New Movie Rating System

Sorry, the Motion Picture Associate of America (MPAA) is sticking with its flawed movie classifications. The rating system I refer to is an updated formula I will use on occasions when I write a movie review.

I used to rate a film based on two criteria: its artistic merit and my own personal preferences—i.e., how much I enjoyed it. My desire was to provide a clear distinction between the objective and the subjective. A poorly made film might entertain me, whereas a high caliber film might leave me cold and unemotional. I wanted to separate what I liked from what I thought was good.

This is still my desire, but I want to be a little more specific, and hopefully a little more helpful. So, I have revamped my system and come up with a three-tiered approach when reviewing a movie. Below I will give a brief description of each level of evaluation.

Content (C)

This section will deal with the thematic and moral elements in the film—those areas I would consider objectionable or problematic for a viewing audience. The goal will be to observe the content through the lens of Scripture. Sexual and violent content, for example, will be evaluated not only on their presence (or lack thereof), but on the nature in which they are handled. Both are acceptable plot elements when handled properly, and certainly inappropriate when handled obscenely or pornographically. Even a genuinely good message can be soured with faulty or immoral methods.

Artistry (A)

Here, I will focus on the screenplay, cinematography, acting, directing, editing, musical score, and/or whatever artistic elements catch my attention. These can, to a certain degree, be dealt with in a more objective way than the other two sections. A bundle of clichéd sayings equals bad writing. A microphone in the shot equals bad cinematography. A jump cut equals bad editing. And so on.

Preference (P)

This is where I will share my personal reaction to the movie: did I find it enjoyable, engaging, boring, infuriating, or a combination of the above? Did I like the film? Did I personally consider it worthwhile?

And there you have it: a movie review formula divided into three parts. I will give a numeric rating of 0-10 for each section (0 being horrible and 10 being amazing). I will then combine those numbers to come up with a total “CAP score”—an overall percentage that reflects my recommendation (or lack thereof).

Depending on the movie, I may divide my review completely into these three sections, or I may have several general things to say beforehand. Whatever the case, this is the new model I will be working with. I’m excited about it, and I hope you are too.