Know the Movie Review Format and Writing Guidelines

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In the current digital world, after watching a movie, the first thing many individuals do is go online and post their comments or opinions about it on social media pages, review sites, and blogs. But doing that more professionally will make your work and opinions noticeable to the target audience. However, you may write a movie review like a film critic by gaining a strong knowledge of movie review format and writing guidelines.

In case, you are unsure how to write a movie review as per the standard movie review format, then you will find this blog useful. Here, we have explained in detail what a movie review is, its purpose, and the steps for writing a good movie review. Also, we have shared the essential movie review elements and tips for writing an excellent movie review.

Continue reading this blog to understand everything about movie review writing.

What is a Movie Review?

A movie review is an analytical assessment of a film’s quality that can be given verbally or in writing based on a variety of facts, presumptions, biases, etc. Critics are professionals who write film reviews. A movie review often includes a succinct summary (without giving away plot points), a fair assessment of the movie’s positives and negatives, quotable dialogues, and some judgments. Long and more in-depth assessments of motion pictures are called Analytical essays.

In simple terms, a movie review can be defined as an article published in a newspaper, magazine, or scholarly work that describes and analyzes a movie. Journalists often write reviews to express their opinions about a film. Some movie review contains a rating out of 5 or recommendations like thumbs up or down. Typically, a film review is used to evaluate the quality of a movie and decide whether it is worth watching or not.

Purpose of a Movie Review

The main purpose of a film review is to inform readers about the ideas of a film. It ideally helps readers determine if they should watch, rent, or buy the movie. Furthermore, a movie review deeply analyzes the plot, events, and characters.

A movie review is also one common assignment that students will have to write in high school and college. Even if it may appear straightforward, writing movie reviews takes effort and correct planning. Also, movie review writing helps students improve their critical thinking and analytical skills. Moreover, through movie reviews, students can showcase their understanding of a movie along with their vocabulary and writing abilities.

Learn How to Write a Movie Review

movie review format

Have your instructor asked you to submit a movie review? Would you like to know how to write a movie review like an experienced film critic? If yes, then follow these steps for writing a movie review.

Also Read: Know How to Quote a Movie in Academic Writing

Watch the Movie or Documentary

First, watch the movie or documentary you are about to review. Make sure to watch the movie once or twice and take notes of the important characters, scenes, and dialogues. When you begin your movie review writing process, never rely only on the power of your memory because you may forget something or overlook it.

Conduct Research and Gather Data

Watching the movie alone is not enough to write a review. A deep study of the movie is necessary. While you watch the movie, look for details like the filmmaker’s name and why he or she made that film or documentary, locations, plot, characterization, and historical events that inspired the movie (if applicable). Essentially, your research should function to gather material that adds dimension to the movie evaluation.

Analyze the Movie

Don’t start writing the review until you are certain you understand the film. Thoroughly evaluate the film from beginning to end. If certain parts are incomprehensible to you, re-watch it. Remember, it will be easy for you to write the review only if you comprehend what happened on the screen. In specific, you should analyze the entire mechanics of the movie including the direction, cinematography, writing, editing, set design, costume design, and soundtrack.

Create an Outline

After analyzing the movie, organize the gathered ideas and create a well-structured outline for your movie review as per the basic format. The outline will act as a guide for you to maintain the logical flow and compose a neat and concise movie review without omitting the important points.

Write the Movie Review

Once you finish creating the outline, begin writing the movie review. According to the standard movie review format and writing guidelines, compose the review of the film or documentary. Include examples of any allegations you make regarding the movie.

If the plot has flaws, in your review, provide an example of a situation or scene where this was obvious. Also, provide examples of when the character(s) are underdeveloped or when poor casting degrades the film’s quality. Furthermore, provide examples while commenting on speech, locales, narrative, and everything else.

