How to Write a Movie Review Outline

Some students may be relieved with the assignment of watching a movie for homework. However, composing a movie review can be more difficult than it sounds. According to the Nova Scotia Department of Education, the key to a movie review is providing enough detail so that the reader knows whether or not he would enjoy the movie, while avoiding giving away intricate plot surprises or details. Creating an outline of your information before writing the actual review can help you keep your thoughts organized and your information accurate.

Watch the movie at least twice. Take notes about the movie as you watch it, regarding basic plot points (that don't give away any surprises), acting, special effects and other characteristics of the movie.

Break your outline into sections; each section can represent a paragraph of your final review. Use the first section to describe the basic plot of the movie and basic character descriptions. Include your opinion of the plot and characters: was it boring, exciting, difficult to follow? Were the characters believable and likeable?

Include acting details in section two of your outline. How did the actors handle their roles? Did they help bring the characters to life, or fall flat? For more famous actors, how did this role vary from others roles the actor has filled?

Create a third section of your outline with information regarding the technical aspects of the film. How did the sound, lighting, special effects and music affect the film as a whole? Do you feel any or all of these points could have been better?

Finish your outline with overall reflections on the movie. Consider giving the movie a grade, such as B+ or C-, or a number of stars (generally out of five). This will help you draw an overall conclusion and summary of the movie when you write the final review.


Your outline does not need to be in complete sentences or grammatically correct. You will use the outline to compose a longer paper; write the outline in a way that you feel will best benefit you with your later work.

Check with your teacher to find out if any other information is needed for your specific assignment.

Things You'll Need

  • Required movie
  • Movie player (VCR, DVD player, etc)
  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil
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