How to write a great movie review like a professional critic

     

Anna Keizer is a Los Angeles-based screenwriter và filmmaker. She has been writing for film & television for 15 years. She holds a B.A. In Film/Video from Columbia College Chicago and an M.A. In Film Studies from Chapman University. She has been an Academy Nicholl Fellowships Quarterfinalist and an Austin Film Festival Script Competition Second Rounder. FULL BIO


Table of Contents

IntroductionHow bởi vì You Write A Film Review? 1. Watch the Film2. Take Notes3. Break Down the FilmActingDirectingCinematographyProduction DesignScreenwritingThemeEditing4. Formulate a Supported ViewpointHow bởi You Write a Film review (Example)?1. Give an introduction.2. Include a synopsis.3. Provide an analysis.4. Offer a conclusion.In ClosingReferences
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Learning how to lớn write a movie reviews can prove vital lớn a career in film.

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In some cases, film criticism can become a launching pad for filmmakers, as it was for Paul Schrader, Peter Bogdanovich, & François Truffaut. But writing movie reviews can become a lifelong profession in its own right with Critics such as Leonard Maltin, Pauline Kael, & Roger Ebert becoming household names.

The process of how lớn write a movie review entails much more, though than simply giving readers a recommendation lớn watch or avoid a film. Let’s jump in lớn find out why!


Just like any other skill set, how to lớn write a movie review involves following certain steps that together result in a comprehensive và well-thought-out product1.


This sounds pretty straightforward, right? But consider the average movie-viewing experience, which may or may not take place in a theater, especially these days. Though advance screenings are still popular, many Critics now receive a screener or links to view the film in the comfort of their homes.

Regardless, of primary importance is getting rid of distractions. That’s a high demand nowadays, but for someone wanting khổng lồ build a reputation as a serious Film Critic, it’s the least that the movies reviewed deserve.

Jeff York, a RottenTomatoes.com certified Film Critic, thành viên of the Chicago Indie Critics and founder of The Establishing Shot, states, “I know that people have worked hard on it and I should work equally hard to lớn give what they’ve done a fair chance khổng lồ impress me.”


In an ideal world, Film Critics would have the opportunity to watch a movie at least twice—once to lớn simply experience the film & once more to lớn write down observations during it. Alas, we rarely get ideal. That’s why when learning how khổng lồ write a movie review, Critics should become accustomed lớn jotting down notes during a film screening.


To be seen as a Film Critic worth their salt, it’s important lớn critique a movie according khổng lồ its many elements:


It’s hard not khổng lồ give a lion’s nội dung of attention to the Actors in films. After all, that’s typically how many movie lovers identify them. “That’s the new Tom Cruise flick!” or “It’s the latest Jennifer Lawrence movie.”

And when the Oscars come around each year, it’s typically the acting categories that get the most hype. That’s why it’s key to lớn know how to write a movie reviews with the acting in mind2.


Evaluating a Director’s success on a film can be a tough undertaking. Some Directors, such as Spielberg và Scorsese, pretty much have không lấy phí rein on their films.

Others who are not quite yet established may be more at the mercy of their Producers, studio executives—and even star Actors! But in either case, the Director is typically the captain of the ship, so if the film feels lượt thích a well-oiled machine or not, the praise or blame usually rests with this person3.


Cinematographers are often taken for granted. As film is an inherently visual art, many moviegoers don’t even think about the work that goes into creating a film that’s attractive lớn the eye4.

So when learning how khổng lồ write a movie review, it may take some practice lớn appreciate the choices that a Cinematographer makes throughout a film, such as the shots, angles, & focus.

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Production Designers are another frequently overlooked specialist on a film. Their job of making the world of the movie look realistic—whether that means the surface of Mars or Main Street, U.S.A.—is often done so well that the casual viewer doesn’t notice.

While that typically signals a job well done, it’s up to the Film Critic lớn take into consideration just how expertly the production kiến thiết is executed & if it enhances or detracts from a film5.


It’s said that a movie is made three times: once when it’s written, once when it’s made và once when it’s edited. As a result, what is put on the page may or may not resemble what makes it to the big screen. That makes it tough to lớn properly assess the chất lượng of the screenwriting.

