Basic Guide: How to Write a Good Movie Review

Basic Guide: How to Write a Good Movie Review

Reviewing a movie is quite similar to the process of writing a book review. It gives you the opportunity to express your opinions. You can share the pros and cons as well as discuss the characters. Movie reviews are usually designed to assist potential viewers in making the decision to watch or avoid the movie in question. Details are essential to the reader’s ability to make that choice. So, now it’s time to learn how to write a good movie review.

Watch It

You can’t very well write a review of a movie you have never seen. Your review needs to be your honest assessment of the film, not something that you gathered from hearsay, or other reviewer’s articles. Therefore, find a relaxing atmosphere, with no interruptions and focus your thoughts on the movie in front of you. You might even want to watch the movie a few times to ensure that you catch all the great lines and hidden nuances. Good movie reviewers will take notes while they watch. That will help you remember sections of the movie that made an impact on thoughts and emotions.

Develop Your Opinion

When reviewing a movie, it is wholly appropriate to share your opinion. That means you need to consider where you stand on the topic the movie addresses. You will need to contemplate what preconceived notions you have and any biases that might impact that opinion. You will be able to reveal the parts of the movie you liked as well as those you disliked. Of course, you should also provide details that don’t elicit any emotion. That gives the reader a well-rounded perspective of the movie. Ensure that the opinions you share are totally obvious. You don’t want to skew the reader’s perspective due to improperly presented personal opinions.

Understand Your Audience

No matter what area of life you find yourself in, if there’s something to sell: a product, a piece of writing, or an ability, you must understand your audience. Writing movie reviews is no different. If you are reviewing the latest Disney piece, then you will probably be targeting parents of young children and Disney fanatics. Gear your writing to their schemas, the things they know about Disney storylines and animation. Just be sure that whatever you write reveals the factors of the movie that are most appropriate to those who will be reading that review.

Outline It

You don’t want to reveal the whole movie’s plot. So, you will need to carefully discern how to outline it. Your readers will want to know who the main character is, and what problem is to be faced. Obviously, you don’t want to ruin the movie by including a spoiler. You need to leave your reader wondering what the climax entails, even if you didn’t enjoy the movie and your piece shares that. A reader needs to be able to determine whether or not he/she agrees with your opinion, and then choose whether to watch or negate the movie reviewed.


Some people will watch a movie simply because a big name actor they adore is in it. There have been terrible movies on the big screen that attract large crowds simply because someone inordinately famous makes a cameo. Be sure to list the big names that are in the movie you are reviewing. You can then talk about how that actor performed. Did he/she meet your expectations? Was he/she believable as the character portrayed, or do you think someone else would have done a better job? Tom Hanks was a great Forrest Gump, but perhaps Adam Sandler could have done a good job too. These are the types of thoughts you can include in your review.


If you are reviewing a Quentin Tarantino movie the storyline might not make any sense. However, people do generally like to understand the underlying structure. They like a customary progression of events rather than the jumping around that some producers have a tendency to do. Of course, Tim Burton’s movies garner a great following as well. Some people prefer the kind that make you think and reconsider life. Tell your readers what the structure of the movie was, and allow them to make their own decisions about its validity.


You may not be a producer, but you can recognize when a designer does a good job of manipulating moods based on the way the film is shot and directed. Lighting plays an important part in the way a movie makes you feel. Did the producer elicit the kind of emotions he/she was aiming for based on the sequence of events within the movie? Be sure to share your thoughts on this topic. Think about the Blair Witch Project, while it was meant to be, and appear as, an amateur video, there were a number of people that suffered motion sickness while watching it. The film was too jerky and jittery. These are the kinds of details it is important to reveal.

Musical Score

So many times the music in a movie makes it powerful. When a movie has a great musical score, it can suffer from some instances of bad acting and people will still adore it. Music has the ability to make people feel, to move them, to draw them in. A good musical score can elevate a movie’s appreciation and value. However, the same is true when the music leaves much to be desired. Bad music, no matter how good the story, or the acting, can totally detract from a movie’s success. Discuss the musical score with those things in mind.


Once you have put all your thoughts on paper and revealed the things listed here, you need to edit. Read and reread your paper before you turn it into a professor, or publisher. Ensure that there are no grammatical issues and that your sentences portray the opinions you wanted to put out there. Also, be certain that all names have been spelled correctly and that you have accurately described abilities and attributes. Once this is accomplished, you should be well prepared to turn in your well-written movie review.