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How to Write a Movie Review for College

14 Dec 2018

If you wish to know how to write a movie review, then you are on the right page. A movie review forms part of essays college students writes. While many cinema-loving students find it interesting, others don’t. A film review does not mean writing what happened in a film; instead, it involves doing a critical assessment of the same.

What is a movie review? A movie review is a detailed analysis of a film or a documentary. It involves analysis, research, and reporting the writer’s views in a structured way. The writer assumes a position of educating readers whether they have watched the film or not. In fact, many people read movie reviews to decide whether they want to see a film or not.

A film review tests students' critical thinking and reporting skills. It also examines their dexterity in writing in a logical, concise, lucid, and creative manner. This post shall teach you to craft the best film review in your class and you can find many interesting tips on how to write a movie review for college and movie reviews examples.

How to Write a Movie Review

How to Write a Movie Review Like a Professional Critic

Writing a movie review though challenging for some students can be quite easy. What you should know is that the format of presenting a review are the same which makes it an interesting task. Here we offer a step-by-step process of how to write a good film review or how to write an introduction for a movie review that any student can follow:

  • Watch the movie: Before you can review any film, you must watch it. You cannot review a motion picture you have not watched. Therefore, for success watch the film at least twice. Note: do not watch it like you’re a regular moviegoer or movie enthusiast. Be focused and conscious through the film. Take notes if necessary.

You will need to take notes hence have a notebook and pen handy. Record all events and characters (major and minor). Try to be meticulous do not overlook anything.

  • Research the movie: Watching the film should give you the overview and feel of the movie. With that, it should be easy and exciting to research the movie. The research augments what you have watched in the movie. In your research, you should find out who the filmmaker is, what prompted the making of the movie, the characterization, historical events the lead to the film, location, plot and so on.

If you are aware of the details behind the movie, the movie will be more understandable and engaging. Note also that if you do not understand the movie you cannot move to the next step which involves analysis. Try not to proceed to the next step unless you vividly understand the movie. If it entails watching it again until you fully get it, do it. The following should form part of your findings regarding the film:

  1. Genre
  2. Title and year
  3. Names of the lead actors
  4. Name of the director
  5. Title of the book (if based on a book)
  • Draft the review outline: Draft an outline with which you will write the review. The overview will help you organize your review concisely and logically. The outline is more like the skeletal frame on which the whole study will stand. A good draft will yield a perfect report, and the reverse is also true.

An outline enhances the quality of the film review, and it is essential you have your outline before you start writing. A sample outline looks like this:

1. Introduction

  • Title
  • Date released
  • Background info
  • Cast
  • Director

2. Summary of the story

3. Analysis of the plot elements (read also: guide about a critical analysis for movies)

4. Creative elements

5. Opinions (add examples to back up your claims)

  • Characters
  • Camera techniques
  • Dialogues
  • Colors
  • Mood
  • Tone
  • Symbols
  • Costumes
  • Special effects and so on

6. Conclusion

  • Analyze the movie: After fully understanding the movie, you can start its analysis. Critically evaluate the film from the beginning to the end, noting every detail. While analyzing, if you observed any confusing part, re-watch to grasp the idea portrayed there fully. After you fully understand it, then you are set to write the movie review. To write a decent analysis, you need to know how to write a film critique.
  • Augment Your Review with Examples: While watching the movie, your observations should be supported with examples, i.e., mention scenes the event took place. If the plot is faulty, mention it but state examples to support that claim. You can also mention poorly developed characters evident in the movie and others. Everything you observed in the film must be noted.

Examples of notables include locations, faulty or beautiful dialogues, quotes that appeal to you, poorly made speeches, bloopers, editing errors and so on. Do take note that it is not enough to make general statements about how awesome or awful the movie is, you must support your claim with evidence in the film. That is why it is called a movie review and not opinion sampling interview about the movie.

  • Comment on the originality of the movie: Finally mention the uniqueness of the film which you noticed in the one you’ve watched. But even if the movie happens to be a standard feature with conventional approaches, you can still mention this as well. A regular film is still a film.
  • Write Your Review: With all the fact gathered above, you can now use the outline to write your film review. Make every part easy and enjoyable to read. Importantly, make the introduction engaging and captivating. You should go for a grand opening that will grab the attention of any reader. A good opening keeps the reader on the article.

Let us assume your introduction is watertight and engaging; any sloppy body will lose your reader. Hence, make the body informative and engaging. The review aims to reveal as much information as possible. Therefore, do your best to give all the details in the film to the reader. Engage your analytic mind.

Another essential part of the review is the closing or conclusion. Here you give your view about the movie with evidence revealed in the body. Connect the conclusion with the introduction creatively.

  • Edit Your Final Draft: After writing your first version of the review, you can re-write the final one after editing. With the help of free grammar check online you can check the final draft for spelling errors, grammar mistakes, and so on. Ensure sentences connects logically to each other and watch the format used. Make a final comparison of your work with the requirement by your professor or lecturer, you might also need to use a paraphrasing tool online to make a paper unique.

With the help of free word counter check the number of words required and cut them if more than needed but if not, add relevant information to make them up. Do not add irrelevant details for the sake of space. Ensure your final submitted draft is well edited, polished, plagiarism-free and presented in the recommended format or style.

Tips to Follow While Writing a Movie Review

Since a movie review essay requires dedication and time investment, you might want to know the special tips to get you through the assignment seamlessly. Do recall that perfect conclusion of this assignment will add to your grades, hence the need to take it seriously. If you wish to know How to write a movie critique easily, then this section will tell you that.

