Movies shape how the audience sees the world, and the choices that directors make in developing their films can transform the audience’s understanding of other people, places, and times, for good or for ill. Movies have confronted serious social issues, provided relief from anxieties and fears, and comforted those who felt misunderstood and alone. But movies wouldn’t have half the impact they achieved without reviews to help the audience discover which movies will be meaningful for them and to help separate the great from the awful. However, movie reviews are only as good as the reviewers who translate a cinematic experience into an evaluation and recommendation for the viewer.
If you are looking to enter the field of movie criticism, there are some tips that can help you develop great movie reviews. Audiences have a set of expectations when it comes to a movie review, and it’s important that you as a critic develop your review to meet the audience’s expectations. After all, if your review doesn’t give them what they need, they won’t read future reviews and may not see a movie that you are otherwise enthusiastic about.
1. Watch the movie
It might seem obvious, but you actually need to see the movie before you write about it. More than a few critics have posted reviews based on trailers, press materials, or viewings of incomplete working cuts of the movie. You actually need to see the finished product to know what the audience will be seeing and how it will play with them. If you don’t watch the movie, you don’t have anything worthwhile to say about it.
2. Cover the basics
A good movie review must tell the audience what the movie is about, what it tried to accomplish, whether it achieved those goals, and whether you consider it worthy of being recommended to others to spend their money to go and see. Remember to cover the five W’s—who, what, where, when, and why. The audience needs to know about the film’s basics before you can move ahead and start analyzing whether it was good or bad and why.
3. Go beyond the basics
The five W’s are only the foundation for a movie review. They are not its heart and soul. Like any other type of review, you are entering into a conversation with your readers and with the producers of the art you are reviewing. The idea is to discuss what the movie intended to achieve and how well it did so. Remember, a great review does more than simply summarize the movie. It discusses themes, ideas, imagery, aesthetics, and more.
4. Gauge your audience’s knowledge
Where you publish your review will shape how you write it. If you are writing for a publication targeted to film fans, you can assume a greater level of film knowledge than if you are writing for a newspaper or general interest website. If you are writing for a specialty publication, such as, for example, horror movie fans, you can assume greater familiarity with the history of the genre than if you are writing for a broad general audience.
5. Think like your audience
Consider what your audience wants to know about the movie. Romance fans want to know if the movie is emotionally satisfying. Horror movie fans will want to know how much gore is in the movie and whether the kills are fun to watch. Comedy fans will want to hear about the jokes. Tell the audience what they want to know.
6. Provide sufficient detail
While the length of a review is often limited, be sure you provide enough detail and information that the audience can make up their own mind and decide if they want to see the movie, even if they disagree with your opinion. A small trick for you — specifically look for details you think others wouldn’t notice, to add some novelty in your paper. Stand out among other essays your professor has to read.
7. Take plenty of notes
Don’t rely on your memory to cover all of the elements of the movie, and don’t rely on the press materials, if you received them, to tell the whole story accurately. Memory is fallible, and that can lead to errors that your audience will quickly discover. Errors can create credibility problems. Instead, take notes while you watch so you can refer back to your notes about key plot developments and your reaction to them as they unfolded.
8. Remember to share your own opinion
A movie review isn’t just a summary of the movie. You also need to explain what you thought about it and to support that opinion with evidence. Just stating likes and dislikes is definitely not enough for a paper to be considered a good movie review. What you need to do, is to share your opinion as if you are an expert who makes a choice, and has to explain his/her choice so others agree with it, or at least understand the reasoning fully.
No Time for Movies? Get Some Timely Writing Help
Let’s face it — to write a quality movie review paper, you need time. After reading the tips given above, you understand that you need to watch a movie several times, take plenty of notes, analyze them, look for some similar scenarios, etc. If you are not ready to do it right away, and you are not ready to settle for a subpar paper, the only way is to delegate it to someone else. We recommend finding a reliable writing service that will cover for you when you have other urgent things on your to-do list.
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