With storytelling, it's important to think about not only the story itself (content: plot, setting, character) but also about how the story is being told and who is actually telling it. As with most things in life, asking who, what, when, where, why, and how will take you deep and wide. Ultimately, you can only make sense of the story if you examine the perspective from which it’s being told. But, as with life in general, we are easily swept away by the plot and characters and seldom ponder the narrator's point of view. In film, many times the viewer will literally look through a particular character’s eyes, forging an instantaneous but potent psychological affinity with that particular character.
- What is the difference between a story narrated from a first person point of view and a story told from a third person point of view?
- What’s the difference between a third person limited and a third person omniscient point of view?
- How close are we to the characters in each case?
- Think about the effect of a hero telling his own story as opposed to another person who witnessed the heroic deed telling the tale.
If art is a creative expression that intentionally emotes a response from the viewer, then many films are works of art. Film is a unique artform. Probably the most distinctive quality about film as an artform is the fact that it is, by its very nature, a creative collaboration whose creators are its screenwriters and composers, actors and cinematographers, directors and producers, make-up artists and other technicians…The list goes on and on, as you well know if you've ever sat through the entire list of credits at the end of a film! In the end, however, what does it tell us about a particular film to say that it is a Hitchcock or Tarantino film as opposed to a Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt box-office-blockbuster?
FILM CODES & TECHNIQUES
Sound-- How do the music/sound effects manipulate your emotions or mood?Instruments? Lyrics? Volume? Intensity? Tempo? Rhythm? Background or foreground?
Diagetic sound is sound that is natural to the environment of the scene: birds chirping, dialogue between characters, traffic and street noises, gravel crunching beneath feet, music playing on the stereo, etc. Nondiagetic sound is sound that is not within the scene, such as voiceover narration or background music.
Mise-en-scene--whatever appears within the frame of the shot (organization of things like stage props, acting, movement, lighting, makeup, costumes, etc.)
Lighting—can be used various ways and varying degrees to create particular moods; can be used symbolically
· High-key lighting: brightly lit scene; creates cheerful, light atmosphere
· Low-key lighting: illuminations create contrast and a chiaroscuro effect; creates a mysterious, suspenseful, eerie, or ominous mood
· Front lighting—softens or flattens; may suggest innocence by casting a halo effect
· Bottom lighting—casts shadows from below; eerie, ghoulish, sinister effect
· Side lighting—casts images in light or shadow
· Low angle shot from below—shows power or status of the subject or object viewed from that angle, and conversely, the possible vulnerability or powerlessness of the POV the camera is reflecting (this can be the viewer or a character in the story).
· High angle shot from above—shows weakness or vulnerability or an objective overview, i.e., God's eye view. If you're looking into a small space, like a jail cell, it intensifies the claustrophobic feel of the cramped space.
· Dutch angle shot tilted sideways on the horizontal axis--creates a sinister or distorted effect that skews the view of a character and perhaps indicates a distorted viewpoint or confused state.
· Eye-level angle shot (90-95% of all shots used)--camera is level with the key character's point of view
Framing/Shots: what the camera sets as the perimeter of our view. What's in and what's out?
· Establishing shot: shot taken from a distance that establishes important locations or situates/contextualizes important characters in place, time or in relationship.
· Long shot: shot from far away; gives overview and is often used in establishing shots at beginning and final shot.
· Medium shot: shot that's neither near nor far
· Close-ups: used to impart an emotion, to show us inside a character's thoughts, or to emphasize a particular aspect of something/someone.
· Matching shot—change from one scene to the next by matching images and placement.
· Pan—the stationary camera moves from left to right or right to left
· Tilt—the stationary camera moves up or down
· Tracking or dolly shot —the camera itself moves in or out by traveling rather than using the zoom feature
· Following shot—the camera keeps pace with a moving figure
· Crane shot—the camera is attached to a crane and moves up or down
· Hand-held shot—the camera is carried or strapped onto a character or camera operator
· Fade in and out
· Jump cut—most commonly used transition where the camera shot jumps from one thing to another without benefit of fading or superimposition
· Smash cut—abrupt, unexpected cut without transition with the intention of perplexing or startling viewer; usually occurs at seminal moments in scene; shifts radically from one type of scene to another; can be frenzied to tranquil; a very versatile type of transition.
