Essays that you usually write in college are not limited to only descriptive and argumentative ones. Other types of writings that are quite widespread in the world of academic studies. Some of them have to do with writing about various works of literature. Others are closer to historical studies. Writings about films are also very popular. They mainly include writing a film review, so if you are a diehard movie fan and fond of writing, this is an excellent opportunity to blend these talents into one activity. In spite of the fact that there are many movie enthusiasts around, most of the people feel struggled when it comes to creating a good film review as it involves considering a given film from different angles. In case you have such an assignment, don’t be scared of it and read our tips below. They will surely help you with this task.
What is the main point of writing film reviews?
To those of you who question the importance of writing film reviews, there are several known facts. First of all, writing such types of essays stretches your imagination and helps you to use various skills that you got during your studies. Secondly, they have long become a very common task in the world of academic writings.
Writing a film review is not unlike writing the same paper about a book. In both cases, you have to consider the work from different angles, dwell upon stylistic devices, plot and characters described. Such types of works require general knowledge about cinema as well as knowing peculiar facts about a film itself and the genre to which it belongs. You have to be very attentive to each detail of the film even the ones that seem to have no meaning whatsoever.
As you analyze the film, you start to watch it more attentively. This helps you widen your perception of the film industry itself. You may notice that it is a hard task to shoot a good movie so that you can feel more respect to people involved in the creation of films. Moreover, you will have an excellent opportunity to discover a new genre or a great director whose works are quite worthy. This can turn you into a newbie fan of an entirely different genre that you weren’t familiar with before.
Such types of essays are remarkably popular with many professors as they serve quite well to illustrate the abilities of a student to carry out a respectable piece of analytic work. A paper like this mainly stems from describing your own opinions and feelings about a movie watched. Also, one can appreciate your vocabulary and writing skills. Each review is unique, that is why it is hard to find two similar papers that concern the same film, as every person gets impressed differently. Finally, it is more interesting to write about a movie than about a boring book or a historical event, so some professors use these tasks as a means of motivation for those students who are not fond of writing.
Necessary parts of a film review
In most cases, professors give their students a task to analyze a film chosen beforehand. There are cases when tutors give their students an opportunity to pick a movie themselves, but such cases are not too often. In any way, the movie that you end up reviewing should be significant and have a value in the world of cinematography.
In your paper, you should note what value has the movie for your studies, how it may influence your progress in learning, and also present your own opinion about the film under your consideration. Don’t forget that you are to be very careful with expressing your personal views about the film. Try to avoid such phrases as “I think that” or “I expected this film to be,” etc. Your review has to be objective and biased.
The form and shape of your review may be defined by the program of your course and professors demands. Despite this, several essentials are necessary within your paper. Among them are:
What is the title of the film? -Even if you mentioned the name of the movie in the title of your analysis, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t repeat it once again within your text. The best place to do it is the introduction part of your paper. Many students do not pay attention to such moments, thinking that it is not too important. Though, some professors may perceive it as a mistake.
The plot – no doubt, that one of the primary things to be done is to give a summary of the movie for those people who are not familiar with it. To do it the best way, keep in mind that the professor who will read your essay is one of those people too. Be very careful with all the details, try to present them with all the possible attention. Your primary goal is to present the events that happened in the movie and to write if the director managed to deliver a film worthy of the viewer’s attention or not. However, be careful with expressing your personal opinion about the film if you feel tempted to write things like “I like it” or “I hated it” as they may sound completely unviable. Support every statement with evidence.
The director – an essential part of your analysis is the one connected to the creator of the film. Dwell upon the style of a filmmaker, His/her political agenda and any controversy about the director’s persona. What are his/her most important influences? Is the film connected to any earlier works done by the same director? Don’t forget that each film bears a significant mark of a filmmaker who created it.
The importance of the film within your course – Think over what significance the film has for your studying. Is it based on some historical events that you may study during your history classes? Or maybe it is connected with some works of literature that you’ve read while doing some other essay? If yes, how does the script of the film correspond with the story written in the book? The more connections you will find, the more significant your work will be.
