How to Review a Film

Updated on April 13, 2016

What's in a review?

Good reviews always have some component of analysis. The critic's personal opinion plays a big part in this form of article, and the analysis comes from not the fact that something is good or bad, but why it's good or bad. If you think "Batman v. Superman" is atrocious, simply stating so won't get you very far. Why is is that way?

Reviews also tend to have some element of summary in them, to ground the audience. A total stranger should be able to walk into your review and know what type of movie you just watched, who are the main characters, and what is their struggle, before skimming over what elements of the film did/did not work.

Articulating Yourself

This is hard to do, for even experienced writers. Because film has so many elements to it (directing, photography, acting, etc.), some of which might not be worth explaining in further detail, it is your job to pick out what's important in the film, and explain why it's important in descending order of important. In journalism, we call this the inverted pyramid.

Not all elements of the film should be talked about in equal proportions, and this makes articulating yourself a precarious balancing act of what elements made the most impression on you.

 When reviewing "Good Dinosaur," it was imperative that I acknowledge the film's place in relation to films like it. Through doing this, I was able to communicate how special "Good Dinosaur" was.
When reviewing "Good Dinosaur," it was imperative that I acknowledge the film's place in relation to films like it. Through doing this, I was able to communicate how special "Good Dinosaur" was. | Source


Even if you hate a film, there are ways to appreciate it for what it is. To do so, you must remove your personal prejudices from the genre you're talking about and judge the film by its own standards, as established by codes and conventions of likewise films.

Journalism is never unbiased, but your job as a reviewer is to break down the film into its basic elements to see what works, what doesn't, and most importantly, to see if each elements works well in conjunction with each other to make a pleasurable whole.


It is important to base your criticism off of units of analysis, such as genre conventions and the language of cinematography, as there are absolute ways of shooting a good film, and making a film that works for the specific genre it belongs to. Individual scenes from the movie serve as your evidence that you can put into contrast with other films in the genre.

Be brutal only when necessary, as you will receive a backlash for being necessarily harsh towards a particular film. You might even lose your ethos (credibility) if your criticism gains a reputation for being unreasonable.

When reviewing a movie like "Allegiant," it is important to reference the other movies in the series.
When reviewing a movie like "Allegiant," it is important to reference the other movies in the series. | Source

Communicate your passion

If you chose to review film regularly, you obviously love it. Don't let your love blind you, but let it direct you. If a piece of cinema pleases you, analyze that pleasure and tell us why it pleases you. It just might please someone else in the same way.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • emge profile image

      MG Singh 

      4 years ago from Singapore

      Very interesting with useful tips. I shall keep these in mind when I write my reviews

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      4 years ago from PNW

      Very interesting. I've written reviews, but probably not very good ones. But I always try to remember Ebert's maxim about judging a film by its genre/intention. Can't judge Bourne and A Passage to India by the same standard or even Terminator. Great hub. Shared.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)