Op-Ed: What is Letterboxd and Why is it Becoming so Popular?

When COVID-19 hit in 2020, everyone was forced to stay home with an abundance of time on their hands. Naturally, people turned to film.

Movies are becoming more and more popular, partially due to social media. Apps like TikTok send users videos crafted to their taste. For film lovers, that might mean a stream of film edits. These videos are shared among millions of users, who get inspired to watch such films.

As the amount of films being watched grows, more people develop a love for film. And that’s why Letterboxd became so popular.

Letterboxd is a social media app used to share your own opinions on a film with other users or to simply log your watches. Letterboxd was created in 2011 by a small group of developers in New Zealand who continue to manage it today. It is currently used by over 8 million people worldwide and is described as a “social platform for sharing your taste in films” by the app. 

It is primarily used to log and rate what movies you watch, similar to an online diary. Once you are done watching a movie, search it up, rate it out of five stars, and then give it an optional written review.

Reviews can range from small comedic comments or one-word responses to borderline essays, and that is what I think makes the app so fun and creative. It is all up to how you want to use it. You could use it to review every movie you have ever watched, movies you have seen recently, or just your favorite movie. 

Bharath Palanisamy ’24 started using Letterboxd this year and encourages other movie lovers to download it. “I have made so many new friends due to Letterboxd because it has allowed me to connect with something I’m really passionate about,” said Palanisamy.

Since it is a social media app, Letterboxd has a friends feature that allows you to follow people and view their recent activities. On every film page, it shows if your friends have seen it and what they have reviewed it as. There is also a homepage where it shows the popular movies this week as well as what your friends have been watching.

“I think Letterboxd is a beautiful way of connecting people who are interested in movies and want to go off what others have seen,” said Tucker Bernon ’25, a fellow film buff.

I think Letterboxd is a beautiful way of connecting people who are interested in movies and want to go off what others have seen,

I enjoy looking at the home page to see if my friends have watched any good movies recently because their reviews are usually funny and interesting to read, and it helps to see if I want to watch the movie next.

There is also a choice to like and comment on a review of your friends to show you agree or comment on something you may disagree on. However, there is an option to follow people you do not have to, so it is very easy to keep it private and use it just to log things for yourself. 

Letterboxd also has a watchlist where you can log movies that you have an interest in watching. This makes it exceptionally easy to figure out what movie to watch when there seems to be nothing on. I use the watchlist almost like a bucket list because there are so many movies that I want to watch soon.

“It’s a great way to mark what you’ve watched and build a watch list so you can expand your film watch list,” said Bernon.

It has definitely motivated me to watch more movies because I’m able to add movies that I want to see to my watchlist and keep track of them. Before I downloaded Letterboxd, I felt bored watching a lot of movies, and I would often start movies and never finish them. But this app prompts me to finish the movie so that I can review it and move on to the next one. 

Overall, Letterboxd is an app I recommend to anyone who enjoys watching films and expressing their opinions about them. Whether you watch one movie a month or one a day, Letterboxd is a great place to share your watches and inspire others to watch more movies.