Here is the breakdown of how I rate films and episodes in my reviews: everything is always out of 5 and I always choose a unit that is a direct nod to something specific within the film or episode. I’m typically pretty generous, because I do it based on deductions. If a film is imperfect (which, let’s face it, most are in some way at least) I’ll deduct points and half-points based on how glaring or distracting or detrimental to the overall quality of the film each imperfection is for me and how much I enjoy it in comparison with that.
So if I love the movie and I personally find that it only has one or two very noticeable flaws, I’ll probably give it anywhere from a 4 to a 5 (but perfect 5s are rare, as generous as I may be). If I give a film 3 and a half, it typically that means its flaws were pretty obvious but that the film was still entertaining in some way and I liked it overall despite the flaws. If I give a film a 3, chances are I enjoyed it well enough but that there were numerous things that really bothered me about it. Anything less than 3 means I probably didn’t even enjoy it that much if at all, and it probably means there were too many major flaws I just couldn’t get past, but I always try to give it some credit wherever credit may be due.
I hope that clears things up– it makes sense in my head and isn’t arbitrary to me by any means but it certainly isn’t as sophisticated as some blog rating systems I’ve seen. It is merely the easiest and simplest for me to understand myself and use when watching and writing. And in case anyone is curious, some flaws that I take notice of most prominently can include script/dialogue, acting, structure, and pacing. If a film is predictable or formulaic, I don’t automatically hold that against it.