In case, you want your readers to agree with you, your review must support your arguments with evidence. You don’t want to make it look like you’re praising or condemning the movie for no reason whatsoever.  Explain how the movie distinguishes out or if it simply employs the same method that has previously worked in the industry.


Finally, after you finish writing the movie review, proofread the content once or twice. Note that, the final draft of your movie review should be free from grammar errors and spelling mistakes. Moreover, before you submit the movie review, check whether the details you have provided about the movie in your review are correct. To refine the quality of your movie review essay, you may also get feedback from your family and friends.

Standard Movie Review Format

When it comes to writing a movie review, you should first make sure to devise a well-structured plan or outline. This is because organizing things prior will help to save time and determine what to include in a paper.

If you are confused about how to organize your movie review, then without any hesitation, stick to the movie review format presented below. Note that, the film review that you craft should contain the following.

  • Introduction (including title, release date, and background information)
  • Summary of the Story
  • Analysis of story aspects (increasing action and climax)
  • Creative aspects (characters, dialogues, use of colors, camera methods, atmosphere, tone, symbolism, costumes, or anything that contributes to or detracts from the main plot).
  • Opinion (based on examples and facts from the story)
  • Conclusion (announce whether the filmmaker was effective in his or her aim, re-state your proof, and describe how the motion picture was beneficial in creating a deeper understanding of the course topic)

Movie Review Writing Guidelines and Tips

No matter whether a film is terrible or a masterpiece of art, it is worthwhile to provide criticism. But keep in mind that a good movie review should entertain, convince, and inform, offering an original viewpoint without giving away too much of the narrative. A superb movie review has the potential to stand alone as a piece of art. To create a movie review that is just as fascinating as the source material, follow these writing tips.

Write an engaging introduction

  • When you write an intro for your movie review, Begin with an intriguing fact, statement, or opinion about the movie. You should try to hook the reader immediately. This line should offer them a sense of your review and the movie – is it wonderful, great, horrible, or simply okay?
  • Don’t leave your readers guessing whether you like the film or not. Provide a definite, well-established opinion early on so that you may spend the remainder of your time “proving” your rating.
  • In your review, support your claims with examples from specific scenes. Taking notes during the movie is quite beneficial in this situation. If you can’t provide facts to back up your claim, it will become difficult for you to persuade others of your point of view.

Create a thesis

  • Come up with a thesis, or the main point you want to cover, and support it with your thoughts on the many aspects of the movie. Your review’s opening paragraph ought to address your thesis. Your review will advance from the plot synopsis phase into the legitimately recognized art form of film criticism if it has a thesis.

Include a short plot summary

  • When reviewing a movie, add a concise synopsis of the plot, mention the key characters, describe the setting, and convey the central conflict or point of the film.
  • Give readers advance notice if you feel the need to discuss information that could “spoil” things for them.

Analyze the film’s technical and artistic choices

  • Plot is just one piece of a movie, and should not dictate your entire review. Some movies may not have exciting plots, but that does not mean the movie itself is terrible. Other elements to focus on include cinematography, music, tone, and acting.
  • Write several paragraphs about interesting aspects of the film that support your thesis. In your review, make sure to present both the facts and your opinions.
  • If you assert the film, support it with a descriptive example. Describe how scenes appear, how a character performed, camera angles, and so on. You can also quote dialogues to support your ideas. In this way, you may give your readers a critique of the film while also expressing your opinion of it.

Conclude it properly

  • Give your review some closure, typically by returning to your opening fact or point. Remember, people check reviews before deciding whether or not to watch a movie. So, end with a sentence indicating whether it is worth watching. Make your conclusion engaging and entertaining.

Also Read: Learn How to Cite Sources in an Essay Using Various Formats


Hopefully, by now you will have gained a better understanding of the movie review format. Simply follow the tips and guidelines suggested in this blog to come up with a great movie review. In case, you experience any difficulties with writing your movie review assignment call us.


Jacob Smith Essay Writing Reading Time: 9 minutes

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