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How to Write a Movie Review and Where to Get Help

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❶Let them know early on, so that you can spend the rest of the time "proving" your rating.

Necessary parts of a film review

What is the main point of writing film reviews?
Movie Review Purpose
How to write a Good Movie Review

Before you sit down to watch a film, get out a notepad or a laptop to take notes. Movies are long, and you can easily forget details or major plot points.

Taking notes allows you to jot down little things you can return to later. Make a note every time something sticks out to you, whether it's good or bad.

This could be costuming, makeup, set design, music, etc. Think about how this detail relates to the rest of the movie and what it means in the context of your review.

Take note of patterns you begin to notice as the movie unfolds. Use the pause button frequently so you make sure not to miss anything, and rewind as necessary. Analyze the mechanics of the movie. Analyze the different components that came together in the movie as you watch. During or after your viewing, ask yourself what impression the movie left with you in these areas: If the movie was slow, or didn't include things you thought were necessary, you can attribute this to the director.

If you've seen other movies directed by the same person, compare them and determine which you like the most. What techniques were used to film the movie?

What setting and background elements helped to create a certain tone? Evaluate the script, including dialogue and characterization. Did you feel like the plot was inventive and unpredictable or boring and weak? Did the characters' words seem credible to you? Was the movie choppy or did it flow smoothly from scene to scene? Did they incorporate a montage to help build the story?

And was this obstructive to the narrative or did it help it? Did they use long cuts to help accentuate an actor's acting ability or many reaction shots to show a group's reaction to an event or dialogue? If visual effects were used were the plates well chosen and were the composited effects part of a seamless experience?

Whether the effects looked realistic or not is not the jurisdiction of an editor, however, they do choose the footage to be sent off to the compositors so this could still affect the film. Did the clothing choices fit the style of the movie? Did they contribute to the overall tone, rather than digressing from it? Consider how the setting of the film influenced its other elements. Did it add or subtract from the experience for you?

If the movie was filmed in a real place, was this location well-chosen? Did it work with the scenes? A soundtrack can make or break a movie, especially if the songs have a particular message or meaning to them.

Watch it one more time. It's impossible to fully understand a movie you've only seen one time, especially if you're pausing it often to take notes. Watch it at least once more before you compose your review. Pay attention to details you might have missed the first time around. Pick new points of focus this time; if you took a lot of notes on the acting the first time you watched the movie, focus on the cinematography the second time around. Create an original thesis based on your analysis.

Now that you've thoroughly studied the movie, what unique insights can you bring to the table? Come up with a thesis, a central idea to discuss and back up with your observations on the various elements of the film. Your thesis should be discussed in the first paragraph of your review. Having a thesis will take your review beyond the plot summary stage and into the realm of film criticism, which is rightfully its own art form.

Ask yourself the following questions to come up with a compelling thesis for your review: Does the film reflect on a current event or contemporary issue? It could be the director's way of engaging in a bigger conversation. Look for ways to relate the content of the film to the "real" world. Does the film seem to have a message, or does it attempt to elicit a specific response or emotion from the audience? You could discuss whether or not it achieves its own goals.

Does the film connect with you on a personal level? You could write a review stemming from your own feelings and weave in some personal stories to make it interesting for your readers. Follow your thesis paragraph with a short plot summary. It's good to give readers an idea of what they'll be in for if they decide to see the movie you're reviewing. Give a brief summary of the plot in which you identify the main characters, describe the setting, and give a sense of the central conflict or point of the movie.

Never break the number one rule of movie reviews: Don't ruin the movie for your readers! When you name characters in your plot summary, list the actors' names directly afterward in parenthesis. Find a place to mention the director's name and the full movie title.

If you feel you must discuss information that might "spoil" things for readers, warn them first. Move into your analysis of the movie. Write several paragraphs discussing interesting elements of the movie that support your thesis. Discuss the acting, the direction, the cinematography, the setting, and so on, using clear, entertaining prose that keeps your readers engaged.

Keep your writing clear and easy to understand. Don't use too much technical filmmaking jargon, and make your language crisp and accessible. Present both the facts and your opinion. For example, you might state something such as, "The Baroque background music was a jarring contrast to the 20th century setting. Use plenty of examples to back up your points.

