How to Write a Movie Review

When writing movie reviews it’s easy to lose focus on why we are doing so. Reviews are easy to write but the simplicity should never be allowed to overshadow a sense of structure. Like any piece of writing, care should be taken to ensure that the finished product is easy to read, holds the readers’ interests, is helpful (hence serving its purpose) and can be easily understood or related to by its audience.

Movies reviews require little material and the biggest decision to make most times is which movie to watch. Paper, pen/pencil and a typing instrument is all you need.


The first rule is to watch the movie yourself. Don’t just aim for your favorite genre; as difficult as it may be to watch genres you do not like, try to branch out. This will expand your readership and demand for your writing. However, if you simply cannot bear to sit through a specific type of movie, avoid it since this distaste will more than likely cause you to miss important details or write unfavorably.

Make notes while watching, note movie length, roles and characters and names of director, screenwriters etc.

Plan Your Review

Leave the notes taken for some hours then return to them. Take the time away to formulate ideas in your mind. Think about your audience as well as your voting system and where the movie falls on it, will you be using stars? What is the lowest and highest point on your grading scale? What format will your review take?

Writing the Review

Decide on your tone, the extent of your analysis and you language based on your audience. Do you need to use film jargon or should your review be kept simple? As you write with your purpose in mind this should become easier.

Whether you do it first or after, write a good introduction since this is what most readers tend to look at first to formulate an impression of your work then, stop or continue reading. A focused but entertaining one is best. Proceed to the movie line-up then basic plot or you can write the plot first then use a table showing “Actor/Actress”, ‘Character” and “Role” for a more compact look. Proceed as you see fit.

Recheck details for accuracy (credits, dates etc), some persons find that leaving the review for a few days helps tremendously.

Things to Avoid

Reviewing major occurrences is good but avoid telling the ending or spoiling all the twists and turns. A good review leaves some of the surprises for those who decide to watch the film. Don’t anger or disappoint readers by depriving them of this.


Movie reviews are opinionated pieces however, they go beyond whether or not you liked the film, in a sense you are saying why. What you say and how it is said will help your readers to make a decision about the film and ultimately you. Many read reviews for help with informed decisions so the more descriptive and appropriate the analysis is the better. This is your opinion but since you are writing for an audience, the best approach is to make it as fair an opinion as possible.

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