How to Write a Movie Review
It’s not enough to be able to enjoy a film – it’s also important to be able to tell why it’s significant and how the author achieved their goals. The job of a movie review is to demonstrate your deep understanding of the film and everything surrounding it. If you’ve never written a movie review but have some experience with book reports, you may be tempted to think that the writing process for a movie review is completely identical to a book report. However, there are some major differences between the two assignments.
A great movie review is much more than just a plot summary. In fact, some of the most successful movie reviews that are now known as works of art on their own, offer little to no details on the plot. Instead, these movie reviews present the author’s attempt to analyze and present the movie in a way that will instantly tell the readers whether the movie is worth seeing. Want to know how to craft a good movie review? Then keep reading!
Step by Step Guide on Writing Film Reviews
Whether it’s your first time writing a film review or you want to improve your skills, this guide will help you write your review to the highest standard.
- Watch the movie, preferably twice or as many times as it takes to fully understand the plot and creative devices used by the author. As you watch, remember to take notes – there is just no way you can remember all of that information until you begin writing.
- Do your research. Research is an essential part of crafting a movie review that adds value to your writing. Research everything connected to the movie, from the filmmaker’s biography and previous works to the historical background and locations of the movie.
- Create an outline. The outline will serve as the foundation of your writing – you will always be able to go back to the outline to get a better idea of what to write about next.
- Make the claims about the movie and offer supporting arguments. For example, if you believe the filmmaker was successful in depicting historical events, point out some moments from the movie and link them to real events from history. If you think the author made some plot mistakes, support your opinion with arguments. Both the praise and the criticism of the movie need to be substantiated.
- Analyze the film’s place among similar works. Was the author successful in making their work stand out or did they simply rely on the common stylistic devices and plot details that are far from being innovative?
Movie Review Outline
A correct and clear structure of a movie review is one of the key components of a successful review job. Most professional reviewers stick to the following outline:
- Background information
- Accuracy of depiction
- The use of creative elements
- The writer’s opinion
Elements of a Good Movie Review
Even though writing a film review is a highly creative task, there are still certain elements that every reader expects to find in a review of a movie. Here are the mandatory elements of the movie review:
- Title of the film. Even though the movie title is already featured in the title of your work, it’s not the last time the movie title will be seen in the review. In fact the very first paragraph of your review should already include the title of the movie you’re reviewing.
- Dedicate a part of your review to analyzing the personality and background information of the filmmaker. Pay special attention to the author’s previous career: retell the most significant parts of their track record to see whether this person is an experienced filmmaker or a newcomer. You should also analyze the views of the filmmaker and how they are woven into the story.
- Plot summary. Even though the job of a movie review isn’t to simply retell the plot of the film, offering a generalized summary of the plot is important for one simple reason: your review will likely be read by more than one person who has never seen the movie, and in order to better understand what you’re talking about in the later parts of the review, they need to be somewhat acquainted with the plot.
- Here you need to talk a little bit about the actors chosen for their roles. Mostly discuss whether the casting was successful, which actors were standing out from the rest, and who you believe offered the best portrayal of a character.
- Creative elements. Every filmmaker uses a variety of creative elements to meet the objectives of the movie, and your job is to point out those elements and determine whether they add to the value of the film or are completely unnecessary. The most common creative devices you can analyze are costumes, lighting, special effects, sound effects, camera movements, and editing. You should also pay attention to the symbolism of the film and how it corresponds to the movie plot.
- Significance to your studies. In most cases, the teacher assigns students to write a movie review if it fits their educational goals. For example, historical movies are often reviewed in a history class, while English students often need to review a movie based on the book they’ve recently read for class.
Common Mistakes of Writing a Movie Review
Even the most experienced film reviewers often make the same mistakes when reviewing movies. To minimize your chances of getting a low grade on this important assignment, make sure your review doesn’t contain any of the following:
- Making the review too personal. Although you’re the sole author of the movie review, it’s best to use third-person constructions in your writing instead of “I think” and “I believe.”
- Writing a review with no structure. Even if your movie review is short and concise, a reader will still want to see a clear structure of your writing. This is exactly why an outline is such an important part of the movie review writing process.
- Unsubstantiated claims. Whenever you say things like “great visual effects” or “The writer was successful in depicting historical events”, always include evidence for your claims.
- Lack of background information. In order to better understand the movie itself and your review, readers need to be presented with a context. A brief introduction of the filmmaker’s previous works and the historical circumstances surrounding the movie will give the readers a better understanding of the piece.
- Losing focus. While it’s critical to offer some historical context and other details pertaining to the movie, the main focus of your writing needs to be the movie itself. Always keep that in mind and you’ll avoid veering into territories that have little to do with the film you’re reviewing.
With a bit of inspiration and these helpful tips, the job of writing a good movie review won’t seem intimidating at all! However, if you still feel you need professional help with writing a review for a movie, don’t hesitate to order an expert-level review from one of our writers.