How to Write an Academic Movie Review

Academic movie reviews should be written from an objective viewpoint.

A general movie review can have elements of the writer’s personal tastes when describing the entertainment value of the movie. However, when the movie review is an academic review, the subject of the review is not entertainment value. While an academic movie review can touch on several subjects, the main thrust is describing the elements of the movie and how these elements tie into the movie’s theme.

Write an introductory paragraph that lists the name of the movie and the director. Provide your thesis statement, which is a statement that reflects what the movie was about and how the director attempted to portray the theme. You may have to view the movie several times in order to understand the deeper meanings of some of the film’s symbolism. Use a notebook and pen to take notes during the movie.

Discuss different elements of the film and how these elements provide evidence that supports your thesis statement. Some of the elements that can be discussed are plot development, tone, setting and cinematography. For example, if the director uses a lot of close-up shots, she may be stressing personal decision-making.

Add background research to support your thesis statement. The movie should be discussed in the context of the director’s overall work. This may involve a discussion of world events, because movies often reflect social issues of the day. For example, the subject of the Civil War should be discussed in an academic movie review of “Gone With The Wind.”

Summarize the points that you raised in your review and how all of them support your thesis statement. End the report by restating your thesis statement.

Add a bibliography if you used any research material in writing your academic movie review.

Proofread your work.

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Doug Hewitt has been writing for over 20 years and has a Master of Arts from University of North Carolina-Greensboro. He authored the book "The Practical Guide to Weekend Parenting," which includes health and fitness hints for parents. He and his wife, Robin, are coauthors of the "Free College Resource Book."