A Complete Guide on How to Write a Movie Review: Tips and Hints

When you watch a movie, do you think of what elements made it successful, or what the creators could do to enhance the watching experience? A movie review offers you a chance to express the ideas of a movie using objective approaches.

As a student, understand that movie reviews differ from book reports or movie reports. Therefore, I am here to define what a movie review entails while giving your hints and tips into how to write an A+ grade movie review.

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What is a movie review?

A movie review is an objective and unbiased essay, informing the reader about the chosen movie and the creator’s ideas. It is an objective analysis of the events in the movie and plays a crucial role in influencing the reader’s decision to watch the movie. 

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The tips should below act as a checklist.

Tips and hints to writing a movie review

  1. You need to watch the movie at least two times.

Watching the movie helps you formulate a clear understanding of the significant character and the milestone events.

Re-watching helps you capture something you may have ignored

2. Review the movie only after watching it

When you review it as you watch it, you may develop biased opinions that will blind you from seeing an objective detail Conduct extensive research 

Check out the name, motivations, profession, and inspirations of the writer.

Look up the characters, location, process of characterization, and sociopolitical political and historical events that shape the events of the movie.  

3. Draft an outline that matches the requirements for your course, blog, or journal

Under each subsection place examples of significant events within the movie

You need such evidence to back up your claims to increase the credibility of your review

The outline uses the following format:

  1. Introduction (Title of the film, date of release, filmmaker, background information)
    • The title

Never leave the title of the film out of the movie review’s introduction 

2. Mentioning the filmmaker is not enough.

What is their political stance? What is their profession, and how does it impart to his or her work?

  • Summary of the story (within the movie)

Summarize for people that have not watched it 

  • Analysis of elements of the plot (includes the rising action, the climax, and the resolution)
    • The creative elements used within the movie (such as costumes, locations, dialogues, colors, camera techniques, tone, mood, symbols and any outstanding element that contributes to enhancing the storyline)
      • Do the costumes enhance the intent of the story?
      • Are the colors dull or bright, and how do they change the audiences’ mood when watching?
      • Are sound effects working to enrich the story or is it destroying the plot
      • Does the cameraman take the right angles and the right shots? Are there any symbols used in the movie?
      • Do the characters meet realistic expectations for their roles? Are they natural? Do they have excellent acting skills? Were they the right fit for that role? Do they communicate the message they symbolize?
      • What is the quality of the hair and makeup? Set design?
      • Script quality? Performance? Lighting? Relation to book?
    • Your opinion (supported by facts from the movie)
    • Conclusion

4. Make a concluding statement saying whether you think the filmmaker was successful in their purpose.

5. Restate your thesis, claims, evidence, and technical aspects that support your opinion. 

  • Remember to also state the role of the movie in enhancing your course topic 
  • Comment on the quality of scenes within the movie and how these scenes enhance the movie’s quality
  • Mention incidences where the writer has successfully used a similar approach in a related film and how it works for the audience.
  • Remember to adjust the review style to your audience 
  • Avoid spoilers

6. Warn readers of possible spoilers within the review to skip to another type of writing.

But if the review is for a class, then most probably your audience (the instructor) has watched the film, so spoil away

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  1. Your movie review should have detail.

The details help make the reader make an informed and honest decision to watch or not watch a movie

2. The movie review should show your critical thinking skills

The instructor wants to see if you developed the necessary insight during your course to make objective reviews on the film.

As you can see, writing a movie review  is easy and straightforward if you follow the steps above.

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