How to Write a Movie Review for College

Updated on October 11, 2021 | by James Wilson

Anybody studying the field of film and media studies needs to know how to write a movie critique. It’s one of the most fundamental papers to write. This article is here to help anybody who is just starting out and needs help. You will be writing reviews in no time!

Watch the Movie or Documentary Twice

The question of how to write a film review is answered first by watching the movie\documentary twice. Just watching something once isn’t enough – you’ll be taking notes through the whole process. You can easily miss something while jotting your notes down. Watching through a second time will give you an opportunity to pick these things up.

Alternatively, some people choose to just watch a movie first, to get a feel for it. Then, the second time, they take notes on what they think is important. How you handle things is up to you. What is important is that you watch twice to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Movies and documentaries always have a lot going on in them. Watching twice means that you have much less chance of missing anything that might be important for your review.

Analyze the Movie After You Watching It

Once you have watched things twice, but before you begin your movie review essay, analyze the movie.

Analysis can mean different things to different people. You could take some time to think about what the movie says to you, what you think it was trying to say, and so on. Look at the color palette of the movie, the clothing choices, and more.

The analysis is the first step in being able to write a coherent review. You need to show that you understand what is happening in the movie. You need to be able to discuss things like music choice, clothing choices, and more. Remember that a lot of what goes into a movie review is subjective. This is your chance to figure out what a movie means to you specifically and stand out in the crowd.

Carry Out Thorough Research

The next step is to do as much research as you can. Your opinions mean a lot when it comes to movie reviews, but you need to be able to back them up with facts.

Part of this research is completely basic – you need to know the names of the principal actors, the director, the year it was released, and so on. Part of the research is more involved. You might need to do some research into the history of the time your movie is set, and so on. If an actor died halfway through the movie, you need to know that. It could be the answer to some interesting blocking choices.

Research is a necessary part of the process. Even if you have a completely unique opinion about the movie that no one else shares, you need some information. 

Make an Outline 

At this point, you may want to write an outline. There’s lots of information about movies out there, and you don’t want to run the risk of forgetting any of it! You can find a movie review essay example at EssayKitchen.net if you need them. These outlines can help you if you’ve never written one yourself. They can show you what you need to do.

Outlines are very useful because they can fill whatever function you might need. Do you need to put down quotes? You can. Do you need to note down what paragraph goes where? You can. There’s no limit to what an outline is good for.

Outlines will help you keep everything ordered. You won’t need to search around for information, because it will be right in front of you. Even if you’ve never used one before, why not try now? You might be surprised.

Structure Your Text Properly

Movie reviews come in all shapes and sizes, but they almost always follow a specific pattern. If you want people to look at your work and know what it is, you need to structure it properly!

This is where outlines and pre-written essays can both come in handy. If you go to a site that offers pre-written essays, try to get your hands on a few different types. This will give you more to study, but will also allow you to compare and contrast between them.

Knowing how a movie review is put together is useful for two reasons. One, it allows you to create a proper movie review that everyone will recognize as such. Two, it allows you to learn the rules, as well as when it is acceptable to break them.

Avoid Spoilers

People who post spoilers online are seen in a harsh light. It might surprise many people learning how to do a movie review that the same is true for them as well. Spoilers are definitely a no-go area in most reviews.

You need to remember that professional reviews are normally written before the majority of people have seen the movie. Reviews aren’t just a way of showing what you think about a movie. In many cases, they are what convince people to go and see it in the first place! Reviews drive ticket sales in many cases.

Even if you are just writing your review for a college course, you should follow the rules. Act as though you are writing an honest review for somebody. If they have never seen the film, then they won’t want you to spoil the ending!

Proofread What You Have

Last but not least, you need to proofread your work. It’s unlikely that you, as someone who is asking how to write movie reviews, have never written an essay before. You’ll know that proofreading is an essential part of the process, already, but it bears repeating.

Proofreading is so important. You will get the best results if you make sure that everything makes sense, that there are no spelling mistakes, and that you have good grammar. People will want to find out about the movie. Proofreading means that they can do it, without needing to worry about understanding what you wrote.

For best results, try and take some mental space away from your work. Put it down and walk away, and then you’ll come back to it with fresh eyes.

Get Writing!

Now that you have read our pointers, you will know where to start. Go and write your movie review. Check back with our list if you think you have forgotten anything. Just take it slowly. Everything gets easier when you have had enough practice. Movie reviews can be fun to write once you get the hang of them.

Read Also: 7 Best Bollywood Movies for College Students

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