Are you looking for another app to spend a needless amount of time on? Ready to scroll for hours and then wonder how it’s already dark outside? Well, I have the app for you! Introducing Letterboxd, the Goodreads of movies (you should get the reference if you’ve ever taken high school English).
Letterboxd is a social media app dedicated to film lovers, which is why it simultaneously became my favorite app and the largest contributor to my daily screen time. I have spent an embarrassing number of hours deep-diving into my favorite features of the app. I give movies too high of a rating because I feel bad, write quippy yet extremely un-funny reviews, create lists to sort films into bizarre categories and stalk the profiles of my classmates and friends.
Now, I know what you might be thinking, but fear not! Letterboxd is not just a space for film bros to mansplain their favorite Quentin Tarantino movie. There are many users who are simply there to have a good time. I don’t think it’s even possible to mansplain “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” so you’re safe with me. But in all seriousness, everyone I interact with on the app, including those I follow at Vassar, has excellent taste in movies and some pretty cool lists (but if “Pulp Fiction” is their profile picture, I’d stay away just in case).
I first became interested in Letterboxd when quarantine began in March 2020. With absolutely nothing else to do, my family and I resorted to watching movies together weekly, each of us picking our favorites to show the others. To keep track of what we watched, I did some research and discovered Letterboxd. The platform has a film diary where you can log which day you watched a movie, and you are able to rate it out of five stars (and yes, half stars are available for those of us who are indecisive).
You are also able to write reviews for the movies you watch, which is my personal favorite feature because it allows for the most creative freedom and distinguishes your account from others. One of my favorite accounts, which a user’s young niece runs (perfectly named @frozen2013), consists purely of a seven-year-old girl’s wise observations on various films.
One Vassar student with impeccable taste in movies, Mo Kelly ’25, told me a little about her Letterboxd account. When I inquired about her top four movies, Kelly exclaimed in excitement: “Yes! My top four [are], and it’s not quite in order, ‘Dead Poets Society,’ ‘Paddington 2,’ ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ and ‘Howl’s Moving Castle.’” Like Kelly, I too am passionate about the top-four feature on Letterboxd, a space on your profile to select four movies deemed your favorites. You can arrange them in any order and change them at any time, but it is essential to get it right; these movies are at the forefront (no pun intended) of your Letterboxd profile because they are the first thing anyone sees after clicking on your username.
Browsing people’s top four is also one of Bella McCray ’25’s favorite Letterboxd activities. “I like looking at people’s profiles…not judging in a mean way, but judging people’s preferences based on just those four movies…” I did assert that it is highly important to hone your top four movies to perfection, since we’re all silently judging you.
McCray also enjoys going through people’s watchlists, as it helps her find new movies to add to her own list. This is another great feature of the app; it prevents you from inevitably forgetting every single movie you’ve ever heard of when it’s time to pick one for Friday movie night. McCray noted that she has a long list of unwatched movies— my watchlist has also filled up, sort of like a list of chores I know I won’t do, but it feels productive to write them all down anyway.
Another Vassar student and frequent user of Letterboxd, Allen Hale ’25, discussed the social nature of the app. “It’s kind of like movie social media for me,” he explained. When finding out a friend or classmate also has a Letterboxd, Hale noted, “You have that instant connection with someone else about something you have in common with them.” So, if you need a little conversation starter for the kid you sit across from in psych, ask them if they have a Letterboxd! They’ll probably say no, but then you can tell them about this cool app you have and maybe even make a new friend!
Through Letterboxd, I’ve discovered my favorite movies, explored my love of film and productively wasted many hours of my life. So if you venture into the world of Letterboxd, don’t forget to add me, @ea715 (I only have 19 followers—I need the boost), as well as the wonderful Vassar students that helped me with this article: @mokelly, @bellamccray and @BlueExposHat.