How to write a film review

+27 votes
asked Apr 19, 2015 in Education by TiffinyHolla (250 points)
I like films, all types of films. From Charlie Chaplin to George Clooney, I like to watch as many movies as I can. For my film class in college, my teacher wants me to write a film review. I do not like writing essays at all – what do I do? How do I write a review about a film?

3 Answers

+16 votes
answered Jul 17, 2015 by BrandyLoughl (340 points)
I am glad that we have a movie junkie here, but mind you, a film review is not an essay. It is not as boring as an essay nor is it as long or factual.

A film review is basically your professionally written opinion about a film. Since you are writing for school, you want to sound formal and well educated.

In reality, the film review format is not the same all around. If you are writing for a Goth horror movie audience, you can be as casual as you want. For academic purposes though, as is the case with you, the writing rules are a bit more formal. You should start by creating an outline of your ideas. List every thought or idea that you have about the movie. Also you should list the major conflicts from the beginning to the end as well as the main characters. You are the reviewer, so you are responsible for knowing everything that happens in the story. My best advice for you is to read as many as possible film reviews by renowned critics (e.g. http://www.nytimes.com/pages/movies/index.html) and try to synthesize the patterns. You see, even though you cannot write whatever you like in a formal film review, there are still much room left for you to exploit.
+7 votes
answered Jul 19, 2015 by CornellSever (330 points)
How to write a film review might seem a trivial question, but it is really not. For the most part, I agree with the other answerers that you should read before write. What I want to emphasize is that you cannot write the reviews in simplistic terms like “I hated it” or “it was awesome.” It is true that the film reviewer has to take a side on whether he loves or hates the movie. However, the whole point of the review is to take your time to explain why you have chosen that side. So make sure that the bulk of your review revolves on the justification for your opinion towards the film rather than the opinion itself.
+6 votes
answered Sep 16, 2015 by GerardC50992 (260 points)
Before you start a film review, look at other reviews. Look at all of the major newspapers and film critic websites that publish reviews. Hollywood comes up with so many different movies that you have plenty to choose from.

If you have already chosen the film you want, and you know the genre, read reviews in the same genre. If you read a review about a politician assassin, it makes sense if the writer sticks to the same subject. If he provides an example from another movie in a completely different genre like romance comedy, you are probably not reading a good review. As a writer, stay focused on the same topic and set of ideas. Seeing how other people have expressed themselves on paper is always a good way to improve your own skills, especially for writing film reviews that are strongly tinged by the author’s idiosyncrasies.
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