I have often pondered whether it is right to give films a grade, for example a mark out of 10 or a ‘star’ rating system. In my opinion, giving films a grade is a very crude way of saying whether a film is good or bad and does not always sufficiently differentiate between the quality of two different films. For example, two films which are both given a four star rating are unlikely to be equally as good – one film may just be scraping a four star rating, whilst the other may be just below what is considered a five star film.
The criteria upon which an individual rates films will also have a big impact the rating which a film is eventually given. The biggest paradigm, in my opinion, is whether to rate a film based on its artistic merits or its entertainment value. For example, I really enjoyed the film Unstoppable and thought it was fantastic entertainment. On the other hand, there was not much in the film that was particularly intelligent or artistic. On that basis, I would rate it as five stars for entertainment value but maybe only two stars for its artistic value. But how do you get this across in a single rating? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
These are all criticisms of rating systems and many film magazines (for example Sight and Sound magazine) do not adopt a rating system for, I assume, some of these reasons.
However, it would be naïve of me to think that every person who comes across my blog would be interested in reading every review which I write in order to establish my views on film. A rating would, in these circumstances, provide a crude guide as to whether I thought a film was good, bad or just mediocre. It is for that reason that I have decided to adopt a ‘mark out of ten’ rating system when reviewing the films in the IMDB Top 250.
The ratings may be flawed and may not accurately represent the true quality of a film but they will at least provide a quick point of reference for my opinion of a film.