begin with, the prospective critic must ask himself why he hopes
to write. If he has illusions of grandeur, he'd better think again.
He must posses a dedication to the craft, a love of movies and the
ability to fail but still be persistent.
But as Hollywood author Lisa Maliga
said, "Whether you watch movies as soon as they arrive at your
local theatre or wait for the video, your No. 1 reason for being
a critic must be your love of movies."1
So the bottom line is anyone with
the desire and the patience can write critical movie reviews, and
learn to write them well.
criticism has been around since about 1895, when the first moving
pictures hit the screen and the first guy watching either "loved"
or "hated" the flick. It basically consists of analyzing
certain universal elements and conventions while watching the movie
and then incorporating the analysis into the writing process.
Most agree that the key elements
to study while critiquing consist of the writing, acting, cinematography,
design, music, editing and directing.2
Critiquing can be as simple as listing reactions to each element
in a long laundry list-type of document, to as intensive as developing
and devoting an entire Web site to one movie and analyzing every
minute aspect of it.What seems to be the movie's main
The reviewer should also ask himself
a series of focusing questions:3
Is it meant purely to entertain, or is there a larger goal?
What kind of work is it, and who
is the intended audience?
Does it reach that audience, or miss the mark?
What is the principal point, conclusion,
thesis, contention, or question?
Consider how these aspects affect the total viewing experience.
What patterns or categories does
the work use to divide up the subject matter being discussed?
Are there noticeable "breaks" in the editing or acting?
What is new, different, or controversial
about the work?
Find the unique aspects and focus in.
Of course there are many more questions the reviewer can use to
focus his analysis, but this is a sampling. As the critic becomes
more advanced and experienced, he will develop his own style, and
often times his own "trademark" points of observation.
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This site was created by Andra Parrish.
It was last updated on Nov. 29, 2001. Any questions or comments
should be mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Andra Parrish 2001.