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6 tips on how to write a movie review essay

Students love to watch movies and instructors love to assign movie review essays. Unfortunately, many students do not love writing movie reviews and many of them do not write reviews properly. Here are a few tips to get your movie review in tip-top shape:

  1. Do not give away any of the turning points in the movie. The cardinal sin of any movie review is giving away anything important - like the turning point, the ending, and anything else that would make your reader’s experience with the movie any less than your experience.

  2. Write a typical introduction. Even in a movie review, you should follow the typical formal essay introduction, with a hook, bridge, and thesis. Your thesis will be your opinion of the movie, but do not give away too much of your opinion. Just give away enough to keep your readers wanting to know more about your thoughts.

  3. Discuss the characters and the actors who played them. Movie viewers love to know about their favorite actors and how they did with a role. For example, if a wonderful actor has been given horrible dialogue, you should discuss how you think the actor handled that dialogue. You can discuss how the actor handled the emotional scenes or if the actor delivered comedic lines with perfect timing. You could even discuss if you think the cast decisions were appropriate made - maybe a different actor would have been a better choice in a particular role?

  4. Talk about the plot. You can review some of the storyline, but not too much. Movie viewers get to watch previews, simply because it is human nature to want to know enough about the story. We need to know what we are going to see to become informed enough to buy the ticket. You can tell the readers if the movie is a “coming-of-age” film or a story of an amazing journey. Just never, ever, ever give away the end or any other surprises.

  5. Give your honest opinions and explain why you have them. If you think a different actor should have played the main character or you think the special effects took too much away from the story, let your readers know this. Be honest.

  6. Write focused paragraphs with support for your opinions. Your movie review is an essay, so treat it as such. You will want an introduction and conclusion, as well as paragraphs that focus on the features that need to be covered. You could discuss the special effects, settings, lighting, soundtrack, along with the characters and plot. Your conclusion should always include your recommendations to the readers about who should see the movie and who should not waste their money on it.