How to write a film review
- Credits. Include details of the director, screenplay writer, or producer. When explaining what the characters did, tell the reader who the actors were. Some people follow films because of who is starring in them or who directed it so these facts are important.
- Outline. What was the film about? Give the reader an overview of the story without giving too much away.
- Aesthetics. Was there a particular scene or piece of music in the film that you liked? Describe anything that made the film stand out. For example, a high adrenaline car chase.
- Opinion. As well as letting the reader know what the film is about you should tell them your thoughts on the film. BE AWARE of legal issues such as copyright (more on this later).
- Audience. Who would like this film? Men, women, young or old? Is it a film for people who love comedies or for action thrill seekers?
- And remember, HAVE FUN! Writing film reviews is great, not only do you get free tickets courtesy of Odeon (Freemans Common) but you’re contributing to the JITTY site.
Writing film reviews is a fantastic way to share your opinion with other people and it could potentially help someone decide whether a film is worth watching or not. There are no strict rules on what’s a good or bad review but there are key points which you can follow to make sure you include all the right details.
Here is a checklist to guide you when writing film reviews:
Libel is not something you will find very often in a film review, but you need to be aware of what it is and how to avoid it.
To make it easier to explain, let us first give you an example of a libellous comment.
“[Insert film name here] contained a scene in which a group of horses were put through their paces in perilous conditions. What they didn’t tell you, is that behind the scenes, some of the horses were actually killed in the making of the film.”
This comment would damn the director and the stunt team of the film as well as the production team and film studio. The repercussions of this could potentially mean that the director or production team find it hard to get backing for future projects, or that the studio itself comes under scrutiny for their film-making practises.
And for all of this, both you and The Jitty could be held responsible for your words.
Now, this is an extreme example, but it shows the damage that such a seemingly innocent comment can make.
This isn’t something you should ever have a problem with, but if you do have any questions with this issue, contact your section head who can advise you.
The use of images for review purposes is just as important as the text of the review.
When searching for images, it is always best to take a look at the official website of the film, to take images from there if at all possible.
However, wherever you happen to find an image, always make sure you credit the source, this way, you are referencing that the photo isn’t your own, and if the owner of the image should see it in use, and decides they don’t want it to be shown, they can contact a member of the admin team who will remove it.
NEVER take an image from somewhere and claim it as your own!
It’s fine to look at other reviews as a way to figure out how to structure your review and to take ideas, but never think that by copying and pasting a review and changing a few words, that this then allows you to claim the work as your own.
Copyright law (in the UK) states that once you have created a piece of work (be it text, art, video or anything), it becomes copyrighted to yourself, regardless of whether you state this fact or not in the article. Just because this is a UK law, it does not mean you have the right to go onto an American site and steal someone’s work just because it doesn’t have ‘Copyright Joe Bloggs’ at the bottom. Imagine how you would feel if you saw your own work somewhere on the internet with someone else’s name written across it.
What if I didn't like a film?
Even if you didn’t like the film, there’s sure to be something you can say about the film to construct a review, such as:
- Why didn’t you like it? Was the acting poor, was there little or no plot?
- What could be improved?
- Were there any saving graces?
For example: I watched Serenity when it came out in the cinemas. Having never seen Firefly, I hoped that there would be some back story to help me out, but there was nothing. The audience were expected to figure out the plot and the characters pretty much on their own. However, I found the film’s saving grace to be in its use of special effects.
Specific websites for the film in question can often be found by typing the name of the film into Google.
- imdb.com (Contains cast listings, trivia and memorable quotes)
- www.empireonline.com (A useful source for reading other film reviews to get an idea of how to structure your review).
If you have any problems, or want to sort out a film review, email Nade (firstname.lastname@example.org) or send her a PM on the forum (Bratpack).