Writing movie reviews: 9 tips to make them stand out
Depending on what you study and basically, the creativity of your professors when they assign you tasks, you might be given the assignment to write a movie review during your studies. This task is quite different from the frequent essays and research papers students write. So, before you start watching the movie or prepping the paper, you need to learn how to write a film review.
Evaluating and reviewing movies is nothing like writing research papers or argumentative essays. You aren’t researching data to create your piece. Your job is to research someone else’s ready work and write a critique for it. This critique can be either good or bad. When writing a review, you can combine both good and bad critiques for better effect.
If you have been wondering how to write a critique on a movie that the reader hasn’t seen yet, there are a couple of things you should know. Here are the best tips for writing movie reviews.
Watch the Movie (If you can, watch it several times)
Watching a movie to write a review on it takes the fun out of it. You have to focus on details, take notes, go back to confirm things – and often even watch it all over again. So, if you were thinking that this will be a fun task where you get your popcorn and have a movie night, think twice. You might like the movie if you like the genre, but you can also be assigned a movie you will hate. Even then, you’ll have to watch the movie to write the review.
Know Who Your Audience Is
This is one of the most important things to learn as a student – write for your intended audience. Whatever task you are assigned, including a movie review, should be tweaked to fit the reader’s preferences, knowledge and expectations. Have they seen the movie? Do they understand the elements? How should you present your critiques?
Express Your Opinions
A movie review is basically a film analysis essay. Most of the time you spend on this task will be spent on watching the movie, taking notes, and organizing those notes. While doing this, you will build your own opinion on many things, such as the movie plot, setting, actors, and story.
When the writing part comes, you need to express your opinions. For every opinion you choose to share, you need to have data to support that critique. Remember – movie review criticism does not have to be bad. You can also give a positive critique of a movie or actor you liked.
Pay Close Attention to the Actors’ Work
The actors are the people who make the movie and they have a huge impact on how successful or good it is to watch. Make sure to track their roles throughout their movie and make an opinion of how well they took their role. This is something you should include in a movie review.
Evaluate the Technical Elements
Actors aren’t the only thing to pay attention to when you watch a movie to review it later. You need to know who the director is, how the cinematographers work, what special effects are used, what’s the sound like, etc. All these components make the technical elements of the movie and should be included as such in your movie review.
Stay Away from Spoilers
Chances are, the readers haven’t seen the movie just yet. In fact, when you write a movie review, it’s intended to evaluate a movie you’ve seen and tell the reader if it’s worth watching. So, don’t use spoilers in your movie review. This will ruin the experience for the reader.
Read What Others Have Said
Your review should be unique and original, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t check what others think of the movie. You may find some information you missed while watching, something that is important for your writing.
Being unique means that you should find and use your own voice in a movie review. This is your time to shine. Express your thoughts in your own way.
Edit and Polish the Review
After the completion of the first draft, you need to read it. It will probably be messy – all reviews are at first try. So, go through it and edit it just like you do with any other academic paper.
The Bottom Line
Movie reviews aren’t hard to write if you dedicate enough time to watching the movie and organizing the data you collect in the process. Yes, this can be exhausting and time-consuming, often even annoying. However, this is a very useful task in terms of your writing and research skills, as well as your ability to form a critique of other people’s work.
Susan Wallace is a movie critique journalist. Her job is to write reviews on new movies for news outlets and give them a proper rating. To do this, Susan goes over the movies several times, focusing on the smallest details that most people can’t notice at first.