The first thing you do after watching a movie is to go online and write a comment about it. Comments about movies are usually posted on social media profiles or public pages, review sites, blogs, among other platforms. Writing a movie review is a common assignment that students have to do in high school and college. Even though it may seem simple, movie reviews require time and proper organization. It’s not just about writing what happens on the screen, the review goes deeper than that. You can make the process easier with tools available online.
Movie Review Purpose
The main purpose of a movie review is to inform the reader about the film and its ideas. Seems simple, right? Reporting all events that happen and stating one’s opinion about them is a common mistake that many students make. While movie review allows writers to express their opinions about some film or documentary, there is also the need for the unbiased and objective approach. An ideal review combines both.
The review determines whether someone will want to see the movie. Even if the professor (or teacher) assigned a specific title and film to review, one should act like this is the perfect opportunity to introduce the cinematography work to their lecturer. Always assume they haven’t seen it before. As a result, it becomes easier to analyze events that happened on the screen.
Film review should be detailed enough to provide assistance in making an honest decision i.e. whether the reader wants to see it or if they’d like it. Why is this type of paper a common school assignment? Lecturers want to get more insight into a student’s critical thinking skills and the ability to report event (one or more of them) in a manner that others understand easily.
In addition, they want to assess the way you analyze plot and characters. After all, movie reviews also involve the analysis of events that happened in a documentary or “regular” film. Reviews test writing and vocabulary skills, adapting to different genres and events they portray, and your capacity to sum up some major work and report it in a cohesive, logical, and interesting manner.
While reviews entail more responsibility than initially thought, students find them fun and with this guide, you will too.
How to write a Good Movie Review
You have to write a movie review for school and now what? Where to start, how to make it look more “academic”? Today, we have the opportunity to use numerous tools to make every part of our lives easier, and movie review writing isn’t the exception. Throughout this tutorial, you’ll learn how to compose a report about some film and what tools to use to simplify the process.
Step-by-Step Guide to How to Write a Movie Review
Beginnings are always the hardest. This is the point where you set the pace and determine how to approach this assignment in the most efficient manner. Here are some useful tips to kick-start the movie review writing process:
- Watch the movie or documentary twice and take notes of both major and minor events and characters. It’s a mistake to rely on the power of your memory only, there’s always something we overlook or forget
- Carry out a thorough research. Watching the movie isn’t enough, research is equally important. Look for details such as the name of filmmaker and his/her motivation to make that film or documentary work, locations, plot, characterization, historic events that served as an inspiration for the movie (if applicable). Basically, your research should serve to collect information that provides more depth to the review
- Analyze the movie after you watching it. Don’t start working on the review if you aren’t sure you understand the film. Evaluate the movie from beginning to an end. Re-watch it, if necessary, if you find some parts confusing. Only when you understand events that happened on the screen will you find it easier to create the review
- Draft an outline that you will follow to write the review in a concise and cohesive fashion
- Include examples for claims you make about the movie. If the plot has holes, then mention an example of a situation or scene when that was evident. Also, if the character(s) is poorly developed or bad casting affected the movie quality, name examples too. Provide examples when commenting dialogues, locations, plot, everything. If you want the reader to agree with you, it’s essential to back up your claims with evidence. You don’t want to make it seem like you’re praising or criticizing the movie without any reason whatsoever
- Consider and comment a movie’s originality and quality of scenes. Explain how the movie stands out or whether it just uses the same approach that worked for previous works in the industry
Quality of your paper depends on the level of organization you implement. Never underestimate the importance of well-structured outline, regardless of the type of paper you have to write. Outlines help you focus on the subject and contribute to a logical flow.
