The movie review is created to help the reader to draw a conclusion: is the movie worth time, or is it better to watch something else. The main thing is that the author’s opinion should be independent. The movie review serves a great role in analyzing the movie, as trailer gives only a brief idea. After all, trailers are trying to show the brightest moments of the film, the best special effects, exciting moments. And the author shows an independent opinion and gives a more accurate point of view.
The Purpose of Movie Review
- Academic. Students may be asked to write a movie review as homework, or review may serve as training tool for improving critical skills.
- Journalism. Movie review for magazine or blog is aimed to present film from the most significant aspects, including interesting moments and criticism.
- Advertising. Movie review for a local multiplex cinema is usually written to convince the readers to watch the movie.
Preparing for the Review
In order to write a qualitative review, you should start it right after watching the movie. It will be possible to disclose information better and more accurately. Of course, the impression of watching a movie in cinema differs from the “screen”. If you want to make a professional review, a poor-quality should be completely eliminated.
Prepare the questions and points you should pay attention during watching the movie. This will help you not to lose the track on important information and record emotions after watching the movie.
Bring a notebook to the cinema. Right after the movie show has finished, write down the brightest moments and the most impressing scenes. When you come home, you should come up with a headline. Of course, it’s very easy to name the article “Review of the movie…” However, in this case there are no guarantees that your work will be interesting to someone. You should come up with something extravagant and memorable.
Gather available information about the movie. This step may be conducted both before and after watching. Decide what information will be suitable in your review. You will surely need to mention the fil title, year, director’s name, main actor’s names, genre.
Read recommendations for writing the review, the word limits and specific format. Mention the deadline and make sure that you are ready to meet all requirements. Also determine the perspective of your review, will it be descriptive or critical? On what points you should pay attention?
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Writing
- What is the main mood of the movie?
- How the director has chosen to present the movie story? If you have already watched other movies directed with the same person, determine what was the best.
- Did you like the script? Was it intensive or weak? Were dialogues nice to hear?
- Describe the scene. Where the background elements and the shoot place picked appropriately?
- How do the costumes played role in the whole mood of the story?
- Did the movie has special effects? How did its presence influence on story and the whole movie picture?
- Analyze the music. Did it enhance the story?
- Evaluate the cast. How actors managed with their roles?
- What did you learn from movie?
- What message does the movie send?
- Were there moments that you could not understand?
- What character do you sympathize the most? Why?
- What character do you dislike the most? Why?
- What part of the movie has the most powerful impact? Why?
- Does the film have connection with events in your own life?
- Can you say that the character causes respect? What actions did make you feel respect?
- Can you recommend this movie to friends? Why?
- If you had chance, what would you change in movie story?
- What events caused the strongest feelings? Describe them.
- Does the movie teaches a lesson? Can you apply it in your everyday life?
- What is the key moment of the film? This scene brings illumination or it is a comic moment that just make you laugh?
- Describe what problems does the main character face in film.
- What personal qualities help the main character to solve questions in film?
- Does the main plot have a back story? How does it promote the main story?
- Are there any dramatic issues in the story that can be relevant to our time?
- Was the ending predictable or remain unrevealed till the end?
- To what kind of audience can you recommend this movie?
Writing the Review
Start your review with an opinion or fact about the movie. There are three varieties of first sentence: comparison to relevant movie, review in a nutshell or reveling background information.
After the intriguing first sentence, you need an equally intriguing beginning. The introduction should briefly reflect the idea of the film. You can also write the main line of the story or, for example, list the names of the actors, write in which pictures they were shot before. In addition, one should avoid all boring retelling.
State your opinion about the movie early, it will set the tone of the whole review and reader will not wonder about your opinion. After reading 2-3 sentences, the reader should have a desire to continue reading. By the way, 2-4 sentences are quite enough for average introduction. As a rule, these general phrases prepare the ground for further narration. For example: “Pixar once again confirmed its status as a producer of family cartoons with a deep philosophical meaning. This year saw the release of the full-length animated film “The Puzzle”. Directors Pete Docter and Ronaldo del Carmen gave us the opportunity to look into the inner world of our children.”
The plot should be described very briefly, revealing the key points and the main twists and turns in the film. Describe exactly so much that there was a general superficial idea of the film, and there was no desire to see it.
Of course, you do not need to describe the whole story, but still its components should be known:
- Exposition (start) – the beginning of a story that represents the conflict, the actors, the scene.
- Rising action— the events before the culmination, where the characters try to solve the conflict, but they do not get it.
- Climax (culmination) is the highest point of the stress of action.
- Falling action (actions after the climax) – the events that follow after the climax.
- Resolution(decoupling) – the end of the story, showing the solution of problems and conflicts of the main characters
Of course, if the film is bad, then the plot can be painted in little detail. But then you should pay more attention to analysis.
Analysis of the film
Here you need to describe the work of the actors, how they coped with the task, and what, in fact, what tasks they are coping with. Analyze the plot, to reveal the presence of weak and strong points. How much fully it is disclosed, its interest and originality. Affect the work of the director: the production and submission of material, whether he managed to convey the main idea. If possible, describe the operator’s work, scenery, special effects, etc. Make a conclusion about whether the main idea is realized. Write down the highlights that you liked the most.
