We’re adding star ratings

movie theatre rating and critique

It has been said that there is nothing scarier than bad filmmaking.  And every film critic since the birth of moving pictures has sought to give their opinion on the quality and entertainment value of a film experience.

At Reel Dialogue, film reviewer in residence Russ Matthews sees a lot of films every week and so we are always thinking about how to assist readers with commentary on the latest offerings at the multiplex.

Now we thought that Roger Ebert came up with the concept of star ratings for movies (later replacing it with a simple thumb pointing up or down). As it turns out, the concept of using stars to grade or rate items dates all the way back to 1844, when Murray’s Handbooks for Travellers modified an old structure using exclamation points to rate items for stars. Since then, stars have been applied to everything from books to restaurants, hotels to theater programs.

We have had a lot of feedback recently about adding a star rating out of five to the site and from this point forward we will be printing a star rating for each film.

The Reel Dialogue site is now equipped with a handy rating out of five for our film reviews. But what do our star ratings mean? Why do we give them? And what information can you take from them?

Here, then, is a breakdown of what we are thinking when we apply a star rating to a movie or Netflix offering:

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Pure cinematic perfection. Don’t walk, run to see this film on opening weekend so you can be part of conversations about it.

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Excellent. Really special. Short of a masterpiece, definitely see it on the big screen.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

We enjoyed it. You probably will, too. We had some little niggles, but the overall experience is well worth the ticket price.

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Staying positive. It worked more than it didn’t, and every once in a while, something in there really knocked us off our feet.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Recommended. It was good, but not nearly as good as it could have been. Good, not great.

2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

This was a complete mixed bag. There is as much wrong with it as there was right. Perhaps wait for its digital release or see it for the unintentional laughs.

2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

A disappointment and a missed opportunity. Too much went wrong to redeem it totally. Wait for it on Netflix. Maybe.

1.5 out of 5 stars (1.5 / 5)

Doesn’t work at all. Don’t bother. We are not entirely sure why this didn’t go straight to rental.

1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5)

There is really no way of saying this nicely. This might need to be expunged from everyone’s resumes.


Now you get the idea. We currently have one review on the site that doesn’t even rate (shame on you Show Dogs) but generally consider the above as your handy guide to the Reel Dialogue star rating.

We would also love you to leave comments about the films we review so we can keep the discussion going after the films we review.

Let us know what you think of the films, if you agree with the reviews, if you found the review helpful for you in making decisions about what you go to see.

We love your feedback, so let us know what you think of the film reviews and resources and if you find the star rating helpful.

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