In addition, getting things organized before you start writing is a great way to save time later on. Instead of trying to figure out what to include, you’ll have a well-structured plan to follow. It’s needless to mention you won’t be too stressed out. Here’s how to organize your movie review:
- Introduction (with title, release date, background information)
- Summary of the story
- Analysis of the plot elements (rising action, climax)
- Creative elements (dialogues, characters, use of colors, camera techniques, mood, tone, symbols, costumes or anything that contributes or takes away from the overall plot)
- Opinion (supported with examples and facts from the story)
- Conclusion (announcing whether the filmmaker was successful in his/her purpose, re-state your evidence, explain how the motion picture was helpful for providing a deeper understand of course topic)
Movie Review Elements
- The title of the film/documentary – just because your headline features the name of the movie or documentary it doesn’t mean should skip mentioning it in the text. Always name the feature you’ve watched in the introductory paragraph. This may seem like a stupid thing to point out, but it’s one of the most common mistakes that students make
- Summary – the whole point of the review is to summarize the documentary or movie for people who haven’t watched it yet. To make this as effective as possible, always assume that your professor hasn’t seen it either (as mentioned above). Why is this important? You won’t leave out some important details thinking he/she watched it already so they won’t bother. As a reviewer, your job is to explain what happened in the film and express whether the filmmaker failed or succeeded. Again, saying you liked or disliked it isn’t a viable comment. Your opinion has to be supported by specific reasons and examples from the feature itself
- Filmmaker – do a little research on the person who directed the piece. Is that person a controversial figure? Is he/she known for a political stance? Does the filmmaker have a significant background? Devote a paragraph or two to the person behind the movie and their other works in order to establish the significance of the film you are reviewing for the director’s career
- Significance to your class – How does the content of the documentary or film fit into your course topic? Is it important for historical accuracy? If you are watching the motion picture for history class, make note of over-dramatization. If the motion picture is based on the book you’ve analyzed in English class, you can mention similarities, differences, or some elements that film contains, but book doesn’t and so on
- Creative elements – filmmakers work hard to include creative elements into their motion pictures. How are these elements important to the plot and movie in general? For example, costumes can either enhance the movie or betray its intent. Colors can be vivid and lift the atmosphere or mood in the movie or they can be dull and make it seem depressing. Good sound effects enrich the viewing experience while bad ones only destroy everything. Moreover, camera movements and angles also add elements to the story. Take notes of symbols in the story, if any.
- Actors - let’s not forget the casting! Were the actors realistic? Did they portray the role of a specific character successfully? Did they have good acting skills? Do you believe that some particular actor was the right fit for the role?
Checklist / Outline for a Good Movie Review
- Introduction (title, topic, release date, background information)
- Accuracy of depiction
- Use of sources in the documentary
- Creative elements that enhance or tarnish the overall story (quality of script, visual design, performance, lighting, hair, and makeup, costume, set design, symbolism)
- Your opinion
Mistakes to Avoid
- Not focusing on the film – while connecting the plot to some specific historical event is a good idea (when applicable), strive to avoid writing about unnecessary details or introducing irrelevant information such as the history of cinematography or that particular genre, snacks, among other things
- Inserting yourself – you’re the one who’s writing the review. The paper reflects your understanding and opinion of the motion picture you’ve seen and there is no need to write in first person all the time: I noticed this, I saw that I liked this, I disliked that
- Failing to check facts about movie background and release date, director, casting etc.
- Giving out your opinion without mentioning any reason why you think that way
- Talking about irrelevancies
- Writing a review without a structure
- Writing generalities such as great acting, cool effects, a good movie, it was bad etc.
- Writing a review without substance or analysis of the feature
Movie Review Examples
- The Hunger Games and the idea of dystopia
- Mean Girls review: does it exploit stereotypes about high schools or it helps to undermine them?
