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How to write a film review?


A review is a journalistic text of an analytical genre written on a specific informational occasion (the appearance of a work of science or art). Learn more about the genre.

A review of a film in contemporary journalism is one of the most popular genres. This variety appeared simultaneously with the cinema and developed from a description of the visual effects of the cinema, which allow you to transfer images, to a deep analysis of the internal content. Modern review is becoming more personal, individualized, free from hard formats. It is important for the reviewer not to go into the category of review or annotation and not to forget about the analysis. So how do you write a review of a movie?


The first step for a reviewer can be to study the context, that is, the prerequisites for the creation, the expectations of critics, and media coverage. The analyzed work should cause public resonance, be interesting to the public. Here the role is played not only by the criterion of novelty, but also by the criterion of “scandalousness”: reviews are created for films that have attracted the attention of the audience.

It is worth noting that the dependence can be the opposite: the reviewer analyzes a little-known but noteworthy work, urging his audience to familiarize themselves with it. However, the latter option is more suitable for reputable journalists and publications that are able to shape public opinion.

Film analysis

Next, it is necessary for the journalist himself to watch the film, and it may be done more than once, since the analyzed material is divided into two groups.

  1. The first group is the substantive aspect and the answer to the question: “what the author of the film wanted to say? ”
  2. The second group is the visual aspect and the answer: “how did the author of the film do this? ”

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The next stage is the systematization of the material, its location so that the fragments correspond to the dramaturgy of the review. That is, in the center of the work should be the thought of the reviewer, his assessment, around which theses are “strung”, accompanied by examples from the work.

None of these components should be ignored: there are no reviews either without evaluation (otherwise it is more likely a note), and without argumentation (otherwise it is a review).


The last and no less important stage is editing. Many novice journalists neglect this action, relying on their leaders. However, editorial editing may well distort your thoughts, so you need to independently process the text until it will cause satisfaction.

After this, it is advisable to pause, switch to another activity, and then re-read for the last time.

How to learn?

These rules are simple, but if you follow them, the review will certainly turn out to be of high quality. The main advice: to learn how to write reviews, they must write. Constantly and in large quantities. Even if you do not work in any media yet, then the skill can and should be honed by independently watched films. Practice makes a journalist better.

Tips for beginner film critic:

  • Check out media and blog reviews. Choose the most sparkling and fascinating. Try to beat them.
  • Write a review of your favorite movie and a movie that you don’t like.
  • Review the film selected for review several times and write without stopping watching. Clarify all the details: the nuances of the acting, camera work, details of costumes and makeup, soundtrack.
  • A film review is demanding on headlines. It is as important here as the name of the film.
No spoilers!
Photo: Depositphotos

Think over the structure of the text. It is not necessary to write the film genre and the number of audio tracks at the beginning of the review. It is much more effective in the first paragraph to form the atmosphere of the film in the head of the reader. The time of action, era, plot plot, a certain paradox of the script or an interesting case on the set will suit the introduction much better than the banal “The next blockbuster came out on the screens ...”.

The plot (plot) of the film is outlined shortly, without spoilers. Or you need to warn that you will reveal part of the story lines.

Talking about the scenario, you should study:

  • logic and sequence of events,
  • completeness of scenes
  • the brightness of the climax
  • characters of heroes and their development,
  • dialogues.

Assessing the director's work, we note:

  • how well are your plans chosen
  • are the scenes falling apart, are they well connected,
  • how actors play.

Talking about the atmosphere of the film, we evaluate:

  • the beauty and harmony of plans,
  • visual row
  • manner of shooting,
  • sound design and soundtrack,
  • makeup, special effects, costumes.
Photo: Depositphotos

The rest of the writing of a film review is no different from the usual writing of an article. The main thing is to be interesting to read! Just remember that reviewing a movie is more than just text. This is a full-fledged genre of journalism and criticism, and film critics are respected no less than producers (but less than actors and directors). The genre was born in 1907 when Variety Film Reviews magazine appeared.

What is a review?

A review of a film is your assessment of the cinema for several factors: script, directing, cast, camera work, audio side, work of costumers, computer effects. You can write movie reviews, according to this plan, or simply express your emotions or constructive arguments, you decide.

What should we definitely appreciate in the film?

  • Scenario

Remember that the script, which is submitted by the creators of the film, can reach thousands of pages, but in the process of working with the director and producer, the scriptwriter, as a rule, makes concessions and cuts it many times, sometimes half as much. However, a good script is visible to the naked eye, and these are the dialogs, the character of the characters, the completeness of the scenes, the sequence and logic of events, the place of what is happening, the culmination. When we watch a film, we cannot fail to notice all this, therefore, we have some opinion about the film.

The play of actors in a particular scene, the work plan depend on the director. If you have already encountered the work of this director, you can analyze the genres in which he usually shoots, compare his previous work with this one, and draw a conclusion about the literacy approach to shooting.

The operator complements the director, there must be harmony between them, which can be seen in the frame. Depending on the angle from which the operator’s work will be carried out, how the overall plan of the picture will be shown, how harmoniously the operator will feel the director’s idea, the success of the film will depend on our assessment.

Some scenes in films are remembered to us thanks to some kind of soul-taking music, or, conversely, music can cause fear, pain, almost any emotion. The director should convey the atmosphere of the film to the composer as accurately as possible and choose the appropriate options for the frame.

A movie review may include an assessment of the visual side of the film. What impression did costumes and special effects make on us? Were they appropriate?