John Fortson’s ‘Rated’ Envisions Putting Stars Upon Thars

RATEDWant to see a Yelp! review of yourself? John Fortson’s new short, Rated, imagines a world where everybody wakes up one morning with a five-star rating hanging on them—literally. “Imagine if that was based on the people in your life who experience you on a daily basis—at the dry cleaners, at the restaurant, your friends or even your parents,” he says.

Rated played the Sarasota Film Festival this week, shortly after premiering at the Sonoma Film Festival and winning the shorts award there.

The short film follows Maggie, played by Fortson’s wife Christie Lynn Smith, after she wakes up with a mediocre 2.5-star review. Things get more tense when she realizes her husband, played by Fortson, has a five-star rating. By the end of the film, the couple have discovered exclusive restaurants that only allow four- or five-star folks to dine there.

The film was inspired not just by Yelp! but by Uber, where drivers can actually rate passengers in a non-public database. “They can decide of they even want to pick you up,” Fortson notes. But if you could see the ratings, would it cause introspection to realize the drivers you hire have a low opinion of you?

In Fortson’s world, you can hide your face but not your star rating. It’s a concept he said elicited strong audience response both in Sonoma and here in Sarasota.

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