According to English Grammar Today (on Cambridge Dictionaries Online),
How …? has 3 different meanings:
1)To ask about someone’s general health or 2) about the condition or state of something, or 3) how people experience something.
What is … like?, on the other hand, has only one: to ask for a description of someone or something (e.g. their appearance, their character, their behaviour.)
What makes this matter complex (at least for me) is that a description can be how we experience something, not only what is the physical/objective description. That's why in English grammars and online websites, many answers for both types of questions start with 'It is great...' or 'It is nice...' or 'It is cool...' , or 'It's wonderful...' etc. Of course, the rest of the content of the answer can vary.
My question is:
How was the film (yesterday)?
What was the film like?
If I just wanted to know if the film was either nice or not nice, was either good or not good, giving freedom for the other person to choose the content of her answer, I mean, how did she experience the film or what is the story about, the film genre, the actors etc (description), am I free to choose any of this questions for my enquiry?