Sometimes, I write about film.

by Jane

There was a discussion on twitter today about the validity of star systems in reviewing (#gamescore).  It seems to me that the consensus was they’re generally not liked, but some people see them as being, if not strictly necessary, helpful as either a “fall back” position, or an “entry point” for the reader.

A week ago I managed to grab the ear of a theater director friend for a few minutes, and ask him for his criticism on my criticism, to which he said he had the complaint that sometimes I take too long to get to the point.  He wants it there: first paragraph what was it about, second paragraph what I thought.  To that I said I’m not sure it is exactly “my job” to make it that easy for anyone.  I take the position that in my 800-odd words I try to explore the piece, and certainly reflect on what I thought the merits or downfalls were, and then out of that should come an overall picture of what I thought.  For me, my reviews are not “consumer advice.”  While of course they can be seen as such, and I hope that when I see a good play I can convince others to see it, it’s not my job to say “buy tickets” or “don’t buy tickets”, and so I don’t necessarily want to be able to give all of my opinions in the second paragraph, let alone in stars.  Sometimes my view is glaringly obvious, and sometimes it’s not, and I think that’s okay.  Your mileage may vary.

So I am very glad I’ve never had to use a star system.  Maybe one day I will have to.  Knowing me, I will be very methodological about the whole thing and start grading in percentages and then convert it to stars and that will just get messy.  But this rather long introduction is really just to let you know I wrote about the star system in film reviews.  You can read all about it here.