Your own impression of the film
Personal opinion of the author reviews about the movie. It should be less objective and based on the analysis done above. Express a general impression of the film, but in any case, do not give a personal evaluation.
In conclusion, we need to draw conclusions and summarize our assessment of the film. Designate what the viewer will receive after viewing this picture. Will it be positive emotions? Will the viewer learn anything, or just have fun? If it is possible to give recommendations, tell is it worth watching this film, and for which audience it is more suitable.
Once you have finished the review, take a little rest and start reading it. You may need to cut sentences, shift paragraphs or add more information in place where you insufficiently uncovered the idea. Ask yourself, if the movie is described enough and readers will understand what the movie is about.
Make sure that you have followed the right format, spelled actors’ names correctly and your text is clear from mistakes. Also check your text for readability and voice tone, all your sentences should flow from one to another.
Phrases and Words to Use in Review
If you have troubles with choosing the right words or have no idea how to start sentences in your review, these samples may help you.
- To exhibit something close to earlier performance.
- The film feels like a watered-down edit of a much more ambitious film.
- To judge a picture solely on the merits contained within it.
- Something that is sorely missing from the movie is (idea).
- Something is haphazardly executed (concept, the main message).
- Something is a far-cry from masterpiece (the work of a cameraman, film).
A film can…
- boast a star-studded cast;
- explore (dare to tackle) many issues;
- do a commendable job translating the book to the screen;
- deal with controversial issues;
- be a true classic of the silver screen;
- eclipse all preceding;
- trigger a great deal of heated debates;
- win universal approval;
- bombard the viewer with scenes of suffering, upsetting or misleading information.
Checklist for Writing Book Reviews
- Mentioned the title and movie genre (drama, horror, comedy etc.)
- Described the setting, year of production, director and rating.
- Wrote a brief description about the story.
- Compared the movie to other movies of same genre (or from same director) that you have already watched.
- Wrote the script overview effectively and briefly.
- Evaluated the work of director and the way the movie was presented to the audience.
- Mentioned and discussed actors that played the main roles.
- Discussed the acting and key scenes.
- Discussed the budget and the movie quality.
- Described the use of special effects and how it suited the movie.
- Evaluated the movie soundtrack and background sounds.
- Wrote a critical assessment of main movie scenes written in paragraph form.
- Fully described personal opinion of elements you like or dislike.
- Analyzed the strength and weaknesses of the movie based on facts and your own point of view.
- Used descriptive examples to back up your points.
- Wrote a conclusion that sum up your review and present your final judgment.
- Wrote a balanced and adequately covered message of the movie.
- Ended the review with memorable comment.
- Used explanatory style while writing the review.
- Checked the review for misspelling and grammatical mistakes.
Take into consideration that if you do not like the movie, there is no need to express negative emotions about it. A good reviewer will guide the readers through the essence of movie and make a little hint if the movie worth watching. To write a great movie review, read as much reviews as you can, analyze the writers style and information blocks. Give yourself enough time, and you will surely succeed!
You can also look through movie review examples, which were written by our writers to get some ideas for your own writing.
Content of this article
- Movie review writing guide
- Forrest Gump analysis (example)
- Review structure
- More examples
- Movie related essay samples
1. Movie Review Writing
A lot of people like movies and films. These things add thrill and imaginations to our lives. This, therefore, makes us come to the conclusion that a movie is worth a review if it has been watched. Everyone has a different opinion on the movies they watch – the ratings can range from being great to good or even bad. Thought there are an increasing number of movie sites available on the Internet (some of which are authoritative, others less so (more below)), movie reviews and reviewers are still very much in demand for their own unique takes on a movie. The different types of reviewers can offer different types of writing, which is something that is good in a market which is rapidly becoming over-saturated. Everyone can review a movie, but there are still some differences between the reviewing done by experts, and reviewing done by amateurs – the amateurs are not usually focused on the minutiae of the film in the same way, and are instead focused more on the general ideas presented.
The primary purpose of movie review writing is to give the reader a rough idea of what the movie is about. The movie review greatly determines if an individual wants to watch the movie or not. This type of writing should, therefore, be detailed enough to assist the reader in making an honest decision. As much as the review is based on elaborating the movie review outline, it should not give away the plot of the movie or the surprises that make the movie enjoyable. Opinions on a movie need to be stated clearly, good or bad. If the review is to be brief, stars and scores can also be used to express the reviewer’s thoughts. A good writer should, therefore, have the basic knowledge of how to write a movie review.
- Great movie: Almost Christmas is a movie that has balanced all its features to make a great movie. All the characters fit their roles and make the plot come to life. The costumes and the soundtracks are a plus as they enhance the emotions and feelings of every story line. Almost Christmas is, therefore, a movie worth watching.