But as a Film Critic, being able to discern whether the story flows well, offers surprises—and most importantly—keeps the viewer engaged, will in large part inform the success or failure of the screenplay.


The Godfather is about a young man who takes over the illegal activities of his famous family. That’s the short version. But it’s also about family loyalty. Morality versus that family loyalty. The attraction of power. & the ways in which a person can warp with that power.

These are just some of the themes of The Godfather, and when writing a film review, a Movie Critic should not downplay the importance of theme or lack of it6. While film lovers may have an initial interest in a movie because of the stars or Director attached, it’s the universal themes of love, revenge, grief và so on that will likely have the most lasting impression.


We’ve all been there. Squirming uncomfortably in our seat because we’re losing interest in a film. In some cases, this may be the case of bad editing7. Like a Director, the Editor often has many people to lớn report to.

With that disclaimer in mind, an Editor can make or break a film, và part of a great film is one that moves at a đoạn clip appropriate to the material. What’s good for a period piece may not work for a superhero-laden action flick—and that’s okay! But it’s up to lớn the person reviewing the film to lớn know the difference.


A move reviews offers an opinion on a film; otherwise, it would just be a movie synopsis. However, a great Film Critic should be mindful to offer a comprehensive viewpoint without giving away too many spoilers, as that may ruin the experience for those seeing new releases.

When it comes down to it, though, the people reading the reviews are often more interested in the “why” than the “what.” Why a reviewer feels that way versus what that opinion is. Viewpoints on films often clash, as any art khung is subjective. If a Movie Critic can back up that opinion, though, they’ll gain the respect of their readers even if it differs from theirs.

A word of caution, though, on confusing criticism with simply cutting down a film. Says York, “In my earlier days, I was occasionally nội dung to be sarcastic & quick lớn malign, và I wish I’d been directed away from such entertaining but not necessarily constructive writing. That’s why now if I’m steering anyone away from seeing something, I bức xúc precisely why the film doesn’t work rather than just be dismissive of it.”


Let’s continue with The Godfather as our film example. Given that this movie isn’t a new release & is widely available on multiple platforms, it’s one of those rare occasions where it could be watched twice. When that opportunity comes, take it!

Once the viewing is over & notes compiled, it’s time lớn write a draft with the following steps:


That means providing the reader with baseline information about the film, such as the title, the year of theatrical release, the major cast members, the Director, & the Writer.

In this case, the movie review should include: The Godfather; 1972; Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, John Cazale, Diane Keaton & Talia Shire; Francis Ford Coppola; Mario Puzo và Francis Ford Coppola.


The Godfather is so widely known that it may feel unnecessary khổng lồ include a synopsis, but it’s a vital piece of information that essentially sets the stage for the review.

That being said, while not as critical for a film that’s been around for nearly 50 years, don’t forget that a movie synopsis should not reveal all major plot points.


This is the most critical part of how lớn write a movie review. As mentioned, it’s okay to have a viewpoint that may not line up with popular opinion—and for a film as revered as The Godfather, it may be a fresh breath of film criticism air!

This is where the film reviewer states their opinions on those many film elements, including acting, directing, cinematography, production design, screenwriting, theme, & editing. Some potential topics may include arguing that Coppola should have won the Oscar for Best Director or that Pacino was more qualified for the Best Actor category than Brando.

Whatever opinions are put forth, back them up!


Should people revisit this film? Can it provide new insights half a century later? Or would those three hours of viewing time be better spent on another film?

End the film review on a confident chú ý with a definite opinion.

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It might be redundant at this point to say that being a Film Critic means having an opinion. Truth is, though, that it may take time lớn develop that opinion & personal voice. Only practice can get you closer to perfect.

And even if the over goal is to lớn become a future filmmaker, regardless of specialty, it’s critical khổng lồ understand the importance of film criticism. How khổng lồ write a movie đánh giá is in many ways how lớn make a movie; both skillsets that can guide a filmmaker towards success no matter if they are in front of the camera, behind it, or watching the sản phẩm of it.