When you watch a movie, your main goal is to enjoy it for its entertainment value. But sometimes you have to go beyond the surface and find deeper meaning to the story. We do not just mean providing a summary and conclusion as you would if you know how to write a movie review, we are talking about something more complex - writing a movie critique paper.

The process of movie review English writing involves focusing on the intentions of the filmmakers, understanding the purpose of the characters, and even doing some research to gain some background into the director or producer as a way of explaining their reasons for making the movie. Of course, you should also include a brief summary of the movie from the start all the way through the climax and conclusion, but only to provide some context for the reader. Ultimately, the purpose of writing a movie critique paper is to argue the merits of the movie based on evidence.


As you are watching a movie, it is important to rewind in order to thoroughly examine scenes and dialogue. Take notes over the main points of the movie. Also focus on both the acting as well as the purpose of the characters. Do they help enhance the enjoyment of the movie and drive the plot? Did the writers spend enough time on character development as it relates to the main characters? As you are critiquing, keep in mind that the lack of depth of a particular character isn’t always a flaw or does it mean they serve no purpose. In fact, there are cases in which a vaguely defined character’s only real task is to throw a few punches or act as a punch line. As long as it helps drive the movie, you could see these as both necessary and even positives.

Once you have watched the movie and identified all of the points that you want to critique, you should develop a main thesis that you intend to defend using evidence from the movie itself. In this way, a movie critique is very much a type of academic essay as it starts with an introduction paragraph, thesis statement, body paragraphs with topic sentences, and a conclusion discussing the broader implications of your critique.

Unlike a movie review, writing a movie critique paper is not intended to persuade the audience to see (or not see) a film that has recently been released. Indeed, the focus of a movie critique could very well be a film that came out decades ago. Aside from focusing on plot elements, you would discuss whether the movie has stood the test of time.

For instance, are there issues that remain relevant today? In hindsight, could you argue that contemporary responses to the movie were misguided? Or perhaps you might contend that a movie that was critically acclaimed when first released is not as good as was believed at the time. Whatever approach you choose, it is important that you remain consistent. For example, if you intend to argue that the movie serves as a groundbreaking example of art-house cinema, everything that you analyze - the filmmaker, the actors, the plot - should be examined within this context.

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If you are a student who has never had to write a movie critique, you might find it to be a challenge since it requires you to look at a movie in ways you might not have ever considered. Looking at a critique example or two might be a good way to get things started, but it can’t serve as a true model for your paper since the focus of your critique (as well as the movie that you are examining) are bound to be different. Here are three major difficulties that students have when trying to write a critique:

  • Challenge #1. Time. You have to sit down and watch a movie even when you have other obligations such as writing research papers and studying for tests. Sometimes you also have to go back and look at scenes several times in order to catch subtle things that you might not have noticed during the first viewing.
  • Challenge #2. Disinterest in the film. When you start watching a movie, you using make the decision based on the hope that you might find it entertaining. If you do, great! If not, you can just stop watching and look for an alternative. However, you do not get this luxury when critiquing a movie for a homework assignment. It could be the most boring movie in the world, but you still have to remain engaged.
  • Challenge #3. Lack of experience. Unlike professional writers, you probably have not written a whole lot of critique papers. As a result, you might not know what to look for. You will certainly struggle with the deep analysis that is required.

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