- Good movie: London has Fallen is an okay movie. The graphics were on point as well as the sound effects. The cast, however, I felt weren’t up to the task, and did not bring out the feel of the movie. The actors, therefore, led to what was otherwise quite a good time-killing movie (if not a good movie overall) being let down. Additionally, the plot was difficult to comprehend.
- Bad movie: No matter how much you watch Central Intelligence, you can’t get a hold of the movie. The stunts are overrated, and the storyline is off, making the movie boring. The movie is a definite no, and not even worth spending time watching when there is nothing else to watch on TV. Definitely a flop.
2. Complete analysis (Forrest Gump)
- Plot analysis: the movie falls in the genre of modern fiction (modern history is generally considered to stretch from the fifteenth century up, although this category is further divided into early modern (1500s to 1700s) and late modern (1700s to present), with Tom Hanks playing the role of Forrest Gump. His character moves through history and survives all the hardships with decency and honesty.
- Soundtrack analysis: the soundtrack reflects the mood that was popular at the time, which, in turn, creates urgency. The songs are great hits and are appropriate for children to listen to as well. The soundtrack helps to illustrate the transitions of the film’s locations – from warm and safe territory to a more hostile borders. For instance, the song by Fleetwood (Go Your Way) is used to illustrate how Forrest is joined by his friends in his journey. The soundtrack is an integral part of the movie experience, as it brings an emotional centre-point to the move by helping people to better understand just how high the stakes are in certain scenes. The soundtrack is also to convey the terrifying nature of the war scenes, thus helping the movie to pack even more of an emotional punch.
- Atmosphere: later on in the movie, the atmosphere changes – the troops go out on patrol and are far away from their bases which are safe. The atmosphere becomes tense, and at the same time captivating. Having the atmosphere change throughout a movie emphasises that what is happening is actually serious and will have consequences, and the movie Forrest Gump is no different. If the atmosphere is incorrect, then, the movie will not feel so real to the people who are watching it. the movie starts with the atmosphere of the beach party. Music is playing in the background, and people are enjoying barbecue and playing cards. The troops are not left behind as they are seen loading crates of beers in their trucks.
- The main idea of the film: The main idea portrayed in Forrest Gump is that life is filled with unknown surprises. This is substantially illustrated by Forrest Gump himself, who is just a country boy with learning difficulties. Forrest, however, does not let this obstacle define him, and goes to great lengths to be a relevant person in history. The film, while containing some darkness and violence due to the war and its aftermath, is therefore an uplifting and invigorating film, as it shows how people can prevail against all odds, and even thrive. A film needs to have one (or possibly two, though more is of course harder to maintain) main idea if it is to remain coherent throughout.
- Actors play analysis: Tom Hanks fits the role perfectly as he manages to express the love for the country. He portrays the feelings of sadness and comedy at the same time. Forrest, therefore, makes the movie interesting. Tom Hanks is a strong actor, and it is mainly due to his efforts as the lead which make the film as powerful and memorable as it is.
3. Review structure
The structure of a movie review follows the basic steps of the introduction, the body (analysis), the recommendation and the movie review conclusion. A movie review writing guide gives the writer instructions on how to write a movie review. The movie review structure is as follows.
3.1 The introduction
A movie review should open up with an introduction. The introduction is the most appealing way of how to start a movie review, and contains the summary of the movie and opinion that will be stated. Movie review writing hooks give the readers a general feel of what will be illustrated in the review. The introduction for a movie review has to be appealing, so that the reader can get the feel of wanting to read more.
Give a brief illustration of what will be discussed in the review and then proceed to the thesis. Ensure that the thesis is original and at the same time based on the analysis. The thesis for a movie review should be compelling and reflect on a contemporary issue, while the argument should go beyond the plot and straight to the film criticism. Illustrate both the message of the movie and how the film connects to an individual. The thesis paragraph can be followed up with a short summary plot. The section will also give an overview of what will be contained in the body.
3.2 Body paragraphs (analysis)
The analysis covers the fails and accomplishments within the movie, and also gives the writer a chance to express their feelings towards it. The cinematography, acting, the setting, and soundtrack can also be discussed in this section. Ensure that the writing is smooth and easy to comprehend. For the review to seem realistic and professional, present facts and opinions in the same page, and try to use examples that are descriptive in order to bring the plot to life. Dialogue snippets can and should be quoted to give the review snappiness. You can add a few movie review tips such as giving the language used some personality, in order to create a style which will reflect a unique perspective to entertain the reader.
A movie review structure can also have a recommendation. The recommendation gives the writers a chance to commend the film and decide if it’s worth the money.
The conclusion for a movie review should be in a position to be tied up with the thesis. The conclusion should also offer guidance of whether to watch the film or not. There are a number of ways of how to end a movie review. However, the most effective style is to make it compelling and at the same time entertaining.
4. Polishing the review
The review is polished through editing. The final content should go hand in hand with the movie review draft. Fine tune the review to ensure it is in line with the thesis. Ensure that the content has enough examples to back up the claims. You should also proofread the review to eliminate any spelling mistakes and errors that can be avoided – movie review writing needs to be precise and free of errors. Finally, share the review with friends and family and see if it has an impact on their opinions of the movie.