How to Write a Movie Review

Last Updated on October 2, 2021 by Sean Donlevy

A movie review is an overview of a movie where the person who writes makes an assessment of it.

There is much in common for book and movie reviews and therefore the tips conveyed here will apply to both.

One requirement that exists in a movie review is that it should contain more than just a summary. Just talking about what a movie is about is not a review but just a retelling of the story. A summary should be included in a review, but that is just one of several points to include.

What a movie review should contain

  • Facts – for example, a movie’s director and producer, and year of publication
  • Background – for example, a look at previous works by the same director
  • Story – a description of the movie
  • Analysis – a discussion of themes, motives, etc.
  • References – mention of other relevant works
  • Review a quality assessment and reflections of the movie

For the most part, facts, analysis, and judgment should be included. How long the movie is, is also often included in a review. In addition, backgrounds and references can contribute with interesting information and broaden the context.


The items listed in the list above are not something you must follow in that particular order. As a reviewer, you should also not separate the different paragraphs by heading or have them form your own sections. Feel free to structure the text, but feel free to focus on analysis or judgment on, for example, the summary of the movie.

To give you better insight and tools to write a good movie review, we will go a little closer to each point.


When writing citing, you should write in italics. In the case of short stories from a short story collection or a song on a music album, however, these should be written in quotation marks.

The Year of publication should be immediately after a work and in parentheses when it is first mentioned. Sometimes the title is translated from another language and then the original title can also be included.

For a movie review, you can mention important persons in the movie, such as main actor and director.


This is something that could possibly be added to the review. For example, by mentioning something at the beginning of your movie review about previous works by the director. By doing this, you have given context to the reader, who may get an idea of who the producer is.


In your movie review, you should talk about the story of the movie and what it is about. However, be careful as to not only line up a lot of details related to the story of the movie.


The function of the analysis is to try to communicate the movie on other levels than what constitutes the action. A narrative story often contains deeper layers than the obvious stages. This can be anything from political comments to a resigned view of marriage. These are things that are not always stated directly, but can still be understood in different ways in the presentation. Keep in mind that in books and movies there is a part that is directly stated, whilst much can be read between the lines. Try to highlight and focus on the things that can be read between the lines, as this is something that may be neglected or not understood by a lot of people who watched the movie.


Providing references in a review usually means that you refer to another work that is relevant and shows similarities or contrasts with the work you are reviewing. This sounds gives context and interesting reflections about the movie.


When you review a movie, you have the right to be subjective. In fact, you should be.

Although it is mostly a matter of personal taste and taste, as is well known, there are also areas where a more objective way of focusing on the quality of a book or film is possible. Your opinion can mention whether the movie is well-made or substandard, if the story is well-assembled or has gaps, if the actors shape their characters psychologically credible or flat if the film’s storytelling style is original or contains many typical clich├ęs.

Try to be specific

Writing that a movie that is “interesting” does not differentiate it from a hundred others, the same applies if you write that the movie was “uninteresting”. Instead of settling on interesting or uninteresting, you should be more nuanced and detailed in your descriptions. Try to find more detailed and descriptive words to make your review more interesting and colorful.