How to Write a Movie Critique Essay

Critiquing a movie is both an art and science. A true movie critique essay is different than a "review" that you would leave in the comments section of a YouTube video. Writing a critique essay is a methodical analysis of the movie. In this guide, we will show you how to use JournalOwl to methodically break down your favorite movies and write a thoughtful critique essay.

BlogEducationHow to Write a Movie Critique Essay

Are you looking for an easy way to write a film critique essay? You’ve come to the right place! 

For starters, let’s make a distinction upfront between movie critiques and movie reviews. A review of a movie, although blurring the lines with a critique, is more subjective in nature. That is, it’s highly opinionated without facts to back up assertations in the review. The formula to review a movie isn’t very specific and the individual reviewing the movie will focus on where their emotions leads them that day. 

Whereas when an individual truly critiques a movie in essay format, there is a method to the madness (e.g., a structure) that ensures consistency and thoroughness. The overall aim is to provide the producer and/or creator of the movie with actionable advice on what could be changed to make future content better. 

Unfortunately, many people are intimidated with writing a true critique essay. Writing a quick opinion about a YouTube video in the comment section is easy. You narrow into a specific opinion, unleash it, and move on. And you might get a few replies about your review (opinion) in the comments – either agreeing with you, disputing it, or piling onto what you just said with more commentary. 

Your opinion is unlikely to be shared with others or even found useful in years to come. It will soon disappear into the ether of cyberspace – forgotten. 

But what if you could formulate a true movie critique essay? Whether it be a popular new release of your favorite drama, or a critique of your favorite YouTuber. Or perhaps even a critique of a classic book that you’ve always wanted to re-read, but could never find the motivation to do so? 

Wouldn’t you gain so much more intellectually than passively consuming endless hours of Netflix shows? 

Think about this for a minute. How does binge watching a Netflix series help to improve your writing skills, your cognitive reasoning, or your deductive reasoning skills? One could argue that you’re able to think through various scenarios while watching a Netflix show, but the reality is that you’re not grappling with any complexities when laying back on your couch and passively consuming content and snacking on Pringles. 

This is where JournalOwl can help.  

We have created the world’s first critical thinking engine. It won’t do the thinking for you. This isn’t artificial intelligence. Think of JournalOwl as a platform that sets the conditions for your mind to blossom. Our technology allows you to dissect knowledge such as:   

  • A new movie (we’re fully integrated with YouTube)
  • A new eBook (you can upload in PDF format or import .EPUB format)
  • A classical eBook (we have thousands of FREE books available!)
  • The Holy Bible (all versions are available) with 66 journeys available on each book of the Bible
  • News clips from YouTube and other Video Content
  • Audio & video (MPEG4) files you can upload
  • Scholarly articles in MS Word or PDF format
  • And much more!

Once you have chosen a movie to critique with a quick search on JournalOwl, the next step is to watch and then re-watch the movie. The first pass of the movie is to prime your gears. It’s the initial impression you get from a movie. 

The second pass is where the journey truly begins. You pick up on nuances that you didn’t notice the first time around. You are ready to truly critique the film at this stage. This is where you will use JournalOwl’s technology to create a journey map for you to follow when writing your own critique, but also publishing it to the JournalOwl community for others to leverage and write their own critique. 

REMEMBER: a movie review is non-structured and highly opinionated ‘comments’ on a film, whereas a professional movie critique essay is your opportunity to provide substantive feedback on the movie for the producers and others to read. Your essay will live on your free JournalOwl blog. You can also share it securely by email with others from the platform. This is where you deep dive into the plot, the characters, the structure of the movie, and the dialogues. 

Let’s take a recent Romance movie published in 2021 called Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace as an example – available for free on YouTube. This Lifetime Pictures movie explores what really happened inside the palace that drove Harry and Meghan to leave everything behind in order to make a future for themselves and their son Archie. 

