There are as many ways of writing a film review as there are writers of reviews. A review will differ according to
its author but it will also differ according to the medium in which it is published. A review in a private blog may for
example be quite personal whereas a review for the website of a cinema might be more descriptive. Here is a brief
Four Step Guide that will help you approach the task of writing an interesting film review.
1. Choose a medium
Think about the kind of review you want to write. How long will it be? Who will read it? In which newspaper/website/blog/magazine will it be published? Decide about these questions before writing the review. If you can’t make up
your mind, write a review for your local newspaper of a length of about half a page.
2. Choose a film
Pick a movie. It is more interesting – both for yourself and your audience – if you write about a film you feel
something about, whether you love the film or hate it. A film that makes a statement about society that you find
relevant. A film that shows images you have never seen before. It is also a good idea to write about a film that you
have seen recently and remember well, or to watch the film again, once you have decided on it.
3. Think about your film
Before writing a review it is best to consider different aspects of your film, so you have an idea of what it is you
want to say. You can make notes or talk about your film to somebody. Here are five questions to help you collect
material and work out a structure for your review.
Facts. What do you know about your film? Collect information about your film. Who is the director/writer/DOP
(director of photography)/producer? Who is acting in it? What do you know about them? What would you usually
expect from the director/actors of your film? How long is the movie? Where and when was it made? What genre
does it belong to? Are there cgi (computer generated images) involved?
Plot. What is happening in your film? Who are the main characters? Where is the film set? When does it take
place? What is the main story/conflict of the movie? Think also about how much you want to tell your reader about
what is happening in your film. Avoid spoilers.
Themes. What is your film about? Think about what the main themes of your film are. These are sometimes but
not always related to the film’s plot. In a science fiction movie one might ask for example which aspect of contemporary society is the film interested in?
Mood. What does your film look, sound and feel like? What is the atmosphere of your film like? Is it a happy,
scary, sad, exciting, meditative, dull picture? Is it fast or slow? What is the lighting/camera/sound like? Does the
camera move a lot or is it stationary? Is there a lot of music or only a little? What are the sound effects like? How
does this influence the mood of your film?
Opinion. What do you think about your film? Do you like your film? Would you recommend it? Why or why
not? Which aspects of your film do you like best/least? Are there any scenes you especially remember? What are
they? Why do you like them? Is there anything special or unusual about your film? How does it compare to other
movies of the same genre/by the same director?
4. Write about your film
Get started. Imagine you are talking to somebody who hasn’t seen the film and doesn’t know anything about it.
Explain what is happening in your film and what it looks and feels like. Tell them what you think about your film and
why you think that. Use any of the material collected above to support your arguments.
Author: Hendrike Bake