Write a Movie Review

7 Movie Review Writing Mistakes a Film Critic Should Avoid

Movie Review Writing Mistakes perpetrated by a Film Critic happen, both on the professional and amateur level, all the time. These movie review writing mistakes are sneaky, slipping into perfectly good movie reviews, corrupting them. Lately I have read movie reviews that were absolutely appalling, rancid. I have noted the plethora of mistakes these reviewers made, a movie review writing pitfalls list you, as a film critic or a would-be film critic, should avoid and why you should avoid them.

Robert Pattinson, Why Not? Chalkboard

Robert Pattinson, Why Not? Chalkboard

Avoid these Mistakes

1. Writing a review for a film you are not passionate about, either in favor of the film or against it.

Why?: Your review will not have a heartbeat and will be superficial.

2. Talking about irrelevancies: your experience in the movie theater, driving there, the people you saw it with , etc.

Why?: Nobody cares. That has nothing to do with the film. You are most-likely not Harry Knowles, a zealot of this type of movie review writing. You are better off sending those experiences to: Who Gives a Fig Quarterly. Concentrate on the themes in the film.

3. No structure.

Why?: Who wants to read a sloppy movie review where the film critic’s ideas are all over the place with no cohesion?

4. Generalities e.g. Great acting, funny, wow, cool effects. You and the family will have fun. It was bad.

Why?: If nothing specific sticks out in your mind positively or negatively about the film, nothing that you can cite in your  movie review, the likihood the film had an impact on you and will have an effect on your readers is minute.

5. A movie review conclusion with no support.

Why?: An unsupported movie review conclusion means your movie review hypothesis and its body (everything that came before the conclusion) has no bolstering, no facts in its favor. If you have no facts to back up your hypothesis, your conclusion can be written off as unfounded or even worse, fallacious. I previously wrote about movie review conclusions here: How to Write a Movie Review.

6. Not rating the film on a scale.

Why?: Its the simpliest way to get your opinion across about a film. Its visual and easily understandable. Do not leave it out of your movie reviews’ conclusion.

7. Writing a review to meet a pre-determined word length with no substance.

Why?: If your mandate is to write a five to six hundred word review and you write a review filled with fluff (film synopsis *Lol*, theater experiences, no structure, weak conclusion), no one will come back to read your next review or subscribe to your RSS Feed.

An example of What “not” to Avoid

Here is an example of a film review that avoids these 7 Movie Review Writing Mistakes: Black Swan (2010) Movie Review. You will find no film synopsis in this movie review, no generalities, no fluff, no banal movie theater observations, a film rating, and most of all, passion about the film.

Advice

If you are not getting paid as a film critic to write a movie review, why review a film you are ambivalent towards? Its a waste of your time and your lack of passion will come through in your writing. Spare yourself and your audience.

Remember your Purpose

The purpose of film criticism “is the analysis and evaluation of films, individually and collectively…a way to assess the artistic merit and public appeal of a movie. Filmgoers use reviews to help them determine whether to view a particular film.”

Source: Wikipedia

About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started ProMovieBlogger to educate others on what he had learned through trial and error. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook (http://film-book.com), he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He also created and runs Trending Awards.com.

  • So your sites title should really be "Pro Movie Critic." Not everyone looks for a well thought out, well written, drab analysis of a film. Some people prefer the casual format. While there are still mistakes, it's just part of the blogosphere.

    Sure, I am probably in the minority, but I would rather read the person rambling about a film, than the research paper, I'm better than you style review. Just my 2 cents.

    • "So your sites title should really be 'Pro Movie Critic.'"

      Lol. Definitely not.

      "a well thought out, well written" film review or analysis does not have to be drab and is not inherently drab. It all comes down to the writer, their individual style, and the tastes of his or her audience.

      I prefer the casual format to decide whether or not to see a film but I love when a reviewer digs into the film (ex. Inception) and brings the sub-text to the surface. That is why I write so few movie reviews. Digging into the film takes time, patience, devotion, prep, and research time.

      Just because you research a film review and are thorough does not make it a research paper. Fact-checking your review is a good thing. You want to be accurate.

      The Blogosphere is a rich tapestry of reviews, critics, and ideas. There is no right or wrong method to do something (unless we are talking about a paid job that comes with precepts and guidelines). What I presented are things you might want to avoid, things that could potentially de-value your review.

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