Whether you are involved in the film industry, a writer or just a film geek, writing movie reviews can help you enjoy films in a critical and deep manner. It’s never too soon to start developing the skills to make your film reviews captivating and engaging to audiences.
Here is how to write a movie review that people will pay attention to:
You only have to watch the film once although twice is preferable.
Watch the film once and jot down your immediate thoughts. Note what stood out to you the most, was it the acting, the dialogue, the special effects or the character development. Note the emotions you initially feel in response to first viewing, including how memorable of impactful the ending is. If you watch it a further time you can note smaller details like plot holes, atmosphere or background acting.
The more you watch films the bigger repertoire you will build. You can start to compare work to others and understand what does and does not work in a genre. Don’t start working on the review if you aren’t sure you understand the film, re-watch it multiple time if you are confused.
Professional reviews do not shy away from being honest, even if at the time it can be portrayed as brutal. Readers will trust their opinion if they do not sugar coat their opinions, honesty is a virtue for a film critic.
“What differentiates a professional reviewer from two people have a conversation over lunch is that reviewers have a wide range of films from different countries and genres, therefore they can express and reason their criticism,” says professional writer for UK Services Reviews Shawn King.
Back up your opinions with reasons why you liked or did not like the film, maybe the acting was poor, maybe the cinematography was beautiful but the plot weak. Give specifics as to why you came to that conclusion about the film. Try and note the positives and negatives if possible.
Consider who you are writing for, what age and gender are they. A review for a sci-fi fan page is different from a review written in a broadsheet newspaper or a teenage girl’s magazine. Think about if the film will appeal to not just you but the audience you are writing for. Also, highlight different element according to demographic and compare to other movies that are targeted at that audience.
Another element like the format, length and tone must be edited in accordance with the audience.
Take time to talk about actors and their performances. Many people feel inspired to go and see the film if their favorite film star is it. Some actor’s films are trusted by the audience because they are often high class and captivating. Take time to speak about the performance, whether this is their best role, if it’s as good as their other work if the film shares plot points their other films in their filmography.
Talk about other actors, other than the leads, maybe rising stars or the supporting cast who outshine the leads.
Give your readers some concept of the plot, as much as the trailer shows but be mindful to not include any spoilers. The point of the review is to make people want to go and watch the film, if you give too much away they will feel like they have already seen the flick.
Try and avoid letting people know about twists, any character deaths and especially avoid giving the ending away. Feel free to say the ending was disappointing, anticlimactic, dramatic or dull but don’t give the specifics as to why.
As with any type of writing it pays to read as much of other people’s work as possible. Read other reviewer’s work closely, even if you don’t like or agree with it. “If you don’t like a film review analyze why and what you would have done to make it better,” advises Karl James, a movie reviewer from Reviewed. Read things with a critical eye and analyze the difference between the followed professionals and the amateurs.
By reading other reviewers you can discover a style you engage with and a publication you writing will suit. If you a newcomer you can use the writing of others as a template for your own reviews.
Reread your own work and edit before submitting the work. Sometimes it pays to leave the piece, if deadline allows you, and go back to it with fresh eyes hours later. Edit your work for spelling errors and fact check, there is nothing more embarrassing for a film writer then misspelling actor’s names and getting facts wrong. Take time to spell everything correctly and read your work out loud to see how well your piece flows.
If you are at a loss in how to make your piece seem professional and well written here are some tools to help:
The most loved and most popular film reviewers have a very distinctive voice when it comes to film writing. This takes experience and practice as it tends to develop over time. Experiment with your voice, see what works for you and your audience.
Watch the film simply is not enough, researching the film and the people are involved at important. Look up the filmmakers or writer’s inspirations and motivation. Research what inspired the actor’s performance and why they chose that script. Research where the film was filmed and if it was based on reality. If the film is based on true event compare the film’s plot to what happened in reality.
Collecting information will provide more depth to the review.
Rachel Summers has been working as a social manager for seven years. Her experience including both big and small companies, including the custom writing service Student Writing Services. In her spare time, she assists small and start-up businesses on their social media strategies. Check out her blog for more articles.