· Dissolve—one image fades out over another image that is simultaneously fading in—sometimes used to show the unfolding or condensed passage of time.
· Wipe —one image appears to wipe over another, replacing it; this can also be done with black or white or colored screens and can also be horizonal, verticle, diagonal, or circular.
· Rack (or pulling) focus—an obvious shift in focus from foreground to background or vice versa. This shifts your attention from one thing to another and directs your focus. Shifts in perspective.
· Eye-line match —a shot that begins with what the person is looking at that then shifts to what they are seeing; usually followed by a response or reaction to what they have just seen.
· Crosscutting—cutting back and forth between actions that happening simultaneously; also known as parallel editing
· Montage sequence—events are connected by circumstance, theme, or idea but are disconnected physically; spliced together to show movement toward one another or parallel or converging events unfolding.
NOTES:Pay careful attention to
· Costumes & props
· Film technique/codes
· Movement on the set / camera movement / body movement and facial expressions
· Rhythm and timing of actions and events (real time, condensed time, elapsed time--how are these shown?)
· Color—visually imparts emotional, symbolic, and cultural perceptions
· narrator/point of view character, allusions, symbolism, character development, passage of time, names, setting (historical, cultural), circularity.
Contemplate these questions:
What is the generating circumstance leading into the story?
What is the plot structure--what parts of the story comprise beginning, middle, end?
How do films reflect and inform culture?
How do films translate stories from page to screen?
How do filmmakers deal with the rhythm and passage of time within the narrative flow of the story?
What qualities does film have that literature does not and vice versa?
What is the mythic quality of film?
What is it about particular films that qualify them to be considered works of art?
· Your essay should be a movie critique that is approximately 5-7 pages: typewritten, double-spaced with one inch margins, 12 point normal font
· Your plot summary should only be no more than two paragraphs.
· The lion's share of your discussion should focus on the scene you select as the keystone of the film.
· This paper must contain the following elements:
1) Introduction: overview of what the film is about and brief plot summary;
2) Identify what you consider to be the most important scene in the film and explain why;
3) Describe, analyze, and interpret the composition and design of the key scene using the film codes detailed above.
4) Conclusion: Briefly discuss what you consider art to be and then evaluate this film as a work of art. and evaluation/judgment.
· Be sure your title is clever as well as meaningful.
1) No writing is complete until it has undergone revision!!! It’s a good idea to give your paper a couple days’ rest between your final draft and your revision.
2) When you think you’ve done your best, read your paper aloud and see if it really says what you mean to say. Wherever you get tongue-tied, stammer, or stumble over the words, mark the spot and work it over in your revision.
3) Every major point you make needs to be illustrated with specific examples to show how what you say is true. Whatever you assert, you must demonstrate. (Remember that too many details make writing seem boring, and too few details make it confusing &/or unconvincing.)
4) Organization and interpretive analysis are key. Be analytical and organized, brief yet eloquent.
5) Always spellcheck before you print.
The first thing you do after watching a movie is to go online and write a comment about it. Comments about movies are usually posted on social media profiles or public pages, review sites, blogs, among other platforms. Writing a movie review is a common assignment that students have to do in high school and college. Even though it may seem simple, movie reviews require time and proper organization. It’s not just about writing what happens on the screen, the review goes deeper than that. You can make the process easier with tools available online.
Movie Review Purpose
The main purpose of a movie review is to inform the reader about the film and its ideas. Seems simple, right? Reporting all events that happen and stating one’s opinion about them is a common mistake that many students make. While movie review allows writers to express their opinions about some film or documentary, there is also the need for the unbiased and objective approach. An ideal review combines both.
