How to Write a Movie Critique

Updated July 12, 2018
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Do you think you're the next Roger Ebert or Richard Roeper? Well, there's more to writing a review than just telling readers what you think. To write a great critique, learn what you should include -- and when.

Jot down important factors and key moments while you are watching the movie. This includes the lead actors and those with significant performances, the director and the producer. You should also note three points in the story: the beginning, the climax and the end. All should be included in some way in your review.

Look over your notes and highlight the key parts that you want to emphasize in your review before you begin writing.

Identify what kind of media outlet you will be writing for. Writing for a movie review site requires a more casual style, while writing for a newspaper needs a more formal voice. Base your tone around the audience likely to be reading your critique.

Begin by creating an opening that will draw readers in. This may mean citing a memorable line in the movie or alluding to a key moment. This is one of the most important parts of your review; if you don't entice readers to read on, your review will go unnoticed.

Cite some key players in the movie, whether they are the actors, the producer or the director, in the opening. If a reader recognizes a name, she is more likely to keep reading. Also, you will want to note the full title of the movie. At this point you should have completed your opening paragraph.

Begin your middle section (usually between one and three paragraphs long) by noting the basic plot line of the story. Highlight key scenes and character development. Here is where you will want to tell the reader what you found impressive or unimpressive about the movie.

Discuss the climax of the movie within these middle paragraphs. Don't give away what it is, of course, but giving hints builds interest. Many readers become angry at a "spoiler," or a critique that gives away the best moment of the movie, so do not forget to cleverly conceal this with your writing.

Close up your review by giving your opinion. Readers want to hear not only what you think, but why, so remember to give reasons why you think the movie is great or terrible.

Leave the reader either loving or loathing the movie with a key line. Your closing is just as important as your beginning, so make sure it's memorable -- it's the probable takeaway for the reader.

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