How to Write a Movie Review

As the collection of films I’ve reviewed builds, I am hearing more and more comments from my friends and folks like.

“There is no way I could do that.” or “Nice! I have no idea how I would review a movie like that.” 

And so forth and so on. I’m going to take a minute and talk about how you can review the movies you watch. In the past, we’ve gone over the why. We are told to take every thought captive for Christ. This especially includes the movies we watch and media we partake in. If we are not doing that, the time we spend in that media, is in my opinion, wasted.

So here are three… guides to assist you in reviewing movies. The goal in posting these is first you begin to think about what you are watching if you have not done so already. Second, to equip you in some basic skills to effectively engage your mind when you watch a movie.
Let’s begin.

1. Don’t Check Out- Check In.
For many, films, music, video games, etc are an escape. It is crucial to go into a movie with the intent of engaging it on a critical level. Not necessarily on the grounds whether the movie is enjoyable or not, but on the ground of “What is the message or theme of this movie?” ask yourself this throughout the movie and it will keep you alert to key quotes and actions.
In the course of the movie, I sometimes take mental notes in my mind. A certain quote, a specific character, etc. If there is something that really stands out to you, write it down or make a note in your mind. I have been guilty of taking a small notebook into a movie and writing down key phrases. Don’t be afraid to do that. But please, don’t type it on your phone, that’s just distracting. ;)

2. Don’t Dismiss- Digest.
After a movie is over, what most people do is go “That was a great movie!” and go on their merry way after a few minutes though of what they really liked, and whether or not they will recommend it to their friends based upon that like. The second step to writing good reviews is to truly digest what you have seen, then reflect upon it. I have the benefit of talking with my bro and some close friends about the movie in depth after viewing it. You have to instantly think about what you’ve just watched if you want to accurately portray what the movie’s themes were.
I have actually found if I wait a few days before actually digesting a movie, my mind will drop things which I subconsciously don’t like, and I won’t remember them until I look up another review or am told otherwise. Fresh thoughts are always more reliable than ones a few days old. Don’t wait.

3. Write.
This is probably the easiest part of the reviewing process, though the most time consuming. If you don’t write down your thoughts, they eventually will fade. While it isn’t as important to write the review right away, I think it is important to write to yourself a summary of what the movie was about and what those themes were. I’ll be honest, for every review, I always write the Closing Thoughts first. Why? Because they are the most important. Content is easy to look up on sites like Plugged In. However, your personal thoughts on the movie cannot be replicated nor found anywhere else. It is important to get those down.
Once you have your thoughts and opinion on the film, you can go in and fill in the content you remember, things you liked, the story, etc if you like. The thing to keep in mind though, when you write a review, it really is for you as much as anyone else who reads it. Be honest in what you type, because when you get older and think of movies you want to show your kids, your review will help in preventing an acidental showing of a movie which wasn’t as clean as you remembered.

So, I hope that helps you all in providing a starting point to review movies for your own benefit, and the benefit of others. This is by no means the best or only way to do this, just thoughts from my experience.

If you have any tips or recommendations be sure to post them in the comments below. :)

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2 thoughts on “How to Write a Movie Review

  1. This is a very informative and helpful post, Austin. (thumbsup)Personally, when I review I most of what you mentioned… especially as regards looking out for a specific theme or quote or character that is revealing of the worldview that could be expounded upon in detail in the review. Discussing with others is also vital. The people I talk to usually noticed something that I failed to notice and vice versa. Seeing through a different perspective is one of the things that is most helpful for me. "Don't wait" – another excellent tip. Reviews are easiest written a day-or-two after I see the film. Regarding content, I would like to recommend the site ScreenIt. You have to pay to access the site, but it has been a very useful tool in my family over the years and now it helps me fill in content that shouldn't be left out of a well-rounded and critical review. Also, when I write reviews, I like to include a section on the artistic value of the film. Pay close attention to the acting, the music, the cinematography, the writing, etc. Remark on what was excellent and what was sub-par. A film is an artistic creation and I've found that my movie-watching experience is enhanced when I pay attention to the little details that sets the film apart as either a work of art, or as just cheap entertainment. Once again, great review, Austin. God bless!

  2. This is the best post I’ve seen on this subject. You really have a good feel on this topic, and the way you wrote about it made it both interesting to read, and informative at the same time. I’m glad I dropped by.

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