How to Write a University-Caliber Movie Review

Written by lucy dale
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How to Write a University-Caliber Movie Review
Follow several simple steps to write a great movie review. (film image by saied shahinkiya from

If you love watching movies and your friends love hearing your opinions on them, you might make a great movie reviewer. However, reviewing movies requires more than simply communicating your likes and dislikes. For a high-quality, university-level movie review, you will want to consider a number of factors and craft them together into a seamlessly written piece exploring the movie from several different angles. By writing a movie review in several different steps, you will succeed in writing a university-calibre movie review.

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Things you need

  • Computer
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  1. 1

    Consider the plot. To many viewers, the plot (or basic storyline) of the movie will be the most important element. Take notes as you watch the film to remind you of the events of the story and of characters' reactions to them. When you write a movie review, you also want to consider how much of the plot you will reveal: telling your readers about the surprise ending, for example, can be upsetting for them.

  2. 2

    Consider the characters. The characters (and the actors who portray them) are the heart of the film. How they are constructed, and how they interact with one another, will determine in large part how the audience reacts to the film. As you consider the roles of the characters in the film, consider how the characters fit in with the work the actors have previously done -- that is, if they are playing into their type, if they are taking on new territory, and so forth.

  3. 3

    Consider the direction. Think about the overall style of the film and how the director has chosen to tell this particular story. You might want to take notes on items such as scene length or shot length, cinematography (the domain of the director of photography, though the director will have had some input here), and physical movement within each scene. Other aspects of the film, such as art direction, can also be mentioned.

  4. 4

    Consider historical links. Movies don't exist all alone; think about what references to other films the film you just saw is making. If it is a film noir, for example, consider how it uses the conventions of this genre for its own purpose. Similarly, if characters look similar to characters from other films or if the script uses a line from another film, these quotations are important and you should research their significance.

  5. 5

    Write your review. Decide which of these elements you want your review to focus on and begin to write. A university-calibre movie review will have elements of each category in it, but will probably have one main focus. Currently, it is the trend for mainstream movie reviews to focus exclusively on story and actors, though many writers are fighting this by writing thoughtfully about other aspects of the film.

  6. 6

    Proofread and edit your review. While you may be working with an editor on the final version of your review, presenting a polished, proofread draft will make you look professional and also ensure that you have not left out anything important that you wanted to include.

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