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How to Write a Movie Review: Watch, Think, Write It Down

How to Write a Movie Review: Watch, Think, Write It Down photo

Published: | Categories: Blog

The main goal of a movie review is to summarize its main ideas and this summary can be done depending on different factors, such as characters, plot, scenery, ending, etc. The most common mistake you can make would be assuming that just reporting about all this using your subjective opinion is enough. A movie review definitely lets you express your ideas, but a well-written paper is the one that has a balance of objective and subjective opinions.

How to write a film review

We read movie reviews to have an idea of whether to watch it or not and we look for getting some insights on what we should expect from watching. In academic circles, even if the instructor has already seen a movie and assigned it to you, you have to act like it is all brand new information and present it this way. Always assume that your audience has never seen this film – this approach will help you to reveal information logically and gradually giving your readers as much information as necessary to encourage / discourage them to watch this movie.

Why is this paper so common for school assignments and how to write movie reviews? The thing is that such papers give college professors an opportunity to check students` ability of reporting, analyzing and also critical thinking skills. That is why your film review should be as detailed as possible to help readers make a decision on watching. Movie reviews involve testing your writing skills, vocabulary, and the ability to sum up in a logical and interesting way. After all, it is always a fun and entertaining process.

How to write a film review (each step in details):

  1. Watch the movie and describe its general idea in a few sentences. While watching, take notes of the moments you find most interesting for the reader or those that seem to describe its main goal. Movies take around two hours, many things can happen and you may not remember what exactly impacted your opinion: actors` play, dialogues, conflicts or anything else so use the pause button to write it down. Later you can get back to it and point out the main facts among the general scope of information;
  2. Make sure you learned the following information such as the title, the name of the director, year, genre, lead actors. Gather as many facts about the movie as possible to provide an objective statement reading articles and other movie reviews;
  3. Analyze the director`s part. What cinematography techniques were used in a movie? How did the director portray the events? Was it slow or there was a lot of action? Did the setting make the right mood? Have you seen other movies directed by this person? If yes, compare them;
  4. Evaluate writing and editing. Did you believe the script and words of the characters? Did the movie go smoothly or was chopped with no logical connection? What visual effects were used and were they realistic? Did you notice long cuts, montage, reaction shots?
  5. Costume and set design. Did the characters wear clothes that matched a general movie style? If it was a historical movie, did you notice any details that did not belong there? How did the settling impact other movie elements? What was the location and did it match well?
  6. Music. Were songs good or bad for this particular movie? Was it over-used or under-used? Were you irritated by the soundtracks? Did the songs have a particular message for the audience?

After you made some notes, watch the movie one more time. First, it was exciting and you might not have noticed specific details that can help in your movie review. Now you can fully understand it based on the notes you already have and paying attention to details.

Key movie review elements

If you have seen a few movie review example pieces, the structure remains the same as in other essays and reviews:

  • Introduction (movie title, director`s name, release date, some background);
  • Brief plot summary and analysis;
  • Elements discussion (check 6 main elements from the list above);
  • Your opinion (supported by a few examples from the plot);
  • Conclusion (whether the movie was good or not and why).

Now let`s go more detailed on some of these points:

  • Title. Always name the title of the movie in the introduction paragraph, even if this is obvious. The title is an important element which helps to define the movie`s main goal and which describes it;
  • Plot summary. The whole point here is to briefly tell people about the movie they have not seen yet. Again, always assume that your professor is among them: thus, you will not miss any important information. As a reviewer, your main job is to define whether this film was successful or not and support your opinion with specific examples;
  • Director. Do some research on the person who created a movie and see whether he or she used the general style or produced something new;
  • Creative elements. How all of them impact the movie in general? Do the costumes match the time? Are sound effects good, what is the atmosphere and overall mood?
  • Casting. What about actors, did they have good skills or their acting was not realistic? Did they fit into their roles? Describe your impression as a viewer.

Summarize paying special attention to the movies for your class. Does the content have something to do with your course work? Is the movie based on the book you already analyzed together? How does it differ?

Final notes

There are some common mistakes you can avoid by writing:

  • Failing to check movie background and facts;
  • Writing in the first person;
  • Giving opinion without evidence;
  • Not focusing on the movie;
  • Discussing irrelevant topics;
  • Writing with no structure and formatting;
  • Not being specific;
  • Not analyzing the movie.