Reviewing a movie isn’t just stating whether it is good or bad. It takes practice of both viewing and writing to produce a well versed review. This guide should help in both aspects of critical film reviews.
Watch the Movie
The first step is to watch the movie you want to review. It may help to research the film and its general plot or synopsis so you have an idea whether the film is on track towards its purpose. You may want to think of your readers, deciding if they are the kind to research a film before viewing.
If the film is based off of a book or other source material, it is up to you as a critic whether you want to compare the film against the material. If a comparison will be made, take note of the changes between the two. Be sure to note what works well and what falls short in terms of the adaptation. Note if the film has the support and guidance from the original source author or creator, as this may affect the film’s final production.
While watching the film, there are many things to consider:
First, take note of the plot and story. Does the film encompass a complete tale? Does the pacing of the story feel right? Is the story new or a cliché? Be sure to analyze both the smaller stories and the overall plot when forming an opinion.
Additionally, take note of the characters and setting. Are the characters interesting? Do they have depth? How does the setting affect the story? Do they add depth or emotion to the film?
Other things to consider while watching the film may be the soundtrack or score. For reference, a soundtrack includes songs and lyrical music while a score is generally background or instrumental music created for the film. You may also want to note the cinematography or choreography that takes place in the film, but only if it is something your audience will care about.
A final tip while watching the film is to consider taking notes. Making short notes while watching the film will help remind you of certain feelings or thoughts which might be forgotten after the fact. The better attention paid to the film, the better the review will be.
Review the Movie
Writing the actual review will vary by person depending on their style. Some may gather notes and make an outline, while others may jump right into writing the review. Remember to keep your target audience in mind while writing the review above anything else. Be unique and show your voice.
Depending on how involved you want the review to be, you should generally include brief facts about the film such as actors, director, and general plot. You can give your opinion on how the film made you feel, or dissect the film piece by piece. Shorter reviews will have to be quick in giving an opinion and recommendation about the film, while longer reviews can expand on specific details within the film.
You may want to start off with a brief introduction to the film and cast and then move on to plot and characters. After that, other aspects of the film such as cinematography, scenery, choreography, soundtrack, or score may be considered. A brief and personal summary of the film experience along with a recommendation should be used to close out the review, along with some sort of rating.
Review and edit your writing to avoid any mistakes.
Watch and review the film objectively. Convey your voice through your review and stand out for your audience. Do not be afraid to make judgments against the general opinion of a film. A beginning critic may need a few reviews to get a real voice and break out with their own style. Everyone may be a critic, but few put real time and effort into their analysis. Join that few and be proud of your writing.