How to Write a Movie Review - Complete Student Guide

How to Write a Movie Review


How to Write a Movie Review

Writing a movie review involves unlocking the secrets of storytelling and visual art. These reviews matter since they guide us through the sea of cinematic choices.

So, dear students, the college movie review exercise is more than just an assignment. It’s a gateway to understanding the nuances of filmmaking. So, as you dissect that blockbuster, here is a student film review guide for you.

We will unravel the art of writing movie reviews together and show you where to get a film review writing service.

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Did you know that the shortest movie review ever written was just one word?

Understanding a Movie Review

Before we go into the art of reviewing movies, we need to understand what it involves. So, in this section, we will define what a movie review is and differentiate between professional and amateur reviews.

What Is a Movie Review?

A movie review is an oral or written assessment of a movie. Many movie reviews are published on websites, journals, and newspapers. Nowadays, you will find them on social media too. The main aim is to help readers know whether they can watch the movie.

A well-written movie review will contain the following:

  • The film’s summary
  • An analysis of the plot, direction, actors, and cinematography, among other aspects
  • Your opinion on the movie
  • Recommendations or ratings (where necessary)
  • A conclusion that summarizes your review and includes a call to action for the readers

A film review can be long or short. In this case, it depends on your teacher’s instructions and what you are reviewing. We have mentioned the shortest movie review being one word.

Well, that is according to the Guinness World Book of Records. Leonard Maltin gave a two-star review to the movie ‘Isn’t It Romantic?’ (1948) and wrote the word ‘No’ as the review.

We agree that ‘No’ does not give you a glimpse of what you should expect in a movie. Why? Because a movie review is like your backstage ticket. It’s more than knowing whether the writer was happy with the movie. You must know what the film is like (without spoilers) while the opinion comes later.

Let’s look at it this way: you are a guide in a museum, and your work is to show people the treasures around. Those with you will want to know more about this and whether it was good.

We have provided students with our movie review writing service for a long time. So, you can learn how to write a film critique by letting our experts know.

Why Are You Learning How to Write a Movie Review?

The reasons for writing a movie review in school or the professional arena differ significantly. In professional fields, you do it to inform and guide the public, mainly movie lovers.

As a student, you write movie review essays because of:

  • Meeting the school qualifications: Some courses or schools demand students to do a movie review, among other tens of assessments, to earn the degree. This can be one of the reasons your instructor may assign you a movie review essay.
  • Enhancing your abilities: The other reason for being assigned a movie review essay is to improve your writing skills. After writing several movie reviews, your writing and analyzing skills will improve.

What is the Difference between a Professional and Amateur College Movie Review?

An amateur college movie review only covers some of the review aspects. It’s mainly centered on how the writer feels about the movie. On the other hand, a professional movie review focuses on several elements that go into making the movie.

An amateur will first look at whether they liked the film or not. Everything else that follows is based on the notion presented by the feelings. A professional will focus on direction, plot, style, and cinematography.

Whether they like the movie or not, you will see the professionalism in the criticism. That means a professional will understand the movie’s targeted audience and reflect that in their reviews.

Before you know how to approach that movie review assignment, here are the points that differentiate between amateurs and professionals.

Amateur Alert

  1. Spoilers galore: Amateurs often spill all the beans, ruining surprises. Pros give you a taste without giving away the whole buffet.
  2. Emotion overload: Amateurs sometimes let their feelings run wild without explaining why. Pros mix emotions with solid reasons, like a good recipe.
  3. One-size-fits-all: Amateurs might use the same formula for every review. Pros tailor their approach to each movie’s vibe.
  4. Plot summary madness: Amateurs might become storytellers, retelling the movie. Pros share enough to tease, not to tell the whole tale.

Pro Power Moves

  1. Insider knowledge: Pros drop nuggets about filmmaking tricks, adding that extra spice.
  2. Critical consistency: Pros don’t sway like a leaf in the wind. They stick to their style, giving you a reliable read.
  3. Big picture thinking: Pros connect the dots between the movie and the bigger world, making it feel relevant. They understand who the film is meant for as they write the reviews.
  4. Constructive criticism: Pros don’t just slam a movie. They point out flaws with suggestions for improvement.

Spot these signs, and you’ll know who scribbles notes in the big leagues. If you want your fellow college comrades to read your reviews, hop onto the professional bus. Reading this student film review guide is a good start.

