How to Write a Movie Review That Your Readers Will Enjoy
How do you not limit yourself to the phrase “what a great movie!” and write a real review that’s deep, dignified, and professional? In this article, you’ll get answers to all your questions:
what is a film review and its functions
how to prepare for writing a review
10 questions you need to answer before you start writing
how to write a film review: the sequential steps of writing
example of a review
Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva from Pixabay
A film review is a critical review that informs readers about the release of a new film, and it contains its analysis, assessment, and summary, as well as personal impressions and experiences after watching.
The review performs several functions at once: it informs, analyzes, convinces, and entertains. If you can include all of these points in your review, then you will have a great result at the end.
How to write a film review: the preparatory phase
Writing a review is, of course, a creative process, but you should not forget about the analytical approach to creating a convincing and high-quality text. The work should be treated
responsibly. To write a professional film review, you first need to go through the following preparatory steps:
- Of course, the first step is to find a suitable film if one has not been previously selected by the teacher. You will be more likely to write a good review if the film is liked by both film critics and you personally.
- Watch the movie at least two to three times. The first time you watch, you’ll create a general impression. In this viewing, try to immerse yourself fully in the film. During the next viewing, pay attention to the details: sound, acting, editing, plot. If you have difficulty understanding the events covered in the film (for example, historical ones), be sure to find additional information and study the topic.
- If, after two views, you still have not formed a final assessment of the film in the form of a short thesis, review the movie again. You can look at other works of the director of the film; this will help you define his or her characteristic style. Also, as an option, you can look at the actors’ performances in other movies (for comparison).
- When watching a movie, take notes: key scenes, interesting plot twists, inconsistencies, details, quotes. Then, on their basis, you can build the text of the review, and a good quote can become an excellent epigraph.
- Find information about filming: location, duration, time of year, details about the filming process, difficulties faced by the production team, auditions, etc. This information will make the review more attractive to readers.
- If the film is nominated for awards and prizes, include this information in the review. For a potential viewer, such an assessment of the film will become a weighty argument for compulsory watching.
10 questions to answer before you start writing a movie review
- Is it a single-episode movie? Is it a sequel, prequel, or part of a movie series?
- What is the genre of the film (action, comedy, historical, drama, fairy tale, science fiction, western, political, thriller, gangster, horror, tragicomedy, etc.)? Is the film based on real or fictional events?
- Has the scriptwriter managed to create a captivating plot?
- Is the rhythm of the film continuous, dynamic, smooth?
- What is the rating of the film according to the MPAA rating system (G – no age restrictions, PG – the presence of parents is recommended, PG-13 – children under 13 years old are not recommended to watch, R – an adult must be present for people under 17 years old, NC-17 – people under 18 years old viewing is prohibited)?
- Are there movies with a similar/the same theme that are worth mentioning as a comparison?
- How can you characterize the work of a director of photography? How accurately were the most expressive compositional and lightning scheme solutions selected and implemented, as well as points and angles of shooting?
- Is the movie entertaining or serious?
- Was the casting successful? Have all the actors dealt with their roles successfully?
- Is the atmosphere of the film tense, mysterious, ominous, romantic, light?
Answering all of the above questions will help you create a draft review. But, of course, this is still not enough for the final result.
How to write a movie review: a guide
The work on the creation of a film review is a rather complicated and lengthy process. Therefore, it is better to break it down into stages and write it according to a particular film review format, as this will help not to get confused in the details.
- Catchy introduction. The introductory part of the review should contain important information about the film: title, director, release date, and genre. You can mention nominations and awards, as well as indicate the box office (if the numbers are impressive) and the cast. In addition to the technical aspects and simple presentation of the plot, it is necessary to express your impression of the film in the form of a thesis. For example, you can tell about the connection of the film’s central idea with current events and social problems, about the similarity of the plot of the film with a personal life situation, one’s own experience and feelings, and about the connection of technical elements (lighting, sound, editing) with the theme of a movie.
- Give your verdict. Express your opinion about the film in the first paragraphs of the review. You should not leave all the most interesting parts for later. If you decide to give a final rating to a film at the end of a review, what are the chances that the reader will read it to that end?
