Scoring more than just papers

Physics teacher moonlights as film critic


Photo Courtesy Cynthia Lee

Coppell High School honors Physics teacher Cynthia Lee enjoys rating movies on IMDB. So far, she has rated 630 movies in various genres.

Sreeja Mudumby, Staff Writer

What started as a simple discussion in a movie theatre soon turned into a long lasting hobby. Before she knew it, she had more than 600 reviews in her portfolio.

Coppell High School honors physics teacher Cynthia Lee has a fervor for rating and reviewing movies. So far, she has rated 630 movies, and she continues to review them whenever she can. 

“I usually talk about the style of the director, set design, cinematography, any subtle details, the era it was set in as well as the era it was made in and choices made by both the actors and the directors,” Lee said. 

Lee started reviewing movies six years ago, her first review being 2013’s The Great Gatsby. She went to the movie theater with some of her college friends and ended up in a heated debate about whether the movie matched up to the level of the book. Wanting to remember her thoughts from the movie, she opened up an IMDb account under an alias and wrote her first movie review and rating. 

She has been reviewing and rating movies ever since.

“I generally like dramatic, plot-driven movies the most,” Lee said.  “I want to be moved and to feel strong emotions when I leave the movie. I don’t generally tend to like action movies, mainly because they are not very focused on the plot or character development. I’m aware that is not the point of action movies, but it just leaves me wanting more.”

Lee also has a keen eye for details in movies. When she watched the Oscar-winning Best Picture Parasite, she noticed a tiny detail that made a huge impact on one of her friends. 

“When I watched Parasite, I mentioned that the director [Bong Joon-Ho] actively makes choices to create straight right-angled lines between characters to visually show the line between the wealthy and the poor, the line that the protagonist’s family actively tries to cross,” Lee said. “My friend, who did not notice them the first time, went back and re-watched the movie and told me he enjoyed the movie better once he was aware of the director’s choices.”

Coppell High School physics teacher Cynthia Lee has found a hobby reviewing movies. Lee has reviewed more than 600 films in various genres. Graphic by Bella Mora(Bella Mora)

Lee’s hobby has only grown and is continuing to rise upwards.

“The number is growing really quickly this year, since I get to be home a lot due to COVID-19. I’ve watched over 50 [movies] since spring break started,” Lee said.

Lee’s students are also starting to learn about her hobby. 

“It’s one thing to sit there and watch all those movies, but being able to take that love you have for that and channel that into reviewing it and looking at all these from more of an artistic perspective,” CHS sophomore Nikita Nair said. 

Not only is Lee’s hobby unique, but it serves a purpose in the community.

“[It is] really cool how she reviews them, because that helps other people when they’re trying to decide what to watch,” CHS sophomore Advika Jagtap said. 

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