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How to Write a Film Review for High School

by Timothy Sexton, Demand Media
    A good movie review will tie together all the elements that make up a good or bad film.

    A good movie review will tie together all the elements that make up a good or bad film.

    The assignment of writing a movie review for a high school class or newspaper can mean merely a grade from the teacher or publication that is read by the entire student body. Whether you are writing the movie review for a grade or not, you should follow certain conventions associated with the relation of information and opinion.

    Items you will need

    • Paper pad
    • Pen
    • Word processor
    Step 1

    Choose a movie that is appropriate for the assignment if you have not been asked to review a specific movie. A movie review assignment may allow you leeway to review a movie that is not considered appropriate for publication. Inquire with your teacher as to your choice of movie, but keep in mind that the bulk of the student body will be too young to attend a movie rated above PG-13 without parental supervision and so you may be reviewing a movie that most students have not seen or will not see as a result of your review.

    Step 2

    Introduce the movie by title and mention any stars or the name of the director if famous. Insert into the opening paragraph a thesis or overriding topic of your review. Instead of telling your readers that the movie is really great or simply awful, highlight one of the best or worst aspects of the film. Choose a highlight like innovative special effects, an actor's performance that dominates the movie, a lack of logic in the plotline or some other aspect that sticks out.

    Step 3

    Avoid relating the entire plot of the movie in your review. Do not turn the review into a synopsis of the film. Insert a SPOILER ALERT above a paragraph that reveals a surprise plot turn if you cannot adequately relate the essence of the movie's plot without the revelation. Try to find ways to avoid any spoilers while still getting the point of your review across.

    Step 4

    Address the film in the context of its genre. Become aware of what audiences generally tend to expect from a science fiction epic, a romantic comedy or a tearjerker drama. Inform yourself about the conventions and clichés associated with specific movie genres so that you can recognize and relate to your readers such examples as how the science fiction movie breaks new ground in special effects or how the romantic comedy is little more than a collection of the most obvious clichés associated with that genre.

    Step 5

    Analyze all the components that make up a good or bad movie and provide insight into how these components are addressed in the movie you are reviewing. For example, state that the acting is very good, but the storyline presents nothing new or interesting; use examples to show how the direction of the movie is creative, but not enough to fill in gaping plot holes.

    Step 6

    Conclude with your recommendation to see the movie or not, giving specific reasons as to whether it is worth the price of admission.

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    Tip

    • Bring along a pad and pen to make notes as you watch the movie so that you don't forget important elements.

    About the Author

    Timothy Sexton is an award-winning author who started writing in 1994. He has written on topics ranging from politics and golf to nutrition and travel, and his work appears online for Zappos.com, Disaboom and MOJO, among others. He has also done work for "Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of West Florida.

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