- The Martian review and its connection to Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe
- The Last Jedi review: all the reasons it’s far from the original saga
- Manchester by the sea and ideas of forgiveness and grief
- Forrest Gump review
- I am Sam review
- Runaway Bride review and its role in modern understanding of marriage
Movie Review Help
Like other types of writing, movie reviews require patience and time. Being a student isn’t the easiest task in the world and you don’t have enough time to dedicate to one assignment only while neglecting others. There’s no need to despair; you can use the internet to get much-needed assistance with this assignment. Here’s how:
By Markers Expectations / Rubrics
- Clear Organization – as stated above, the clear organization is vital for a well-structured movie review. You can use the Edusson website as a guide through this process via numerous posts about writing, self-help resources, and Essay Examples that serves as an excellent platform to sharpen writing skills and compose your paper. RobotDon Essay Checker platform proves to be handy when you complete the writing process and want to make sure it’s unique, without fluff and wateriness, repetitive words and expressions. Let’s not fort that you can hire an essay writer who will write a perfect review for you
- Use of Sources – just because it’s movie review, it doesn’t mean you should avoid using sources to support your claims. Sources are particularly important for reviews of documentaries or when you’re trying to connect the review with some problem in society. Research requires more time than any other part of the process and you can easily hire a professional i.e. a helper who will do that for you
- Opinion – a movie review is about the equilibrium of unbiased report and personal opinion. While it’s okay to say what you think about the movie, you also have to approach certain aspects in an objective manner to help the reader get a better understanding of the motion picture. Finding the balance between subjective and objective writing can be frustrating, which is why professional service comes handy. All you have to do is to provide title, information, your opinion and a pro writer takes it from there
- Essay Writing Service – there is no need to be stressed out because you have a ton of work to do when professional writer service can write movie review easily. Services like Edusson are used by students who can’t keep up with constant demands in school or college, but they don’t want to jeopardize their grades. With over 1000 writers, Edusson is a perfect writing service for this assignment. You have the full control of the project through set deadlines, choosing the writer for this task etc.
- Essay Editing Service – sometimes students don’t need help with the writing process, but they need someone to edit it. Don’t ask your friends and family members to do it for you, hire professionals. Improve your paper. Raise your grades! Editors and proofreaders from Edusson correct grammar, spelling, syntax, punctuation mistakes, check the style, formatting, organization and other aspects of your work to boost its quality. You can also use RobotDon to edit an essay on your own.
Movie Review FAQ
Do I have to write a movie review in a certain formatting style?
Everything depends on the instructions your teacher gives you. It often happens that a movie review can be free of academic formatting. But don't exclude the possibility that you will have to complete this paper in MLA.
Can I copy an existing movie review?
Well, of course, it is important to look at examples of other movie reviews to get to know the structure and ways of ideas expressing better. But if you copy a film review directly from the other source, your curator will detect plagiarism in it.
My major is not moviemaking. Why am I assigned to write a film report?
Students are assigned movie report writing, first of all, to broaden their mind and evaluate the way they can analyze material and express their opinion. Don't feel confused if on the Psychology class your professor asks you to review a movie. It is a common practice for students who are completing their degree in various fields of study.
Will you just give me someone else’s review?
No, not at all! Edusson stands out as the writing service with full transparency. All essays and other papers are written from scratch by professional writers with strong work ethic and desire to help their clients get better grades. The movie review you receive is 100% original, which you can check with RobotDon’s plagiarism checker.
Will you send my review to someone else?
The answer is – no. Not only are the clients in control of the process, but author’s rights are transferred to them the moment the review is done. Once the writing process is over, the review is yours and can never be sent to someone else.
What if I need more edits?
If you need edits or want some specific info to be added, our writers will be happy to make necessary revisions.
I need more help with movie review service, how can I contact you?
Our customer service is always available through 24/7 live chat feature.
Job to Get Done
Do you like movies? Who doesn’t? Movie and documentary reviews give you a unique opportunity to improve your writing skills by combining school assignment with someone you really like. Although it’s not that difficult to compose a review of a motion picture or some educational/informative feature, feel free to use all the available resources to get the most out of your assignment. Use the advantage of the internet to work on your review for major benefits such as:
Improve your Paper
Practice makes everything better and the internet allows you to make it happen. For instance, Edusson acts as a perfect tutorial + professional writing service platform as it allows you to improve writing skills while getting assistance from professional writers and editors when necessary. The do-it-yourselfers benefit greatly from RobotDon, a cute little helper that analyzes the review and identifies mistakes you need to correct. The result of using these resources is a well-written movie review that meets or exceeds your lecturer’s expectations.