The useful tips you should consider are as follows:

  • Watch the film at least two times
  • If you have seen it before, make sure you re-watch it for the assignment.
  • Watch the movie not as a moviegoer but with an analytic mindset of a professional reviewer
  • Pay attention to details
  • Take notes as you watch
  • Don’t be in a rush - take your time, but be aware of the deadline
  • Do not write out of the contest of your coursework
  • Follow the requirements of your professor
  • Use an outline to organize your work
  • Start working on the body of your film review first and the introduction next
  • Write an engaging introduction and a powerful closing.
  • Never forget to edit your work.

Read also: How to write an editorial Essay: Useful Tips for Those Who Want To Perfect Their Skill 

Elements of a Professional Movie Review

One similar thing about these reviews is that they all should contain the same elements regardless of the genre. The elements of a movie review provide the structure on which you will base the analysis. A proper movie review format comprises the following components:

  • The Title: It’s not enough that the movie title appears on the headline, it must appear in the review too. Mention it in the text and feature it in the introductory paragraph; there is no harm in doing that.
  • The Storyline (Plot): The motion picture review itself refers to the summary of the movie. Present it in a concise way for people who are yet to watch it. When you are beginning to write a movie review, never have the mindset that your professor or any would-be reader has watched the movie. Therefore, never leave important points or events out. Your job is to elucidate the movie clearly to the reader: mention the faults observed, and the filmmaker’s brilliant points or downers.
  • Filmmaker: What is a movie analysis without the filmmaker? Your review must feature him or her. Therefore, dedicate a paragraph to him, write about the kind of personality he or she is. Reveal the filmmaker's political stance (if relevant), background, the controversial life of the person (if he is one), etc. You can also use the opportunity to talk about other movies the director has worked on before now, and then connect it with the one under review.
  • Significance to your class: Relate the content of the film or documentary to your course topic. Check its importance for historical accuracy. If the film is for history class, discuss any over-dramatization noticed in the act. However, if the film was based on a book you have reviewed in one of your classes, mention the connection between the book and the movie: state variances, comparisons and other elements present in the book that are missing in the film.
  • Creative elements: Creative elements make or mar films, that is why filmmakers go out of their ways to add them to their movies. It is your job to state how these elements work in the plot and the film in general. For instance, comment on the effectiveness of the sound effect in enriching the viewing experience of the movie? Talk about the lighting, costume, makeup, colors, camera, etc.
  • Actors: The cast carry the movie; without them, there is no movie. Your review should reveal if they acted well or poorly. State if their acting was realistic or not. Do not fail to mention if they have the skills and charisma to portray the role they played. You can also state if they were the right actors to play the role they did. Furthermore, you can suggest actors who could have played certain roles better than those in the film.

Common Movie Review Mistakes You Should Avoid

After your arduous work of submitting your film report, you might be shocked to learn that your hard work received a query. You may wish to know why, well it could be because you commit any of the following common mistakes:

  • Focusing on the wrong thing: Do not shift your focus. You might want to connect the film with some historical events, however, do not give unnecessary analysis or details that are not relevant to the movie under review. For instance, avoid giving the history of motion picture unless the film is about the development of the industry. Try and be focused.
  • Alienating yourself from the review: You are the one writing the review, therefore, do not insert yourself in it. The review already has your name and signature on it so adding the possessive pronoun "I" should be discarded. The mistake most student make is writing in the first person, e.g., “I like the movie a lot, I admired the lead character,” and so on. Since the review exposes your understanding, opinions, likes, and dislikes, then it is unnecessary to insert yourself in it.
  • Not doing your research: As said earlier, watching the movie is one side of the coin, you need to check out other details. Researching the film is highly critical because it would expound to you all the nitty-gritty details, not in the motion picture.
  • Lack of evidence: In writing about a motion picture, you must substantiate any opinion or claim. You need to state your reason for liking, disliking, etc. of the film.
  • Avoid irrelevant discussion: Do not start explaining issues not related directly with the motion picture you are analyzing.
  • Unstructured review: Never write a movie review without structure, it would reveal you as an unorganized student. Hence structure your review properly by first creating the outline to help with research paper and organize your work.
  • Avoid Generalization and be Precise: Never generalize ideas when you write a movie review. Avoid general statements like “a fantastic movie,” “beautiful set,” “excellent acting,” and such like. Support any comment you make with evidence from the film.
  • Review lacking substance and analysis: Avoid writing a motion picture review that does not have substance or analysis. A review is a piece of educational literature, therefore, add intelligent analysis to it.

Movie Review Example from Top Writer

Here are a few examples of movie review topics to steer you in the right direction:

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  • Avatar Movie Review
  • Beautiful Woman Movie Review
  • Black Panther and its Global Significance
  • In Pursuit of Happiness: Lessons to Learn
  • iRobot: The Depiction of AI in the Future
  • Matrix Movie Review
  • Roots and Its Implication on the Life of the Black Men
  • The Good, the Bad, the Ugly Movie Review
  • The Last Holiday Movie Review and the Lesson of Living Life Too Cautiously
  • Titanic Movie Review

Quick & Reliable Writing Help

As you can see, a movie review essay is an interesting paper to write. Recall that the whole point of a movie review is to inform the reader about the film and the ideas behind it. Also, it reflects your unbiased and objective view about the film. Adopt all our tips, and you shall submit a professional-looking report.

However, if you don't care about movies or still have issues coming to terms with all we have explained above, then contact us for help. At Edubirdie, our movie and book review service are poised to help with your assignment and guarantee a high-quality review at an affordable price. With us, you shall learn how to do a movie review that will wow any professor.

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