How to Write a Reaction Paper to a Movie

Your Guide on how to Write a Reaction Paper to a Movie

Do you know how to write a reaction paper to a movie? Writing a reaction paper is not as difficult as most students make it out to be. In essence, with well laid out guidelines, you can write an impressive reaction paper without facing any major challenges.

Often, movies as used as tools that provide alternate perspective on issues or media variety. A reaction paper ensures that the student understands the material in the movie and whether it fits the context within which it is shown. Therefore, the reaction paper is supposed to center on the movie as prose or the manner in which it fits into the context of whatever it is you are learning.

Tips on how to write a reaction paper to a movie

  • Treat the movie as you would literature

One of the most important aspects to put into consideration when writing a reaction paper to a movie is the manner in which motifs and themes are put across in the movie. You should write about dialogues and characterization, especially when the movie is a novel version. In such a case, you are supposed to compare the novel to the movie especially in terms of the style used, the story and the manner in which characters are portrayed. Give your individual opinion on the impact of the story.

  • Choose a focus for the paper

When writing a reaction paper to a movie, you must choose the appropriate focus to use. For instance, if it is for a history class, you might have to identify whether the films is accurate historically and whether it has an artistic history.

If by watching the movie you felt a close connection to the cast than you would reading about them in a book, you have to explain your reasons. Highlight the manner in which the characters are portrayed and those who are most sympathetic. Are there aspects in the movie you find surprising? Include such aspects in your reaction paper as well.

  • Audience demographics

You must discuss the audience demographics of the movie you are reacting to. This should might include the ideal viewing age, target audience or the grade level. For purpose of explaining why the movie fits a particular audience, you should use descriptive details and concrete language.

For instance in the movie “The Maze Runner” based on a novel by James Dashner, the target audience is teens. However, because the male lead is strong, the movie is far more appealing to young makes than the adult stories. In the reaction paper, remember to list warnings that make the movie not ideal for children.

  • Morals/themes

Comment on the ability of the writer or director of the movie to reveal moral, critical themes or messages in the story. State a personal opinion regarding how effectively and clearly viewers are able to interpret and understand meanings that are deeper in the movie. Explain the manner in which a specific scene, one either poorly or well done, detracted or contributed to the overall message in the movie.

  • Decide on which elements to include

When writing a reaction paper to a movie, you need to determine the kind of elements to include. In this case, think of production elements that worked well in telling a story and whether they were effective. Talk of how it could have been worse or better. Also differentiate between the acting, cinematography and the screen writing. Consider whether all the elements worked together in harmony and whether the movie was surprising or predictable.

  • Review the paper

Once done writing the reaction paper to a movie, the next thing you have to do is review it. This is important as it helps you confirm you have included enough details into providing an explanation for your line of thought. Reviewing the essay also helps you confirm you have used concise and clear language. You are supposed to examine format, spellings and punctuations for purposes of consistency because mechanical errors have the ability of making it difficult for the reader to understand your work.

What not to include in a reaction paper

While writing a reaction paper, there are some things you need to avoid and some of these include:

  • Making it a consciousness paper
  • Including a lot of statements like “I believe”, “I feel” or “I think”
  • Using the pronoun “you”
  • Making it an autobiographical paper about the reasons you do not like or like something.
  • Repeating what is already in the movie

What a reaction paper must include

The best advice you could probably get on how to write a reaction paper to a movie is what to include. Ideally, the paper should and must:

  • Be well organized
  • Be a reaction to the movie you have seen
  • Include personal opinions but also provide supporting evidence
  • Have a summary of the movie you are reacting to at the start of the paper
  • Explain the reaction(s) you have towards the topic and also explain why you have chosen your line of thought.
  • Analyze, evaluate and judge the issues discussed in the movie
  • Discuss an polarize issues of the movie

An outline of how to write a reaction paper to a movie

Synopsis/summary-Which should include the movie you are reacting to

Goal: In this case the aim is to show you have clearly understood the supporting, main and opinion ideas in the movie you are working on.

Identify basic information regarding the movie such as:

  • Title of movie
  • Subject or topic of the movie. In simple terms, this means explaining what the movie is about in either a phrase or word.

Evaluation/Analysis-Discuss the weaknesses and strengths of the movie

You are supposed to answer the ‘W’ questions and an H like why not, where, why there, why, who, when, what and how. Some specific questions you need to ask include whether the movie was well researched, whether it left an important aspect out, whether it over-privileged or over-emphasized something and whether the movie presents a view that is balanced.

Your Reactions

Examine how, on a personal level you react to the movie and how it relates to your experience. You are supposed to share your own impressions and experiences with your readers. Some of the questions you should consider include:

  • Whether the movie held your interest and if yes or no, provide your reasons
  • Whether you found the movie interesting or annoying accompanied by the reasons
  • What you realized after watching the movie
  • The kind of questions that came to mind as a result of watching the movie

How to write a reaction paper to a movie by using the right format

  • At the very least, your reaction paper should be 500 words. Ideally, this is the equivalent of one whole short bond page paper. Depending on the instructions provided by your lecturer, you can use 12 points, Times New Roman, with single space and the margins should be at 1 inch.
  • In the paper, you are supposed to identify some of the key points that are highlighted in the movie then shift focus to your perspective regarding the issues. On top of your personal perspective, identify the insights or experiences that have helped in shaping that perspective.
  • Avoid plagiarism-Part of knowing how to write a reaction paper to a movie that is impressive is keeping it unique and original. You should avoid delivering a plagiarized paper at all costs as it could lead to a fail grade. In order to ensure your paper is original, quote sources and/or paraphrase, cite your sources and in the reference list, make sure you include your sources.

Samples to help you know write a reaction paper to a movie

A good sample of a reaction paper on the movie ‘Miracle Worker’ that can help you know how to write a reaction paper to a movie can be found at the following link:

Another sample of a reaction paper can be found at

You can also visit for an additional sample paper reaction to a movie.


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