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How To Write a Good Movie Review

Review paper writing


The movie review writing is a common task for students. This assignment can significantly improve a lot of important skills. Writing movie reviews requires attention to detail and the ability to highlight the main idea of a film and correctly express your thoughts. The task has a positive effect on analytical and critical thinking, formulation of the opinion, and, of course, writing skills.

Despite the fact that the film review is a time-consuming task, it remains one of the most interesting assignments for the majority of students. Additionally, if you know the basics of the movie review writing, the task will become much easier to cope with.  

What Is a Movie Review?

When it comes to the exact film review definition, it can be formulated like this – a critical assessment of the movie written in a specific format.

Initially, a movie review was a genre of writing in professional areas like journalism and art criticism. Today, the movie review writing and sharing are available for everyone in the form of comments since any person can watch the film and immediately communicate their impressions about it. Of course, this type of reviews is not created according to any standards and differs greatly from a professionally written critique.

Consequently, the complex movie reviews based on the art criticism principles are, for sure, more attractive and informative for readers than a comment left on the site. The classic movie review is characterized by a complex overview of the film, which should include a constructive analysis of the plot, cast, genre specifics, costumes, and special effects; any subjectivity should be avoided in this type of assignment.

What Is the Purpose of a Movie Review?

The purpose of the movie review essay is to give the objective assessment of the pros and cons of the film. There are some goals you need to reach while writing a movie review paper:

  • give the brief plot retelling,
  • focus on the work of actors, director, operators, etc.,
  • share your general impression about the movie based on the examples,
  • specify who might find this film interesting.

It is important to remember that the movie review should not be a list of all plot events but a complex analysis of different aspects of a film.


Basic Steps of Writing a Movie Review

Any task seems to be complicated when you do not know how to start working on it. Though, having a step-by-step guide can simplify the process of writing a film review.

1. Choose and Watch a Film

If you are allowed to choose a film for the movie review task, think carefully about what movie you would like to appraise. At first, you may want to pick one of the favorite films that you have watched dozens of times. However, there is a risk that you will not be able to be objective and will write just a positive comment instead of a professional movie review. Therefore, it is better to select something from novelties or cinema classics that you have always wanted to watch.

As for the watching process, it is recommended to do it at least twice to write a quality movie review. The point is that during the first watching, you can focus on the storyline and your own impressions; at the time of the second one, you can pay more attention to details like decorations, lighting, storyboard, acting, music, etc.     

2. Make Notes

When you are going to watch the film for the first time, it is better to fully immerse yourself in the story shown on the screen. It would be useful to highlight the scenes that you consider important and will want to return to.

However, when it comes to watching the film for the second time, it is necessary to be ready to pause the movie in almost every scene to take notes. Write down absolutely everything that comes to your mind at once. Later, these notes will help you a lot.

3. Analyze and Evaluate the Movie

When your observations are written down, give yourself some time. Let your impressions settle down a little so that you can formulate your thoughts properly and write a good movie review. It is a great idea to:

  • Identify what aftertaste is left by the movie  
  • Think about what exactly you remember from the film
  • Define its main idea, determine what questions the movie asks, and which answers gives
  • Give your assessment of the selection of actors and analyze whether everyone managed to cope with the roles.
  • Consider special techniques used in the film and their effect on your impression.

4. Draft a Review Outline

It is much easier to start writing a movie review when you have a plan. Try to structure all your notes and make an outline of the paper. This way, you will know what to write in the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion and will be able to arrange all arguments in the correct logical order.

5. Write Your Review

When you have made all the preparations and have a basis for the movie review, you can get to the main part of the work. As with any other written assignment, this task requires your concentration, so allocate enough time for it in advance. It is important to support each expressed opinion with arguments and examples from the film.

6. Proofread and Edit Your Final Draft

After writing the text, switch to some other activity and return to the movie review after a little rest.

  • First, read the full text to understand whether the main idea is clear.
  • Also, make sure that every point you want to convey to the reader is described.
  • Further, start the so-called slow reading. Re-read each sentence several times not to miss any grammar or spelling mistakes.
  • Finally, make sure that the text is arranged in accordance with the format standards.

Video Guide on How to Write a Movie Review

If there is an opportunity to learn from the best, do not miss it. Check out the movie review writing tips from the New York Times chief film critic A.O. Scott.

Movie Review Outline

A paper plan with your thoughts and notes written down will greatly help you organize the text. When a film review outline is ready, it is much easier to start writing because you know what information to focus on in the paper.

To make a useful plan, you need to be familiar with the required movie review format. Writing an outline, consider the classic film review structure, which includes an introduction, description, analysis, and conclusion. 

Movie Review Introduction

Assuming that the reader knows nothing about the film being described in the movie review, it would be reasonable to begin the text with a short movie presentation.

To start a movie review, you may provide such general facts about a film as title, genre, release date, cast, production company, director, and budget. If you found information about the background of the film or details of the script creation, it would be great to focus on it in your movie review introduction as well.

Movie Description

In this part of the movie review, give a brief summary of the plot and short characteristics of the main heroes. It is recommended not to make this section too extensive since there is a high risk of turning the movie review into a regular retelling. Moreover, the less you describe a plot, the less likely you are to give the reader a couple of spoilers.

Movie Analysis

The objective assessment of the picture is the main part of the movie review. In general, the film analysis should include such elements as:

  • main idea and storyline evaluation,
  • appraisal of creative components (color spectrum, decorations, costumes, makeup, music, etc.),
  • estimation of technologies (special effects, unusual shooting methods, etc.),
  • the final analysis of the topic,    
  • strong and weak points of the film.

Movie Review Conclusion

Describe your overall impression of the film. Try to think about what made you happy, what surprised, and what upset you in the movie. Although you are giving your own evaluation, remember that it has to be supported by arguments. Explain to whom you would recommend this movie and why.

Movie Review Examples

In case you have never completed such assignments before, it is an excellent idea to have a movie review essay example in front of you while writing. When you see a ready text, it becomes much easier to understand the structure and main features of the paper.

It is better to choose a movie review sample or several of them from films you have already watched. Reading the movie review with a professional critique of the plot, casting, decorations, etc., you will be able to compare it with your own impressions and opinion. So, you can recognize some mistakes in your approach to the film assessment even before starting the work.  

Here are movie review examples of some world-famous pictures:   




Review paper writing

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