All You Need to Know Before Writing a Movie Review

Writing a Movie Review

Writing a movie review can be as interesting as it sounds. Some people write reviews on movies, short films, or documentaries because they enjoy doing it, some write reviews as a part of their job, and in some cases, it is a part of a language course or cinema course. In all these cases, movie reviews are written in a similar format.

There are very few guides on how to write a movie review. It becomes so difficult to write movie reviews without guidance or having a format. We are always watching movies for fun and some of them have interesting things to highlight. To address everything about a movie, the cast, the cinematography, the music, the direction, and the meaning, you can provide constructive criticism by writing a movie review.

Before diving into more details, we will shortly have a look at what a movie review is.

What is a Movie Review?

A movie review is a blend of providing your opinion about the movie and the creative or technical aspects of the movie. Movie making is an art and requires a lot of effort, input, and hard work. Every movie is a piece of art and has some creative aspects. You need to highlight all these creative and technical aspects of a movie in a review, as it will make an extensive, well-phrased, and persuasive review.

Writing movie reviews is becoming very common in academic and non-academic fields. Review writers also get paid for writing the reviews most of the time, as it is a form of promoting the movie. It requires great skill sets to convince people to watch a movie. We sometimes do this in our real lives where we convince our friends to watch a movie that we like. Similarly, in a movie review, you have to convince a large group of people to watch a certain movie.

To help you write a good-quality movie review, we have provided all the necessary details, tips, and tricks in the following article.

Purpose of Writing a Movie Review

The important purposes of writing a movie review are as follows.

Reasons to Write a Movie Review

To inform

The purpose of writing a movie review is to inform your audience about every possible aspect of the movie, the cast, the performance, the music, the cinematography, and the lesson. This will merely inform your audience of what type of content the movie has.

To convince

In a movie review, you will include points that will help you convince your audience whether the movie is good or bad. You must make your audience agree with your point. If you want your audience to watch a certain movie because you think it is good, you will involve statements in the review that will persuade the people to watch it. 

To analyze

Another important purpose of writing a movie review is to analyze those points for your audience that they will casually miss while watching. Many people want to read reviews solely because of this purpose

To entertain

The purpose of the review is just not to inform the audience of the pros and cons of watching a certain movie, there is more to it. It involves explaining everything in a more fun and exciting way that will make your audience enticed in reading the complete article.

Read more: How to Write Movie Titles in Your Essay

Preparatory Steps Before Writing the Review

There are a few preparatory steps that need to be followed before beginning the actual writing process.

Selecting the right movie

If your instructor has already provided you with a movie then it becomes so much easier to directly begin with the more important stuff. In some cases, when your instructor does not assign you any movie then you will have to select one. The easiest way to select a movie is to go for a specific genre of your interest. You can also select a movie that you have already seen or work with the same director because you will be familiar with the direction style.

Watch the movie

The most significant part is obviously watching the movie. This part can be really fun if you have selected an interesting movie to review. You will have a good time watching the movie. Just try to stay active during the process, so you can capture all aspects of the movie thoroughly.

Do research

You get aware of the main theme of the movie after watching it. If it is something you have less information about, you can always do a little research to know about it. Getting familiar with the topic will also enable you to criticize whether the movie covered the theme fairly.

Steps to Writing a Movie Review

The review-writing process can be confusing and hectic at times. The process can confuse you with so many details and aspects. The easiest way to avoid this problem is to break the entire writing process into smaller portions. Following is the most followed breakdown of movie review components.

Important Points to Write Movie Review

Catchy introduction

Introductions will be the first thing your audience will read so it should have everything including the movie’s cast, script, release date, awards, and budget box. Providing all the essential information in the introduction will make your audience realize whether this is something they want to read or not. Introductory paragraphs also involve a thesis statement at the end. Usually, thesis statements involve whatever the essay covers, but for a movie review, it may include a relation between creative and technical aspects, the relation of the main theme to the present day, or the central idea of the film related to some other aspect. Thesis statements should be written after special thinking, as it covers the whole review in just a sentence or two.

Begin with your evaluation

In a movie review, your evaluations and opinions should lie somewhere in the first or second paragraph. Do not wait to add your evaluation to the concluding paragraph. Adding evaluations first will give the audience an immediate impression of what you think about the movie.

