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Patricia Puentes

When You Don’t Feel Like Going to the Movies and Prefer to Stream Something at Home Instead

film critic qualifications

I feel I may have been deceiving you a bit over the last few months. In my capacity as a movie critic I’ve reviewed A Quiet Place II , The Last Duel , Don’t Look Up , The Matrix Resurrections and, more recently, The Batman , The Lost City and Top Gun: Maverick . Yet I haven’t set foot in a theater during a regular movie session since March of 2020. I’ve watched all of those movies, and a few other titles, at private limited-capacity screenings, specifically organized for the press. For other movies, I’ve simply streamed them at home. 

Let me be clear: advanced press screenings and digital movie screeners aren’t a pandemic novelty. I was already watching movies for reviews that way before COVID-19 upended our lives. The difference is that in the before times I didn’t care that much if someone else was sitting next to me at the theater. If I couldn’t make it to a press screening, I would go to a regular movie session at my local Landmark or AMC theater once the movie was out.

Right now — especially since the drop of the indoor masking mandate and with coronavirus cases on the rise once again — it’s either press screenings with limited capacity or I’ll just wait until the movie is available on streaming. Yet again, my reluctance to go to the theater has increased due to the pandemic. And I’m not sure if I’ll ever return to my pre-COVID routine of going to the movies at least once a week. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be watching movies. It’s just that not all of them require the big screen.

film critic qualifications

I’ve written about the theaters vs. streaming dichotomy I’ve been having for more than two years . The idea of watching a movie at home is not exactly a new concept. We had VHS tapes, DVDs and iTunes rentals. But we’re at a point now where streaming technology, paired with bigger and higher-quality TV sets , allows us to have a quasi-moviegoing experience at home for certain titles that don’t offer that much spectacle. 

Streaming services have been vying to provide that cinematic experience for a while. Think about Netflix’s Oscar-baiting efforts with Beasts of No Nation (2015), Roma (2018), Marriage Story (2019), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020) or Mank (2020). But also think about their popular movies like Red Notice (2021), The Adam Project (2022) or Bird Box (2018) — or something like Don’t Look Up (2021), which managed to enrage some critics, get four Oscar nominations and make it to number two on Netflix’s ranking of their Most Popular Films in English . 

Streaming services like Netflix and Apple TV+ are releasing movies — wannabe awards contenders also get a limited release in movie theaters — that end up becoming not only big trophy nominees but also winners (think about The Power of the Dog and CODA ’s spotlight during awards season this year). CODA would make history by becoming the first streaming film to win the top Oscar prize: Best Motion Picture of the Year. The intimate coming-of-age story about a teenager who’s the only hearing person in a family of deaf people makes for the perfect at-home consumption. It’s one of the types of movies that I don’t necessarily see myself seeking out at a movie theater in the future. It makes for a great date night in.

Even though it’s getting harder for me to tell people to go to the cinema — and a big part of that is the risk the pandemic poses — I still think there are movie experiences that are better served up in a theater. I saw Top Gun: Maverick last month — sitting in the front of the theater just to avoid being too close to unmasked people — and it makes for the perfect moviegoing outing. Because of the way it was shot — with actors actually flying inside of F-18 jets and relying on practical effects instead of an abundance of CGI — it’s undeniably one of the movies that justifies the extra expense, bother and risk factor of the big screen. It won’t be the same to experience it at home, which is probably why the movie opened exclusively in theaters on May 27. 

film critic qualifications

If you take a look at this year’s numbers , Top Gun: Maverick , The Batman , Jurassic World Dominion , Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Spider-Man: No Way Home — which was released in December of last year and was actually 2021’s highest-grossing movie — lead the domestic box office so far. So don’t expect to see a shortage of action and comic book movies at the cineplex in the future. There’s clearly an audience for that.

But there’s also room for Sandra Bullock’s latest rom-com The Lost City , sitting at number eight right now in terms of the domestic yearly box office gross. Since its release on March 25, the action-adventure movie has grossed $105 million. It’s now finding a second life after being released on Paramount Plus on May 10. (Long gone are the days of the 90-day window between the date a movie opened in theaters and its release for home entertainment.) The Lost City was the most-streamed movie during the weekend of May 13–15, according to Whip Media, the data analysis company for the entertainment market.

As much as I thought The Lost City made for the perfect date movie, I also think date nights that revolve around film-watching can be perfectly enjoyed at home if you’re as risk-averse as I am. I didn’t feel Bullock’s antics in the movie — as brilliant and hilarious as she is here — required the complete cinematic experience. 

Especially when the complete cinematic experience means getting out of the house, dealing with parking and risking not only possible COVID-19 exposure, but also a chatty theater-seat neighbor who doesn’t shut up or texts during the film. Somehow, during the pandemic, I developed an intolerance for inconvenient situations.

film critic qualifications

I should also mention the arthouse film that has beaten all odds: Everything Everywhere All at Once . The film has grossed more than $66 million. Variety brands the box office performance as “impressive” for an arthouse flick , adding that “those ticket sales are a positive indication that adult audiences will return to the big screen for the right movie.” The trade publication adds that older audiences have been slower to return to movie theaters compared to younger ones, which explains the box office popularity of titles like Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Batman . You could also argue that Michelle Yeoh’s movie taps into the zeitgeisty multiverse during its trendiest moment .

