Movie Essay Reviews

Content of this article

  1. Movie review writing guide
  2. Forrest Gump analysis (example)
  3. Review structure
  4. Polishing
  5. More examples
  6. Movie related essay samples

1. Movie Review Writing

A lot of people like movies and films. These things add thrill and imaginations to our lives. This, therefore, makes us come to the conclusion that a movie is worth a review if it has been watched. Everyone has a different opinion on the movies they watch – the ratings can range from being great to good or even bad. Thought there are an increasing number of movie sites available on the Internet (some of which are authoritative, others less so (more below)), movie reviews and reviewers are still very much in demand for their own unique takes on a movie. The different types of reviewers can offer different types of writing, which is something that is good in a market which is rapidly becoming over-saturated. Everyone can review a movie, but there are still some differences between the reviewing done by experts, and reviewing done by amateurs – the amateurs are not usually focused on the minutiae of the film in the same way, and are instead focused more on the general ideas presented.

The primary purpose of movie review writing is to give the reader a rough idea of what the movie is about. The movie review greatly determines if an individual wants to watch the movie or not. This type of writing should, therefore, be detailed enough to assist the reader in making an honest decision. As much as the review is based on elaborating the movie review outline, it should not give away the plot of the movie or the surprises that make the movie enjoyable. Opinions on a movie need to be stated clearly, good or bad. If the review is to be brief, stars and scores can also be used to express the reviewer’s thoughts. A good writer should, therefore, have the basic knowledge of how to write a movie review.

Examples include:

  • Great movie: Almost Christmas is a movie that has balanced all its features to make a great movie. All the characters fit their roles and make the plot come to life. The costumes and the soundtracks are a plus as they enhance the emotions and feelings of every story line. Almost Christmas is, therefore, a movie worth watching.
  • Good movieLondon has Fallen is an okay movie. The graphics were on point as well as the sound effects. The cast, however, I felt weren’t up to the task, and did not bring out the feel of the movie. The actors, therefore, led to what was otherwise quite a good time-killing movie (if not a good movie overall) being let down. Additionally, the plot was difficult to comprehend.
  • Bad movieNo matter how much you watch Central Intelligence, you can’t get a hold of the movie. The stunts are overrated, and the storyline is off, making the movie boring. The movie is a definite no, and not even worth spending time watching when there is nothing else to watch on TV. Definitely a flop.

2. Complete analysis (Forrest Gump)

  • Plot analysis: the movie falls in the genre of modern fiction (modern history is generally considered to stretch from the fifteenth century up, although this category is further divided into early modern (1500s to 1700s) and late modern (1700s to present), with Tom Hanks playing the role of Forrest Gump. His character moves through history and survives all the hardships with decency and honesty.
  • Soundtrack analysis: the soundtrack reflects the mood that was popular at the time, which, in turn, creates urgency. The songs are great hits and are appropriate for children to listen to as well. The soundtrack helps to illustrate the transitions of the film’s locations – from warm and safe territory to a more hostile borders. For instance, the song by Fleetwood (Go Your Way) is used to illustrate how Forrest is joined by his friends in his journey. The soundtrack is an integral part of the movie experience, as it brings an emotional centre-point to the move by helping people to better understand just how high the stakes are in certain scenes. The soundtrack is also to convey the terrifying nature of the war scenes, thus helping the movie to pack even more of an emotional punch.
  • Atmosphere: later on in the movie, the atmosphere changes – the troops go out on patrol and are far away from their bases which are safe. The atmosphere becomes tense, and at the same time captivating. Having the atmosphere change throughout a movie emphasises that what is happening is actually serious and will have consequences, and the movie Forrest Gump is no different. If the atmosphere is incorrect, then, the movie will not feel so real to the people who are watching it. the movie starts with the atmosphere of the beach party. Music is playing in the background, and people are enjoying barbecue and playing cards. The troops are not left behind as they are seen loading crates of beers in their trucks.
  • The main idea of the film: The main idea portrayed in Forrest Gump is that life is filled with unknown surprises. This is substantially illustrated by Forrest Gump himself, who is just a country boy with learning difficulties. Forrest, however, does not let this obstacle define him, and goes to great lengths to be a relevant person in history. The film, while containing some darkness and violence due to the war and its aftermath, is therefore an uplifting and invigorating film, as it shows how people can prevail against all odds, and even thrive. A film needs to have one (or possibly two, though more is of course harder to maintain) main idea if it is to remain coherent throughout.
  • Actors play analysis: Tom Hanks fits the role perfectly as he manages to express the love for the country. He portrays the feelings of sadness and comedy at the same time. Forrest, therefore, makes the movie interesting. Tom Hanks is a strong actor, and it is mainly due to his efforts as the lead which make the film as powerful and memorable as it is.

