A movie review is a document that provides critical commentary on a film. Movie reviews are commonly found in popular media, so it is likely that students who are called on to write a movie review can find many existing examples. However, it is likely that in a college class, a movie review will be assigned to assess a particular film that relates to the subject matter of the class. Therefore, a movie review written for a college class will be somewhat different from a movie review published in the local paper in that it must comment specifically on the ways in which the film comments on, informs about, or explores particular themes and subject matter that relate to the class.

A movie review should begin by announcing the full title of the film, the film director, the film's primary actors, and the film's genre. The genre is the type of film it is. For instance, some films are documentaries. Others are historical films. Others are romantic comedies.

After this introductory information has been presented, the movie review should provide a synopsis of the action. A synopsis is the same as a summary. The synopsis should outline the major events of the film, identifying the primary characters, themes, plot, and subplots. Unless otherwise specified by the instructor, however, movie reviews must avoid giving away the film's ending. The synopsis should provide a thorough understanding of the film's action, but not give an indication of how the film resolves that action.

After the synopsis, the movie review should critically assess the film. The critical assessment should be the longest part of the movie review—roughly 2/3 the length of the entire document. It should discuss various aspects of the film's content and presentation. For instance, if the film were a historical film, the movie review would comment on the content by assessing how historically accurate the film is and how well the film expresses its themes. In terms of presentation, the movie review would discuss the quality of acting, the cinematography, the directorial choices of mood and scene, the soundtrack, and any other element of the way the film looks or sounds.

The point of a movie review is not to provide an individual's personal likes and dislikes, but rather a critical assessment Movie reviews should therefore avoid the use of the first-person voice. This means that the identity of the writer ("I") should not figure into the text.

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