Letterboxd came to me at a very crucial time. Suffering from an undiagnosed chronic illness, I had recently become entirely bedridden, unable to leave my home for anything other than doctor’s visits. This period would last for three years before I was able to receive a diagnosis, and consequently find ways to manage the illness well enough to at least keep me out of bed. During those three years, I spent all day, every day, alone, and films kept me company.
Just as importantly, Letterboxd kept me company. An invite from an online friend brought me to the site when it was in beta, and I spent days upon days converting my many documents of film reviews and ratings into Letterboxd. Without film, I can’t imagine how I would have gotten through those years of isolation, and in that time I found a purpose in writing reviews, using Letterboxd as a personal diary as much as it was a platform for critical analysis.
Being so open in my writing here allowed me to build connections that I still maintain, but more than anything, Letterboxd has been a tremendous curatorial tool to help me discover new areas of cinema previously unexplored, opening me up to a world far beyond the four walls that would surround me.
As the years went on—as I started to have friends I could hang out with in person, to go back to movie theaters, to eventually get a job—many things in my life changed, but Letterboxd remained the one constant. For the last ten years, it has been my homepage, a site (or app) that I check daily to read thoughts from my friends on the films they’re seeing.
It’s funny to look back on the beginning of the site now, in the midst of a pandemic, when I am once again confined to staying inside for potentially years on end, thanks to my illness putting me at high risk. Letterboxd truly has always been there—a place where I can chart my journey from being confined to my bed, to being out in the world, to being confined inside again—and just like before, it has allowed me the opportunity to feel new experiences, to build new connections, and to find community despite my physical limitations. It’s a platform I will be eternally grateful to have in my life.