How to Write an Article Review in Film and Theatre Studies

Writing guide
Posted on September 24, 2020

When you write an article review in film and theatre studies, you’re making both – an evaluation and summarization of some article written by someone else. This kind of writing is typical for colleges, universities and high schools because teachers want to know how you can sum up the works written by others and also introduce you to these works.

When you write about theatre and cinema, you have many options, and that’s great. These two areas of art are not only interesting, but also rapidly developing. This means college students are not going to have any kind of problems when they choose the topics for their academic works. Even in case with the article reviews, chances are that you will find the one that includes surprising movie and theatre facts. In this situation, writing an article review will be a real pleasure and an opportunity to broaden your horizons.

Understanding the main ideas of the article in film and theatre studies is important for clear and correct summarizing. When you logically evaluate the main topic, all supporting arguments and potential implications for future research, you write an accurate article review that will get you high scores.

Check the Article

Start by looking at the title, the abstract, the introduction, the opening sentences, the headings, the sub-headings and the wrap up of the article. The begin to read the article. You’ll have to repeat your reading several times, so there is nothing wrong if you do that a little bit inattentively for the first time. This will help you identify the main points and arguments of the author. Finally, you will have to read the article with very close attention to make it clear for yourself what points and arguments the author is making.

In case with the film and theatre studies, we may take the article ‘Soft and Hard: Catherine Deneuve in 1970’ as an example. Here is what you have to do if you’re writing a review of it:

  • Make note of issues, terms or words that you do not understand. List all of your questions. In case with the article that we use as an example, you might want to list the terms like ‘mise-en-scène’, ‘feminist dimension’, ‘oxymoronic image’ and so on. Look up these terms if you’re not familiar with them in order to get the idea of the article. We strongly recommend to read about each unknown issue in-depth in order to ensure that you understand each.
  • Connect the information that you receive from the article to the knowledge of the topic that you already have. Try to recall what you’ve discussed with your professor in class or what you read on some web recourses or other article. Does the article under review agree or disagree with what you already know? If you have never thought about the association between eroticism and death in the characters played by Deneuve, determine how this article opens up the issue.

Write Down the Article in Your Own Words

It’s up to you to choose whether you free-write or create an outline of the original article. Anyway, begin to put down the article, but use your own words. Keep in mind its argument, the topic of the research and all the claims that the author makes in it. It’s important to cut off all unnecessary details, but include all the key points.

Don’t waste your time on fixing the typos and errors in your text. Nobody’s going to read it, so don’t do it. However, make sure that you write in the simplest language possible, that your text is logical and clear. You will be using it later, so ensure that you’re not going to feel confused then.

No matter what method you select (outlining or putting the article in your own words), create an outline of all the key points that the author made and the supporting arguments. This is where you strictly restate the main points of the article and provide no personal points of view.

When you’re done with rewriting the article, select the part of it that you’d like to discuss in your review. Choose to concentrate on the content, theoretical approach or on how the author interprets evidence. You will always focus on the main points that the author made; however, you can choose to work on some less significant issues. In case with the article ‘Soft and Hard: Catherine Deneuve in 1970’ by Gwénaëlle Le Gras, you can focus either on Deneuve’s debut roles or a feminist dimension to her movie ‘Peau d’âne’.

Review your outline to erase all unimportant details. What you have at the end is the basis for your article review that you will make more detailed and professionally written.

Come up with a Good Title

Whatever title you come up with, make sure that it echoes the focus of your work. You can make interrogative, descriptive or declarative title.

  • An interrogative title reflects your research in the form of a question. Usually, an interrogative title includes no details of the study itself.
  • A declarative title includes a declaration. It sums up the study that the author of the article describes and the results. The title is the most detailed in this group.
  • A descriptive title includes the study description but gives no information about the results.

We seriously don’t recommend you to make your titles too metaphorical and complicated. It may look good and prove that you are good at writing and coming up with ideas. Nevertheless, your task now is to write an article review that your readers should understand without any additional information. Leave your creativity for the narrative essays, books reviews or any other works that let your imagination flourish without harming your college grades.

