You have been asked to write a critical review of a novel, a painting, a movie, a play, a piece of music... and you don't know where to start? It's not the same as asking "how to write my papers or an academic essay" because a review has a different structure and emphases to pay attention to. But don't panic! Read this post carefully, and you'll learn how to organise and write it step by step. You can also read various sample critiques by other writers to prepare for them better.
The first thing to remember is that it is an expository-argumentative text. Therefore, your critical review must fulfil two objectives:
Summarise the work, i.e., provide an overall view by synthesising its most important aspects.
Evaluate the work, that is, give a personal value judgement about it. Your opinion must be well-argued and justified.
And how long should this text be, you may be wondering. The truth is that there is no standard length. That is, it depends on how long and complex the object of your analysis is (reviewing a short film is not the same as reviewing a three-hour movie). A reasonable measure would be between 500 words minimum and 800 words maximum. But remember - a text must say something, give information, so if your text is short, but you don't think it is necessary to add anything more, don't continue writing! Go to the point and remember: empty text only serves to confuse and divert attention from the main topic.
As we have seen, your review should summarise the work you are analysing and give your opinion about it. To fulfil both objectives, you will have to follow this five-part structure:
To make sure that the writing of your review is perfect, you will have to start preparing it before you start writing while you are enjoying the book.
Approach the works without prejudice! If, for example, you go to a concert thinking you won't like it, you will probably be unfairly negative in your review.
Take notes as you read, watch, listen and observe the work to recover them in your review.
In the case of long works, make summaries of their parts: it will be easier and faster to synthesise the whole.
Make sure you have a good understanding of the work to be able to judge it correctly. To do this, consult information and bibliography about it.
Now that you know how to write it, your next critical review will be a success!