film rating system for a short while now and I’ve received some feedback (both on and off the blog) about it. So far the feedback is positive. It seems that most people are finding it relatively easy to “get” and apply the marks themselves, which is great :)
However, I’m finding that I do need to tweak the system a little bit. So far when I’ve tried to rate films, I’ve come across two problems…

The 0 category problem
Something you will have probably noticed on the blog already - the “0″ mark isn’t quite working for me. It just doesn’t quite express everything I need it to. The majority of films fall in somewhere around the 0 mark and it gets very difficult to differentiate between films I enjoyed, but just not enough to want to revisit them and films I enjoyed on some level, but that left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. Moving one of the groups to -1 or +1 doesn’t quite work for me and yet I’d like to differentiate between them because my level of enjoyment is clearly different. I’m finding that using a +0 and a -0 instead of just the 0 mark makes rating a lot easier.
Does the system become more difficult to grasp when it has two zeros?

The +3 category problem
Something that hasn’t surfaced outside of my drafts yet is the problems I have with the +3 category. +3 is meant as the “I’m completely and utterly nuts about the film” category. I think every film buff has films that are just truly special to them.
The problem I’ve started facing is that there are a lot of films which have things that are very special and personal to me, but those same films have aspects or sections that don’t do much for me or even put me off.
I suppose I’m just going to have to accept that some of my +3 rated film will have small chunks that I might not like that much. If those chunks don’t stop me from being nuts about the film then I guess it doesn’t matter. Besides, when I watch a film over and over again, I invariably end up seeing lots of flaws in it, so if I don’t assume a slightly more lenient approach then I’ll end up not using the +3 category at all ;)
But for films where the off-putting points aren’t quite so minor, it gets a bit more problematic. At current I’ve got reviews of two such films in my drafts.
One is Desert Flower, which touched me in an extremely personal way - I haven’t seen a film like that in ages. I cried so much that it was ridiculous ;) But on the other hand, the film as a whole doesn’t excite me that much. I actually feel that stylistically it’s boring.
The other film is My Name is Khan. There are things I absolutely love to bits about it - from the way it’s shot and edited to the kind of issues it touches. Unlike Desert Flower it does excite me, but it also has a very major put off - most of the second half of the film ;-P
The easiest thing to do is just to word the definition of +2 slightly differently. The actual enjoyment factor of these films is similar to the films that would have been qualified there by the old definition, so I think broadening it makes sense.

So anyway, here’s the revised system:

An all-time favourite.

A film that is somehow very special and personal to me, one I’m totally nuts about.

Adored it.

A film that blowed me away, but +3 feels like it’s a bit too much.

Loved it.

A film I enjoyed a lot and am likely to see again at some point in the future.

Liked it.

I enjoyed it, but not enough to be planning to see it again (which doesn’t mean I won’t if I’m on a marathon of watching films with a particular actor or a marathon of films with a particular theme etc.).


Like 0+, but it left me feeling a bit underwhelmed.

Disliked it.

A film that I didn’t enjoy much if at all. Some aspects of it may have annoyed me.

Detested it.

Not only did I not enjoy it on any level, it annoyed the hell out of me. A repeat viewing is practically out of the question.

Finally, I’ve been asked to give some examples of films for each rating… I’m not sure if this is going to help that much with actually grasping the rating, but why not :) Mostly these will be films I saw in the last 3 months or so (many of which I haven’t reviewed yet).

Naked, Twilight, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

A Single Man, My Name is Khan, Chak De! India, Remember Me, Desert Flower, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna

Ghost Writer, Y tu mamá también, Billu, Tan Lines, Sugar Rush, A mi madre le gustan las mujeres

Avatar, An Education, It’s Complicated, The Disappeared, The Shock Doctrine, The Wolfman, Double Take, Zamana Deewana, Shelter, Dulha Mil Gaya

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Up in the Air, Alice in Wonderland, The Hurt Locker, Singh is King, Lebanon

Sherlock Holmes, Presque Rien, Dakan, Heaven on Earth, The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Hunger, Saathiya

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