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How to Write a Movie Critique: Top Tips for Quality Writing

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Movie critiques can be easily confused with movie reviews. However, movie reviews reveal a personal impression of the viewer. In a movie critique you are to criticize means of film production and give some practical pieces of advice on what could be changed in order to enhance the quality of the film and attract a wider audience.

We want to provide you with some tips on how to write a movie critique, because it’s not that easy as it seems and we’ve seen a lot of students stumble over this minor challenge during their educational careers! We have studied the resources available online, enriched them with our professional point of view, and now, we are ready to present you the results of our research.

1. Writing a Movie Critique. How to Begin.

Definition:

Writing a movie critique means to offer your insight and opinion on what was wrong about the movie and what made it special/interesting and intriguing to watch. There’s always something you like about movies and something you don’t: you may think that the plot was good, but the special effects were horrible – think about all of the possible film production stages and try to look at all of them critically.

General guidelines:

  • choose a movie;
  • specify the issues you are going to discuss and analyze in your paper;
  • watch the movie several times: first – to get a general idea of the film; second time – to pay attention to the points that come into your sphere of interest and/or to note the details you weren’t able to notice the first time
  • take notes while watching;
  • be specific;
  • be objective;

Our tips on writing a movie critique:

  • Criticizing does not mean expressing negative emotions. Too much pessimism will kill reader’s desire to get closely acquainted with your writing. Even though the movie could be a real failure, try to present a sophisticated evaluation.

2. Writing a Movie Critique. Premise.

Definition:

The premise is the background of the story, which includes the possible events that might have happened before.

General guidelines:

  • analyze the plot contrivances;
  • mind that badly structured premise ruins the overall impression of the movie; therefore, if it does, point it out, and say what could have been improved;

Our tips on writing a movie critique:

  • Do not forget to give specific examples from the movie to prove your words as critique should include well-grounded facts not just your suppositions.

3. Writing a Movie Critique. Characterization.

Definition:

Characterization is the description of characters’ personality, beliefs, motivations, etc.

General guidelines:

  • concentrate on specific movie characters;
  • see if the way the characters dress, talk, act, or look corresponds with the image they should be projecting towards the viewer;
  • remember that the better the characters are developed the more character-driven the story is;
  • consider that the right motivation of the characters makes the audience believe the story and its development; moreover, it helps to understand the real motives, which should be understandable to the viewers.

Our tips on writing a movie critique:

  • Mind that some movie characters do not need a serious analysis as they are meant to impress the audience more with their fists and athletic bodies than with the hidden motivation of their actions or rich inner world.

4. Writing a Movie Critique. Plot and Structure.

Definition:

The plot is the flow of events and actions that consequently develop in a story.

The structure of the movie is how the parts of it relate to each other, or how the plot is built.

General guidelines:

  • decide if the plot is predictable;
  • define if some actions were unpredictable; if they were, then they provided you with some food for thought to make assumptions and express your views considering an unexpected turn of events or simply shocked you;
  • remember, that structure encompasses 3 acts – introducing the main characters, mounting tension through the story (lead up to the climax of the story), and bringing the movie to an end;
  • see if the plot corresponds to characters’ motivations;
  • mind that before the ending, there should be a culmination of the story when the tension reaches the highest point.

Our tips on writing a movie critique:

  • Unpredictable plot sometimes appeals to philosophical issues. Examine the plot and structure to identify if they benefit the movie in this regard.

5. Writing a Movie Critique. Dialogue.

Definition:

A dialogue is a conversation between two or more people, or characters, for this matter.

General guidelines:

  • remember, that good dialogues should not be protracted as they are to sound naturally;
  • see if there is a logical development of the conversation.

Our tips on writing a movie critique:

  • Watch the body language of the actors and decide whether their gestures correspond to their words or not.

6. Writing a Movie Critique. Originality.

Definition:

Originality refers to a fresh plot or idea implemented in the film that attracts viewers’ attention to the story.

General guidelines:

  • mind that the term “original” might refer to the character, plot, twist, idea, setting, or something else that the audience has not seen before in any other movie.

Our tips on writing a movie critique:

  • Try to explain the reasons behind the adaptation of these new techniques or ideas. There should be specific reasons for the original element to appear. Maybe, the movie director felt that the audience would be tired of the predictable plot twists and/or mediocre CGI, so he/she decided to introduce a fresh idea about a possible plot twist, which will make the audience go crazy.

