How to write a review of a play, movie or book?

reviewWhat is a review?

A review is a small critical work of journalistic orientation, which contains brief but enough for understanding information. Also, the author’s analysis and certain conclusions. In other words, it is in itself a complete work of a certain genre.
Do not confuse a review with a simple description, with a brief retelling, adaptation, a pamphlet and so on. These are separate genres. Also, we will not touch on such an area as a review of a scientific work. This is one of the types of academic and scientific activities. We will talk about such a specific type of activity as a review of a feature film or theatrical performance.

How and why write a review

To understand “how?” It would be nice to start with the question “why?” What we want to achieve by writing a review. Share with the audience our impression of an article, book, film or play, try to analyze and understand the author’s intention. Give an aim (or, on the contrary, the most subjective assessment). convey the facts and information we know. And now the algorithm for writing a future review will depend on the answers to these questions. Its future outline and storyline will begin to emerge in front of us. A correct understanding of the ultimate goal is one of the prerequisites for writing a successful review.


Any meaningful text must appear correctlyYou can’t make it look like a disorderly stream of thoughts, reminiscent of a river overflowing its banks. The structure and ordering will allow the reader to better navigate the text. The author himself will be given some “anchors” and control points so that he does not “get lost” in his own opus. Intelligently designed and correctly organized text is better perceived and remembered. It does not force the reader to independently highlight logical blocks. It makes it possible to focus on the essence of what is being said. In general, a well-structured review is one of the signs of the author’s respect for the reader.

Objectivity of a review

Perhaps the weakest and “sorest” place is in the review of works of art in general. Also, in the field of cinema and theater, in particular. Absolute objectivity is unattainable in principle. This is because we cannot separate the personality of the author from his work. Moreover, writing a review provides for the author’s analysis of the work and its assessment. Yet, objectivity is something to strive for if you want to write a good review. First of all, one should avoid being categorical in assessments. One should not allow oneself to make categorical judgments and superficial conclusions. We must give food for thought, and not impose ready-made formulations. As well as not stuff anyone with formulaic judgments and stereotypes.


A quality review is primarily information. One needs reasoning and analysis. But first it would be good to educate the audience about what it is about, to give it some facts. To acquaint with the essence and plot of the work. It is not worth slipping into the form of direct retelling. But we must sketch a picture for understanding. Informativeness is not only factual and the transmission of the main plot moves. But also the ability to share secondary information that may elude the audience. Moreover simply be unfamiliar to it.

The reader should have interest on the review

This is an indispensable condition for the success of any kind of creativity in general. And not reviews. We write not to pour out our thoughts on paper. But to enter into a dialogue with the reader, to lead him and he should want to follow us. The narration should be lively and non-trivial. It should not be overloaded with unnecessary cumbersome metaphors. Also, excessive sarcasm and inappropriate humor. Although humor must be present without a doubt. Otherwise, we risk causing the reader to dislocate the jaw from yawning. So, we must not forget that we are writing a review of this or that work. And not creating an independent one, which will have little to do with the original. Unfortunately, many even quite famous authors are guilty of this.


The secret to writing a good review is simple enough. Understand what you write, why, what audience you are targeting, what idea you want to convey to it. Tidy up both the text and your own thoughts. Try to be as objective as possible, drop bias and unnecessary emotions. Share the information that you own, do not “drown” it in reasoning. Be interesting and non-trivial, try to captivate and interest. There is no universal recipe for how to write a good review. And there cannot be, but I hope that our advice will be able to help many.
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