What Is a Review Essay?


This academic assignment provides a critical analysis of a cinematic, literary or scientific work. Its task is to evaluate and describe the students with regard to the most important points raised by the author in his work. This type of essay is a discussion of the work, closely related to personal opinion, each aspect of which has to be supported by the evidence.

There are two necessary stages in writing this work: developing arguments on the topic of what you are analyzing and ending with a logical conclusion. A critical analysis of the essay may be related to the works and the points of view of other authors. Review essays have a classic structure:

  • Introduction;
  • Summary of the content;
  • Critical discussion;
  • Conclusion.

The structure of an essay has great importance. You should group the different details of the work into categories and separately give comments to each of them. An accurate assessment of the aspects will help you come to a logical conclusion.

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Review Essay Writing Guide

At first writing, a review often seems to be a difficult task. As a rule, the first associations are the author’s impressions of the analyzed work, which can be put into short “like” or “dislike”. Another problem is the fact that students often confuse review with story retelling.

The main difference of the review is that the student needs not only to express his attitude to the object that is studied but also to explain the reasons why his position is just that.

You can start the story by describing your own feelings, emotions, or personal reading experience, and then give a more detailed explanation.

At times, it may seem to us that the book or film was terribly boring and there is simply nothing to write about it. Meanwhile, it is worth to remember that behind each of our “interesting” or “uninteresting” exists something big and complex, which you can try to describe. For instance, if a work seems unappealing to us, this can have many different reasons. The characters can be so different from us that we simply get lost in this endless confusion of incomprehensible thoughts, actions, and events.

In other situations, the style of the author may seem boring. Reading line by line, the reader understands that he has already met similar descriptions somewhere, which have essentially typical constructions.

However, all of these, at first glance, cons can be excellent soil for your future comparative essay! After all, the meaning of the work lies precisely in the description of your assessment.

Like any type of academic texts, a review essay has its own structure:

  • Introduction (what you will talk about);
  • The main part (what you exactly liked/did not like);
  • Conclusion (watch or not watch, read or not read).

As a rule, in the introduction, you should report the name of selected work, the reasons why you chose this text or film and tell about aspects which made it necessary to write the review. There is no point in writing a huge beginning, it should have 2-3 sentences that include information about the next discussion.

All the most interesting is in the main part. Here you can give free rein to your imagination. At this stage, you tell about the characters of the book or indicate which actors are starring and which characters they play in the film. It would be nice to combine this with the events of the film or book. However, do not get carried away and retell the whole plot: do not forget that your review can be read by a person who has not seen the film or read the book. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting the offensive nickname “spoiler”. This is such an unpleasant person who spoils all the pleasure of a movie or book by retelling the plot.

Of course, you do not need to describe the whole plot, but there are some components that should be known:

  • Exposition – the beginning of the story, which represents the conflict, the actors, the scene or characters and background of the book.
  • Rising action – events before the climax, where the heroes are trying to resolve the conflict, but they do not succeed. The climax is the highest point of action voltage.
  • Falling action – events following the climax.
  • Resolution – the end of the story, which gives the solution to the problems and conflicts of the main characters.

In conclusion, you need to write about whether this movie or book is worth to be watched or read. and also summarizes why you think so.

Book Review Essay

A review is a written analysis that contains a critical assessment of a work.

The text should be clear and accessible. You do not need to abuse technical terms. Use an obvious and understandable language.

  • Support statements with many illustrations. Any statement needs a good instance. Describe the situation in the book, the behavior of the characters and other aspects. Quotes from dialogues of statutes are successful illustrative material. The reader will be able to feel the atmosphere of the book and understand your point of view.
  • Add individuality to reviews. It will much more interesting to use your own style. If you like a witty and humorous tone or deliberate seriousness and dramatization, changing yourself will be useless. Language and style should reflect your unique look and personal qualities.

Film Review Essay

If the film is interesting to the audience, it deserves the attention of critics and it does not matter at all whether this is a masterpiece or a completely mediocre work. A competent critical review essay should entertain, inform and convince readers, contain an extraordinary opinion and not reveal all the details of the plot.

  • If the film did not suit your taste, it is not a reason to write a devastating review. Tastes differ. You should let the reader judge the quality of the movie, even if you don’t like it at all.
  • Read movie reviews regularly and notice aspects that make some of them more useful than other works.

Peer Review Essay

In addition to the above, there is another type of review essay, the task of which is to evaluate research work.

Writing a review of scientific work is a complicated matter. Review – a brief analysis of the thesis, which reflects its relevance, features, advantages, disadvantages.

Conditionally, the essay writing process can be divided into the following stages:

  • The introductory part of the review is the relevance of the topic of the thesis.
  • The main part is the analysis of the individual elements of the thesis and the identification of its strengths and weaknesses.
  • Conclusion, where you should summarize everything above. The final part of the text ends with the signature of the reviewer and the seal of the organization.