Cite the Article

Under your title, make sure to provide a full citation of the article that you review using the correct style. To find out which style should be used, we recommend asking your professor. In order to start writing your work, you will have to go to the next line.
For instance, if you provide MLA citation, it will look like this: Le Gras, Gwénaëlle. ‘Soft and hard: Catherine Deneuve in 1970.’ Studies in French Cinema. 5. (2005): 27-35. Print.

Write the Introduction

The introduction of the article review in film and theatre studies will include short description of the main themes of the written and the arguments of the author. What is more, you will have to write the thesis of the author. Be ready to have to find out what the thesis actually is because sometimes it may not be clearly stated.
Since the introduction of the article review in film and theatre studies will take no more than 20% of your work, you will have to be able to be brief and concise. Put your thesis at the end of your introduction.

Sum up the Article

Talk about the main points, evidence, arguments, claims and findings of the written work and refer to your summary to ease the process of writing. Demonstrate how the information provided within the article supports the author’s claims. The conclusions of the article should be given at this stage as well. You can do this job in a few paragraphs. Nevertheless, the requirements that your professor attached to your assignment will determine the length of every section of your work.

Critique the Article

Provide a few paragraphs explaining how successful was the author of the article in his efforts to address the topic about films and theatre related things. Give your point of view on whether he or she explained the topic thoroughly and clearly.

The critique is the ‘heart’ of your work. In this part you will have to evaluate the contribution that the author made to the film industry, as well as the significance of her or his work to the field.

Evaluate the main arguments of the written work. Do the points that the author makes help his or her arguments? If there are any biases, your task is to identify them.
Do you agree or disagree with the article’s author? This is where you have to decide and take your side. Give sufficient evidence as to why you have this or that point of view. Finish your critique with identifying the target readers that would find your work useful and interesting.

If you want your article review to sound professional and convincing, don’t fill it with unrelated critiques. Remember that your critique is the part of the article review where you let your readers know if you liked the article or not. For every opinion that you give, it is important to use a topic sentence and a few supportive arguments.

Write the Closing Sentences

Write one paragraph to sum up the main points of the article. In this part, summarize your points of view on the clarity, accuracy and importance of the article. If relevant, do not hesitate to provide all available options for future research in the field of film and theatre studies. For instance: ‘This critical review has evaluated the article ‘Soft and hard: Catherine Deneuve in 1970’ by Gwénaëlle Le Gras. All the arguments given by the author of the article prove the presence of misinformation and prejudice. These points, in turn, tend to weaken the arguments given by Le Gras, as well as reduce her credibility.

Proofread, Proofread, Then Repeat

If you deal with an article review writing in a responsible manner, you will allow enough time needed to edit the text and correct all mistakes. Taking into consideration the fact that an article review isn’t wordy as a rule, the editing process won’t be a long process. If your college professor is willing to help you with the editing part, it is recommended to approach him or her to get professional point of view. This is the time when you will have to use all of your chances in order to transform your work into something worth attention – change the flow of the sentences, check credibility of the evidence, and find out if the way you’re telling your ‘story’ is logical and clear to anybody but you.

Just like you edit your college essays or research papers, you will need some time away from your work in order to be able to have a fresh look at it. This is highly recommended even by professional writers since thus, you will be able to detect new mistakes that you haven’t noticed before.

Some Mistakes to Avoid

  • If you don’t allow enough time to read the article, you’re going to miss some very important details. Besides, it is a very big mistake to cut the time that you will need to take proper notes and evaluate the work.
  • Copy-pasting of material. Do not just duplicate the material of the original article or give points of view that have been already seen.
  • Poor quality of analysis. The whole point of writing an article review in film and theatre studies is not to merely describe somebody’s work, but to interpret it and make analysis of it.
  • Failure to provide an introduction that will draw attention of your readers to your work and logical conclusion that will restate the significance of the author’s work.

Finally, if your article review in film and theatre studies includes tables or figures (or both), make sure they are easy to understand for your target readers. Ensure they can get the idea of it without reading the whole text of the review. Believe it or not, but many readers like to begin to read written works by reading figures.

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