Raise your GPA (grade)
Using multiple resources and platforms to your advantage can only be a good thing for your GPA. When you’re a student, everything you do counts and contributes to GPA. It all comes down to learning how to make student life easier for you and one way to do that is to incorporate online tools into your assignments. Your professor will appreciate the effort and thanks to the improved writing skills, good grades are unavoidable.
How to review a play
Preparing to Write a Play Review
Below are some tips to help you prepare to write a play review:
The Nature of the Assignment
Because the performance of any play is such an ephemeral experience, writing a play review can be an exciting, though difficult, task. You have to be both spectator taking in and enjoying the performance and critical analyst of the production itself. You have to be able to provide a very brief summary of the play, a close objective analysis of the performance you attend, and an interpretation and evaluation of the entire ensemble of staging, acting, directing, and so on.
The review assignment asks you to analyze in an objective manner the relative success or failure of a given production. Note that you are not asked simply to summarize the plot or give an opinion regarding the text of the play being mounted; your review must be grounded in the production itself. Your job is to describe the production accurately, and then to render a value judgment of it based upon what you have seen and what you expected. The assignment will test your skill as a reader of the play and as an observer and critic of the production.
In addition to grounding your review on the production you witness, you must be careful to limit your review to a few essential observations in support of your thesis (which will be discussed below). You must concentrate on a few important ideas and aspects of the production and focus your attention on only what you consider the most significant parts of the production itself. Unlike a newspaper review, which can be loosely structured and superficial, your assignment is quite definite. You are not asked to cover a wide variety of production elements (i.e. performance of every actor, every costume change, every set change, every directorial decision, and so on); instead, the assignment demands that you develop a few key ideas in thoughtful detail.
Remember, too, that your stance is to be objective and critical, not impressionistic and merely nasty. A critic is not someone who simply "criticizes," but a person who studies, analyzes, and then renders a rational judgment of what he/she has seen. Your tone will be very important in making your review reliable and intelligent.
Before You Attend the Production
Read the play before going to the production. (It is important to be prepared for the production you plan to attend; otherwise, you run the risk of having to see it several times.)
In your mind, have a good sense of how a "standard" production might look, complete with a sense of what the characters might look like, the type of costuming that might be used, a suitable set design, and an appropriate rendering of the theme and tone of the work.
Pick out, as you read, several critical or problematic points within the play that may be of particular interest to watch for in the production you are about to attend. If your instructor has asked you to pay particular attention to certain elements, make sure that you are prepared to recognize them in performance.
Attending the Production
Attend the play with an open mind, a willingness to accept the play as the director has presented it in production.
- Note any deviations from your concept of a "standard" production and try to find a good explanation for that deviation. (Is the director trying to "say" something new or different? Was your sense of the play somehow inaccurate, or were you shown new insights by the director's production?)
- You may want to consider some of the following:
- Why the choice of costumes, and why the set design?
- How did the actors deliver their lines (seriously, comically, realistically, formally)? Were there any significant actions or gestures that contributed to the play's meaning?
- Were any "special effects" utilized (consider lighting, sound, audience participation, machinery)?
- Were any significant cuts made in the script?
After the performance, jot down the details you recall and talk about the performance with friends. You'll need these details for your paper in order to substantiate your argument.
Evaluate the performance.
- Did the director miss any important opportunities to convey something you were able to see in your reading of the play?
- Would you have liked to have seen more attention paid to what you perceived as critical passages, passages the director seemed less interested in?
- Why would you have preferred this attention, and why do you think the director avoided giving the passage such attention?
Consider the following practical aspects:
- What kind of stage does the director have at his disposal? What kinds of restrictions does the stage impose on the director concerning movement and set design?
- Are the actors professionals, amateurs, or students? What restrictions does this impose on the director? Are the actors capable of dealing with the script's requirements? (Be fair to the actors in your assessment of their talents and the level of their "craftsmanship.")
Writing the Review
Below are some tips for writing play reviews:
Writing the Introduction
The introduction should include the following:
- The title of the play, the name of the playwright, and any pertinent historical information regarding them (other similar works from this period? by this writer?).
