Your life in film: Letterboxd, a social network for movie buffs

Your life in film: Letterboxd, a social network for movie buffs

If you like nothing better than hitting the local picture house on a Saturday night, or spending your evenings glued to Netflix, LoveFilm or whatever video-on-demand (VoD) platform takes your fancy, this new website could be right up your alley.

Letterboxd is the latest social network out of the starting blocks, and this one deals specifically with movies. It’s currently still in private beta, so you’ll need to register for an invite for the moment, but we’ve had a quick peek behind the scenes, pardon the pun.

I watch a lot of films. But the absolute stand-out (or downright awful) flicks aside, I will often forget what films I’ve viewed, when I saw them and, indeed, what I thought of them. That’s not to say I thought they were bad movies, it just means I’ve only so much brain capacity to remember everything I watch.

In the simplest terms, Letterboxd lets you share your taste in film, and get inspiration from others. But you can also use it as a simple diary to record your opinion about films as you watch them, and keep track of movies you’ve seen some time in the past. It lets you rate, review and tag films as you add them to your repository.

If you want to get fully involved, you can find other users to see what they’re watching. You can browse other members in the People section and choose to ‘follow’ them, or you can select the ‘Find my Twitter Friends’ option.

The ‘Lists’ feature will likely prove to be a popular feature. Under ‘Lists’, you can view existing lists or create your own. Here, I cobbled together a very brief ‘Best UK Films’ ever list, and as I type in the ‘Add a Film’ box, it automatically brings up all versions of the film, which I select and then it adds it to the list. You can choose to make your list public or private.

Existing (and more extensive…) lists created by other beta-users include ‘Incorrect Film Titles’ and ‘Great Films From First-Time Directors’:

You can also simply choose to ‘Like’ a movie, if you don’t want to leave a full-on review, which will be saved to your profile, or you can see which user ‘Lists’ a specific movie appears in.

So…where does Letterboxd source all its data? You’ll be pleased to know that it isn’t manually entered, meaning that it does have a pretty extensive library already. It taps TMDb, a crowd-sourced database of movie data – similar to IMDb.

The New Zealand-based founders are also working on an import-ratings option from the likes of Netflix, IMDb and Delicious Library, whilst other importing will be made possible once its public API launches at a later date. You can also connect your Netflix account to enable you to add films directly to your Netflix instant queue.

If you’re a fan of films, Letterboxd really is a great way of whiling away an hour or two of your time. The beauty of it is it can be whatever you want it to be – if you’re really into the social side of things, you can interact and share opinions on movies. Or, if all you want is an online hub to record your movie-viewing habits for posterity, it’s equally as effective.

Letterboxd is free to use, though it may introduce paid add-ons at some point in the future. Click here to register for a beta invite.


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