Movie Review Guidelines
My Movie Rating System
Let me explain the criteria I use to do movie reviews. This will be helpful for you in determining if my reviews are useful for you and your family. These movie review guidelines will give you an overview of my rating system and the things I look for when writing a review.
I have been writing movie reviews since 2005. While I used to write reviews for another site: Christian Answers, I started my blog and I decided to start writing them for my readers. I wrote my first movie review on this site in January 2015, 10 years after I started writing reviews. The movie was Paddington – which is a true classic.
Movie Categories and My Rating System:
- All my reviews are done from a Christian perspective. Since I am a born-again believer, that is how I see the world. I may not mention this in each review, but each review comes from my Christian Worldview.
- I do not read any reviews before going to see a movie. It is important for me to go into the movie with fresh eyes and ears. This gives me the ability to see things for the first time without being tainted by someone else’s viewpoint.
- I do not watch reaction videos associated with the trailers. (See reason 2 above)
- I very rarely watch trailers for the same reasons. When I have watched an extended trailer, I will tell you.
- I take an old fashioned pencil and paper with me into the movie theater. I try to jot notes that will be helpful to me and ultimately you and your family.
- My reviews include several sections: Introduction, Synopsis (what the movie is about without spoilers), The Good, The Bad (I do not always include this section), What Parent’s Need to Know, and My Recommendations.
The Introduction just briefly talks about my relationship with this movie. Is there a book? Have their been other similar movies, etc.?
The synopsis is generally just what you would have read before the movie – what the movie is about. “A couple searching for the lost puppy. Their search takes them around the world.” I sometimes add in any useful information such as famous movie stars or where the movie was filmed. I do not always list the actors/actresses because I do not think this is pertinent in a review.
The Good includes what I liked about the movie, and what your children may like. I will mention outstanding cinematography, character development, emotional attachment to characters, and other things that gave me warm fuzzy feelings. Sometimes I will even try to relate it to something in a Christian’s walk, but I only do this if Holy Spirit moves me. It is never forced, but rather a genuine expression of my relationship with God.
The Bad gives parents the items in a movie that you may want to avoid. I try to include all Language, violence, things that will scare the crap out of me or children (I am really just a big child). Spiritual situations, sexual references, alcohol, smoking, bad attitudes toward parents, and any other yucky things I find. I mention anything that might bother any parent, but that doesn’t mean it will bother you. AND I AM HUMAN – this means that sometimes I miss something that may be significant, especially if there is a ton of BAD stuff.
What Parent’s Need to Know: If the movie really wasn’t bad, but there are still scenes that are intense or situations I want to warn parents about, I will use this section. If the movie is slow moving or a child will have nightmares, I will highlight that here.
My Viewing Recommendations: This is where I give my thumbs up or down. I also give an age recommendation. I have been doing this a long time. My oldest son is 31 years old, and we have always loved going to the movies.
Be aware that children tend to say what you want to hear, and they will say they like a movie to please you, but it may scare them, but they will not tell you until they are grown.
DISNEY MOVIES VERSUS OTHER MOVIES
Okay, I am not going to like. I have two rating systems – Disney Movies and All Other Movies
I generally expect more from a Disney Movie and I hold Disney to a higher standard. They ultimately are the benchmark for my rating system, but even within the Disney movies, there are Excellent, Very Good, Good and Poor.
However, a Poor Disney movie most the time is still worth seeing. As a Disney enthusiast, I will go see all Disney movies, but I will not give all of them an excellent rating. There have been some pretty lame Disney movies, but generally, even the lame Disney movies have redeeming qualities. Almost without fail they maintain Walt Disney’s standards of family entertainment free of situations and language that other studios don’t seem to have a problem with.
USE OF MOVIES IN TEACHING:
Since I believe that all things can be educational, our family uses movies as teachable moments. We have learned about other cultures, traveled the world, and enhanced our imagination through movies.
I use movies to teach my children. I have written a curriculum that uses (mostly Disney) movies. Each movie encompasses two weeks. I try to include art, music, geography, history, literature, and more to make it a unit study. And I have tried to include all ages so you don’t have to be using several different levels.
You Know Your Children Best, BUT:
My movie reviews try to give you a way to make assessments on what is best for your family. Please don’t message me and tell me I am going to hell because my belief allows me to watch a movie, and likewise, do not message me and tell me that you know your child best and that is why your 5-year-old can watch a PG-13 movie. I do believe that most parents want what is best for their children, however, I see far too many children in theaters that are scared, because while parents are watching the screen, I am watching their children. When a child is in therapy years from now and it is revealed that they had trauma from that movie when they were 5, most parents still will not take responsibility for their actions.
Children’s brains and emotional stability are not developed enough to handle certain movies until they are older. Furthermore, studies suggest that children watching violence on screen make them more emotionally distressed later. Most people think they have a child prodigy that understands everything in the world. Most of us need to accept that our child is a child and not the Dhali Llama.
Now that you understand how I do my movie reviews, I hope you bookmark my site and check back for other reviews. Sign up for my newsletter to get the latest reviews. I pray that as you raise your children you make wise decisions in what you allow them to see, hear and experience, and you choose better for them.
Homeschooling mom – 26 years and counting
Movie reviewer/Travel blogger