The review determines whether someone will want to see the movie. Even if the professor (or teacher) assigned a specific title and film to review, one should act like this is the perfect opportunity to introduce the cinematography work to their lecturer. Always assume they haven’t seen it before. As a result, it becomes easier to analyze events that happened on the screen.
Film review should be detailed enough to provide assistance in making an honest decision i.e. whether the reader wants to see it or if they’d like it. Why is this type of paper a common school assignment? Lecturers want to get more insight into a student’s critical thinking skills and the ability to report event (one or more of them) in a manner that others understand easily.
In addition, they want to assess the way you analyze plot and characters. After all, movie reviews also involve the analysis of events that happened in a documentary or “regular” film. Reviews test writing and vocabulary skills, adapting to different genres and events they portray, and your capacity to sum up some major work and report it in a cohesive, logical, and interesting manner.
While reviews entail more responsibility than initially thought, students find them fun and with this guide, you will too.
How to write a Good Movie Review
You have to write a movie review for school and now what? Where to start, how to make it look more “academic”? Today, we have the opportunity to use numerous tools to make every part of our lives easier, and movie review writing isn’t the exception. Throughout this tutorial, you’ll learn how to compose a report about some film and what tools to use to simplify the process.
Step-by-Step Guide to How to Write a Movie Review
Beginnings are always the hardest. This is the point where you set the pace and determine how to approach this assignment in the most efficient manner. Here are some useful tips to kick-start the movie review writing process:
- Watch the movie or documentary twice and take notes of both major and minor events and characters. It’s a mistake to rely on the power of your memory only, there’s always something we overlook or forget
- Carry out a thorough research. Watching the movie isn’t enough, research is equally important. Look for details such as the name of filmmaker and his/her motivation to make that film or documentary work, locations, plot, characterization, historic events that served as an inspiration for the movie (if applicable). Basically, your research should serve to collect information that provides more depth to the review
- Analyze the movie after you watching it. Don’t start working on the review if you aren’t sure you understand the film. Evaluate the movie from beginning to an end. Re-watch it, if necessary, if you find some parts confusing. Only when you understand events that happened on the screen will you find it easier to create the review
- Draft an outline that you will follow to write the review in a concise and cohesive fashion
- Include examples for claims you make about the movie. If the plot has holes, then mention an example of a situation or scene when that was evident. Also, if the character(s) is poorly developed or bad casting affected the movie quality, name examples too. Provide examples when commenting dialogues, locations, plot, everything. If you want the reader to agree with you, it’s essential to back up your claims with evidence. You don’t want to make it seem like you’re praising or criticizing the movie without any reason whatsoever
- Consider and comment a movie’s originality and quality of scenes. Explain how the movie stands out or whether it just uses the same approach that worked for previous works in the industry
Quality of your paper depends on the level of organization you implement. Never underestimate the importance of well-structured outline, regardless of the type of paper you have to write. Outlines help you focus on the subject and contribute to a logical flow.
