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How to Write a Proper Movie Review

By Edited Nov 15, 2013 14 6

Writing a movie review may sound fairly easy. I mean, how hard can writing your opinions about a movie be? If you are writing movie reviews on what you want to be a professional spectrum, then it can be a bit more difficult than just voicing your opinions and talking a little bit about the movie. A good movie review should walk the line between being informative and being entertaining. You want to write a review that gives the gist of the movie, without giving away too much plot information.

Writing a proper movie review is like a balancing act in which you have to balance multiple sticks at the same time.

movies

Know Your Audience

 

Before you even sit down to write your movie review, you need to know who you are writing it for. In my mind, people who read movie reviews are separated into two sects. People who plan on seeing the movie and movie buffs.

Which of those two are you writing for? If you are writing for people who actually probably want to go see the movie, like most people reading reviews on Infobarrel, then you can get away without going into technical detail and just voice your opinion and a plot overview. Typically, people who want to actually see the movie do not care about things like 'how the direction of the film compared with the directors other films' or 'the various subplots that writers were exploring in the tone of their writing'. Save those for the movie buffs!

If you are writing to be respected by movie buffs, you have to go into quite a bit more detail with your review. This is also true if you go for that dare to be great situation that goes with impressing both groups. It's difficult, but possible.

Know The Basic Facts

You can gather the facts before the film or after, but for either audience there are some basic facts about the movie that you want to know and consider writing about.

  • Title of the Film
  • Director - Consider researching up on his/her previous films if you are writing for a movie buff audience
  • Lead Actors - You can compare and contrast them in previous roles or merely discuss their performance in the movie. Did they seem bored? Consider if their acting fit the character they were portraying. Did they try to change the gist of the character with their acting?
  • Genre - Did the movie fit into the action genre or was it more of a romantic thriller?
  • Setting - Was the setting appropriate for the movie? Should the movie have taken place in some other setting?
  • Plot Overview -  Remember, get the basic premise but don't give away any twists or the ending. This can be a hard thing to do, I know I have been guilty of getting a little too in depth with this part. The rule of thumb is that the plot overview should never go over a paragraph unless you are inserting your opinions in during.

If you are writing for a movie buff, you may want to make notes on and contemplate the following pieces present in the movie.

  • Writing - How was the plot? Was it weak, or was it something inventive? If you are reviewing an old movie, you may have to do some research if it compares to the plot of another movie, to see which came first. How was the script? Did it seem like those characters would say those things or was it something they put in for a cheap laugh?
  • Direction - Consider how events were portrayed and in what order. Did it make sense? Could they have done it better? Consider what the director did with their other works, was the direction in this film similar? An example of a director who basically uses the same direction technique in every movie is Michael Bay.
  • Editing - If the movie has CGI in it, did it look realistic or at least fit in the movie? How was the lighting? Was it appropriate for the scene?
  • Background Music - A soundtrack for a movie can make or break a movie. Does the music fit the movie? For example, Sahara lose a lot of love because they had a very out of place pop music soundtrack in what was supposed to be an action movie. Did the music help evoke the feelings it was supposed to? Did it use a song with lyrics that was really talking about sex on the beach but they used it as a soundtrack for an epic jet fighting scene? Was the soundtrack overused?
writing a movie review

Write Down Your Thoughts

As you could see by all the topics you could cover above, there is a lot of information to remember for a movie. Movies are long so it is best to have a notepad with you to jot down some things about it. If you are seeing the movie in theaters you cannot exactly pause it to write down notes, to just make little memos for yourself later.

You do not have to write your whole review during the movie. You shouldn't write it during the movie, actually. Just take some notes about things that stood out to you, either good or bad. If you have a catchy joke or anecdote you think you'd like to include in your review, make a note of that too. Every good writer knows how you can have a clever thought one moment and forget it in the next.

Ending Your Review

After you have discussed, critiqued, and provided your opinions on the movie you watched, your reviews finally done. However, you cannot just end the review after talking about the music or the actors. You then subject your review to getting reviewed. The best way to end a review is to talk about why you recommend or do not recommend the movie to hungry potential viewers. You can easily end up repeating your whole review so try to sum up what you liked and did not like about it in a few sentences.

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Comments

Mar 26, 2013 11:21am
iamsy
This is helpful, thanks. I feel like I might be able to write a movie review some time using your article as a guide.
Apr 20, 2013 7:22am
EliasZanetti
Nice and easy to follow guide. Thanks.
Apr 22, 2013 8:28am
chbamey
Great guidelines! I had never considered the two audiences, but it would/should surely affect how one writes the review. Thanks for the inspiration.
May 22, 2013 9:13am
teddy9
tnks,this is really helpful <3!
Nov 26, 2013 7:07pm
scifiguy
Great guide! I like the point you brought out about music. Thanks
Feb 12, 2014 12:49pm
DionSmith
I'm not too proud to admit that I will probably use this article as a guide when I do a review. Great job.
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