If you make a statement about the movie, back it up with a descriptive example. Describe the way scenes look, the way a certain person acted, camera angles, and so on. You can quote dialogue to help you make your points as well.

In this way you are giving your readers a feel for the movie and continuing to express your critique of the film at the same time. Give it some personality. You could treat your review like a formal college essay, but it's more interesting if you make it your own. If your writing style is usually witty and funny, your review should be no exception. If you're serious and dramatic, that works, too. Let your language and writing style reflect your unique perspective and personality - it's much more entertaining for the reader.

Wrap up your review with a conclusion. It should tie back to your original thesis and provide some guidance as to whether the audience should go see the movie. Your conclusion should also be compelling or entertaining on its own, since it's the end of your piece of writing. Once you've finished the first draft, read it through and decide whether it flows well and has the right structure.

You may need to shift paragraphs around, delete sentences, or add more material here and there to fill out parts that are stunted. Give your review at least one editorial pass, and maybe two or three, before you consider it to be editorially sound. Ask yourself whether your review stayed true to your thesis.

Did your conclusion tie back in with the initial ideas you proposed? Decide whether your review contains enough details about the movie. You may need to go back and add more description here and there to give readers a better sense of what the movie's about. Decide whether your review is interesting enough as a stand-alone piece of writing.

Did you contribute something original to this discussion? What will readers gain from reading your review that they couldn't from simply watching the movie? Make sure you've spelled all the actors' names correctly and that you got all the dates right. Clean up typos, grammatical errors, and other spelling errors as well. A clean, proofread review will seem much more professional than one that's full of silly mistakes. Publish or share your review. Post it on your blog, share it in a movie discussion forum, put it up on Facebook, or email it to your friends and family.

Movies are the quintessential art form of our time, and like all art, they spark controversy, provide a venue for self-reflection, and greatly influence our culture.

All this means they're worth discussing, whether they're flops or works of pure genius. Congratulations for contributing your valuable opinion to the discussion.

If the movie has a lot of main characters, should I write about all of them? You would want to mention the ones that you think are the most important to the plot. Also, don't give a full detail about their role in the movie--just a sneak peak.

Not Helpful 32 Helpful Think of a conclusion that sums up all of the different parts of the movie so that you can decide which things are good, which things are bad and how good the movie is in general. Take notes during the first viewing and, if you are analyzing a movie that is available on DVD, be ready with your remote control to pause and rewind. Critically engage the movie so that you can effectively produce a strong essay.

Focus on a single thematic concept related to the film. Ideas for essays taking this route could include an analysis of how the film is photographed, how the movie relates a historical event in a dramatic way without compromising the facts or how a single sequence within the film relates to larger cinematic concepts, like overlapping dialogue or the utilization of dramatic irony.

Introduce the film and its major participants, such as the actors and director. Include the name of another technician on the film if your analysis will be focusing on that aspect. Provide a brief overview of the story, but avoid the temptation to pad your word count by writing what amounts to a synopsis of the story rather than analysis.

Reveal plots twists or the ending of the film only if they relate directly to your analysis. Write your film analysis with the movie at hand if this is possible. Write next to a television and DVD player if applicable. Stay inside the theater for the second or third showing with your notepad ready if this is possible.

Familiarize yourself with technical jargon related to the art of filmmaking. Learn the difference between a cut and a dissolve.


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The structure of a movie review follows the basic steps of the introduction, the body (analysis), the recommendation and the movie review conclusion. A movie review writing guide gives the writer instructions on how to write a movie review. The movie review structure is as follows.

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Film Review Samples Reviewing films can seem fun, but it actually takes discipline to explain all the elements of a film and to express your opinion succinctly. Check out our film review samples to gain a better understanding of how to write one yourself.

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Here's a sample of an essay which reviews a film. It was written by Adrienne who took this class several years ago. Dances With Wolves Essay. Writing a film analysis essay is an assignment that is less likely to terrorize those who fear the idea of writing an essay, because it allows them to write about something most people enjoy. Film analysis is not the same thing as writing a movie review, which involves passively watching a movie. An.

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Film Review Essay Psych Film Review. File Review Angelic Battle Psych April 13, Dr. Sherri McClurg Film Review Autism is a very critical disorder for children and adults. How to Write a Movie Review and Where to Get Help access_time March 28, The first thing you do after watching a movie is to go online and write a comment about it.