How to Start the Movie Critique with JournalOwl:

After signing up for JournalOwl, you will navigate your way over to the Create module. This is where your journey begins. Next, you will click on “Create a Journey” and select Video. 

Graphical user interface, website

Description automatically generated

From this example, we are going to search for “Escaping the Palace” from YouTube, so we will click on Video (the first option). JournalOwl will then give you three options to pick from: 

  1. YouTube
  2. Vimeo
  3. MP4
Graphical user interface, text, application, website

Description automatically generated

You will select YouTube. Once selected, JournalOwl will take you to the screen below. 

Graphical user interface, text, application, Word

Description automatically generated

This is where you will select “Search” and begin typing in the name of the movie you intend to critique. JournalOwl is integrated with YouTube to search through their extensive library of both free and paid movies. In this example, we search for “Harry & Meghan: Escaping” 

Graphical user interface, text, application, website

Description automatically generated

Many search results have been returned to JournalOwl. The first search result is the movie we want to critique in this example. Click “Continue”.

Graphical user interface, website

Description automatically generated

Let’s give this movie critique essay a name, then click ‘Save & Continue’. JournalOwl will take you into the Journey Studio to create the structure. 

Graphical user interface, application, Word

Description automatically generated
Graphical user interface

Description automatically generated

Watch the movie and clip scenes as steps: 

With JournalOwl, you can watch any movie in studio mode! The advantage of watching the video in Studio Mode is that you can quickly and easily clip scenes to associate with steps. 

Put your headphones on, click the expand button in the lower right, click the play button, and sit back. As you watch the movie at your desktop or laptop, stay actively engaged and prepared to “stop” the movie and “clip” with the built-in studio editor. Then add questions to associate with each clip.

What is a step? A step in a movie critique essay is the start of your structure. For example, you will want to start with an introduction of the movie. That will be step 1. 

REMEMBER: You will want to watch the entire movie at least twice to write a solid movie critique essay. The journey that you create can be shared to the JournalOwl community for others to follow the same structured critique outline that you created! Inevitably people will have varying opinions on different aspects of the movie. With a structured JournalOwl journey, you can forge the way for others to watch a movie in clips while answering questions and/or instruction that you provide. 

Can we rate each other’s movie critique essays? 

The ability to rate each other’s movie critique essays is coming soon to JournalOwl! After you’ve finished the movie’s journey – JournalOwl will consolidate your responses across steps to formulate a well-written movie critique essay that you can share on the free public blog that JournalOwl provides to all users. Or you can converge with other movie buffs on the same movie to debate and critique each other position’s on key topics within each step. 

How many steps should a movie critique journey consist of?

 This is really up to your discretion, but a good rule of thumb is to have atleast 5 steps associated with a 2 hour movie. Here would be an example:

Step 1 – Introduction 

You may want to instruct the journey participant to watch the movie at least once before starting step 1.  

Q1: What is the genre of this film? Examples may include: thriller, drama, comedy, adventure, crime & gangster, epics/historical, horror, western, science, or musical. 

Q2: Who is the Product or Director of this movie? 

HINT: If you don’t know, open another tab in your browser and do a quick Google search. 

Q3: Is this movie based on a book? If so, what is the book? Have you read the book before? 

HINT: When a movie is based on a book, your movie critique essay can include compare/contrast points of the book versus the featured film. This is a great way to really dive into the contents of both. 

Step 2 – Character Impressions

Here is where things get interesting. It’s an opportunity for the movie critique to provide both their initial impressions of the character, along with details of how the characters evolved with the plot. Example questions that you can add to this journey step include:

Q1: List out the characters, their names, and their role in the movie. 

Q2: What was your initial impression for each character introduced in the movie?

REMEMBER: Generally, the journey participants will have watched the movie at least one time within JournalOwl before starting the step-by-step journey that you created. If characters aren’t introduced until 1 hour into the film, that is okay. You can still “clip” the video sequentially, or show various clips of each character in moments where their personality is shining through for this step.

Step 3 – Timeline 


Tuesday, September 20, 2022