- Write a summary of the plot. Choose four-five main events and avoid the movie’s ending and spoilers. Keep the intrigue. If you want to spoil and share an unusual development of the plot, warn the reader about this.
- Add feelings. In addition to explaining the plot, when you tell the reader what you saw, you should add emotion to the text of the review and show how you felt. Convey your impression of the film. What moments in the plot were especially touching, memorable, and thrilling? Try to make the review less formal and more personal.
- Determine the main purpose of the movie. Perhaps this goal is hidden in the plot itself, or perhaps the film does not at all claim to be a solution to global problems. Perhaps the film is entertaining, and this is its advantage – it is light and simple. Sometimes the main idea of a serious and deep film can be found in an interview with the film crew, screenwriter, or director.
- Convincing conclusion. Remind the reader of those moments in the film that impressed you the most. Share your recommendation and why you recommend watching this movie.
Movie synopsis example
Let’s move from theory to practice. You can use the following sample as a movie review template. Also, check out this “Disconnect” movie review example.
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) – Review
Movies are great fun, but choosing which one to bet your time on is a great deal and a matter of immense conflict. How does one analyze or choose which movie to watch? Some by trailers, some by recommendations, some by story and plot, and some by research.
However, did you know the best way to choose your movie is by going through a review? It allows you to understand the story on a higher level and evaluate and understand what, as an audience, you will get out of it.
Here is a great movie review of one of the most celebrated directors, producers, and screenwriters – Alfred Hitchcock. He was one of the most celebrated craftsmen that revolutionized the entire method of storytelling for cinema.
“The Man Who Knew Too Much” is one of the most appreciated movies of his entire career. He made two movies under the same title, one in 1934 and the other in 1956. The movie is appreciated for the humor and thrill that it manages to keep throughout the movie.
To know more in detail about the most celebrated film of Alfred Hitchcock, continue reading.
The Man Who Knew Too Much
Release Date: 16th May, 1956
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Story: Charles Bennett
D. B. Wyndham-Lewis
Overall Runtime: 120 minutes
- James Stewart (Dr. Benjamin “Ben” McKenna)
- Doris Day (Josephine “Jo” Conway McKenna)
- Brenda de Banzie (Lucy Drayton)
- Bernard Miles (Edward Drayton)
- Christopher Olsen (Henry “Hank” McKenna)
- Daniel Gélin (Louis Bernard)
- Reggie Nalder (Rien)
Story and Plot:
“The Man Who Knew Too Much” is an excellent thriller with some top notch mystery that keeps the audience engaged throughout the process.
The story begins in Morocco, where a couple and their son encounter a stranger on vacation which further leads to different twists and turns.
Later, the stranger gets killed by being stabbed in the marketplace right in front of the McKenna family. This leads to another major twist in the story. During his final moments, the stranger unveils a secret to Ben regarding the assassination plot to the Americans.
The story altogether takes a different turn that creates a great mess and chaos in the lives of Ben and Jo. Their son gets kidnapped and they begin receiving threatening calls that instruct them not to spill the stranger’s secret to the authorities.
Taking the story ahead, Alfred Hitchcock beautifully managed to keep his audience engaged by showing how the couple themselves decided to look for their son on their own and set out on the journey without any help from police or other officials.
The last part of the story holds the maximum thrill and mystery that convinces the audience to not even dare to miss a second. It shows how the couple struggles throughout their journey while searching for their son. But finally, in the end, in the midst of all the chaos and fear, they still manage to save the officer and rescue their son safely.
Overall, the story has been conveyed in the best possible way. It strongly manages to keep up the audience’s attention till the end. The concept is fine, though some modifications could have been done to present it more effectively and uniquely.
Although the film’s story is quite similar to the old one, it still manages to offer some freshness. The touch of mystery and thriller brought to action by Alfred Hitchcock was commendable. It is a must-watch film brilliantly put together with the best possible elements.
“The Man Who Knew Too Much” tells a brilliant story that dips into a thriller and mystery. The storytelling of the movie is commendable, and thus, it is one of the most loved movies of Alfred Hitchcock.
We hope our opinion piece on the movie helped you analyze it better. But if there’s anything that we might help you with related to the subject, then please feel free to voice in the comment section below. We will get back to you at the earliest possible time with the best knowledge available.
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