How To Write A Good Film Review

A how to guide to writing a good film review that is interesting and hopefully publishable in the writing community

Writing film reviews can be rewarding and enjoyable. Depending on the audience and the market it is written for, there are several different things that you should keep in mind during the writing process.

Firstly, what age groups are you writing for? A review for a school magazine would warrant a different writing process than, say, a magazine enjoyed by adults. For a children's magazine, the review will need to be quite punchy. It should not be too long or contain material that the age group would not understand. Writing for a young audience often proves to be harder than writing for adults. With adult writing there is less need to omit images that are controversial.

After watching the film that is to be reviewed, it is important to take notes immediately. This will be of great importance when you actually sit down to write the piece. The notes should be detailed enough to bring back to memory the images that you found most appealing. This is, I believe, the most important part of the writing process.



Once you have established the audience you are writing for, it is time to retrieve your notes and look at your basic ideas.

Firstly, you need to think of an imaginative title. For instance, if I was writing a review of the film Apocalypse Now, perhaps a good title could be, "╦ťfaith and hope disappear in the midst of the Vietnam War'. This title gives a very brief idea of the nature of the film and provides a starting point for the reader to focus on.

The second stage is to give a brief synopsis of the film. You could also state your early opinions here, but don't give too much away too soon. Your aim is to make the audience want to finish the article.

After the synopsis, go into detail about what you thought of the film. Was it thought provoking? Did it have lasting images and ideas that particularly enthralled you? Did you think that it was a complete turkey? Whatever you view is, it is important to stress it in a comprehensible manner. Examine the film more closely, try to go into detail about the many ideas contained within the film. Don't forget, what you enjoyed and remembered from the images and ideas in the film are what could be the deciding factor in whether or not the reader actually goes to see the film themselves. If you really enjoyed it or really hated it, make it clear.

It is necessary to break the film down into its separate parts. By this, I mean that you should spend time stating which parts of the film worked for you. Was the setting and atmosphere successful? Did the plot flow all the way through the film or did it become disjointed and messy part of the way through? You must also look carefully into the characterisation. A close examination of the key roles in the feature will provide your audience with a better idea of how the film is going to be. Never simply say that you loved or hated a certain movie without giving your reasons. Always explain why you feel the way you do and back it up with descriptive examples.

Even though your article should show from the start what your opinions are, at the end of the piece you should give a conclusion that states strongly what you thought.

Following these guidelines should provide you with enough information to start writing your own reviews. When you write a good review you should find it rewarding, especially if it is published.

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