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How to Write a Movie Review: Easy Steps to Get Things Done

Writing a movie review can be a really interesting assignment. Why? Well, for starters, one of the tasks you would have to do is to watch the movie and who does not like watching movies for fun? Afterward, it will be delightful to write a movie review for your academic curriculum and especially if this is for a job assignment, something for which you would get paid.

Writing a movie review is a great way to explore how you feel connected to the content. A movie review should be entertaining, thoughtful and balanced. It should be able to narrate that you have not only watched the movie but why you are asking someone else to watch it, for good and bad reasons.

The fun part is that if you are really passionate about entertainment, you would thoroughly enjoy writing film reviews. Of course, there might be some genres or films that you do not like, but that’s the beauty of the art. It gives you the chance to explore different concepts, be aware of different creators, writers and actors and so much more. Overall, this is an interesting assignment to do when done in the right manner.

Before we give you tips on how to write a good reaction paper or a review, let’s first understand what a movie review is.

What is a Movie Review?

When you evaluate a movie and then share the summary of it with an opinion and analysis, that is what you would call a movie review. Film fanatics would always read movie reviews to determine whether they should watch the particular film or not – or even sometimes read reviews to draw conclusions from the movie that may have a controversial storyline. Now, when it comes to writing a movie review, it can be either your personal reflection sharing what you gathered from the content, or it can be an in-depth, complete analysis.

There are different ways of how people usually go about presenting a movie review. The modern-day approach is releasing podcasts or sharing on streaming platforms, making blogs about it on Instagram and YouTube. On the other hand, the way that never goes out of fashion (or trend) – reviews on websites. For instance, one of the most trusted platforms for movie reviews is a website called Rotten Tomatoes.

Some important points you need to keep in mind:

how to write a movie review writingmetier
Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash

Yes, don’t be one of those. There is no need to spoil for others. Give them some sauce, but not the juice.

  • Take notes

When you are watching the film you have to review, make sure you keep notes of the important events. When writing the article/review, you do not want to go back to the film again and see it. It will be a waste of time and you might not even remember what you were trying to say in the review.

  • Edit

Of course, you know this. Edit and proofread your content. It is always helpful for you to make sure it is free of errors. Proofreading also helps in coming up with a point you thought you might have missed before. It is always nice to read the review with a fresh mind. It helps in adding updated information.

Now, let’s move to how to write a movie review and what are the guidelines you need to keep in mind.

Guidelines for Writing a Movie Review

Yes, you need to watch the film

We started this article by saying that watching movies is a really fun activity and we stay true to that. And for writing movie reviews, you need to watch the particular movie you wish to or are told to review. For the review to be thoughtful, honest, and thorough, you need to watch the movie. If you are given a sufficient amount of time and flexibility you might want to watch the movie more than once. In the notes, make sure you include the narrative arcs, themes, music/background score, the cinematography, and finally, the acting. When view more than once, you may see the things you might have left the first time you saw the film.

Begin you review with a hook, ALWAYS!

Starting the review with a strong hook in the first paragraph will capture the attention of your readers. For the hook, there are numerous angles you can focus on, which essentially helps you in being different from other reviewers. An insight of the film (maybe don’t give away too much just in the start – should have a nice balance) or a controversial opinion about the film which a lot had speculated about. You should take this moment to shed some light on the things people had been talking about so they read the rest of the review as well.

Make sure you add a summary

You need to be sure that the review as a plot summary in it as it will allow the readers to have a general idea of the characters and the storyline of the movie. Be sure that you talk about the names of the actors, the release date of the film, touch some basis on the genre and of course the director and writer names. Make sure the readers know everything they need to know regarding the logistics of the film.

Form your opinion

To be a successful reviewer, you need to have a firm, established opinion. The opinion you present needs to be well-informed, enticing and should provoke the readers to watch the movie for the sake of it. Take particular scenes and characterization from the film as evidence to support the claims you are making. Talk about plot holes. Talk about the gripping bits of the film. Talk about what stood out the most prominent to you and why. Talk about what failed or lacked in the film.

Like with a comparison essay, to make sure that you round the review nicely, you should consider comparing the film with something. Now, this could be the work of the same writer, or the same director, or even the same actor. It should depend on what your major selling point is. Let’s say that a director who did really well on one movie, failed in this one, then you should compare it with this. You can also compare to the movies that had similar events or themes or genres.

Now is the time to evaluate the film

After you have stated the analyses and the facts surrounding the film, now is the time you narrate the evaluation. You talked about the facts before. You mentioned the factual information regarding the content and presented the evidence to share some bits of the opinion to give the readers an idea where the opinion is headed. Now in this part, you need to share your idea and verdicts. Do you think the movie was a hit? A flop? Where it lacked? Where was it superior to be a blockbuster hit? Here’s where all the juice comes. Let the audience know why or why not they should invest their time in this film.

Spend some minutes and sentences on conclusion

Most of the content should be covered in the above-mentioned paragraphs. In the conclusion, you should present the central ideas that tie the entire review together. Keep in mind that an anxious reader may just skip to the conclusion part to get what they are looking for. The idea is that they should ideally go through the entire review, right? So, make sure that you do not give away too much in the conclusion. The analysis needs to come together in a cohesive, constructive way. If you want, give a percentage score or a grade at the end.

Here’s how to write an excellent and accurate film review. Best of luck and make sure you enjoy the assignment!


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Laura Orta

Laura Orta is an avid author on Writing Metier's blog. Before embarking on her writing career, she practiced media law in one of the local media. Aside from writing, she works as a private tutor to help students with their academic needs. Laura and her husband share their home near the ocean in northern Portugal with two extraordinary boys and a lifetime collection of books.

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