You can always contact our film review writing service for help as you practice. Let’s see what you need to write a superb movie review.

How to Write a College Movie Review

1. Prepare Before You Write

Who is your best movie critic? Why do you like them? As you ask yourself such questions, remember that you are learning to become like that movie reviewer you adore.

Such a guru will review movies, regardless of whether they are rotten tomatoes or masterpieces. How do they go about it? Here are the details that will help you learn how to write a film critique that your tutor and other students will enjoy reading.

Let’s start with the preparation part.

Watch with Intent

First off, watch the movie with a scrutiny approach. Your grade depends on it, so every line and scene is crucial. Pay attention to the actors’ dance, the camera’s moves, and the mood the music sets. Your eyes are the camera – let nothing slip by.

Tip: Watch the movie more than once to capture the details vividly.

Take Notes as You Watch

As you watch, it’s advisable to take notes. Don’t write as if you are writing a novel. You are only using that as a platform to gather your thoughts. Think of it like texting your friend about the movie.

Scribble down standout moments, actor brilliance, or cringe-worthy scenes.

Do the Movie Research

You can research the movie before or after watching it. The prior is much better, though. Who’s the mastermind behind the camera? Know the director. Who’s in the spotlight? Familiarize yourself with the cast. And don’t forget the backstory – when did this cinematic adventure set sail?

Analyzing the director’s motivations and the socio-political environment will help you point in the right direction for your review.

2. Structuring the Movie Review

Although many ways exist to structure a film review, most experts recommend using the structure below. You can use this one if your instructor does not explain how you should structure the movie review.

Our structure has five broad parts, which are:


Start with an attention-grabbing hook and then give some basic details about the movie. Some crucial information will involve:

  • Movie’s title
  • Director and screenwriter
  • Year of production
  • Major actors

Your introduction can have more than one paragraph, and a central claim or thesis is unnecessary. You can end the introduction by stating it is a movie review. If you want a catchy introduction, don’t leave out that thesis.

Plot Summary/Film Synopsis

A whopping number of readers have yet to watch the movie at the time they are reading the movie review. Thus, offering them a plot summary or a film synopsis is good. Ensure the summary is brief and keep away from spoilers.

Depending on the requirements, you can learn how to write a film synopsis or a plot summary. Please note that the summary involves more details than a synopsis.

Author’s Opinion

Provide a generalized cinematic experience you got after watching the film. It can be a comment about how the movie feels, looks, sounds, etc. Whatever opinion you provide needs backup. So, ensure that you can support what you write as your experience.

Elements Analysis

This section explains how the movie uses thematic content and formal techniques. In short, you will analyze all the critical elements of the film. More about these elements are discussed below in the segment.


Here, you restate the main ideas and impressions of the movie. You can directly or indirectly mention whether or not you vouch for the film.

What Elements Should You Discuss in A Movie?

A film consists of many elements, but there are those that you should notice when reviewing. The vital ones include:


Some people may argue that the content is not an element, but go ahead and analyze it to see if it is significant to the movie. Although you briefly mentioned the setting and characters in the introduction, you may give more details about them in the “Elements Analysis” section.

You may explain more about the essential characters and dramatic or intriguing events.


Cinematography involves all aspects of a camera’s function and movement. For instance, the kinds of shots, camera viewpoints, and distances between the subject and the camera.

Props and Costumes

When discussing this element, state how the props and costumes connect with the settings and characters.


Under this element, you need to state the general music. Does the movie have its soundtrack? Is there ambient music? Or what are the typical sounds? Even silence is a sound and is primarily used in essential instances.


Movies utilize several lighting techniques within and between their scenes. The most common are:

  • Key light
  • Backlight light
  • Fill light

Movies usually undergo thorough editing to accomplish a particular scene. So, you can describe how the scenes transition, the shot durations, and other crucial edits needed to have a specific flow.

You now know what to include as the structure in your movie review. That also gives you a hint on how to come up with an excellent outline. You also know the elements that you should include as you write. The next part of our student film review guide is how to analyze that movie critically.

3. Analyzing the Movie Critically

As you write the review, you must critically analyze all the components. Ask yourself questions like how they all were included in the movie plot and the impression they left.

Here are a few pointers to the critical direction.

