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Letterboxd – The social network for film lovers
Letterboxd – The social network for film lovers

Letterboxd is a beautiful app for film connoisseurs

March 21, 2016
Letterboxd is a beautiful app for film connoisseurs

Letterboxd – The social network for film lovers (Free) by Letterboxd is a social networking app for those who love film. If you consider yourself a big fan of movies and want to socialize with other like-minded individuals, then Letterboxd is the way to go. It joins the ranks of other apps like Plot and TodoMovies 4, though Letterboxd has been around for several years as just a website.

Whenever I have the time to spare, I love watching a movie, and I’m sure that many of you do as well. Lately, though, I haven’t had much time to go to the theater every week like I used to, and while I’m at home, I’m busy trying to catch up with television series rather than movies. Still, I enjoy film quite a bit, and I like to use apps to help me keep track of what I’ve seen, what I need to see, and what others think of certain titles. I was familiar with Letterboxd for a long time, but honestly I barely used the website because it’s just much easier to use an app on my iPhone, since it’s always with me. Now that Letterboxd has finally released their iPhone app, I had to check it out for myself.

Letterboxd is a beautiful app for film connoisseurs

Visually, Letterboxd’s iPhone app is beautiful, just like the website. The dark background of the app helps place the focus and emphasis on the movie poster artwork, and the steel blue gray navigation bar at the bottom provides some nice, complementary contrast to the overall dark theme. Even if you’ve never used Letterboxd before, if you pick up the app and sign up for a free account, everything is pretty organized and straightforward, so there isn’t a lot to learn. Letterboxd is also fairly fast and responsive to your touches, and the subtle but fluid animations add a delightful finishing touch to the apps’s visual package. What drew me in to Letterboxd’s website originally was the fact that it was beautifully designed, and the same can be said for the iPhone app that has been a long time coming.

As mentioned previously, you will need a Letterboxd account to use the iPhone app. Fortunately, signing up is free, but there is a Pro account that you can sign up for that includes extras like “Year In Review” pages, IMDB activity and list import, and other advanced options. The Pro account is $19 a year, and there is also the Patron tier account for $49 a year that lets you show up on their Patron page, net an exclusive patron profile background, and more. But Letterboxd can still be fully enjoyed with just a free account, so don’t worry.

Since Letterboxd is still a social network at its core, you’re going to want to find friends and other people to follow. You can search for individual members with the search section, along with films, reviews, lists, and actors. However, there is currently no way to connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts within the app itself, so you have to do this on the website. And even then, the service did not give me a list of friends who are already using Letterboxd, so I think the process of finding friends to follow is a bit cumbersome at the moment. Hopefully this is streamlined in the future.

One of the first things you’ll be asked to do in Letterboxd is to go through a scrollable ribbon of movie posters and take some action on each title (if applicable): mark as watched, liked, rate it out of five stars, or add it to your watch list. You can do multiple actions on a single title, and doing this allows the app to get an idea of what you like or don’t like, as well as start your lists.

Letterboxd is a beautiful app for film connoisseurs

The main view of Letterboxd will be the “Popular” section, where you can see what films are popular on the network this week, as well as see new activity from friends. You can switch over to the “Reviews” section in Popular for user reviews from friends, and even see what “Lists” are popular this week.

If you’re looking for something in particular, then the Search tab lets you find films, reviews, lists, and people by keywords, or you can browse through movies by what is considered most popular, highest rated, most anticipated, or opening soon. These sections give you scrollable ribbons of movie posters as well, and you get the standard four action options (Watch, Like, Rate, Watchlist) when viewing each title. If you want to go more in-depth with your opinion on a film, you can always view the movie detail screen and then tap on the “…” button to access the “Review or Log” option, so that it is recorded in your movie diary. Each review can also be marked with “I’ve seen this film before,” “Contains spoilers,” and you can share a link to it on Facebook if need be. I really like the option to mark a review as containing spoilers, because let’s face it — spoilers ruin everything. So the option for a visual warning is definitely nice to have. If you just want to jump right to adding a new entry to your movie diary, just tap on the “+” button in the center of the bottom navigational toolbar, search for the movie, and then write your review.

Each movie detail view gives necessary bits of information like release year, director, synopsis, trailers, cast, and more. There are even Letterboxd features like seeing what the average star rating is for the film, as well as how many people watched it, reviewed it, or added it to lists. Letterboxd is incredibly detailed with stats and packed with information, so it is nice to be able to have all of this in a mobile-friendly package.

I’ve been using Letterboxd for about the past week and have been finding it to be an excellent way to discover, rate and review, and talk about films with others. I just wish that the process for finding friends on Twitter and Facebook was more streamlined and available in the app, so hopefully that is changed in the near future.

I highly recommend giving Letterboxd a try if you’re a film aficionado. The website has been fantastic and the app was worth the wait. You can find Letterboxd on the iPhone App Store for free. A basic account is free, with more features available in the Pro and Patron tiers.

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