How to Write a Movie Review

Lucky you! These writing assignments are typically much more enjoyable to write than essays or lab reports or case studies. However this doesn’t mean that they are necessarily easier. Wondering how to write a film review? Don’t worry! We can walk you through how to write a good movie review in just a few minutes. Sometimes the hardest part in how to write a movie review is getting started. So whether you are assigned a movie or get to choose a film review, once you have your movie selection you’re ready to get started. Remember: if you’re choosing the movie, it’s a good idea to have the movie approved by the teacher before you begin the analysis and writing aspects of the review. There’s nothing worse than making it halfway through an assignment only to discover that you should start over!

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Movie Review Help

Movie review help can be broken down into several steps. First, read some background about the movie; this background will stop you wondering how to write a movie review. Look up the summary, plot, critic’s opinions, director’s viewpoint, and any other information you can find. The director’s goals are particularly important as you’ll be evaluating whether the director accomplished what he or she intended later on in the paper. It’s similar to researching a country before traveling there: know a bit about the movie before you watch it. Second, watch the movie at least twice. Want to know how to write a movie review? This is it. Watch the movie once just to understand what’s going on and then watch it a second time to really take notes on everything you need in the outline. Writing this assignment for college doesn’t have to be hard, but you should set aside some time. A film review is just as important as any other paper—don’t procrastinate just because you get to watch a movie!

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Movie Review Outline

While watching the movie a second (or third) time, jot notes down on an outline. Using a specific review outline will make completing a formal paper much, much easier. A good film outline should focus on elements including:

  • Characters
  • Casting
  • Directorial choices
  • Plot
  • Pacing
  • Settings
  • Costumes
  • Symbols
  • Dialogue
  • Special effects
  • Camera work

It’s a good idea to check the assignment to see if the teacher is looking for anything specific in the film review. Part of how to write a movie review is knowing exactly what the teacher expects to see in the final polished assignment. Pay attention in class and take notes on anything the teacher says relevant to how to write a good film review. This type of review can be one page or several pages long, so it’s a good idea to be clear on the assignment guidelines before you get started. The teacher may have kept good examples of film reviews from past students, so don’t be afraid to ask to see good examples of how to write a movie review!

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Movie Review Format

This type of writing assignment follows a typical paper format. The first paragraph should provide background details such as names of key people in the movie including lead actors, directors, and producers. It should also discuss the movie’s basic plot as well as when it was released and any relevant details such as whether or not it was nominated and/or won any awards. The following paragraphs should focus on specific elements in the movie as well as the analysis of those elements. The conclusion paragraph should provide a final film review examining how all these elements worked or failed to work within the movie to achieve the director’s goal. A film review should always specifically reference scenes discussed within the movie and avoid general terms such as “in the middle of the movie”. It’s also important to discuss the movie in sequence; don’t jump around from the beginning to the end and then to the middle. Discuss the movie exactly as the viewer will experience it in your film review.

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Movie Review Online Help

Still wondering how to write a movie review? There’s tons of help online! Check out some professional well-received reviews on Roger Ebert’s site for some guidance. If you’re more of an auditory learner, you can watch many classic film reviews on Siskel and Ebert’s movie review archive online. As two of the most famous and respected movie reviewers, this archive of video reviews is a great resource to view before beginning your own college review assignment. The Thompson Writing Program at Duke University additionally exists as a great resource in helping students in how to write a movie review. That guide provides a general overview and breaks down specific elements that every good film review should include. You can even print it and keep it for reference while you’re working on your own movie review.

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The Writing Process

Remember: one of the most important aspects of the writing process is time. Don’t procrastinate until the last moment. Instead, plan ahead and block out time to complete your film review. Want to know how to write a movie review and earn a good grade? Avoid procrastination like a deadly plague. Set aside time to do the following steps:

  1. select the movie or find your assigned movie
  2. research key background information before watching
  3. watch the movie at least twice
  4. create a movie review outline
  5. fill it in with detailed notes
  6. draft a movie review format
  7. complete the rough draft
  8. edit and revise
  9. complete the final draft

Leave yourself at least two weeks to complete this assignment. If at any stage you find yourself wondering how to write a movie review, reach out! Consult with a classmate, make an appointment to meet with your teacher during his or her office hours, or visit the campus writing center for some help! Also, you can check our guide on article review. It can be useful too. There are tons of resources out there to help students achieve the grades they want—but you’ve got to take the first step towards them.

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