Theme Exploration

Your first critical stop should be on the themes and messages. That’s the treasure of the whole movie plot. What’s the movie trying to say? Is it about love, justice, or the secret life of pizza delivery folks? Connect the dots between the story and the big ideas hiding in the shadows.

Think, Reflect, and Discuss

Now, let’s exercise those brain muscles. Encourage your grey cells to run a marathon. Which thoughts did the movie trigger? Reflect and discuss the characters, the plot twists, and the overall vibe. As you do so, highlight the capturing moments and what needed polishing.

Your Take on the Movie

Bring out the personal touch. There is a double-edged sword here, though, since you don’t want the review to look like an amateur writing. So, what else is there beyond “I liked it” or “I hated it”? Why did that scene arouse your wits? How did the plot twist mess with your mind? Be the storyteller of your experience, but stick to the review lanes.

Objective vs. Subjective

Balance is key. Your opinion is the star, but let’s bring in the supporting actors – facts. Back up your feelings with evidence. If you say the acting was brilliant, point to moments that blew you away. If the plot felt shaky, highlight where it stumbled. It’s like making a case – you’re the lawyer, and the movie is on trial.

Tip: If you have a problem imposing a critical view in your movie review, you can call for the right help. Our film review experts will be more than happy to help.

We also have review guides that can assist in understanding more about having a critical review. Check how to write ‘Walmart the High Cost of Low Price’ to see how you can review a film critically.

4. The Writing Style and Tips

You have already prepared, know how to formulate the structure, and analyze the movie critically. Here are the writing style advice and tips that will make your college movie review stand out.

Use a Style That Speaks to College Folks

Imagine chatting with pals at the campus café about that movie you are reviewing. Keep it casual but accurate. There is no need for fancy words; spill your thoughts like sharing the latest gossip.

Use your student vocabulary for you to be relatable. Your style should be as comfortable as your favorite hood.

Engage and Inform – Your Review, Your Show

Think of your review as a blockbuster – it needs to entertain and inform. Begin with an attention-grabbing hook. Maybe it’s a quirky fact, a funny observation, or a thought-provoking question. Keep it short and straightforward. Your readers should feel like they’re on a rollercoaster of your thoughts.

Break down your review into bite-sized chunks. Nobody likes a never-ending paragraph. Talk about acting, then jump to directing, sprinkle some thoughts on the plot, etc. Make it easy for the enthusiasts to read and understand.

Include examples – it’s like showing your evidence in an essay. If you say the acting nailed it, mention a specific scene. If the script stumbled, pinpoint where it missed a mark. Paint pictures with your words.

Be You – Originality and Honesty Rule

This is your review, your space. Be yourself. If you loved a movie, shout it from the rooftops. If it fell short, don’t be shy to say so. Your honesty is your superpower. As you do so, remember to review the movie critically to avoid the amateur pitfall trap.

Avoid copy-pasting as you write the review. Your review should sound like you, not some robot from the internet. Let your personality shine through. Crack that joke and share a personal anecdote. If it’s possible or allowed, use gifs and emoji if that’s your vibe.

More Writing Style and Tips

In addition to the above, you can also utilize the following as you work on your review:

Read Other Movie Reviews

Research what other reviewers have written to master movie review writing. You can read all the reviews, but not the one that touches on the movie you are reviewing. Why? The review might influence your writing and perspective.

You can read Tusk the Movie review as an example or search for a review that concurs with your movie’s niche.

Concentrate on the Film

Each section of your film review must connect to the movie. Thus, you should avoid irrelevant or unnecessary details like the history of the specific genre or cinematography.

Avoid Spoilers

We cannot stress this point enough. Most readers of movie reviews have yet to watch the movie. They are mainly reading a review to decide whether to watch it. So, please do not give them spoilers, as it will destroy the experience of viewing the film. Use vague language to explain a crucial plot turn or twist.

Avoid First-Person Perspective

The reader knows that you are the one who has written the review. Therefore, there is no need to use a first-person perspective consistently. So, avoid comments such as ‘I realized this,’ ‘I was intrigued by,’ and ‘I shunned this.’

Follow All the Guidelines

Make sure to follow all the guidelines, including the formatting rules.

