1 Before watching, get a notepad to take notes. Movies are long, and you can easily forget details or even big aspects of the movie. Taking notes really helps, because it allows you to jot down things you notice that you can later come back to in your review. This does not mean that you should be putting all of your attention toward taking notes. You should just take a brief, quick note every time you notice something that you particularly liked or disliked about the movie. (Examples: bad background music, poor make-up of an actor, bad lighting, etc.)
2 Watch the movie, paying attention to details. As you watch, pay attention to the aspects listed below. If you don't know something, don't worry about it. You can easily come back to it later and provide more information. However, while watching try to jot down at least one or two comments about all of the below. (Note: Some of these are open to critique, and some are facts about the movie, such as the name of the film.)
Name of the Film
Genre of Film (comedy, adventure, drama, horror, etc.)
Setting. Where the movie takes place, the year, and any other information of that sort.
An Overview of the Plot.
If you've seen other movies by this same director, consider similarities/differences.
Direction. Consider the director and how they choose to portray/explain the events in the story. Think about the way they presented the movie to the audience. If the movie was slow, or didn't include things you thought were necessary, credit this to the director.
Editing. Was the movie choppy? Also, consider special effects (if the movie had any).
Costume design. Did the clothing choice fit the style of the movie?
Set design. Did the background look realistic? If the movie was filmed in a real place, was this place well-chosen?
Background Music. Did it fit the scenes? Was it over/under-used? Was it nice to listen to, or annoying?
Writing a Movie Review
Writing a movie review is a great way of expressing your opinion of a movie. The purpose of most
movie reviews is to help readers in determining whether they want to watch, rent or buy the movie. The
review should give enough details about the movie that the reader can make an informed decision,
without giving anyway any essentials such as the plot or any surprises.
Similar to the purpose of writing book reviews, movie reviews analyze the effectiveness of the
plot, theme, acting, direction, special effects, musical effects, cinematography, and all other
elements that created the movie.
There are quality and guidelines that a critique of a movie should possess. Avoid the use of
generalized opinions such as “oh, it was a great movie” or “the acting was horrible,” but rather
give specific reasons and the whys.
Here is a good guide to follow. While we don’t limit you to a certain style of writing, the number
of words you must have in your review, and what you must (or must not) write about, we do
provide the following guideline to help you get started in writing a review.
You will need to include the following: name of the film, prominent stars of the film, basic
setting ( time and place), and type of film ( comedy, adventure, drama, etc.) You will also write the thesis and essay map at the end of this paragraph. Your essay map must have two points (you will discuss these two points in paragraphs 3 and 4). I will make the essay map easy for you...you must choose two of the following for your 2 points: acting, direction, editing, costume design, set design, photography, or background music.
You will need to write a plot summary for the movie. Do not reveal the ending. Discuss at least 5
events and be sure to cover the entire scope of the movie, except the very end.
Discuss one aspect of filmmaking (first point from essay map). You may choose from acting, direction, editing, costume
design, set design, photography, background music, or anything else you may think of. Be sure
that you are specific and cite examples from the movie.
Discuss another aspect of filmmaking (second point from essay map). You may choose from acting, direction, editing, costume
design, set design, photography, background music, or anything else you may think of, but
obviously choose something different from what you discussed in the previous paragraph. Be
sure that you are specific and cite examples from the movie.
Give your overall reaction to the film as well as your opinion on the quality of the film. Also
include your recommendations for potential viewers.