The movie review is a widespread way for critics to evaluate the quality of the motion picture and define whether they consider it a good one to recommend. Usually, such papers are rather short (about 700 to 1300 words), but they require a lot of preparation before writing. Before watching the movie, one may want to learn more about efforts of a director, individual actor, or writer. You can watch other movies of the same writer or director to get a sense of individual style. It will provide you with a possibility to contextualize the screen story and define whether it works as a disruption and/or continuation of the writer or director's work.
What is a Film Review and How to Write it?
One of the first steps to writing a movie review is multiple viewings. Plan to watch the piece several times. When viewing the film for the first time, enjoy it without worrying about arguments you lately have to develop. When viewing it for the second time, try to distance yourself from the plot, focusing on interesting elements that can be addressed in your review.
After you have viewed the film for the second time, note down thematic and formal elements. Later, try to create a central idea for your film review outline, which will bring together thematic and formal elements. In case your second viewing does not give you a strong central claim or if you need to take more notes, watch the full story or its parts for the third time. When you are done, it is high time for drafting your paper. The following movie review guidelines will be helpful when completing this assignment.
- Start with a compelling opinion or fact. You need to get readers hooked immediately. The beginning has to attract the attention and give a feel for the movie and your review – it is terrible, great, fine, or just good? Some ideas include:
- Comparison to another movie or relevant event.
- Brief review.
- One of the most useful and must-do tips for writing a movie review is to support your opinion with specific evidence. At this stage, taking notes during the film is really compensated. No one is interested in your opinion if you cannot present facts that back up your arguments.
- Avoid the obvious analysis of plotline. The plot should not dictate your whole paper as it is just one piece of a movie. Some of them do not have compelling or great plotlines, but that does not mean the whole story itself is bad.
- Give your paper a closure by trying back to your opening fact. Keep in mind that people need reviews in order to decide whether or not they have to watch a film.
Take 2 or Examining your Source Material
Gather the basic facts. Do this after or before you watch the film because you will need to introduce the facts as you write. Here is what you should know:
- The genre
- The names of the lead actors
- The director’s name
- The title and year of release
- Take detailed notes when watching. Before sitting down to view a movie, get out a laptop or notepad to take notes. Films may be quite long, and you can easily forget major plot points or some other details. Taking notes gives you a possibility to jot down little things you can go back to a bit later. The following tips for writing a film review will make your work easier.
- Make a note every time something attracts your attention, whether it is bad or good. This could be the music, makeup, set design, etc. Attempt to think how this detail is connected to the rest of the film and what it means for your paper.
- Take note of all patterns you start noticing as the story unfolds.
- Use the pause button not to miss anything important.
- Nearly every single movie review guide includes advice to analyze mechanics of the film. Provide insight into various components that came together in the film when watching. After that, ask yourself what impression it left in the areas mentioned below:
- Discuss the director and how he/she explains the events. If the movie did not include things you thought were significant, you might attribute it to the director.
- What background elements and setting helped to set a particular tone? What techniques were applied when filming?
- Try to estimate the script, including dialogues. Did the words of characters seem credible? Did you feel like the plotline was unpredictable and smart, or weak and boring?
- Did the movie flow smoothly from scene to scene or was it choppy? Take note of the use of ambient effects such as lighting.
- Costume design. Did the clothing choices contribute to the overall tone?
- Set design. Consider how the film setting affected its other elements. Did it subtract from or add to the experience for you?
- Was it under/over-used? Was it amusing? Suspenseful? A soundtrack can break or make a story especially if it has a particular message.
Steps to Write a Movie Review Successfully
- Write an original thesis statement based on your analysis. At the moment, you have studied everything in detail. What unique insights can you talk about? Introduce a central idea to discuss and support with personal observations on the film’s diverse elements.The first paragraph of your paper should include the thesis statement; its presence will take your paper beyond the plot summary and into the realm of movie criticism. The following questions will help you come up with a compelling thesis statement and make a decision concerning a structure of a movie review:
- Does the movie reflect a contemporary issue or current event? It may turn out to be the director’s way of engaging in a bigger conversation. Try to find some ways to establish a connection between the story’s content and “real” world.
- Does the movie attempt to elicit a specific emotion or response from the audience? You can discuss whether or not it reaches its own aims.
- Does the movie relate to you on a personal level? It is worthy to compose a paper based on your own feelings to make it interesting for readers.
- One of good movie review tips is to follow your thesis statement paragraph with a brief summary of the plot. It is a good idea to inform readers what they will be in for when they decide to watch the film reviewed. Present a short plot summary where you give a sense of the central point of the film, describe the setting, and identify the main characters. Do not break the number one rule: do not give too much away.
- When you name characters in your summary, list names of actors directly afterward in parenthesis.
- Look for an appropriate place to mention the full title and director’s name.
- When you feel you should discuss information or facts that may ‘spoil’ something for readers, it is better to warn them first.
- Movie review outline for students is the best way to start writing. When you indicate every section you need to include on a piece of paper, the further work becomes a lot easier. After you are done with the outline, move to the analysis. Create a few paragraphs discussing interesting parts that back up your thesis statement. Talk about the setting, photography, direction, acting, using entertaining prose that is able to keep your readers engaged.
- Keep your writing easy and clear to comprehend. Make your language understandable; do not use too much technical filmmaking terms.
- Present both your own opinion and the facts. If you are not sure how to do it in a correct way, address film review guidelines.
- Use a lot of examples to support your points. When you make various statements concerning the film, descriptive examples are best to support them. Give a description of the camera angles, the way a certain person acted, the way scenes looked, etc. At the same time, you may quote several dialogues to support your points. Only such supportive examples are helpful if you do not know how to write a film review.
- Give it more personality. It is always possible to treat your paper as an ordinary college essay, though it may become more interesting if you make it your own. In case your style of writing is funny and witty, your work has to be no exception. When you are dramatic and serious, it may work, as well.
Let your style of writing and language reflect your unique personality and perspective – it is much more interesting for readers. When feeling any slightest difficulties with the expression of our personal viewpoints, it is useful to look through a reliable film review guide.
Write a conclusion that refers to the original thesis statement and includes some guidance as to whether the audience has to view the film. At the same time, this conclusion needs to be entertaining and compelling, since it is the final part of your piece of writing.
Film Review Tips on Proofreading and Editing
When your first rough copy has been completed, look through it and decide whether it sounds good and meets requirements of the structure of a film review. Perhaps, you will need to add more material to fill out missing parts, delete sentences, or shift paragraphs. Give your paper several editorial passes before considering it to be editorially sound.
- Proofread your paper. Check and recheck whether all dates and names of actors are written correctly. Correct grammatical mistakes, typos, and other spelling mistakes. A clean and proofread paper will look more professional than one full of silly errors. Make use of the following in order to check your work:
- Is your conclusion linked to the initial ideas proposed by you earlier?
- Decide whether your paper has an appropriate film review structure and includes enough details regarding the film. Sometimes, it is necessary to add more description in order to give the audience a better sense of what the film is about.
- Assure yourself that your work is interesting as a standalone piece of writing. What will readers benefit from your paper in comparison with viewing the film?
- Share your paper with others. Email it to your family and friends, put it up on Facebook, share it in a movie discussion forum, or post it on your blog. Movies are thought out to be the quintessential art form of our time. For this reason, a correct movie review structure will help readers get a feel of this modern art.
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