In cinema, film reviews hold a significant place, serving as a bridge between the film industry and viewers. They provide an analytical perspective that helps audiences decide what to watch and understand the nuances of a film. In this article, we will delve into the definition of a film review, its critical components, and shed light on some iconic film review writers who have significantly shaped the field.

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What is Film Review in Cinema?

First, let’s define film review

Film reviews hold a unique place in cinema acting as both promotional tools and critical analysis pieces. With the rise of platforms like Letterboxd and Rotten Tomatoes, they are becoming more relevant in the cinematic landscape.


What is a film review?

A film review is a type of critique that provides an evaluation of a film, encompassing various aspects such as the plot, themes, direction, script, and performances. Originating in the early 20th century with the advent of cinema, film reviews have evolved from mere opinion pieces in newspapers to a significant form of journalistic writing. The primary purpose of a film review is to inform the reader about the film and offer an informed opinion about its various elements. It serves as a guide for viewers, helping them decide whether the film is worth their time and money.

Criteria for Movie Review:

  • Overview of the Film
  • Analysis of the Plot and Themes
  • Evaluation of the Script, Direction, and Acting
  • Personal Opinion and Rating

Movie Review Format

Components of a Good Film Review

Film reviews are a blend of various vital components, each contributing to a comprehensive analysis. From evaluating performances and storytelling to dissecting technical aspects, a well-rounded review provides a holistic perspective. By examining these elements of a movie review format we can gain a deeper understanding of the film's impact and appreciate its artistic merit.

Overview of the Film

This includes a brief synopsis that sets the context without revealing any spoilers. The overview should pique the reader's interest and give them a sense of the film's storyline. Here is one of the greatest film critics, Roger Ebert, on what a film review should do. 

Roger Ebert What A Movie Review Should Do

Analysis of the Plot and Themes

This involves a deeper look into the narrative and the underlying themes of the film. It should explore the storyline's complexity, originality, and coherence.

Evaluation of the Script, Direction, and Acting

This component assesses the technical aspects of the film, such as the screenplay, cinematography, direction, music, and performances. It also includes an assessment of how these elements contribute to the overall impact of the film. 

This is much more popular with the rise of film criticism on YouTube in which film critics can simultaneously play and dissect a scene for an audience. In this video by Nerdwriter1, Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood is dissected visually in a way that would be difficult or at least less effective without a video component.

One Way To Deconstruct There Will Be Blood

Personal Opinion and Rating

This is where the reviewer shares their personal view and overall impression of the film. It often includes a rating system, which can help readers quickly gauge the reviewer's opinion.

A good film review strikes a balance between objective analysis and personal perspective. It is also important that the review uses engaging language and style to hold the reader's attention.

What is Film Review Important For?

Influence of Film Reviews

Film reviews have a significant impact on public opinion and can greatly influence the success of a film.  A positive review from a reputable critic can attract more viewers and increase the film's box office revenue. On the other hand, a negative review can dissuade audiences from watching the film.

Attracting Viewers

Positive reviews can generate buzz and attract a larger audience to the theaters. They serve as a powerful tool in building anticipation and interest among moviegoers. Take Rotten Tomatoes for example.

Many film goers opt to check the Rotten Tomatoes reviews of a film before they decide to watch or see it in cinema. 

While this can work well for some movies in attracting viewers, it can negatively impact other films. This is especially true with the way Rotten Tomatoes rating system works. For a great insight on to how the platform works and the possible problems with its ratings, check out the video below. 

The Problem With Rotten Tomatoes

Box Office Success

Positive reviews often contribute to a film's box office success. When critics praise a movie, it can lead to increased ticket sales and financial profitability for the filmmakers.

Influence on Perception

Reviews shape how people perceive a film. Positive reviews create a positive perception, making viewers more likely to give the movie a chance. On the other hand, negative reviews can deter potential viewers and impact the film's overall reception.

Critical Acclaim

When a film receives critical acclaim from respected reviewers and publications, it can achieve iconic status. This recognition elevates the film's reputation and can lead to long-lasting popularity and cultural significance.

What is a Film Review Parasite’s Historic Oscar Wins in StudioBinder

Parasite’s Historic Oscar Wins in 2020

Film reviews hold considerable sway in the film industry. They not only impact the number of viewers but also shape how a film is perceived and remembered.

Movie Review Example and Writers

Iconic film review writers

The field of film criticism has been significantly influenced by several notable writers who have left a lasting impact on the industry. These writers, through their insightful analyses and thought-provoking perspectives, have shaped the way we perceive and appreciate films.

Their contributions have not only elevated the art of film criticism but have also enriched our understanding of cinema as a whole. 

Roger Ebert

Known for his acerbic wit and insightful commentaries, Ebert was one of the most influential film critics. His reviews, published in the Chicago Sun-Times for over four decades, were known for their accessible writing style and keen observations.

Pauline Kael

Writing for The New Yorker, Kael was known for her passionate and provocative reviews. She championed many underappreciated films and filmmakers, influencing public opinion and the course of American cinema.

Pauline Kael on Criticism

Andrew Sarris

A leading proponent of the auteur theory in America, Sarris's writings in The Village Voice and The New York Observer have had a profound impact on the way films are analyzed and appreciated.

Leonard Maltin

Renowned for his annual publication, "Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide," Maltin's reviews are known for their succinctness and precision. His work has guided generations of moviegoers.

What is a Film Review Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide StudioBinder

Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide

These critics, with their unique perspectives and styles, have made enduring contributions to film criticism, influencing not just audiences but filmmakers as well.

Film reviews, like the movies themselves, are a form of art. They capture the essence of a film, dissect it, and present it to the audience in a refined form. With their insightful analysis, they help us, the viewers, to better understand and appreciate cinema. 

Remember, a review is not meant to replace or reflect your own judgment of a film but to complement and deepen your viewing pleasure. So, read, watch, and form your own judgment — because nothing compares to your own cinematic experience.

Up Next

How Does Rotten Tomatoes Work?

As we delve deeper into the world of film reviews and their unique influence, let's turn our attention to a specific and influential platform. In the next article, we explore the intricacies of the Rotten Tomatoes ratings system.

Up Next: Rotten Tomatoes Explained →
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  • Kyle DeGuzman graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science in Television, Film, & New Media. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado spending his time writing, filmmaking, and traveling.

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