Step by Step Guide to how to Write a Film Critique Essay: Top Tips
28 November, 2018 in Writing Prompts
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Writing film reviews is always hard since it implies a lot of work, but we are sure that your film review writing process will be plain sailing if you consider our step-by-step guide to how to write a film critique essay.

  • Firstly, you need to watch the film or documentary twice and make notes of both main and minor events and characters.
  • Conduct painstaking research. Get a line on a filmmaker and his/her motive for shooting that movie or documentary, find out more about the locations, plot, historical events that inspired the filmmaker to shoot this film.
  • Analyze the film after watching it.  Do not go about your review if you did not grasp the movie itself.  Evaluate the film from the beginning to the end. Watch it again, if there are some sequences you doubt. As soon as you fully understand what happened in the movie, you will hit upon the right way of writing your review.
  •  Draw an outline that will help you to write a concise and coherent review.
  • Give some examples of claims you state about the film. If the plot has some drawbacks, provide an example of a part or situation where it is perceived. But other than that, if the character(s) is presented not in the best light or poor casting influenced the film quality, exemplify it too. Give examples when expressing your opinion about dialogues, locations, plot, etc. If you want your audience to agree with you, you need to support your statements with evidence.
  • Do you think the film is original and of good quality? Exemplify what makes the movie special or whether it just adopts the same approach that was applied for other movies in the filmmaking industry.

Movie Critique Outline

Here is a movie critique outline you can use to organize your review:

  1. Introduction (with the title, release date, background information).
  2. Summary of the story.
  3. Analysis of the plot elements (rising action, climax).
  4. Creative elements (dialogues, characters, colors, camera techniques, atmosphere, tone, symbolism, clothes, or anything that creates the whole plot).
  5. Your own point of view (backed up with examples and situations from the movie).
  6. Conclusion (state whether the filmmaker managed to accomplish his/her purpose, re-state your evidence, expound on how the movie helped to better understand the topic).

The title of the movie/documentary. Most people are wrong when thinking that the headline gives information about the name of the film or documentary and thus do not mention it in the text. Avoid this mistake by indicating the name of the film you have watched in the introduction.

Summary. The main purpose of the critique essay is, to sum up, a documentary or film for people who have not watched it yet. To ensure that it appears as powerful as possible, imagine that your instructor has not watched it. Why is this significant? You will not skip any key details thinking he/she has already watched it. Your task as a reviewer is to delineate major events in the movie and state whether the filmmaker managed to fulfill his/her purpose. Remember that state whether you liked or disliked it is not a constructive comment. You need to exemplify your point of view with specific reasons and examples from the movie.

Filmmaker. Get a line on the person who shot the movie. Is he/she a controversial figure? Is the filmmaker known for being adherent to a certain political stance? Does the filmmaker have a significant background? Spare a few paragraphs to assess the filmmaker's other works and to define how this movie contributes to his/her career.

Correspondence to your course: How does the movie content intertwine with your course topic? Does it contribute to historical accuracy? If the movie was adapted from the book you have analyzed in your English class, you can indicate some similarities, differences, or some things that are displayed in the movie but which do not appear in the book.

Creative elements: Filmmakers take a lot of pains to select the creative elements of their films. Exemplify how these elements affect the overall product. Costumes for a period film can convey the atmosphere of the time more distinctly or they can betray the intent of the movie. Colors can be vibrant or dull. The use of colors can set certain moods. Also, good-quality sound effects can make the viewing experience more vivid, while bad sound effects can spoil a movie. Pay special attention to the symbols in the movie and make notes.

Actors. Were the actors realistic? Did they manage to display their characters? Were they skilled at acting? Do you think that a certain actor corresponded to the role?

Movie Review Purpose

A movie review's purpose lies in informing the readership about the movie and its ideas. Describing all the events in detail and commenting on them is a typical mistake student make.  Definitely, in a movie review, you can give your opinions about a movie or documentary, but you should remember to remain unprejudiced and objective.

Keep in mind that your movie review must be detailed enough to help readers honestly decide whether they want to watch the movie or not. Why is a movie review always assigned at school? Teachers just want to evaluate whether students can think critically and describe events in a clear and comprehensible way.

Additionally, they want to see how students analyze the plot and characters. But other than that, reviews test writing and vocabulary skills, adjusting to various genres and events they depict, and your ability to summarize a sizeable work and convey your ideas in a coherent, logical, and engaging way.