How to Write a Movie Review: A Step-by-Step Guide for Students

How to Write a Movie Review

The viewing of a movie does not end when the movie ends on the screening. Very often, in fact, spectators feel the need or the desire to talk about it with others, whether it is positive or negative. After the first viewing, the movie’s acceptance elicits many reactions which are generally ignored in classical analysis of the movie, but which appear as the “dynamic” repercussions of this phase of passivity. Far from being satisfied with his own subjective appreciation, the spectator clearly wishes to exchange his opinions and impressions with other spectators, to compare his opinion with that of others, to share his enthusiasm or otherwise with people, who might have seen or not seen the film in question.

Therefore, a movie review is a genre of literature where the author gives his opinion on a concrete subject through a series of arguments and personal points of view. The parts of a review are the introduction, the development, and the conclusion, but there are also other things to put into consideration when writing a movie review.

The purpose of a review is to present a personal critique or science-based opinion on a subject. This opinion must be supported by studies or scientific research and aims to create an affinity with the reader with his reflections. This literary genre is quite usual during film analysis because it gives a certain freedom to the person who writes it to express his point of view which will adapt to the script, characters, or sequences of a film. If you want to do a movie review, you are on track, as this article will help you get started.

Choose the film you want to review

If you have the option of choosing which film you need to write the review on, we strongly advise you to choose a film that you already know or from which you can grab enough material. If this is your first time writing a movie review, then go for a movie that doesn’t have a lot of characters to analyze, doesn’t have a tough storyline, and you’ve seen a few times. To know how to do a movie review, you are going to have to watch the movie while taking notes.

Interpret the movie

To review a movie successfully, it is necessarily to interpret it. You must elicit the main idea of the movie, that is never said as such in the film, it is to put words on images and sounds which to a large extent, are not in themselves meaningful. Highlight the characters translation and delivery of the role, even if such an aesthetic appreciation is in summary (for example when one affirms that an actor plays well or badly), it goes beyond the simple observation and involves an implicit part of analysis that is justifiable by critical pointers.


After watching the movie with some notes on the most important details you need to talk about in the review, you will need to make a list of the most important events in the movie. That is, the actions you want to highlight in your review. To foster a review session, keep these questions in mind and take mental notes to answer them as you go along in the movie.

  • What is the main idea of the film?
  • What is the message that the principal wants to convey?
  • Is the time chosen by the principal to tell this story important?
  • Who are the main characters?
  • What are their relationships?
  • How can I interpret the story?

Once you have a clear answer to all these questions, you can start by making a first draft of your review, logically connecting all of these points.

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Introduction of a movie review

The introduction is the most important part of a review because this is where you need to get the reader’s attention to make them want to continue reading what you have written.

First, you need to know exactly the ideas that you are going to convey and that you are going to have to write in an appealing way so that the reader is interested in the text from the first line. Here are two examples of what you should and shouldn’t do:

Don’ts: “This film is very good ….”

Do: “Although the film did not meet the expectations of many critics for the reasons that will be explained in this review, you should know that …”

In the introduction part, it is essential that the author clearly explains, from the first moment, his position in relation to the film without forgetting any detail. Remember that this first part should be short, clear, and concise.

Developing a film review

The development of your review will explain, in a logical and organized fashion, all of the main ideas presented in the movie, as well as any other sub-ideas that may be of interest to the reader. Consider the following questions:

What is the main conflict in the film? It’s a good time to analyze the main plot.

Who are the characters?  In this instance you should talk about the characters as the movie develops. In other words, you don’t have to devote an entire chapter to just introducing the characters: as you develop the themes, you can highlight a character’s personality, their reactions to conflict and so on.

Remember that your opinions must be accompanied by good arguments that will help you defend your position. For example:

Don’ts: “It’s a bad movie. Even the protagonists didn’t know …”

Do’s: “We are facing a superficial film with a questionable objective, in which the director has chosen to give more importance to the visual effects than to the content of the film itself. Not even the protagonists …”

Although this is the longest part of the review, you need to be careful that it doesn’t get too heavy on the reader. For this, based on the foregoing, ensure that you use a less complex and easy-to-read vocabulary, divide the ideas into several paragraphs to separate the content well and use quotes to reinforce your opinion through other arguments of other authors.

In addition, if the review is intended for a web page, it is imperative that you use features like bold, underline, interesting links, and compelling titles to grab the reader’s attention.

The conclusion and the bibliography of the movie review

The conclusion is the last part of a film review and is intended to reinforce the arguments and ideas presented. In this part of the work, you will have to make a small summary on the points presented previously and specify your position in relation to the work. Remember that while you want to defend your opinion, you need to use strong arguments that make the reader understand your position. Otherwise, you will only be making a destructive and unprofessional review.

Now that you know how to do a movie review, remember that if you have included quotes from other authors or bibliographic references throughout your review, the best thing to do is to include a small bibliography containing this information. This way, the work will have a more formal and thoughtful appearance, besides having your opinions supported.