5. Editing and Refining the Review

Once you have finished writing and observing all the points discussed above, it’s time to fine-tune the review. As you proofread and edit, consider the following:

Check Your Spelling

This should be your first rule in editing. Remember that your grade depends on that assignment or project. Typos are the movie villains of writing. They sneak in when you’re not looking, ready to trip you up. So, scan your review like a hawk. No one wants to read a movie review with a misspelled leading actor’s name (or something else).

Fresh Eyes, Fresh Feedback

Let your pals in on the action. Share your review with friends or classmates. Why? Because they will see things that you have already missed. Ask for feedback – what worked, what didn’t? It’s like having your focus group.

Use Online Proofreading Tools

Online tools will significantly help you in catching errors. Good examples include Grammarly and Hemingway Editor. These wizards notice grammar slip-ups and suggest tweaks to make your writing smoother. As you use them, remember that they’re not the directors; you are. Use them wisely, and don’t let them govern you.

Take Breaks As You Edit

Take a break after writing and editing for the first time. Grab a snack, binge-watch a show, or take a power nap. When you come back, you will revise your review with fresh eyes. You’ll spot things you didn’t notice before – maybe a sentence that sounds weird or a point that needs re-writing.

6. Publishing and Sharing the Review

Once you have written and proofread the movie review, you can publish it to showcase your work. It’s, however, advisable to do that after your tutor/lecturer marks your work. Why? At that point, you will be aware of your performance.

Let’s assume your teacher has already marked and you have triumphed. How can you share your work and publish it? Here are a few starting points before you look for movie review-paying sites and media houses.

Where to Unleash Your Review

Think of your review like a blockbuster release – you need the right platform. College newspapers are a classic stage, but don’t forget the power of blogs. They’re like your personal cinema where you’re the director, producer, and star.

You can also consider social media your red-carpet event. Share snippets, create a buzz, and let your review shine.

Engage, Don’t Ghost

Your review isn’t a monologue; it’s a conversation starter. So, when readers jump into the discussion, be the friendly host. Respond to comments, answer questions, and thank folks for their thoughts.

As you do so, be fun and less formal.

The Feedback Tango

Feedback is your friend, not the enemy. Embrace it. If someone disagrees with your take, that’s cool. Movies are all about different perspectives. If they love your review, cheers to that!

If they spot a flaw, don’t hit panic mode. Please take it as a chance to grow, like a sequel that’s even better than the original.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What do I need to review in a film?

Your movie review should analyze the plot’s effectiveness, setting, characters, lighting, cinematography, sound, editing, and costumes. There are many other elements that you can review. Look at the instruction prompt and class notes to know which elements your instructor would like you to analyze.

2. How should I format my movie review essay?

Use the following format for your college movie review essay:

  • Introduction
  • Plot summary
  • Your opinion of the film
  • Analysis of the elements
  • Conclusion

If your tutor’s instructions suggest another format, then utilize that one.

3. How can I make my movie review engaging and informative?

  • Ensure that you understand the movie after watching
  • Have a good outline that portrays what you are going to cover
  • Start with a captivating hook
  • Break your movie review into digestible chunks
  • Use evidence and examples to support your points
  • Maintain a conversational tone
  • Engage your readers with your unique perspective

4. What should I avoid when writing a movie review?

Avoid the following if you want to write a good movie review:

  • Avoid spoilers
  • Avoid deviating from the movie
  • Avoid using a first-person perspective
  • Avoid unsupported claims
  • Avoid general opinions

5. How long should a movie review typically be?

A movie review’s length ranges from 600 to 1200 words. That can, however, vary based on requirements and what you want to cover.

6. Who can help me with my movie review essay?

We can assist you. We offer film review writing services, among other academic help services. Contact our experts at any time to get professional and affordable help.

Wrapping Up

We have unwrapped the secrets of crafting a stellar college movie review. We have covered all the crucial parts, from nailing the introduction to dissecting acting. Now, it’s your turn to grab that pen or fire up the keyboard and let your film critique journey begin.

Your unique perspective is a secret waiting to be shared. If you feel overwhelmed, bring your worries to our film review writing service. We are here to turn your thoughts into captivating reviews effortlessly and guide you on how to do it.

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How to Write a Movie Review - Homeworkmarket

author Melaine

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Melanie is a seasoned writer with more than 8 years of experience. She is passionate about academia and works off the clock to ensure she write the topnotch content for her readers.

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