People read reviews for different reasons. For instance, students may need to read a review to help them complete an assignment or gain perspective on a particular material's content. Similarly, individuals read reviews to determine the kind of experience that certain material gives to its audience. For instance, a reader may research a book review to determine whether or not the book is worth reading. The same case goes for a film or movie. This article will include the steps for writing book reviews and movie reviews.   

A review is essentially a piece of writing that highlights a reader's opinion on a book or review. The review might contain all aspects that the audience loved, disliked but, most importantly, tell a stand on whether they might love to hear more from the author or not. 

Reviews are a part of several studies, and instructors are keen on how students analyze a book or movie. 

Book Review

The steps for writing a book review are the same whether the review is for academic purposes or leisure. Writing a review aims to communicate a book's content in a helpful and informative way. The following steps are essential when writing a book review: 

Step 1: Read the Book

The only way to write an excellent book review is actually to read a book. Book summaries and book reports do not count in this case. This is because the information they contain is not detailed enough. Additionally, these sources are written from another individual's perspective, and a book review aims to write what you have understood. You may read a book report and end up disliking the book simply because the author makes negative comments about it. Remember to take down the main/important points while reading. 

Step 2: Create a Draft

Once you have read the book, you need to write down a draft using the points you took down. The draft will help you gauge your understanding and help you assess the extent to which you enjoyed the book. It should be written in continuous prose and should follow the format of the actual book review. 

Step 3: Title

The title of a book review comprises the name of the book and that of the author. An example of a book review title is THE HOST BY STEPHANIE MEYER - A REVIEW. Note that the title should be in capital letters. 

Step 3: Introduction  

Start by giving out more details about the book, such as the year of publication and any other general information relevant to the book. You may consider briefly mentioning other books published by the author and whether you have read any. You may also let your readers know how or why you decided to read the book and whether you have read any other books by the same author. 

Step 4: Book Summary 

A book summary discusses the main themes, the characters, and the plot of the story. The book is bound to have more than one central theme, so it is best to discuss all of them. For instance, a book whose central theme is love could also include other main themes like Loss, Pain, Forgiveness, or deception. On the other hand, the characters in the story are central to understanding the book better. Consider letting your reader(s) know the personalities assigned to each of the characters. For instance, if you feel like one or more characters were villainous, you should explain why. What did the character do to make you think that? More so, you should comment on how effective the character roles are in delivering the intended message. The general plot should also be discussed in the book summary. Here you should include more comments about the book. What about the story interested you and what did not? Which character was your favorite? What emotions did you experience reading the book? Did the story make you want to put down the book, or did you lose sight of other things because of it? How does the book compare to any other you have read? If it is a sequel, analyze how well it flows. Does it feel like a continuation of the previous book or like an entirely independent one? 

Step 5: Conclusion 

The conclusion includes your overall judgment about the book. If you liked or disliked it, state your reasons. If you were the author, what would you have done differently and why? Was the ending what you expected? Would you recommend the book to anyone? Is the book meant for just anyone, or is there a particular audience? 

Movie Review

  1. Like a book review, the first step to writing a movie review is watching the movie in question. When watching a movie, its response will mostly depend on one's life experiences and beliefs. In that regard, what I love may not be what my close family members will love or what my friends will like. 

  2. After watching the movie, the next step is to write the review that best suits your view. If you enjoyed the movie, then the review will most likely be positive and vice versa. 

  3. Start the review by giving a general view of the movie. Assume that someone who has not watched the movie is reading your review, and you'd like them to get your perspective correctly. 

  4. After the general overview, highlight the parts you loved, disliked, and how the movie can be improved in future films. 

  5. The last part of the review should be the writer's perspective. How well did you like the movie? Was it as per your expectation? Would you recommend it to your friends? And so on. 

Tips for Writing an Excellent Movie Review

  • Watch the movie

The key to writing a good movie review is the same as a book review: watch the actual movie from beginning to end. This will give you a better understanding of the plot, the characters, and any other important thing you may need to discuss in your review. 

By watching the movie, you will have a better understanding of all actions that take place. Watching a movie's summary may not be the best option in evaluating a movie, as you might end up missing the better parts of the film. 

  • Create an Outline Before Writing the Actual Review 

An outline is always important when writing a movie review. It should include the main points you intend to address. The importance of an outline is that it helps you decide which points are worth having and what content is insignificant.   

