How To Write A Great Movie Review, Detailed Instruction

how to write a movie review

Article structure

  1. How to write a movie review
  2. Elements of review
  3. The structure
  4. Polishing
  5. Samples

How To Write a Movie Review

Currently, movie reviews have become popular and a significant percentage of movie enthusiasts, frequent different sites such as rottentomatoes, IMDb, Metacritic, and first before taking their time to watch a movie. These sites gradually grew in prominence and are today seen as a credible movie review sites. The bulk of the work rests on the shoulders of the content developers and site managers who are expected to come up with interesting and original information. When reading a movie review, readers should feel persuaded, informed, and to a certain extent entertained. Content developers or writers need to make their articles exhaustive and deep enough to keep the readers interested. Movie review writing should be an interesting affair, but in some instances, writers find themselves striving to understand some of the themes included in a movie.

The first sentence of a movie review bears a significant meaning to the entire article. When writing the first or a starter sentence of a movie review, writers are often advised to begin their essays with a fact about the film under study. The goal here is to capture the readers’ attention immediately and give them a reason to continue reading the review.

Below is an example of a starter sentence of the movie “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi”.

The film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is Michael Bay’s masterpiece in which he tries to dramatize the 2012 attack of an American diplomatic mission in Libya that claimed the lives of four Americans, most notably Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

In the above example, readers are given a taste of the movie’s plot and even the movie fans without prior knowledge of the event get a glimpse of the story. Readers who are familiar with Michael Bay’s work, know that he is indeed one of the best directors and thus including him might also arouse the interest of some readers. Writers need to be keen with their choice of words and only include words which elevate the article and keep the readers interested.

Writers must also provide their opinion regarding the movie under review early and avoid any chances of confusing their audience. Readers should know well before the writer starts analyzing the movie whether he/she likes the movie or thinks of it as a waste of time. The use of thumbs-up/thumbs-down, stars as well as scores out of 10 or 100 have become quite popular among movie viewers. The audience expects these ratings to be part of the introduction and not be in the middle or the end of an article.

Once the rating is provided, the writer should take their time and provide evidence to support their opinion or rating. During research, students are always advised to take notes, and it is indeed essential to do the same while watching the movie which is under review. References from the movie as well as other sources should be included and the audience should be made to understand the reason behind the writer’s opinion or rating.

Movie analysis elements

Plot analysis

In a plot analysis, the writer is expected to summarize the entire film or movie in a page or two. Here, the students are expected to include some of the most important events within a film and explain the significance of such. Factors such as the setting of the movie as well as the different themes within the movie should be included.

Below is an example of the plot analysis of the movie Forrest Gump.

Forrest Gump is a movie of possibilities. It seeks to encourage the misfits as well as the people who the world sees as anomalies. Forrest Gump was used to the phrase “Stupid is as stupid does,” but regardless of having a lower IQ than most people, Gump lived an exceptional life and brushed shoulders with powerful individuals. Gump lived and loved despite being seen as a misfit. His undying belief that good things will happen propels him to greatness, for example, he is able to escape his bullies, he gets a football scholarship, and he even manages to save soldiers’ lives. Life indeed takes him on a ride which he embraces fully and even manages to be an inspiration to many.

Actors play analysis

When analyzing the characters within a movie, it is essential to observe some of the seemingly insignificant behaviors. For example, when analyzing Jenny Curran, one might include the fact that she is lost and is simply not sure of where she stands. However, it is also important to note that her love for Forrest evidently remains constant throughout the movie.

Soundtrack analysis

When analyzing the soundtrack used within a film, it is important to consider the appropriateness of the music. Directors include certain music in some scenes to help enhance a theme or in some instances add to the plot. For example, in the movie Forrest Gump, the song Blowin’ in the Wind was strategically included in the scene where Jenny was performing in front of some men. The song was used to enhance the message that Jenny was lost and did not know what to do with her life.


The atmosphere in a movie is mainly brought about by the mood a movie commands. When analyzing such, it is essential to be keen and to assess a movie’s flow and mood. In the movie Forrest Gump, the atmosphere was one that instilled faith and hope. The movie was predominantly inspirational.

Main idea of film

The main idea of a film is simply the main theme or the predominant theme in a movie. To identify the idea that a movie presents, it is essential first of all, to watch the film and carefully analyze the different themes a director incorporates within a film. The one that seems to take precedence or that seems to be repeatedly featured should indeed be the main theme. However, identifying the main idea might not be this obvious, but notes taking always helps in identifying patterns and solving such issues.

In the movie Forrest Gump, the main idea or theme in the film is embracing life despite the different challenges or shortcomings it presents to an individual.

Review Structure

Movie analysis must always come before the final copy of the review is written. The above presents the writer with insights of the primary source that would not have been otherwise obvious. Research and note taking while watching the movie are indeed essential to writing an objective and exhaustive piece.

Introduction and thesis writing

As already stated, the introduction should be direct and brief. Here the writer should focus on revealing facts about the movie. An interesting introduction will always attract readers and even keep them interested enough to read the entire review. In most occasions, the introduction seals the fate of an article and hence the emphasis on making it interesting and informative. Thorough research helps, and it is only after a student has done their research exhaustively then he or she will be able to write a convincing introduction. The rating or opinion regarding the quality of the movie must also be included in the introduction. Readers should not be left guessing as to whether the author likes the movie or not but should be adequately informed.

The thesis statement should solely be based on the analysis done before the author begins writing their review. On most occasions, including movie review writing, the thesis should be within the introduction and should detail the main idea or topic the author chose to discuss in their review. Movie review and plot summary are indeed different. The latter only provides a short description of the movie while the former delves deeper and analyses themes, characters, and atmosphere within a movie.It is hence important to remember the above point when developing a thesis statement.

Body paragraphs and analysis

The body paragraphs should build on the thesis statement and fully support the thesis statement. However, it is students are often advised to include a short plot summary to help introduce the readers to the movie. As always, an author should not spoil the movie for their audience by revealing too much, but should just give them enough to arouse their interest.

The subsequent paragraphs should each discuss a different point. The main idea must always be within the topic sentence, but according to the rules of writing movie reviews, each point must build on the thesis statement. Issues such as the movie’s setting, directing, and cinematography should be discussed here in great detail, but within the confines of supporting the thesis. Each point should be adequately cited and the use of examples from the movie is encouraged.

Writing the conclusion

A movie review conclusion must first reiterate the main argument presented in the thesis statement. The author should make their conclusion interesting and avoid cliché endings. It is also important to provide the readers with a final word and either ask them to find time to watch the movie or ignore it completely.

Polishing Review

When handling college essays or any assignments that involve analysis, it is wise to begin with a draft before finally developing the final copy.Once the draft is complete, the next step involves editing. At this stage, students are expected to either add, delete or offer more explanations on some of their points. The review should be consistent and flow systematically and when editing the draft, such things should be sufficiently addressed. Enough examples from the movie must also be included and while editing, students must ensure there is balance between factual information and the examples provided.

Proofreading is the final step and here the writers are expected to correct spelling, punctuation, simple grammatical errors, and style errors. Everyone makes mistakes but being keen and proofreading one’s work helps to avoid some of the obvious ones.


  1. “The Matrix” Review
  2. “Peacefull Warrior” Review
  3. “Twelve Years A Slave” Review
  4. “127 Hours” Review
  5. “Interstellar” Review
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