Movie Review Ratings and How They Have Changed With the Times

Real life and reel life have always been intertwined and it is very tough to say which one influences the other. Take the turbulent decade of the 1960s, for instance. Young people took to the streets in large numbers and in an absolutely unprecedented manner in order to clamour for change in society. The art of movie-making, quite naturally, changed very much during this period and an entirely different type of cinema emerged after leaving behind the restrictions of the prim and proper 1950s. The daring style of cinema that emerged during this period led to the awarding of movie review ratings. In fact, this innovation was the brainchild of Jack Valenti, head of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) at that time.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” was one of the first movies that dared to press the boundaries of what could be said on screen. The MPAA was shocked to encounter the word ‘screw’ in this movie and it called for it to be cut. The phrase “hump the hostess”, also from the same movie, was considered slightly less scandalous and it was retained.

There was an even bigger controversy surrounding “Blow-Up” from MGM because it contained nudity. The authorities in California did not give it approval and this decision was later upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court since there was a valid concern that children would have exposure to films and books with adult content since adults couldn’t very well be denied them.

Valenti’s solution for this problem was to recommend a movie rating system so that there would be no confusion about what kind of content the film contained. Discussions took place between bodies representing different stakeholders in the film industry such as producers, distributors, actors, directors, writers, and even theatre owners. Representatives from religious organizations were also included in these discussions because they expressed deep concerns about kids getting the wrong ideas from movies.

The movie rating system that was originally devised consisted of G (General audiences i.e., audiences of all ages), M (Mature audiences – all ages would be admitted but parental guidance was recommended), R (Restricted i.e. children younger than 16 would only be permitted if accompanied by an adult) and lastly, X (children under 17 not admitted).

Within a while, M category was changed to GP (General audiences, Parental guidance suggested) because this gave a better description of the category. Within a year it was changed once again to “PG: Parental Guidance Suggested.” This category was change once more when it was divided into PG (for young kids) and PG-13 (for older kids)

The movie business is a huge one indeed. Therefore, it is no surprise that its review and rating system served a very important purpose and continues to do so. After all, it helps guide parents about the suitability of films for their children. These ratings are given after intense scrutiny and deliberation of each film so that adults can be offered films that appeal to their mature sensibilities without the risk of children seeing them by mistake.

Tips on Writing a Good Movie Review

If you love watching movies, you will have a lot of thoughts and opinions about the movie. You would want to pen down your thoughts on your blog or your notebook. Many people have the habit of reviewing movies. You do not have to be professional journalist to review movies. Even journalists have a first time doing that. Hence, even you can try your luck and reviewing and see how the words flow from your brain to the keyboard. Reviewing is fun and challenging at the same time.

If you are a movie buff, then you need to know some basic movie terminology. Also when you start writing about a particular topic, you need to know the necessary facts. Ultimately all written material is meant for an audience to read. You may write for yourself, but if the writing is on a social platform, then people will read and go through it. Moreover, if you have knowledge about the film, you can definitely pen down a review for others to read and make an informed choice whether they want to watch the movie or not.

Here are some simple tips on how to go about reviewing a movie.

  • You need to familiarise yourself with the basic movie terminology. For example, you might want to add camera movements and all into the review. You first need to understand the meaning and then attempt to write something about the movie.
  • Get your facts correct. If you are attempting to review a movie, make sure you know who directed it, wrote it and so on. The main actors and the ones who gave a good performance. Your review should not have a fact that is wrong. If any of the readers spot an error, the mistake can be made public and you will lose your credibility. Double check facts, always.
  • Form an opinion about the movie and stick to it. Do not change your perspective every paragraph. Make it a point to not beat around the bush and give the audience a heads up if the movie is worthwhile. Rating is a great way for letting people know whether they should watch it or not.
  • Talk about the movie but do not reveal the ending. You are reviewing the piece and not giving spoilers. That will make some people very upset.
  • Be simple in your language. Complicated words and phrases might just confuse the reader and you will not end up with a good review.
  • Be honest about the movie but also be interesting at the same time. Nobody wants to get bored while reading a movie review. Add puns and jokes, make references and add a little bit of gossip here and there. Add colour to the overall picture of the review that you are painting. Many people online have a very limited span of attention. If you want people to come back to your website, you have to make the writing interesting. Also, add pictures to the review.