film reel

smiley faceWhy not? Movies have become a pop cultural phenomena in our society. They reflect human nature, emotion and daily life and provide a running critique of the times. By writing reviews of movies, the aspiring critic lends his voice to the cultural "mush pot."

He in essence becomes a part of the movie process for the moviegoer, helping to determine if the movie is even viewed. Or in layman's terms, he tells you if it sucks.

Pretty basic, yes, but also pretty helpful and often times entertaining.

person researchingAs with any form of writing, the critical analysis should contain correct basic grammar, punctuation and spelling. A good reviewer will grab the reader with his lead and keep them hooked throughout the piece; be brief, but thorough; stay objective, but also offer some personal opinion and analysis; be careful of digressing; and OFFER NO SPOILERS.7

This last part cannot be stressed enough. People are not reading reviews to have the movie-going experience ruined for them; they are reading reviews to enhance their experience. A good suggestion if spoiler information absolutely has to be included, would be to warn the reader first and then give only as much info as necessary.

Other things that work well in movie reviews are giving a short summary of the plot; making and supporting clear judgments on the impact of the movie; defining any unclear, opinionated statements; demonstrating knowledge of the subject being analyzed in order to establish credibility; and avoiding overuse of sentences and phrases like, "I think," or "In my opinion."8

As discussed earlier, careful attention should be paid to the elements the featured in movies. The elements, and brief discussions of each and how each can be presented are listed below: pencil and paper

  • The Writing:
    Does the dialog move the action? Is it succinct, wordy, etc.? Does it sound realistic, and is the premise realistic?9

  • The Acting:
    Analyze only their performance in relation to the story of the film. Mentioning past works is acceptable, but don't stray too much form the current film. Were the actors cast correctly? Live up to expectations?10

  • The Cinematography:
    Does it strike you? How so? Are the set design and costumes appropriate? Do the lighting and camera angles work well? Was the essence of the story captured?11

  • The Music:
    Does it enhance or detract from the film? Is it original, or re-hashed? What is the general tone or feeling it gives? What emotions or mood does it present?12

  • The Editing and Directing:
    Is the editing original, does it use many splices or jumps? How did the director visualize the movie, did he succeed in this portrayal? What is unique about the editing or directing? What else has the director worked on, plan to work on?13

    Basically, there are no stringent limits to what a critic should include or omit from a review. Each has his own particular taste and style, and that is what makes reading each review an experience in itself!


    This site was created by Andra Parrish. It was last updated on Nov. 29, 2001. Any questions or comments should be mailed to: aparrish77@hotmail.com. © Andra Parrish 2001.