How to Write an Evaluation Essay of a Movie

Updated February 21, 2017

Movies are mainly seen as a form of entertainment, but often students and journalists are asked to breakdown a movie and write a full evaluation of the film. Short evaluations of movies are commonly known as film reviews, but when writing an essay the review is expanded into multiple aspects that can be seen and critiqued while watching the movie. If you are stuck at just the title of the movie, there are several elements you can focus on to create a complete and in-depth movie review.

Start off with the basic plot of the movie. What happens in the movie, and what subplots also occurred in the movie? Discuss any inconsistencies with the plot, elements that worked and any comparisons with other films. For example, if the film is a remake or sequel, like “The Dark Knight,” you can relate to past Batman films and how the plot compared with them.

Discuss the actors featured in the movie. Who were the leading actors and who was the supporting cast? Who had the strongest role and conveyed the most realistic character? The characters themselves, were they original, clichéd or likable? Use these questions to expand on the essay and go into depth about character development.

Rewatch the first couple of scenes to see how the characters were introduced. Write about their introduction and the character growth that happens in the film. Did the characters actually go through growth or do they remain the same?

Write about the film’s genre. Think about the conventions of the genre. For example, in a horror movie, typical conventions include false scares, surprise endings and memorable kill scenes. Did the movie go above and beyond the typical genre structure? Was it funny enough, dramatic enough or scary enough? Use specific scenes to showcase what worked and what did not work.

Re-watch the film and take note of the technical structure. For example, keep an eye out for the cinematography. How were the shots used to showcase the story? For example, in the horror film “Vacancy,” the director used separate shots of the couple driving to convey their impending separation. The female actor appeared on the far left of the frame for her shots while the male actor appeared on the far right for his. This visual metaphor put the couple apart and viewers could subconsciously feel their disconnect.

Ask yourself the question “Why?” as you write the essay. This will help expand each section and get more in-depth. For example “The acting was sub-par.” Expanding on this with “Why?” will help make your essay more informative.


Use an outline to organise your essay. The outline will help create transitions from section to section and an overall flow of the story.

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About the Author

Alan Donahue started writing professionally in 2003. He has been published in the Norwich Free Academy "Red & White," UNLV's "Rebel Yell" and on various websites. He is an expert on wrestling, movies and television. He placed second in the NFO Screenwriting Contest and received filmmaking awards from Manchester Community College and Norwich Free Academy. He currently attends Academy of Art University.