How to Write a Movie Review Essay: An Ultimate Guide

The Tree of Life (2011) Review

Just imagine how dull this world would be without cinematography! No Hogwarts wizards, Godzilla vs. Kong fighting scenes, and no Titanic heartbreaking loss of lives in the ocean. With the very first ten Lumière brothers’ short films released in Paris in 1895, the breathtaking world of cinema burst into our lives as a transformative power that now influences our perception of yesterday, now, and tomorrow. Films are an essential part of our lives. We watch them, admire them, and, of course, we discuss them. But what if the discussion of the movie becomes an assignment for college? What if, for example, you’re required to write a review essay on a movie to not only rate it from 1* to 5* but analyze it and actually meet the tutor’s requirements? The good news is that with some time-tested tips and tricks, you will craft a good movie review that’s a juicy chef-d’oeuvre.

The Main Purpose of Writing a Movie Review

To write a review of a movie means to analyze and evaluate a particular film with a focus on its strong and weak points. When writing a movie review, you will have to include the content of the motion picture, check out the cast, and director’s work, and do your best to make your piece engaging for your target readers. Plus, you will have to mention what you like or dislike in the film, providing strong evidence for every statement.

Tips to Write a Great Review Essay on a Movie

To write a movie review essay, you have to start by watching an actual movie. You can’t create a decent quality work on a film you haven’t watched. It is recommended to watch it several times. However, knowing how busy students are, do it once and take notes of all major and minor events, plot twists, characters, etc. It’s no doubt you have a great memory but no memory can beat good old notes.

A typical movie review structure comprises five basic elements. We’ll focus on each section as it should go in the text.


After the topic, your introduction is the very first thing your target audience faces in a film review. Your task is to make it hooking to ensure the readers want to keep on reading. For example, if you’re writing a review of the “Back to the Future” movie, do the wow effect by saying that you could be writing the “Space Man from Pluto” review. It was Sid Sheinberg, an executive at Universal, who actually wanted to call the film that way (so good that he didn’t!). Or, when engaged in work on Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” let your readers know the movie features Nolan’s first-ever sex scenes.

Give some general information about the film together with details like main actors, year, screenwriter, director, and title of course. The good news – no thesis statement is needed in a movie review. If you’re not used to working with that kind of paper, online experts at FastEssay write my essay service will guide you along the way. They will provide you with an outline or a short sample of a professionally written essay to help you see what a paper of such format looks like. Online experts know how to write a film review quickly without a thesis statement but with a solid central idea.

Plot Summary

To provide your target readers with a general sense of what the film is actually about you have to create the plot summary. Imagine that you’re writing a summary for someone who has never seen the movie under review. Make it clear and concise; however, do not include too many spoilers. Otherwise, you will definitely spoil your reader’s experience once they view the film.


While the Plot Summary section is provided for the summary of the key events in a film, the Description part is where your personal experience is shared. Do not hesitate to provide your own viewpoints and thoughts on the following issues:

  • Cinematography: “Dune is a world of vibrant colors, a coming-of-age tale showing the very essence of a tremendous love story between Paul and Chan, capturing the journey of earning the trust of someone you love. All details feel so alive.”
  • Tone: “Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” is a disturbing and dark take on one of the most depressing historical events. While the human aspect is always present, the movie is a collection of profound philosophical arcs, focusing on metaphysics, existentialism, and ethics.”
  • Acting: “Lily Gladstone’s acting in Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” is subtle and somber; however, every facial expression and word said on the screen speaks volumes.”


This is the part of the movie review where you talk about and evaluate how well the moviemakers used various formal techniques and thematic content. Focus on each technique separately and analyze how each affects the impression the motion picture makes. To write a proper movie review make sure the section contains the following points:

  • Analysis of the main actors, how they perform, and what they bring (or maybe their fail to) to the movie;
  • Consider the formal techniques like lighting or set and assess how well all of them were utilized;
  • Check out the costumes and analyze if they fit the time, the plot, the season, the mood, etc.;
  • Do a quick assessment of artistic visual elements, like sound, music, colors, and so on;

There’s no doubt that you aren’t the movie academy expert to be well-versed in things like lighting or costumes. Nonetheless, your task is to give your personal viewpoint on the work of filmmakers. After all, you are the target audience of their movies, which gives you the right to analyze and give verdicts.


Just like in the case of any other academic assignment, a movie review is only complete with the final part. This is where you, as the author, remind the target readers of your overall opinion of the film. Do you have any recommendations? Excellent. Include them in your conclusion, starting with “If you like N, you should also consider…” Regardless of what your general viewpoint on the movie is, make sure to be unbiased and explain the reasons why you do or don’t recommend a particular big-screen work. Remember that “Because I said so” statements don’t work.