3. Review structure

The structure of a movie review follows the basic steps of the introduction, the body (analysis), the recommendation and the movie review conclusion. A movie review writing guide gives the writer instructions on how to write a movie review. The movie review structure is as follows.

3.1 The introduction

A movie review should open up with an introduction. The introduction is the most appealing way of how to start a movie review, and contains the summary of the movie and opinion that will be stated. Movie review writing hooks give the readers a general feel of what will be illustrated in the review. The introduction for a movie review has to be appealing, so that the reader can get the feel of wanting to read more.

Give a brief illustration of what will be discussed in the review and then proceed to the thesis. Ensure that the thesis is original and at the same time based on the analysis. The thesis for a movie review should be compelling and reflect on a contemporary issue, while the argument should go beyond the plot and straight to the film criticism. Illustrate both the message of the movie and how the film connects to an individual.  The thesis paragraph can be followed up with a short summary plot. The section will also give an overview of what will be contained in the body.

3.2 Body paragraphs (analysis)

The analysis covers the fails and accomplishments within the movie, and also gives the writer a chance to express their feelings towards it. The cinematography, acting, the setting, and soundtrack can also be discussed in this section. Ensure that the writing is smooth and easy to comprehend. For the review to seem realistic and professional, present facts and opinions in the same page, and try to use examples that are descriptive in order to bring the plot to life. Dialogue snippets can and should be quoted to give the review snappiness. You can add a few movie review tips such as giving the language used some personality, in order to create a style which will reflect a unique perspective to entertain the reader.

3.3 Recommendation

A movie review structure can also have a recommendation. The recommendation gives the writers a chance to commend the film and decide if it’s worth the money.

3.4 Conclusion

The conclusion for a movie review should be in a position to be tied up with the thesis. The conclusion should also offer guidance of whether to watch the film or not. There are a number of ways of how to end a movie review. However, the most effective style is to make it compelling and at the same time entertaining.

4. Polishing the review

The review is polished through editing. The final content should go hand in hand with the movie review draft. Fine tune the review to ensure it is in line with the thesis. Ensure that the content has enough examples to back up the claims. You should also proofread the review to eliminate any spelling mistakes and errors that can be avoided – movie review writing needs to be precise and free of errors. Finally, share the review with friends and family and see if it has an impact on their opinions of the movie.

5. More examples

5.1 Martian review

5.2 The Shawshank Redemption review

5.3 Star Trek review

5.4 Man of Steel review

More movie related essay samples

A son returns from war and doesn't want to get mixed up in the family business: organised crime. When his father is gunned down, however, he commits murder and is inextricably bound by ties of blood, heritage and "honour" to a course of vendetta and power ruthlessly maintained through fear. Eventually he inherits his father's mantle as syndicate big shot and family head, the film ending with a chilling shot of the door closing on his uncomprehending WASP wife as Michael Corleone receives the homage "Godfather".

It was the first event movie of the 70s, the one multitudes queued up to see, the one whose dialogue, characters and imagery instantly became ingrained in the collective consciousness. It made stars of Pacino and Caan, won Oscars for Picture, Screenplay and Brando, in a triumphant comeback. Shortly after its premiere in 1972 Variety reported, "The Godfather is an historic smash of unprecedented proportions". At the time the director, Francis Ford Coppola, was holed up in a hotel writing the screenplay for The Great Gatsby, a job he took to relieve his financial problems because he believed in his movie. He had only been given the film after a lengthy wish-list of veterans including Otto Preminger, Elia Kazan, Fred Zinnemann and Franklin Schaffner turned it down. He perked up when Frank Capra wrote to him, claiming it was, " Out of this world. I cheered inwardly at scene after scene."

People are still cheering scene after scene in one of the greatest American films ever made, and committing chunks of dialogue to memory — like the goons in TV's The Sopranos who adore Godfather impersonations and businessmen like Tom Hanks' bookseller in You've Got Mail who explains to Meg Ryan that The Godfather is the font of all wisdom for the modern man.

