Strategies For Reviewing Plays or Movies
A common requirement in theatre courses is reviewing or critiquing plays and films. Here are some tips for completing reviews (J. Ihlenfeld, CAL).
Use Instructor's Guidelines
Most instructors provide guidelines for reviewing plays and movies. Read the guidelines carefully. It is important to fully understand the requirements of the project. Be sure to complete all parts of the assignment. Use the organizational format suggested by the instructor. If this information is not provided by the instructor, make an appointment during office hours to get the instructor's guidelines.
Clearly State the Thesis
The first paragraph of the review should have a thesis statement. In this sentence, express some insight on the work or take a stand on some aspect of the play or film (e.g. characterization, central theme, moral or ethical issues). The thesis should capture the main point of your entire review.
Support Your Opinions
When expressing your opinions in the review, be sure to include plenty of supporting evidence. Types of supporting evidence are statistics, testimonials, and examples. Clearly distinguish between your own opinions and the opinions of others.
While it may not be possible to take notes during a play or movie, it is important to record technical aspects of the work (plot, setting, lighting, characters, etc.) as well as your impressions, opinions, and interpretations as soon after the viewing as possible. Notes may be recorded on cassette tapes, written in long hand, or keyed on the computer. The notes will serve as a guideline for composing written drafts of the review.
Budget time to complete the review as soon after the viewing as possible. It is best to write the critique while the images and experiences are fresh in your mind. Starting early also insures that you will have plenty of time to proof read and print the final version of the review. If the reviews are just one component of your final grade, complete the reviews before other time-consuming activities such as research papers or tests are assigned.