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The appeal of Letterboxd

by Gaby Agbulos

IF you’re a film buff with friends who no longer want to hear your hour-long rants about the movie you most recently watched, then maybe it’s time to make a Letterboxd account. 

Created by Matthew Buchanan and Karl von Randow in 2011, Letterboxd is a social media website made exclusively for rating and reviewing the films you watch, whether these be short films or full-length feature ones. It’s a great way to track the movies that you watch, your thoughts on them, and what others have to say about them as well. 

When you think about it, you can post your film reviews on basically any social media platform. You can tweet about it, make a TikTok discussing it, or post an IG story dissecting it. 

But for the likes of 22-year-old Avin Dela Cruz, who joined the site in 2020 and has logged in 400 films thus far, Letterboxd stands out from the rest for a number of reasons. 

“The film industry is established by people who make films, and people who watch their creations are all seen on Letterboxd; it’s composed of people that inspire [wannabe filmmakers] like [me] to continue,” Dela Cruz said.  

“Letterboxd has long been an avenue for expression, a truly free one,” he added. 

And this site isn’t just for aspiring filmmakers like Dela Cruz. When logging a review, it doesn’t matter who you are. 

As long as you have an opinion on a certain movie, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from sharing it.

Everyone’s a critic

One of the best things about Letterboxd is that it’s a site made exclusively for film reviews. So if you’re looking for a place to check whether others feel the same about something you just watched, then look no further than this site. 

You can also visit it if you just want to hear other people’s take.

22-year-old Sabine Gochuico, for example, often leaves “mema” reviews, mainly made for others to laugh at. 

She joined back in October of 2021 and has reviewed 78 films. Though she used to log films almost daily, she now does so around once a month.

“I love the sh*tposting meme community of Letterboxd; it’s very self-aware,” she said.

There are, however, also moments when she leaves lengthy, in-depth reviews of films that particularly stand out to her, whether in a good way or a bad one. 

Her review of Barbie as Rapunzel, for example, simply says: “The weasel is European,” which is understandable.

Meanwhile, her review of Incantation discusses her connection to the film, and she even compares it to the likes of Noroi and On the Silver Globe. 

“I felt a connection to the movie as a single mother raised me and I was a sickly child with primary complex and febrile seizures,” she wrote.

Here, the art theory she learns as a Fine Arts student comes in handy. And with these two reviews alone, you really get to see just how wide a spectrum Letterboxd reviews have. 

Dela Cruz shared the same sentiments, stating that Letterboxd is a platform that balances one’s humor and passion when it comes to films and the art of reviewing them.

He adds: “It’s an avenue for people and their thoughts from the simplest to the most complex one. Every kind of thought is welcome.”

From people doing nothing but pointing out mistakes in a film or comparing it to other ones, to others who manage to crap out 10-paragraph essays on even the most childish of films, there’s nothing you can’t find on this site. 

Deepen your love for film

For Gochuico, the best thing about Letterboxd is that it allows her to look for lists of movies to watch, as well as see the other works of the cast and staff of each of these films. 

She often uses recommendations or the oeuvre of a certain director to blindly watch films, going into them with only the title, year, poster, and little else. 

“I like the ease of use in the search, as well as logging in what I’ve watched, and want to watch,” she said.

“So a site for logging watchlists and viewing what a staff or cast member has been on is something I always look forward to looking at. Like how Joaquin Phoenix was the lead in Brother Bear!” she added. 

Dela Cruz, on the other hand, finds a sense of achievement and satisfaction when sharing his thoughts with others. On the site, you don’t have to directly converse with someone to get your point across, but even then you may still find people who relate to the point you’re trying to make. 

“Letterboxd is not the same as all other social media platforms; there’s one passion that binds people [in] this application,” he said.

“It has taught me to write film reviews in several ways, and logging in almost 400 films made me realize how to honestly put my thoughts into words just by reading other people’s reviews,” he added.

And the best thing about it? There isn’t a right or wrong way to leave a review. Whether you want to write witty one-liners, full-out film critiques, or even write nothing at all, Letterboxd fans will welcome you.

“While all other platforms push you to show off or speak up, there goes Letterboxd, where a 1.5-star rating [is] enough, and [does] not require a comment if a film felt lacking to you. No opinion is taken the wrong way,” Dela Cruz said. 

Since joining Letterboxd, Gochuico said she has stopped dumping information on all her friends any time she watches a new film. Now, she just shows them her Letterboxd instead.



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