Not since Warner Brothers' crime cycle of the 30s had the underworld so captured the public imagination. Fingering the story's irresistability, Mario Puzo's best-selling novel was, the author considered modestly, "A great combination, the family story and a crime story. And also I made them out to be good guys except they committed murder once in a while". In adapting the book with Puzo, Coppola had a darker, ultimately more profound take: "I looked at it as the story of aking with three sons." It is pulp fiction turned into opera, an epic of gangster patriarchy, of family, of America itself. "I believe in America," are the first words in the film, spoken by the undertaker Bonasera, an immigrant proud of his assimilation and enrichment. But, he says, "for justice we must gotoDonCorleone." Puzo introduced the term godfather, now synonymous with crime family bosses. The words Mafia, Cosa Nostra, camorra and the like never occur in the film because Paramount producer Al Ruddy was paid a little visit by Joe Colombo, one of the heads of the real "five Families", and nervously promised the crime syndicate would be referred to in non-Italian terms.

Ironically real Mafiosi later embraced the film, paying assiduous court to its principals to this day and affecting the language and style of Vito, Michael, Sonny, their lieutenants and soldiers. Original protests by Italian-Americans who deplored being defamed en masse (the Sons Of Italy, The Italian-American Anti-Defamation League and its champion Frank Sinatra, who raised funds to campaign against the film) have been overshadowed ever since the film's release by its popularity within that same ethnic group. Italian immigrants' descendants, whose assimilation and Americanisation has been complete, view with nostalgic yearning the Corleone clan happily pounding down their pasta together, celebrating and sorrowing together at the weddings, the baptism, and the inevitable funeral. Such anecdotes, the legends (Brando did wo? stuff his cheeks with cotton, but had resin blobs clipped to his back teeth; Sinatra, universally believed to be the model for crooner Johnny Fontane, did attack Puzo in a restaurant, calling him a "stool-pigeon"), the footnotes (the baby being baptised during the climactic murder binge is Coppola's infant daughter Sofia), and the postscripts (Brando sending "Satcheen Littlefeather" to reject his Oscar) are so abundant that there are volumes of Godfather lore and trivia. TV documentaries have been made of the actor's screen tests.

This landmark remains a masterly work, fully deserving of its reputation. Coppola can be credited with laying the groundwork of 70s cinema with his commanding technical engineering and his audacious, visceral and stately set-pieces (the horse's head in the bed, the slaughter of Sonny which Coppola acknowledges was inspired by Arthur Penn's climax to Bonnie And Clyde (1967), the interweaving of the sunny wedding party with Don Corleone's court indoors, the progress of Michael's respectful Sicilian courtship of Apollonia contrasted with Connie and Carlo's explosive domestic life, and, most unforgettably, the dazzling finale of assassinations —that will make Michael undisputed Godfather — carried out against the sacramental rites in which he assumes the role of godfather). But the film's finest qualities also reveal Coppola's fluency in the classics, from the superior pulp of the 30s, into 40s noir and social dramas. His authoritative grip on an ordered, fastidiously constructed narrative, Dean Tavoularis' richly detailed design, the weight given to a fabulous supporting ensemble (Robert Duvall, Richard Conte, John Cazale, Castellano, Alex Rocco et al.), Gordon Willis' striking cinematography, Nino Rota's beautifully melodic score.

The one enduring criticism of The Godfather is that it glorifies the Mafia, affection mingled with abhorrence in its expression of the acts and ethos of Vito Corleone and his extended criminal family. The identification — both Coppola's and the audience's —with Pacino's Michael is unreserved. And cold, ruthless, logical Michael is definitely not the "pretty good guy" it amused Puzo to characterise him as.

Time and two more pictures would highlight the despair and nihilism in The Godfather with its burden of sins accruing beyond redemption. The 1974 sequel, The Godfather, Part II (which took six Oscars including the only one for Best Picture ever awarded to a sequel) is arguably even more compelling in its elaboration of power's corruption into complete moral decay. 1990's flawed Part III sees Michael get his with Shakespearean finality, Heaven finding a way to kill his only joy. The Godfather continues to entice and entrance, however, for its emphatically mythic exploration of family, be it one cursed in blood and ambition.

An intricately constructed tapestry of narrative, emotion and the trials of a reluctant gangster.

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