How to Write a Critical Review of a Movie in APA

Writing a movie critique in APA style takes concentration.

Writing a movie critique gives you the opportunity to explain why a movie was done well or poorly. A critique not only can hone your writing skills but also boost your critical thinking and information gathering skills as well. APA style, or American Psychological Association style, is one of the most commonly accepted formats for writing these types of papers and is preferred in many of the social sciences.

Watch the movie on which you want to write a critical review in APA style. As you view the film, take notes of the various characters in the film and any special effects used. If the movie is based on real people and events, research this information in books at your local library or in online articles.

Write the introduction to your movie critique. Mention the name of the film, director, producer, top two or three stars and release date. Explain the purpose, or theme, of the film.

Indent the first line of the first paragraph and the first line of each subsequent paragraph in your critique half an inch from the left margin, according to APA style. Also, place just one space after each period, and do not put a space on either side of any dashes or hyphens.

Retell the movie’s plot in about five to eight sentences. Introduce the characters, including the protagonist -- the main character -- and the antagonist -- the person against which the protagonist is fighting. Explain what happens in the movie. Be succinct but give enough details so your readers will have a good idea of the storyline. Explain to your readers the purpose of your critique -- to show that the hero really is not a hero or that the storyline is good but the cinematography was poor, for example.

Explain why you felt the film was particularly good or missed the mark. This will be the body of your movie critique. For example, if the cinematography was poor, describe how the filmmaker inadequately used color, light, texture, time, space or camera angles to produce the atmosphere or mood of the movie’s storyline. Describe how the filmmaker could have developed the main character better if you felt the protagonist was not strong.

If the movie was based on reality, compare the film with the information you researched and mention whether the filmmaker treated the events and settings with historical accuracy. Explain whether the movie reached a logical climax and resolution or if the plot was too fast or too slow. Describe what would have made the film better. The body of the critique should be about two to three paragraphs.

Cite any outside sources in your critique by italicizing or underlining the titles of longer works and putting quotation marks around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles.

Write the conclusion paragraph to your movie critique. Mention whether you would recommend the movie to a friend and what you gained or lost by viewing the movie.

Go over your movie critique for spelling and grammar errors. Double-space your movie review according to APA guidelines, and be sure your word processing document has 1-inch margins. Keep the font size at 10 to 12 and the font in Times New Roman. Place page numbers flush right at the top of every page.

YaShekia King, of Indianapolis, began writing professionally in 2003. Her work has appeared in several publications including the "South Bend Tribune" and "Clouds Across the Stars," an international book. She also is a licensed Realtor and clinical certified dental assistant. King holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ball State University.