What is Letterboxd and Why Should Every Movie Lover Have One?

If you’re looking for a social media platform revolving around film discussion, Letterboxd is the app for you. From reviews to ratings and summaries, Letterboxd allows you to keep up with trending movies and track what you and your friends watch. Here is the app broken down. 

What is Letterboxd?

Founded in 2011 by Matthew Buchanan and Karl von Randow, Letteboxd was created to be a platform for discovering new movies and discussing them with other viewers, friends and followers. The founders drew inspiration from IMDb, and you really can see the resemblance in terms of descriptions of the movies. Each movie on both apps has a summary, cast list and where you can watch it. The main difference, and what sets Letterboxd above IMDb, is the extensive sociability Letterboxd allows you to have. 

How does Letterboxd work?

By signing up for a free membership through the website or mobile app, you start by choosing your avatar or profile photo, pronouns and bio just like other platforms. Then, you can choose up to four favorite films to have as a permanent showcase on your profile. Your account is then separated into three main categories on your page: diary, lists and watchlist. 

Your diary is the most interactive and social part of Letterboxd. In this, you can log a movie you watched (or rewatched) with a timestamp and rating from one to five stars. You even can write as many words as you want about the movie whether it be positive, negative or anything in between. This diary log is then seen on the homepage of your followers, and just like most social media platforms, they can like your review. If you come across a movie you have seen in the past but don’t have words to say, you can just change the film’s status to “watched,” and add a star rating if desire. For example, in 2022, I had 488 films watched in total, but 77 new movies were logged.

Lists are movies that a user can group together by any category. If you have more than four favorite movies, you can create a list of favorites, and other instances could be grouping together holiday movies or films from certain decades. These lists can be made public or private, so you can search lists from different Letterboxd users even if you aren’t following them. This is a great way to discover movies that are similar to ones you enjoy or want to watch. 

Your watchlist consists of all the films you haven’t seen yet but are on your radar. Once you have watched it, it will automatically update and be removed from your watchlist and added to your diary. The movies available sometimes aren’t even released yet, for example, “Avatar: The Way of Water” (2022) had been on my watchlist prior to being shown in theaters and the next three films from the “Avatar” franchise are already available. So this branch of Letterboxd allows you to easily keep track of what is coming to theaters and streaming platforms in the future. 

Why should you make an account?

Letterboxd is not only a platform for keeping track of what you have watched, but it is so fun to see what your followers and the general public have to say about new films. When I watched “Blonde” (2022) for the first time, I was eager to see how others reacted. And I was able to do so very easily through the app on my phone. Even if you would like to keep your Letterboxd account private to yourself, there is a section on the app to see what movies are trending across the entire platform including random reviews. You can compare your opinions to others and maybe discover something new about a movie you watched or have been watching on repeat for years. Some reviews are hilarious, some are very sad and some are flat-out hot takes about reputable movies. It’s always interesting to see how different movies resonate with different people across the globe. So it’s safe to say that Letterboxd is the film world’s source of creative freedom. 

You can download Letteerboxd from the App Store or visit the website here

By Amena Ahmed

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