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How to Write a Review of a Movie Effectively

moview review writing tips

The first thing you probably do after watching a flick is to post a comment about your impression of it. While it is commendable that you want to share your experience of watching a particular movie, you should not write shallow comments like “I really enjoyed the film because there were plenty of hilarious moments” or “This movie turned out to be a flop. I guess it’s just not the type I prefer”. Such feedback says nothing objective about a certain piece of cinematography, and, therefore, it is not helpful for other people being in quest of decent movies to watch. In this case, it is recommended to master the art of writing a film review.

The Purpose of Movie Reviews

This type of writing aims to inform the readers about the content of a film and provide its evaluation. It sounds like a piece of cake, doesn’t it? Well, the biggest mistake people make while writing a review is retelling all the highlights of the film and articulating their point of view. Apart from expressing your personal view on the film or documentary, you are also required to objectively judge it using an unbiased approach. If you intend to produce an impeccable review, you need to find a happy medium when fulfilling both requirements.

A review helps a person decide whether the movie is worth watching, and, thus, its content and style in which it is written matters a lot. The review should be detailed enough to assist the reader in making an informed decision. While it seems that writing reviews are more of an entertaining activity, this type of writing is a typical school assignment. Why is that? As a matter of fact, teachers want to check your ability to analyze critically and report events in a comprehensible manner. Additionally, they want to evaluate the way you form your opinion about the plot and characters by examining them carefully. Reviews also help them assess your writing skills and the capacity of your vocabulary as you will need to single out major events and portray them in a logical yet interesting way.

In general, writing a review is fun, and with these guidelines, you will be able to experience that too.

How to Write a Movie Review: Step-by-Step Guide

In this section, you will get the hang of how to do a movie review and to tailor it to the academic standards.

An introductory part is the most difficult, so oftentimes students wrestle with it longer than initially expected. The reason for this is that this is the part where you set the tone for the entire paper and decide on the most effective approach to analyzing the flick. Here are the most essential pointers on how to set the process of writing in motion:

  • Watch the film/documentary twice and jot down both primary and secondary characters as well as events. Relying on your memory only will get you nowhere because there are always some minor details that may play a vital role in the plot.
  • Look into the background of the movie. Take notes of such details as the name of a filmmaker, his/her ultimate purpose of producing that piece of cinematography, the budget of the film, locations, or historic events, if any, that inspired the director to embark on filmmaking.
  • Start analyzing the movie only after you watch it and digest all the information that it communicates. Do not evaluate it if you are not certain you understand the underlying idea of the movie. Re-watch it if necessary. Only after you are able to grasp the main points emphasized in the flick and vividly remember the events that happened, you will be able to recreate the experience of watching the movie with exactness.
  • Prepare an outline that you will stick to in order to ensure a proper structure, unity, and cohesion.
  • Incorporate examples to support the claims that you make about the film. If you notice some howlers in the plot, then back it up by mentioning the scenes where you were able to spot them. Also, if a character(s) is poorly portrayed or someone’s wooden performance affected the flick, mention the names too.
  • Give feedback on the movie’s uniqueness and quality of shooting. What makes this movie so special? Is the approach that the director uses pedestrian and unoriginal?

How to Arrange Your Review into a Seamless Piece of Writing

It goes without saying that a well-thought-out plan or outline of any type of writing is able to save you the trouble. Outlines help you stay focused on the subject matter and contribute to a smooth transition from one paragraph to another. Here is an approximate blueprint for a successful film review:

  1. Introduction (includes the title of the movie and some background info like the release date and the name of the director).
  2. A brief overview of the plot.
  3. The analysis of the main components of the plot, including rising action, climax, and resolution.
  4. Creative elements (mood, filmmaking techniques, symbols, use of colors, costumes and props, or anything else that stands out).
  5. Personal position (reinforced by facts and examples from the movie).
  6. Conclusion (stating whether the filmmaker successfully achieved his/her purpose, restating some critical points, and determining whether the piece of cinematography in question has influenced you or changed your worldview or understanding of a specific concept/notion).

Common Mistakes

  • Writing in the first person throughout the review. This type of writing presupposes the fact that you give out your opinion on a particular movie, so there is no need to write “I particularly liked…” or “I noticed that…” – these phrases are redundant.
  • Failing to mention any background information about the movie.
  • Expressing your opinion without providing any solid arguments to support it.
  • Writing a review in a shambolic way without following the structure.
  • Stating truisms like awesome effects, poor acting, or the movie was bad.