Reviews should be done like other essay writing exercises where a student/writer takes their time to create an outline of how the final product will look. People depend on reviews to invest their time and effort in movies. An honest and well-written review would work so well in this case. 

  • Express Your Opinion from the Start 

A movie review is just that – a review. Do not make your reader(s) wait till the end (or skip to the end) to find out how you feel about the movie. Instead, express your opinion from the very beginning so that you can dedicate the rest of your review to supporting your views and thoughts. 

As much as the review will start with a general overview/summary of the movie, it is important to let readers know what you think or might give a clue of what you feel. 

  • Do Not State the Obvious 

Your review should not focus on the plot alone, as that can be pretty monotonous. Instead, comment on your chosen film's tone, acting, music and sound, and cinematography. Different audiences watch films for different seasons. For instance, one individual may be appealed to by a movie's music and sound while another may watch the film because of the intriguing acting. 

An obvious review is simply stating that You Loved the movie without giving any supporting reasons. Explain to a reader why you loved the movie. What were the most exciting parts of the film, and what made these parts most interesting? What did you dislike, and why did you take that stand? 

  • Highlight the Elements of the Movie According to your Audience

As mentioned above, each audience is different. The elements that interest teenagers in movies differ significantly from the ones that fascinate young adults. Therefore, your movie review's form should be guided by your intended audience. For a general audience, it would be wise to include all the elements.  

  • Don't Include Any Spoilers

It would help if you avoided spoilers at all costs. The purpose of a movie review is to help your audience decide whether or not they would like to watch the movie. Giving spoilers ruins the movie for them regardless of whether it is good or bad. 

Give a summary, not the whole plot of the movie. I am sure that you have seen reviews on many websites such as IMDB. You can see a movie's rating from the website that will tell you whether many people love the movie or not. That is a review but uses a rating style. Regardless, it is a tool that gives a reader critical information on a movie. There is a voice in people's ratings. 

  • Comment on the Directing, Cinematography, and Style 

Your ability to review a movie efficiently also determines the likelihood of your audience watching it or being intrigued by your review. To better showcase, your capabilities, make a point of applauding or condemning the directing, the cinematography, and the dressing style, among other things. Do not forget to provide evidence to back your applause or criticism. Do the characters' dressing match the setting? Is the scripting and directing flawless or not? What was surprising, and what did not meet your expectations?  

  • Mention Popular Seasoned Actors and Actresses to Pique Reader's Interest

Talk about famous actors and actresses in the movie that you think may interest your audience. Talk about their roles in the movie and rate their performance. You may also comment on whether their role in the movie is contradictory to their other film roles. For instance, if the particular actor/actress commonly plays heroic roles in other films, it may interest your audience to discover that his role in the specific movie is villainous. 

Book and Movie Review Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Referring to yourself in the first person – a review represents your own idea about the particular content. This means that the audience already knows that you are giving your personal opinion as opposed to the general experience. Thus, you need not keep referring to yourself in the first person. 

  2. Unstructured review – a review should always have structure beginning with an introduction and ending with a critique. The body of the review comprises a summary of either the book or movie in question, which includes your thoughts and opinions about the plot, characters, and other elements. 

  3. General comments – your review should be personalized, meaning that it should be clear that you have read or watched the respective content without you saying it. That being said, general comments like a great movie, cool actors, and an awesome book should be minimal.

  4. Unsupported comments/opinions – your opinions should be followed by an explanation. If you say that the movie is average, you must provide an explanation why. You may also feel that the characters' dressing styles in a movie do not match the setting. It is not enough to just air your opinions without explaining why you think so in such a scenario. 

  5. Failing to focus on the film/book – a film/book review aims to review their respective elements. Unnecessary details such as definitions, the history of the specific genre, or the many writers that have adopted similar writing styles are irrelevant. 

  6. Stating assumptions – the book/movie review should be based on facts. You may state your opinion about a character's behavior, but you should avoid including false details about them. 

Books and movie reviews are categorized as academic pieces. They, therefore, have a format. 

The first paragraph should always state the thesis of the essay/main argument. The rest of the sections will, later on, address the contents of a review by answering the critical review questions. 

  1. The book /movie's topic. 

  2. How the author/actors structure their arguments and how they support their themes. 

  3. How the book/movie has helped you understand the themes highlighted.