Star struck

Posted on November 16, 2017

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/amp/southern-lights-star-struck

Should star ratings (terrible as they are) be absolute or relative? Let’s discuss.

After I finished writing the review of Villain, a little more than a week ago, I felt a twinge of conscience. It was time for me to give the star rating, the most pointless part of the review and yet the most important part, if you consider how most people view reviews. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve counted to ten, resisting the urge to punch someone in the face when they say something like “So you didn’t like the movie much? You gave it only two stars…” I’ll want to say, “Read the whole review before you decide what I thought of the film. A star rating is just a random approximation…” But no, after all these years, I know this is how it works. The 800-word review matters less than the two stars.

Anyway, back to Villain and the reason for the twinge. I gave it two stars, based on my philosophy. No movie is perfect (and what is “perfection” in art, anyway?), so no five-star ratings. If the film has nothing that redeems it, absolutely nothing, then it’s one star. So it made sense to go with two stars for Villain — there’s something that redeems it, and that’s Mohanlal’s performance (and a brief appearance by Manju Warrier). They brought the movie to an at least it’s watchable level, and that’s what the two-star rating is, to me. (I find it useful to articulate these ratings in words. Three stars, for me, is pretty decent or not bad at all. Four stars is this is really good!)

Continued at the link above.

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