Every film review sites uses a different scale to critique movies – some use four stars and some use ten. So, the purpose of this page is to serve as a simple explanation of how Reel Red Reviews rates films. Some of the earlier reviews on the site are rated out of ten, but after a few reviews I decided to switch to a five star scale. Keep in mind, when I critique films I evaluate them in their genre (as it would be unfair to apply the same criteria to Psycho (1960) and The Lion King (1994)). As Roger Ebert insisted, star ratings mean nothing without being considered in the context of the written review. But, with that being said, I still think it’s helpful to define at least some parameters for each rating – so here’s a general summary of the appropriate criteria that each star indicates.
One Star: A one star rating generally indicates a movie that is deplorable, and it’s generally beyond redemption. I will rarely assign a “half star” rating; one star is often the lowest score I give. Here’s one of my one star reviews: Hitman: Agent 47.
Two Stars: A two star rating is given to a film that has potential to be good, but it doesn’t quite get there for whatever reason. It’s often got good aspects, but there are also enough bad qualities that they far eclipse anything positive about the film. Here’s one of my two star reviews: Love Actually.
Three Stars: A three star rating on this site is a positive one – which it’s not for many other sites. This rating is given to a film that’s judged to be rather average in its genre. It’s not necessarily bad, but it means that the film doesn’t have anything to make it surpass being ordinary. Here’s one of my three star reviews: Sisters.
Four Stars: A four star rating indicates that the film is great in its genre. The film may have a flaw here or there, but the overall experience for the audience member is positive. Four star films always pass the “Would you recommend this to a friend?” test. Here’s one of my four star reviews: The Walk.
Five Stars: A five star film is either perfect or nearly flawless. This rating is usually only given to films in which virtually nothing should be changed. Here’s one of my five star reviews: The Martian.