7. Writing a Movie Critique. Scenes.

Definition:

A scene is a self-contained episode within a larger work.

General guidelines:

  • define whether the scenes were well-played by the actors and well-shot by the operator;
  • mind that they are to develop smoothly as a part of a larger dramatic unit;
  • remember that scenes should build a chain that makes up the story;
  • examine if they contain some conflict, and how the characters typically react to it.

Our tips on writing a movie critique:

  • Try to follow through each scene to make sure that it was properly transferred to the next one and none of the plot twists and/or ideas were lost during the transition.

8. Writing a Movie Critique. Visual Presentation.

Definition:

A visual presentation is when characters act and react to each other and the setting to develop the action and the plot of the movie. This interaction typically involves a lot of dialogue.

General guidelines:

  • define if the set communicates a motif;
  • mind that the particular type of a story determines how much interaction there should be.

Our tips on writing a movie critique:

  • Give as many examples as possible.

9. Writing a Movie Critique. The Structure of Critique.

Definition:

The general structure of the critique resembles the structure of an essay.

General guidelines:

  • start with an introduction where you are to provide basic information about the film, make a plot summary, state your thesis, and give readers a clue on what your critique is going to be about.
  • divide the main body into several paragraphs, explain your thesis there, and examine each point separately. Do not forget to provide examples.
  • end writing your movie critique with a conclusion that should summarize everything and give answers to the questions raised in the paper.

Our tips on writing a movie critique:

  • Go over your paper to eliminate factual and spelling/grammar/punctuation mistakes. A good structure is the basis and a necessary condition of a successful paper.

We hope that these tips were helpful and your next critical paper about a movie will be a success! Be sure to check out our blog for more useful articles!

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10 Comments
  • avatar Daryl Conner (Ms) Posted: September 20, 2008 in 8:23 pm

    this is great but the print is too small and I don’t know how to enlarge it for teaching purposes.
    Can you help me. thanks, daryl conner

  • avatar Adam Savage Posted: October 7, 2008 in 6:32 pm

    Can you show a sample of a movie critique?
    That would be much appreciated.

  • avatar Brooke Posted: October 27, 2008 in 9:03 am

    These are great techniques but I think example paragraphs or sentences would also help.

  • avatar Omar K. Posted: February 22, 2012 in 1:07 am

    Movie critique writing is not a nightmare for me anymore!) Sticking to your guidelines, I smoothly flow from one part of my movie critique to another. It seems not bad!

  • avatar Terra Britt Posted: March 5, 2012 in 11:07 am

    This post has helped me a lot with my movie critique writing! You guys are professionals in writing such papers! I’m glad to find your blog!

  • avatar Chris Powell Posted: April 6, 2012 in 8:19 pm

    Hello! Thx for this! I found this blog randomly while seeking info on writing my paper. Great tips! Thanks again!

  • avatar Nicholas Carrillo Posted: April 13, 2012 in 5:12 pm

    good material

    • avatar Jack Milgram Posted: April 16, 2012 in 11:27 pm

      Thanks a lot Nicholas! We’re glad that you find our articles to be useful:)

  • avatar Ahana Chatterjee Posted: April 15, 2012 in 10:00 am

    This article is really very much helpful.But I have a question,that is,should I give examples in every steps of yhe critique like scenes,characters,dialogues etc?And if I think that the particular movie should be improved,should I mention all that?And if I think that the actor has not performed the character well should I mention that?And if the name of the film iis appropriate or not,should I explain that?

    • avatar Jack Milgram Posted: April 16, 2012 in 11:23 pm

      Thank you for your feedback, Ahana! We’re glad that you found it to be useful. As for the examples – treat them just like in any scientific paper: the more examples the better (but we suggest you to limit that to just a couple of examplary scenes per case – you don’t want the readers to be overloaded with facts). More examples are needed in case, if you think that the entire concept/idea that you’re proposing will be hard to grasp after just a couple of examples. The main point of the whole thing is to be sure that after reading your critique the readers will not have any counter agruments or doubts – or at leas move them towards that direction. As for your other questions – yes to all of them, acting and any plot improvements refer to Scenes, Visual Presentations, Originality parts of our article. Thank you, we hope that our additional tips will be helpful:)


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