In addition, getting things organized before you start writing is a great way to save time later on. Instead of trying to figure out what to include, you’ll have a well-structured plan to follow. It’s needless to mention you won’t be too stressed out. Here’s how to organize your movie review:
- Introduction (with title, release date, background information)
- Summary of the story
- Analysis of the plot elements (rising action, climax)
- Creative elements (dialogues, characters, use of colors, camera techniques, mood, tone, symbols, costumes or anything that contributes or takes away from the overall plot)
- Opinion (supported with examples and facts from the story)
- Conclusion (announcing whether the filmmaker was successful in his/her purpose, re-state your evidence, explain how the motion picture was helpful for providing a deeper understand of course topic)
Movie Review Elements
- The title of the film/documentary – just because your headline features the name of the movie or documentary it doesn’t mean should skip mentioning it in the text. Always name the feature you’ve watched in the introductory paragraph. This may seem like a stupid thing to point out, but it’s one of the most common mistakes that students make
- Summary – the whole point of the review is to summarize the documentary or movie for people who haven’t watched it yet. To make this as effective as possible, always assume that your professor hasn’t seen it either (as mentioned above). Why is this important? You won’t leave out some important details thinking he/she watched it already so they won’t bother. As a reviewer, your job is to explain what happened in the film and express whether the filmmaker failed or succeeded. Again, saying you liked or disliked it isn’t a viable comment. Your opinion has to be supported by specific reasons and examples from the feature itself
- Filmmaker – do a little research on the person who directed the piece. Is that person a controversial figure? Is he/she known for a political stance? Does the filmmaker have a significant background? Devote a paragraph or two to the person behind the movie and their other works in order to establish the significance of the film you are reviewing for the director’s career
- Significance to your class – How does the content of the documentary or film fit into your course topic? Is it important for historical accuracy? If you are watching the motion picture for history class, make note of over-dramatization. If the motion picture is based on the book you’ve analyzed in English class, you can mention similarities, differences, or some elements that film contains, but book doesn’t and so on
- Creative elements – filmmakers work hard to include creative elements into their motion pictures. How are these elements important to the plot and movie in general? For example, costumes can either enhance the movie or betray its intent. Colors can be vivid and lift the atmosphere or mood in the movie or they can be dull and make it seem depressing. Good sound effects enrich the viewing experience while bad ones only destroy everything. Moreover, camera movements and angles also add elements to the story. Take notes of symbols in the story, if any.
- Actors - let’s not forget the casting! Were the actors realistic? Did they portray the role of a specific character successfully? Did they have good acting skills? Do you believe that some particular actor was the right fit for the role?
Checklist / Outline for a Good Movie Review
- Introduction (title, topic, release date, background information)
- Accuracy of depiction
- Use of sources in the documentary
- Creative elements that enhance or tarnish the overall story (quality of script, visual design, performance, lighting, hair, and makeup, costume, set design, symbolism)
- Your opinion
Mistakes to Avoid
- Not focusing on the film – while connecting the plot to some specific historical event is a good idea (when applicable), strive to avoid writing about unnecessary details or introducing irrelevant information such as the history of cinematography or that particular genre, snacks, among other things
- Inserting yourself – you’re the one who’s writing the review. The paper reflects your understanding and opinion of the motion picture you’ve seen and there is no need to write in first person all the time: I noticed this, I saw that I liked this, I disliked that
- Failing to check facts about movie background and release date, director, casting etc.
- Giving out your opinion without mentioning any reason why you think that way
- Talking about irrelevancies
- Writing a review without a structure
- Writing generalities such as great acting, cool effects, a good movie, it was bad etc.
- Writing a review without substance or analysis of the feature
Movie Review Examples
- The Hunger Games and the idea of dystopia
- Mean Girls review: does it exploit stereotypes about high schools or it helps to undermine them?
- The Martian review and its connection to Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe
- The Last Jedi review: all the reasons it’s far from the original saga
- Manchester by the sea and ideas of forgiveness and grief
- Forrest Gump review
- I am Sam review
- Runaway Bride review and its role in modern understanding of marriage
Movie Review Help
Like other types of writing, movie reviews require patience and time. Being a student isn’t the easiest task in the world and you don’t have enough time to dedicate to one assignment only while neglecting others. There’s no need to despair; you can use the internet to get much-needed assistance with this assignment. Here’s how:
By Markers Expectations / Rubrics
- Clear Organization – as stated above, the clear organization is vital for a well-structured movie review. You can use the Edusson website as a guide through this process via numerous posts about writing, self-help resources, and Essay Examples that serves as an excellent platform to sharpen writing skills and compose your paper. RobotDon Essay Checker platform proves to be handy when you complete the writing process and want to make sure it’s unique, without fluff and wateriness, repetitive words and expressions. Let’s not fort that you can hire an essay writer who will write a perfect review for you
- Use of Sources – just because it’s movie review, it doesn’t mean you should avoid using sources to support your claims. Sources are particularly important for reviews of documentaries or when you’re trying to connect the review with some problem in society. Research requires more time than any other part of the process and you can easily hire a professional i.e. a helper who will do that for you
- Opinion – a movie review is about the equilibrium of unbiased report and personal opinion. While it’s okay to say what you think about the movie, you also have to approach certain aspects in an objective manner to help the reader get a better understanding of the motion picture. Finding the balance between subjective and objective writing can be frustrating, which is why professional service comes handy. All you have to do is to provide title, information, your opinion and a pro writer takes it from there
- Essay Writing Service – there is no need to be stressed out because you have a ton of work to do when professional writer service can write movie review easily. Services like Edusson are used by students who can’t keep up with constant demands in school or college, but they don’t want to jeopardize their grades. With over 1000 writers, Edusson is a perfect writing service for this assignment. You have the full control of the project through set deadlines, choosing the writer for this task etc.