Brief plot summary

You will have to provide your audience with the plot of the movie without giving them any spoilers. Review is more like a resource to help people decide if they want to watch a movie, not to tell them what is in the movie.

Overall impression

Reviews should be more personal rather than formal. You should not tell your audience the exact scene of the movie, but you should tell them how you felt about the scenes. Adding the emotional aspect to your review will also help your audience to connect with the movie.

Purpose of movie

To find the purpose of the movie, you should think of why this movie was created. The answer can be too obvious sometimes, as the plot explains it all. In some cases, you should look for the purpose in interviews of artists, while sometimes you should not look for purpose. Some movies are solely meant for entertainment and comedy.

Details of filmmaking

Movie reviews must involve the technical factor that played the most part in conveying the movie’s meaning. In some movies, music plays the most part while for others cinematography does the magic. You need to point that factor out in your review.

  • Music

Although it is usually assumed that sound effects do not play that big of a part in films, the truth is they do. The intensity of a scene is depicted by the music played in its background. Playing the appropriate music in the background is extremely beautiful art. In the filmmaking industry, some films are referred to as “silent-short films” that have no dialogue but still convey their true meaning. All of this has been possible because of the appropriate music for every emotion and situation. You should definitely talk about the music of the movie in your review.

  • Cinematography

You should also talk about cinematography in your review, as it can be a good convincing element to get your audience to watch that movie. You can talk about the camera movements, angles, and distances. In cinematography, you can discuss everything related to the camera during shooting.

  • Editing

Editing plays a key role in making the movie a success. It is the job of the editor to align all the pieces of a movie to make it ready to be displayed on bigger screens.

Look for deep meaning

To extract a deeper meaning from the movie, you need to watch it with full attention. Only then, you will be able to unlock the meanings of symbolic elements in the movie. Movies always have some hidden messages, and they are depicted by either a character or an object, the key is to look closely and reveal everything.

Mention details

It is important for you to mention the details by using phrases like “the acting is so good”, as it will help to convince the audience. You can also explain the main character who is a symbol for many concepts.

Strong conclusion

Writing a strong conclusion is very important for a review because this will be the last chance to convince your readers. Add some fun elements to the conclusion to leave a fascinating impact on the mind of your audience.

Edit and proofread

Once you have involved all these points in your review, you should read it for editing. Try to find any mistakes in vocabulary, spellings, pronouns, or grammar. After proofreading and editing, your essay will be ready to submit.

Additional Tips and Tricks to Write a Movie Review

Following are a few additional tips if you decide on writing a movie review.

Watch the movie twice

It is very important for you to watch the movie at least twice to get the hang of concepts. After watching it for the first time, you would not be able to review it.

Create Outline

To save your time, you can create an outline of your review which is later discussed in the article. It will help you save time while writing the final draft.

Take notes

Lastly, if you do not want to spend your time watching the movie twice then you can take notes. You can keep a pen and paper with you to write all the important details or your thoughts to be used in the review later.

What Factors Make a Good Movie Review?

To write a good movie review:

  • You should always talk about the characters played by actors and mention how good they were in playing their roles. Good acting is always an attractive point to get the audience to watch the movie.
  • Talk about the good music in the movie if there is any.
  • Mention that all the individual pieces have synthesized to present a masterpiece that successfully conveys its meaning.
  • Reviews do not usually follow a strict format, so you are free to play around with the arrangement of body paragraphs.

Outline of a Movie Review

It is absolutely true that movie reviews do not have a strict format that needs to be followed. Here, we have discussed an outline for a movie review that will assist you if you are a beginner and lost how to go about it.


  • Movie’s cast, release date, acting
  • Your evaluations
  • A thesis statement linking the movie factors

Body paragraph 1

  • Plot of the movie
  • Summary of story
  • No spoilers

Body paragraph 2

  • Purpose of movie
  • Overall impression

Body paragraph 3

  • Filmmaking elements (cinematography, music, editing)
  • Details of the movie


  • End with fun facts
  • Convince the audience to watch the movie
  • Concluding sentence

Summing up

Summing up the whole discussion, writing movie reviews requires your writing and convincing skills to work together, so you can convince your audience to watch the movie. Writing movie reviews is a fun activity as compared to other writing tasks, however, it can be hard for beginners. You need to have assistance to write good quality movie reviews. If you follow the above-mentioned tips, tricks, and steps to write a review, you will be good to write one.