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Letterboxd Memes Are The Film Reviews We Need Right Now

The primary source of Jake Gyllenhaal thirst.

Posted on January 17, 2019, at 6:35 a.m. ET

If you aren't embedded in Film Twitter, you might be unaware of LetterBoxd, an app launched in 2011 for people to review and discuss films.

letterboxd.com

You can like, rate, and review films, curate lists, and put together a top four based on your interests.

Plenty of professional film reviewers use the app, as do lots of fans. The platform pretty much allows anyone to get attention for talking about films they love or hate. It's free, but users can pay for Pro or Patreon accounts, which give them things like extra stats or filters.

In the past few years, the reviews and list sections of the app have become hubs of creativity for nontraditional film reviews.

this is still my favorite sorry to bother you review

And more recently, these creative reviews have been crossing over to Twitter, where they go viral.

it’s 2am and this is what i’m thinking about

this is the quality content i signed up to letterboxd for

Bethany Wilson, a 21-year-old from Toronto, runs a Twitter page collecting great Letterboxd reviews.

"I started this [Twitter account] at the beginning of November in 2018 because I see so many funny and heartfelt reviews every single day that go unnoticed," Wilson told BuzzFeed News. "I understand that a lot of people outside of Twitter don't know what Letterboxd is, so if I inspired even one person to check it out or create an account to join this extraordinary community, I must be doing something right."

Wilson said she got on Letterboxd in early 2018 and that it was one of the best decisions of her life. She said it has helped her get more confident with her writing and explore opportunities that she felt weren't available to her without the app.

She said that although there can be negativity on the app, as there can be on any social platform, she finds the easy irreverence of Letterboxd reviews the real draw.

letterboxd.com

"If I wanna write a one-sentence review about how hot Jake Gyllenhaal is in Nightcrawler and how weird I feel about it, I absolutely will," she said. "If I want to write a 500-word thinkpiece on how Lady Bird changed my life, you best believe I will do that too."

This seems to be the reason many Letterboxd users come to the site — the ability to experiment with writing styles that would not typically fit into mainstream film journalism.

this mid90s review...... i'm fucking wheezing i-

Lauren Garczynski, a 21-year-old from Cleveland, Ohio, who joined Letterboxd in 2016, certainly feels this.

"I've been writing for years," she told BuzzFeed News. "Though none of these amazing opportunities has given me room to write about film and movies, and Letterboxd gives me that — whether it be writing a serious review or one-liner jokes."

Garczynski also acknowledged that some users can cause problems on the platform, but overall it is a positive place. She said she also appreciates getting to write about Jake Gyllenhaal.

"A lot of memes — Amy Adams not winning awards, jokes about Gotti [the 2018 John Travolta movie] — come from both Twitter and Letterboxd, from creative, funny, and unique people," she said. "I've been able to open up about my anorexia — something I've struggled with for years, through reviewing and discussing To The Bone. But Letterboxd has also given me a platform to thirst over Jake Gyllenhaal, and that's what I think is the main reason Letterboxd curates such unique content: It allows people to both be heard and to be themselves."

Fans like Wilson and Garczynski can just put together lists about how hot Jake Gyllenhaal is...

...while also championing films with a smaller budget or ones that are exploring diversity in a way that does not tend to reach a bigger audience.

Two of the top three highest-rated films on Letterboxd in 2018 were Roma and Shoplifters, non-English-language films with nontraditional releases.

Also many women are using it to react against men gatekeeping film reviewing.

men on letterboxd feel so threatened by women it’s amazing

"The downsides I'd say are the people who take it too seriously, like those pre-pubescent boys in gym class who acted like it was the goddamn Olympics. I think people forget that Letterboxd isn't the Academy Awards and that it's for fun and keeping track of the movies you watch," Wilson said.

There have been several instances in which people using Letterboxd have complained of the popularity of funny reviews by young women, compared to lengthy, serious reviews. Which, of course, led to more memes.

men on letterboxd: how dare women go on this platform and make joke reviews whilst my hard work goes unnoticed! men on letterboxd: its heathers meets mean girls meets american psycho meets the purge meets the holy mountain meets tarantino meets the breakfast club laced with LSD

Letterboxd memes have helped grow wider film commentary, such as in post highlighting poor representation of Asian characters in film.

Letterboxd

And sometimes particularly great reviews have sparked interest in a film.

im scrolling letterboxd reviews to find things to put on my watch list and

In an era where memes have become a primary form of expression online, it makes just as much sense for someone to be able to write an essay on their response to The Shining as it does for them to describe it via emojis.

y'all think Obama has a letterboxd

Matthew Buchanan, one of the founders of Letterboxd, told BuzzFeed News that it was thanks to the community that the website has become a goldmine of film memes.

"When we launched the service I don’t think we really imagined quite in what directions the community might take it, but it’s been amazing to behold," he said. "We love the creativity and good humor that so many members have shown in their reviews and particularly with lists, and feel these kinds of uses sit perfectly alongside more formal film writing, of which we also have a tremendous amount."

"Some of our favorite memes include the white heterosexual Christmas couples, Rachel McAdams’ time-traveling adventures, large energy beams, exploding helicopters, an incredible fascination with Jake Gyllenhaal, and Jessica Chastain saving the world."

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