How to write a movie review essay: an example with The Godfather

A movie review essay is a popular task in academia. If you study cinematography or anything related to movies, you know what we mean. The number of movie review essays is overwhelming. And on the one hand, it is understandable. The thing is, such assignments carry a set of goals.

First, through writing movie review papers, students improve their observation and critical thinking skills. They learn what to look at when watching a movie, how to evaluate it, and what moral it bears within the plot. 

On the other hand, though, writing movie review essays is nothing but a real pain in the neck. Why? Because you can’t enjoy the movie and turn off your brain on Friday evening. Well, you can pay for essay writing and keep watching a film without taking notes, pausing the movie, and googling stuff. But what’s the point of homework then if you don’t do it yourself, right? 

Don’t worry, we got your back. With this guide, you will not only find it easier to compose a review. You will also score the highest grade possible. So, let’s talk about writing a movie review essay based on The Godfather, shall we?

Learning the movie

Writing a good, comprehensive review requires completing several essential steps. And one of them touches upon research. Research plays a critical role in the quality of your review essay. Well-done research guarantees that your paper will end up coherent, informative, and insightful, and your readers will be entirely satisfied with the information they get. 

So, first things first, start with general, widely available sources and info presented there. Learn what the genre of a movie is, what its background is, who performs the leading roles. 

Speaking of The Godfather, it would be a crime film based on a story written by Mario Puzo. When it comes to the background, the novel became a full-fledged trilogy because of its cohesive story, striking plot, and the usual, harsh life of mobsters in the past. The movie entailed first-class, Hollywood-established actors like Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton, and many more. 

While finding general information is crucial, it isn’t enough to write a good movie review essay. You now need to dive deeper into the story and look for unknown information to the vast majority. Look for unpopular interviews, articles in local newspapers, and alike to learn as much as possible. 

Once you do that, make sure to go through the retrieved information and choose only the most eye-opening pieces of information you think the audience should know about. And remember: as much as it is essential to do research, it doesn’t have to take plenty of space in your paper. A short paragraph in the introduction will do it.

Watching the movie 

Finally, the moment has come. You are moving from tiresome writing into stretching out your legs, lying on a sofa, and enjoying the following 177 minutes. While that might be true for casual viewers, you are not one. You are a critic that should analyze the movie from A to Z. So grabbing a drink and crunching popcorn is a no-go. 

Instead, take a notebook and start watching the movie. Make sure you jot down anything you find important to know. You don’t necessarily need to try catching everything, as you will re-watch the movie. This way, you will be sure you haven’t missed anything paramount. 

Also, keep in mind that The Godfather (and similar movies) is a lengthy film containing three parts. And even assuming that you should watch only one part, it is emotion and thought-laden, so for the best result, take frequent breaks to restore your attention and efficiency.

Analyzing the recipient

Another vital aspect determining the success of your movie review essay is the audience. Without knowing what it’s like and what it expects of you, you are unlikely to produce a valuable piece. So, once you watch the movie, proceed to analyze your readers. Ask yourself:

  • What might they know about the film? Are they fans of The Godfather, or have they not watched it and now rely on my report? 
  • What questions can they ask me? What do they want to know?
  • What are their interests? Do they correlate with crime films, or is this genre not their cup of tea, and I need to convince them to watch the movie?

Answering them will help you build an exciting paper pertinent to the audience’s needs, expectations, and everyday language.

Expressing your thoughts (and being ready to back them up)

Whether it’s written by schoolers, students, or professional critics, every movie review essay should contain the author’s opinion. Such takes must be entirely objective, meaning the writer must provide references to a particular scene or outside source to back up the claim. 

 Suppose you find a specific scene that is very impressive and unique. In that case, make sure to state what the scene is and explain why it is so. You are also free to refer to other sources, provided they are reliable and updated. 

Capturing unique elements

Exclusivity is what makes a movie remembered by people. The Godfather is full of unique elements. And even though many know it, it is still important to point out the best attributes that have made the film legendary. 

For instance, pay close attention to the following components and ensure explaining their significance and uniqueness:

  • Cinematic techniques
  • Sound
  • Costumes
  • Decorations
  • Interactions
  • Light

Following the structure

Once you gather vital information, it’s time to draft your review. But before you kick off, learn the requirements regarding the structure you must follow. Academic institutions might have unique rules concerning the structure, so you would be better off knowing them in advance. If the requirements don’t state that, consider following this list:

  • Intro: In the opening, provide some background about the film. State the film’s title, the director, year, and primary actors. Unlike other essays, your movie review doesn’t need to have a thesis statement. But it should provide information on the analysis.
  • Summary: Keep the summary brief and breviloquent. Remember that many of your readers haven’t watched the movie, so don’t delve into details.
  • Plot analysis: Here, you analyze the plot and give the readers a general sense of the film. It would be best to say some words about descriptive elements, what emotions they evoke, and how successful they are.  
  • Creative items: State about unique components that make the movie one-of-a-kind. 
  • Reliable critique: Remember to establish credibility when voicing opinions. Include proof to let the readers know you are competent and responsible for what you’re saying.
  • Conclusion: The last section should remind the reader of your general thoughts and impressions of the movie. You can also explicitly or implicitly state whether you recommend the film. Either way, ensure stating why the movie is or isn’t worth watching. 
How to write a movie review essay: an example with The Godfather

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