User Comments

12 February 2000

A+? Leo is in this! That brings it down to an A-. It's three hours long! That brings it down to a B-. The ship sinks! That brings it back up to a solid B. I didn't see it, but this grading process is pretty straight forward. Now "Trekkies"–there's an A+ movie for you.

Thank you,


That's a pretty foolproof rating system you got there.


I have seen Carlo's review and I very much agree with what he says about the movie. The movie is not bad, obviously. I did not think it deserved only 3 stars out of five in some reviews. However, if you think that the movie is the BEST one you have ever watched, please think about it one more time: what made you like it so much?

I used to love this movie a lot, and regarded it as the best movie I have ever watched. However, now I regret how dumb I was. When I watched the movie, I was touched by the suffering of the people in the Titanic accident. The director deliberately added the elements which can easily break people's heart in the movie. As a result, the movie itself is TOO SHALLOW (or cheap). The director may have wanted to talk about life or love; however, he has only expressed them in a very immature way! As some teenagers like me, I could be easily moved by these elements. However, as a more mature person, they may think that the movie is a joke: highly unbelievable and immature.

If you want to watch a more mature movie, I would strongly recommend you to watch All about my mother (Todo sobre mi madre, Spanish film). It talks about the lives of women, including transsexual women and lesbians. I really enjoyed this movie. This movie is especially for you if you like sad story. (By the way, I do not know why this website ranks Titanic as A+ and All about my mother as A-. All about my mother is definitely better than Titanic!) All about my mother has already been ranked by many critics, including Times and Entertainment Weekly as The Best Film of 1999.


Dear "Nobody,"

You raise a very interesting question. Should a movie like All About My Mother be rated higher than a movie like Titanic because it is a more intellectual and highly personal artistic statement, whereas Titanic is more of a crowd-pleaser?

If you've explored our site, you know that we asked ourselves this question as we were outlining a general point of view. As we say in our introductory statement (click on Welcome to AboutFilm.Com! on the home page), we don't believe in putting an inordinate emphasis on a film's goals in determining our ratings. Unless those goals are themselves objectionable (an obvious example would be hate propaganda), we prefer to look at how well a movie fulfills the goals it has set for itself. Though we all regard cinema as a serious form of artistic expression, movies are, ultimately, entertainment.

A film can be entertaining for many different reasons. It can be an escapist crowd-pleaser or a thought-provoking satire or a emotionally moving drama. Speaking personally, I can be equally entertained by almost any type of film. A scan of the 1999 movies that I have rated a full A demonstrates this... the films are The End of the Affair, Boys Don't Cry, Fight Club, and, yes, The Matrix. In the case of The Matrix, I thought that it achieved its goal admirably (that of kicking butt) and also benefitted from the interwoven religious allegory and a novel science-fiction premise. So I rated it an A.

However, I would also characterize all my A- films, including All About My Mother (as well as American Beauty and The Insider, and more) as excellent. If you've explored our site, you've seen that an A- grade is also fairly rare. Most of our grades fall into the B- to C- range, which is only logical, as most films are in the average range.

I enjoyed All About My Mother immensely. I had two very minor criticisms, but they do make the difference between an A and an A-. I cannot speak for our other reviewers, but my problems were these: First, I thought that the relationship between mother (Manuela) and son (Esteban) was not believable. I know no parent who gets along that well with a teenaged son, or that has those types of intimate conversations. Most children don't give serious thought to what makes their parents who they are until they are much much older. I'm sure that such close relationships exist, but Almodovar did not make me believe THIS relationship. Fortunately, the relationship was not the central focus of the film. It was more of a premise upon which to built the rest of the story, which is why it was not a fatal flaw.

Second, and this criticism is even smaller, but there are always certain types of characters and themes in Almodovar movies, and I find myself growing a little weary of it. It's the same thing with Woody Allen–Woody Allen, or a Woody Allen substitute with the same neuroses, is almost always in his movies, and after awhile it becomes less interesting. Please don't misunderstand–Almodovar has never explored his favorite themes more effectively than in All About My Mother. But now that he has done so, perhaps he can break the mold with his next film.

Titanic's flaws are arguably much greater (sloppily written dialogue, a cartoonish villain), but they do not prevent the film from fulfilling its goal, which is to be a sweeping old-fashioned epic romance. Believable? No. But believability was not its goal. Titanic is like a grand legend, and the story, with its archetypal characters and classic themes of hubris, love, and loss, moved us (many of us) just as a compelling legend would. If we criticize Titanic for its lack of realism, then we must also criticize many epic films of the 1930s and 40s, including Gone With the Wind. To say Titanic conveys little of value is like saying that Homer's Odyssey, or the story of Oedipus, or Persephone, convey little of value. Because this is the language Titanic speaks: the language of myth.

Of course, this is all subjective. There are people for whom Titanic did not work. But it worked for me, and that is what I must base my grade on. The opinions of Entertainment Weekly and other publications are similarly subjective, because there are no objective standards of quality in film–like in all art. That's what makes film criticism so interesting–the give and take between intelligent people with differing views, exploring how and why people's opinions differ from your own, and sometimes learning from their opinions to see something in a movie that you had not seen before. The only objective standard that we apply to our ratings at AboutFilm.Com is that an A+ movie should be a movie that (in addition to being worth seeing many times) is ground-breaking or genre-defining in some way.

For the record, I do not think Titanic was the best film I've ever seen... in the 1990s alone, I would rate Goodfellas, Schindler's List, and possibly Miller's Crossing ahead of Titanic.

Thanks for your interest. By the way, what country does the .ca suffix stand for?


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