- The name of the director, the place and date of the production you attended, and the name of the production company (again, do you know of any previous work by this company? this director?).
- The thesis of your review, which should include (possibly in more than a single statement) the following:
- A general impression of the relative success or failure of the production, based on what you actually saw and on your initial impression of how the play should have been performed.
(Note that even if the production did not exactly coincide with your own conception of the play, you should not feel obliged to condemn the performance outright. Be open-minded and willing to weigh pros and cons.)
Papp's production of Lear captured all the horror of a world where love can't be counted on and where life is nasty, brutish, and appallingly short.
(Note that this thesis asserts that Papp captured the essence of what is in the text itself -- the expectations set up by the thesis are that the reviewer will then analyze the methods by which the director achieved this effect.)
Smith's You Can't Take It With You made me sympathize with the notion that freedom must permit eccentricity and even, to a point, endorse it. Without that sympathy, the play would have been reduced to pure chaos and would have failed to portray an American ideal of freedom.
(This thesis suggests that "sympathy" was the director's intention. Note also that the reviewer gives a strong indication of what he/she expected to find in the production.)
- Since you will not be expected to discuss all aspects of the production, focus your thesis on one or two major concerns that the performance has or has not addressed. Read your assignment carefully to find out which aspects of the performance are to be emphasized in your review.
In You Can't Take It With You, the acting by the family members on the open, exposed stage displayed an innocent and vigorous freedom, as well as a proud independence in their confrontation with accepted norms of behavior.
Writing the Statement and Summary
Include a brief thematic summary (but not a plot summary) of the play, and support that summary with concrete evidence from the text.
You can include this summary in the introduction; or, if you wish to expand the summary, include it in a separate paragraph following the introduction.
Writing the Body of the Paper: The Review
Remember that in the body of the paper you are obliged to deal specifically with each element of the production that you mentioned in the introduction and thesis.
In order to give your review a tight internal logic and cohesiveness, you should also discuss these elements in the order that you outlined in the introduction. Such points of discussion might include the non-technical (acting, directing) and/or the technical (lighting, scenery, costumes) aspects of the production.
For each element that you discuss:
- Describe: In as brief and precise a manner as possible, describe in detail the physical aspects of what you saw performed. Keep in mind at all times that whatever you include must in some way contribute to the assertion you made in your introduction and thesis. Focus on particular scenes or performances that will provide the evidence for your final evaluation of the play.
The tempest scene in Lear utilized a particularly hostile set in order to universalize the suffering depicted throughout the play. The lights were dimmed and the backdrop was flat black. Against this backdrop were propped, in no particular order, seven skulls that looked out over the events to come.
(Note the vivid description of what was seen, and the use of detail to convey that vividness. The passage will work nicely as evidence for an overall, positive evaluation of the production.)
- Interpret, Analyze, Evaluate: This part of the paper requires the most thought and organization and consequently receives the most attention from your reader. After you have finished describing important elements of the production, proceed to evaluate them.
For example, you would need to answer the following questions regarding the last description of Lear:
- Why were the lights dimmed at the beginning of the scene? (shock effect? slow unfolding of horror?)
- Why was the backdrop painted black? (contrast? mood?)
- Why was there no order to the skulls? Why seven? (emblem of disorder or chaos? significance in number?)
In other words, assume that everything used in production has significance, but don't panic if you cannot find "answers" for all the questions raised by what you see in the production.
In the evaluation, you are given the opportunity to attack as well as commend the performance; if the production fails to answer questions that you feel need answers, then say so. If the question or problems are relatively minor, ignore them. Don't quibble at the expense of missing the more important concerns.
Writing the Summary and Conclusion
Your conclusion should not merely recapitulate your thesis in a mechanical way.
Rather, you should try to show why your response to the play is valid and significant, based on what you have described in the body of the paper.
Do not add any significant new material, but don't be afraid to leave your reader with something to think about.
For further information you may wish take the Writing Center workshop entitled Literary Analysis?: No Problem!.