Movie reviews are meant to not only inform the reader about the movie, but also to give the writer’s opinion about the ideas expressed in the movie. It is a mix of both objective and subjective material, but it needs to discuss things that are not immediately obvious to the reader, such as the superficial plotline.
Many students make the mistake of simply recounting the events of the movie, and then giving an opinion about the movie at the end. Instead, your movie should have both objective (but novel and not immediately obvious) points and subjective but well-argued opinions.
Even though you might have been tasked with writing a movie review for English assignment, there is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy the process. There is a method to it, and that’s what we’ll cover in this article.
The steps to writing a good movie review
The hardest step is more often than not the first. You’re not sure how to approach the work in front of you, or even how to do it efficiently. The steps below should help give you an idea what to do.
- Start by watching the movie. Do it multiple times if you have to. Take notes along the way, making sure to understand all the characters and events, minor or major. Don’t rely on your memory alone. TAKE NOTES!
- Do some research. You don’t just stop at watching the movie. Find out about the director, producers, and scriptwriters. What were their motivations? How did they decide on the plot, locations, and other aspects of the movie? This research will help contextualize your review and help you develop a well-researched opinion on the movie.
- Evaluate the movie. You can rewatch it multiple times here as well. The point is to analyze it, straighten out the parts you find confusing, and understand the why of every single occurrence in the movie. Again, take notes, as these will be the basis of your review.
- Write an outline for your review. At this point you should have plenty of ideas, though they are not structured. Try to make a coherent outline with your notes as reference. This will help you determine a proper line of attack for the review.
- Remember to include examples or references for any claims you make in your review. If you’re going to say a character wasn’t well-casted or developed, include examples. Also, be sure to have some bits where you express your opinions about the quality of the movie’s scenes and its overall originality.
Writing the review
If you followed the steps above, you should be ready to write your review. A well-structured outline will help you in this sense, highlighting the most important parts of the review. Generally, a movie review should have the following sections:
- An introduction, including the title and release date of the movie, as well as useful background information.
- A summary of the movie’s plot.
- An analysis of the various elements of the plot.
- An analysis of the creative elements of the movie, such as mood, camera techniques, characters, costumes, and anything else that affects the plot, whether positively or negatively.
- An opinion section which must be supported with examples and facts.
- A conclusion, where you give your verdict on the movie.
Mistakes to look out for while writing a movie review
- Losing focus on the film. Sure, you can connect the plot to real-life events if you find the connection. However, you should be economical with your piece, and avoid including unnecessary information such as the history of the genre or a treatise on the negative effects of product placement or any of that stuff. Focus on the film.
- Talking too much about yourself. You’re the writer of the review, so the entire paper is your voice. You therefore do not need to write in first person as that is redundant. Avoid phrases like “I didn’t like” or “I noticed”. Instead use “The movie failed at” or “It’s hard to miss”.
- Not checking your facts. Always have the facts of the movie at your fingertips, such as the background information, the cast, important crew, release date, and so on.
- Offering opinions without backing them up. Make sure you back up all your opinions with relevant examples, facts, or at least a convincing argument for why you gave that opinion.
- Your review lacking structure. This is why an outline is so important. It helps you construct a coherent and high quality piece of work.
- Writing vacuous points, such as “cool effects” or “fantastic acting”. If you’re going to make these or other remarks about the movie, explain why you think so and give examples.
As you can see, writing a movie review isn’t so difficult. You just need a bit of structure and plenty of research and it should all work. Whatever you do, however, don’t forget to thoroughly enjoy yourself!