How to Write a Film Review
Writing a film review for the first time can be a daunting prospect. Many aspiring writers struggle to put down into words how they feel about an art form that is more visual and audible. That's why, here at UK Film Review, we want to give you some of our best advice on how to write a film review so that you can hit the ground running.
1. Choose your film. This is an important step. The first time you write a film review you are going to want to choose something you feel very passionate about in order to give you lots to write about. If you choose a movie that doesn't move or compel you in any way, your review could end up feeling a little uninspired too.
2. Choose your medium. It is essential to know how you feel most comfortable when writing. Some are happy with a computer or laptop, some may prefer good old pen and paper. Others may even prefer a typewriter (feel free to Google that word if it is not in your vocabulary). Whichever way you prefer make sure this is the method you choose when learning how to write a film review - as it will make the experience a lot more enjoyable.
3. Do your research. After watching the film (which needs to be a recent viewing and could sometimes require multiple watches), resist the urge to launch straight into your thoughts and feelings. Sure, make some detailed notes about your first reactions but doing some research on the film so that when it comes time to write your film review you will be able to come at it with more authority and knowledge - which will make the writing a lot easier.
To find out more about how to write a film review and get some top tips from our Editor-in-Chief (who is also an established film critic), check out the eBook below which gives aspiring writers some golden nuggets.
How to Structure a Film Review
There are many ways you can write a movie review and the structure will often depend on the outlet. For example, at UK Film Review, our writers have a basic model to work from which they can bring their own style too. Other publications may be more rigid or casual about the structure of their film reviews but pretty much everyone has what's called a "House Style". It is important to follow this when learning how to write a film review as it will help keep you on track, structured, and to the point.
What should be included in a film review?
Within a film review, the critic should look to explore all aspects of the filmmaking. This is where film criticism differs from an opinion. When writing a film review, the writer needs to validate their observations with specific reasoning as to why they feel the way they do. One simply cannot state "I didn't enjoy this film therefore it gets one star." Instead, the film review should include discussion on the film's strengths and weaknesses, comparison to other movies of a similar genre, or relate the movie to the filmmaker's previous works.
It is essential to at least cover: the plot, the performances, the themes and your summary.
Examples of a Film Review
Looking at examples of a film review is a great way to learn how to write one. This way you can examine the nuances that each writer brings, as well as the common traits which appear in many movie reviews. When first learning how to write a film review it can be quite daunting, so it is best to jump right in and start reading as many as you can. You will soon learn that film criticism is a fun and rewarding experience that enhances cinema.
How to Write a Film Review Template
Template film reviews are not something we massively encourage. Whilst we like to promote a solid structure (see above) it is important to take each film as an individual piece of art. Filmmakers pour their heart and soul into their films and the idea that a template review could capture every single one of them is absurd. Instead, see the steps above about structure and also looking at as many examples of movie reviews as you can. You will soon see that you have enough to get started.