Creativity – good directors are always very attentive to the smallest details that can trigger viewer’s imagination and create the feeling of a total submerging into the atmosphere of the film. Did the director succeed? What can you say about the locations where the film was shot? Were the costumes well crafted? Did the whole interior correspond with the historical setting of the plot? Write about the score of the film. Was the choice of a composer good? What style of music did he/she prefer to make for the film? How do you estimate the work of the cameracrew? Does the movie have any hidden meaning? Don’t miss writing about these moments.
The cast – it is imperative to write about the actors. Was the choice of actors successful? Do they succeed in playing this or that part? Is there something outstanding about their acting? Were any of them perfect to perform their parts?
What is essential: There is no absolute way you should put these items in your work. Everything you will write will be dependent on the demands of your professor, the type of the film you will write about, the course, and your own personal views on what your paper should be like. The perfect way to create an excellent and relevant paper is to do it carefully and naturally. Try to provide it with all the necessary information, include all the significant facts in your work, and try to write it with a sense of joy.
Form of your review
In case your review is destined to become a part of your work in literary studies, there are specific MLA rules that you are to keep to. Here are some of them:
- Introductory part (the title of the film, the date of its release, the essential information about the film)
- The part that summarizes the plot
- The plot elements analysis (action, climax, etc.)
- Describing the creative part of the film (script, actors, special effects, work of the camera crew, locations, hidden meanings, the mood, the atmosphere)
- Expressing an opinion about the film (you should substantiate it with vivid examples from the film)
- Summing all up (dwelling upon the success or failure of a director, the importance of the film within the world of cinematography, the reception of the movie by the viewers, the value of the
- film for the educational course)
In case you have a documentary under your consideration, try to keep the scheme below:
- Introductory part (the title of the film, the date of its release, the essential information about the film)
- Historical accuracy
- Reliability of the sources used
- The usage of creative elements
- Your own opinion of the film
- Summarizing the whole analysis
Don’t forget to create a distinct outline for your film review. This will help you with organizing your work and keeping it logical and relevant. This is very important if you want to create a good and well-written film review.
The process of writing a film review
It is very entertaining to watch a film and to discuss it, so even such a task can turn into a great experience. To make it as much fun as possible, follow these tips:
- Give the film more than one watch. This should help you to memorize as many details of it as possible. The more information you will put in your work – the better.
- Surf through the Internet to gather as much information about the film as possible. Pay attention to the personality of the director, the cast, the locations and the background of the film.
- Think about the film as a whole. It is instrumental, as such technique will help you to get the full understanding of the film under your consideration. If it is based on the book, try to analyze it too.
- Write a distinct outline
- Write your own opinions about the film, its cast, locations, script, dialogues, etc. Don’t forget to support your statements with evidence from the film. This is the best way to show the professor that you are capable of thinking critically.
The most widespread mistakes
- Lack of concentration on the film itself – avoid writing about cinematography in general, the traditions of the genre, the personal life of director or actors, etc. Concentrate on the given piece
- Try not to make your text too personal. Don’t write things like “I think”? “It seems to me,” “I hated things like…” as they can interfere the objectiveness of your paper with biased and too personal information.
- Do not use unreliable sources of information about the film
- Don’t express your personal opinion without saying why you think like that
- Write only about relevancies
- Do not produce an unstructured review
Summing all up
Writing a film review is a great chance to demonstrate your ability to think critically and to analyze a work of cinematography which is by far not the easiest thing to do properly unless you do it carefully. Pay attention to the smallest details, do not overload your paper with the unnecessary information, try to provide your work with vivid examples and don’t be too personal when you analyze the film. Check all the background information, the history of creating the film and the original source of its idea if there is any. In case the film is based on a book, try to analyze it too. It may take some time, but if you do this, your film review has all the chances to be relevant and successful.
Dwell upon the importance of the film for the educational process and how useful it may be to your studies. Such papers are remarkably illustrative and show your ability to think critically. That is why try to write with as attentive as possible, and you will surely succeed with your essay.