How to Review a Movie

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Movie reviews are a great way to determine the importance of a film, its impact on viewers, and whether or not it is worth a watch. Millions of people depend on movie reviews to give them a good idea of what to expect when they see a movie. Writing good reviews is crucial to both the public and the film industry.

Watching the Movie:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the movie beforehand. Find out who directed the movie, who the stars are, and what genre the film fits into. Read the summary that was written for promotion and watch the movie trailers. If the film is based on a book, you may want to become familiar with that as well. Enter the theater open-minded, but also reflect on any advertisements or official statements from the studio. If the advertisements were misleading in any way, you will want to note this in your review.

  2. Pay attention to details while viewing the film. A good review will look at all aspects of a film, including its strengths and weaknesses. Concentrate on the development of the plot, interaction of characters, dialogue, soundtrack, cinematography and special effects, and overall ability of the film to keep your interest and to create a believable story arc. After the credits have rolled, jot down some notes to help you remember your thoughts.

  3. Evaluate the film based on your expectations. Standards for judging a film vary depending on genre and the goals of the producers. Some movies are meant to be emotionally effective, thought provoking, comedic, frightening, or merely beautiful to look at. The best films are usually satisfying on several different levels, while poor ones fail to meet standards set by other films in the genre. Sometimes a film may excel in some areas and fail at others.

  4. Discuss the film with others: Talk about the film with others who saw it to get a better understanding of the overall piece and to find out if you all had similar reactions. Talking it over can give you good material to include in the review and can help you clarify and solidify your own thoughts on the film.

Writing the Review:

  1. Begin with one sentence that sums up the film. The first sentence in your review should entice your readers and convey your overall thoughts of the film as well as provide a short synopsis of the film that doesn't give away any surprises. Readers want to know if the movie is worth seeing or not, and your introduction should hint at your recommendation.

  2. State important names associated with the film. Follow up your introduction by stating who directed the film, who starred in it, and other associated names, such as the writer, producer, and the movie studio that distributed it, if it is important to your review. You can then comment on the directing and performances of the actors and how they affected the film. If applicable, you may want to compare the movie to the book, prequels, other films in the genre, or other films from the same director or writer.

  3. Give your overall rating of the film. Most reviewers assign grades, numbers, or stars for quick reference in print. Remember that your movie review conveys a personal opinion and that your readers might have a different point of view. If you feel the film might be targeted at a different gender or age group, say so. Try to be honest about the positive and negative aspects of the film and base your rating on the overall effectiveness.

  4. Close with a powerful one-liner. Your final line should leave the reader either wanting to watch the film or advise them it's one they can miss. Think about whether or not you enjoyed the film overall, and if you would see it again or recommend it to your family and friends. You should give your readers the same recommendation.

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