- Essay Editing Service – sometimes students don’t need help with the writing process, but they need someone to edit it. Don’t ask your friends and family members to do it for you, hire professionals. Improve your paper. Raise your grades! Editors and proofreaders from Edusson correct grammar, spelling, syntax, punctuation mistakes, check the style, formatting, organization and other aspects of your work to boost its quality. You can also use RobotDon to edit an essay on your own.
Movie Review FAQ
Do I have to write a movie review in a certain formatting style?
Everything depends on the instructions your teacher gives you. It often happens that a movie review can be free of academic formatting. But don't exclude the possibility that you will have to complete this paper in MLA.
Can I copy an existing movie review?
Well, of course, it is important to look at examples of other movie reviews to get to know the structure and ways of ideas expressing better. But if you copy a film review directly from the other source, your curator will detect plagiarism in it.
My major is not moviemaking. Why am I assigned to write a film report?
Students are assigned movie report writing, first of all, to broaden their mind and evaluate the way they can analyze material and express their opinion. Don't feel confused if on the Psychology class your professor asks you to review a movie. It is a common practice for students who are completing their degree in various fields of study.
Will you just give me someone else’s review?
No, not at all! Edusson stands out as the writing service with full transparency. All essays and other papers are written from scratch by professional writers with strong work ethic and desire to help their clients get better grades. The movie review you receive is 100% original, which you can check with RobotDon’s plagiarism checker.
Will you send my review to someone else?
The answer is – no. Not only are the clients in control of the process, but author’s rights are transferred to them the moment the review is done. Once the writing process is over, the review is yours and can never be sent to someone else.
What if I need more edits?
If you need edits or want some specific info to be added, our writers will be happy to make necessary revisions.
I need more help with movie review service, how can I contact you?
Our customer service is always available through 24/7 live chat feature.
Job to Get Done
Do you like movies? Who doesn’t? Movie and documentary reviews give you a unique opportunity to improve your writing skills by combining school assignment with someone you really like. Although it’s not that difficult to compose a review of a motion picture or some educational/informative feature, feel free to use all the available resources to get the most out of your assignment. Use the advantage of the internet to work on your review for major benefits such as:
Improve your Paper
Practice makes everything better and the internet allows you to make it happen. For instance, Edusson acts as a perfect tutorial + professional writing service platform as it allows you to improve writing skills while getting assistance from professional writers and editors when necessary. The do-it-yourselfers benefit greatly from RobotDon, a cute little helper that analyzes the review and identifies mistakes you need to correct. The result of using these resources is a well-written movie review that meets or exceeds your lecturer’s expectations.
Raise your GPA (grade)
Using multiple resources and platforms to your advantage can only be a good thing for your GPA. When you’re a student, everything you do counts and contributes to GPA. It all comes down to learning how to make student life easier for you and one way to do that is to incorporate online tools into your assignments. Your professor will appreciate the effort and thanks to the improved writing skills, good grades are unavoidable.