While big studios like Disney or Warner Bros. have returned to the model of releasing their big titles exclusively in cinemas, arthouse studios and streaming services are betting on different strategies. A24 has found success with their exclusivity in theaters with the release of Everything Everywhere All at Once but also, to a lesser degree, X , and they released Alex Garland’s ( Ex Machina ) Men that way on May 20. Searchlight Pictures is taking a different approach. They’ll be releasing their three summer films — Fire Island , Good Luck to You, Leo Grande and Not Okay — directly on Hulu. Netflix will keep its weekly release of movies during the summer months, too. In the case of the star-studded The Gray Man , it’ll premiere in select theaters on July 15 and will then be available on Netflix a week after that. And Apple TV+ will try to replicate its CODA success with a new Sundance film: Dakota Johnson’s Cha Cha Real Smooth , which premiered simultaneously in select theaters and on the streamer on June 17.

If you’re feeling like watching a movie after all this cinema talk, take a look at our 2022 Summer Movie Preview . We include everything from genre tentpoles to arthouse indie titles. And we tell you whether you’ll be able to watch them in cinemas, at home, or both. One thing is clear: there are options for everything these days. But perhaps not every single movie demands to be watched on the big screen, at least for the time being. 


film critic qualifications

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  • Home: Explore careers

Film critic

Alternative titles for this job include film reviewer, movie critic, film writer.

Film critics analyse films and produce reviews and articles for newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, social media channels and websites.

Average salary (a year)

Typical hours (a week).

Variable variable

You could work

freelance / self-employed flexibly

How to become

How to become a film critic.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • short training courses

You can do a foundation degree, degree or postgraduate qualification in:

  • film studies
  • creative writing
  • film and television

Courses like these will help you to develop the analysis and writing skills you'll need as a film critic.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

More Information

  • equivalent entry requirements
  • student finance for fees and living costs
  • university courses and entry requirements

You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you'll need for this job. Relevant courses include:

  • A level Film Studies
  • Level 3 Diploma in Journalism

You'll need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English
  • funding advice
  • search for courses


You can work towards this role by starting with a higher apprenticeship like a junior journalist or a senior journalist, before specialising in film reviewing and criticism.

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • guide to apprenticeships


Competition for jobs is strong, and you'll need to show you've got writing experience. You'll find it useful to keep examples of your published work in a portfolio.

To develop your experience and reputation you can:

  • write for student and local newspapers
  • create your own blog and build an online presence on social media
  • submit articles to online film review channels and websites
  • post video reviews online and produce podcasts

Other Routes

You may be able to do short courses, which could help you to develop your critical writing skills, as well as expand your knowledge of film and different genres.

Short courses are offered by some colleges, adult education centres, university film departments. and film organisations online. Courses include:

  • film criticism
  • history of cinema
  • journalism skills
  • cinema from other countries

It’s important to develop your own critical writing style and build up a good reputation to establish yourself as a film critic.

Career tips

You’re likely to be self-employed or work freelance as a film critic, especially when starting out, and be paid per review. Some critics write about other media, for example TV, plays and books, to supplement their income.

Further information

You can find out more about creative industry careers from Discover Creative Careers and ScreenSkills .

You can find more general information about working and training in journalism from the National Union of Journalists and National Council for the Training of Journalists .

What it takes

Skills and knowledge.

You'll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • the ability to critically analyse information
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent written communication skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

What you'll do, day-to-day tasks.

In this role you could:

  • watch films of all genres, often several times
  • make notes about scripts, music, storylines and influences
  • look at technical details like camera angles, lighting and editing
  • submit reviews by strict deadlines
  • build up contacts with film-makers, agents and distributors
  • attend film festivals, talks, previews and press conferences
  • interview film-makers, actors and production staff
  • research archival information about films and film-makers
  • keep up to date with critical theories

Working environment

You could work at events, at a venue, from home or in an office.

Career path and progression

As an established film critic, you could combine your job with writing books on film, editing, or teaching criticism on film courses. You could also work in film archives.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships in england, journalist researcher apprenticeship - level 5.

  • Wage: £20,475.00 Annually
  • Location: Court Drive, Dunstable

Journalist Apprentice

  • Wage: £10,296.00 Annually
  • Location: Station Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Courses In England

Film studies.

  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: New Malden

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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How To Be A Film Critic

Photograph of the blog post author, Sam Jones

The idea of becoming a film connoisseur is appealing to many avid movie fans. Film critics, having such a crucial part to play in a movie’s reputation, are highly respected professionals in the film industry. If films are your passion, maybe being a film critic is your true calling in life. In this article, we will discuss what the role encompasses and present a guide on how to be a film critic. 

a film critic

Do you watch films and pick every aspect apart? If yes, then you are already a film critic to an extent. The ability to single out different aspects within a film is not a skill shared by most. Instead of viewing a film as a whole, critics can identify separate factors like cinematography and determine their collective success. 

For example, a film might have great actors and the filming technique is outstanding, but the plot and script are quite the opposite. Even though the visual impacts might be enough to entice audiences, a film critic can dig deeper and recognize any flaws. 

We hear the term critic often. Movie critics, food critics, and book critics, to name a few all pop up in articles and on TV from time to time. Despite this, do you actually know what they do and what is required to become one? Most likely, no. That’s why we’ve put together this article to help develop your understanding. 

To start we will have a closer look at what the role of a film critic involves. Once we’ve covered this, we will jump straight into how to be a professional film critic and what it takes to get there. 

Be sure to stay until the very end so you don’t miss out on any key information!

What Is A Film Critic? 

cinema stock photo

A film critic is responsible for viewing and analyzing different aspects of a film. Plot development, writing , editing , cinematography , and directing are all factors a critic will scrutinize. Fundamentally, this benefits us, the audience. Critics give a heads-up to eager watchers if the film is all it claims to be. 

Trailers are usually our only indication of whether a new film is going to be our next favorite watch. However, we all know trailers can be an extremely false representation of what’s to come. This is where film critics come in. 

Publishing their work allows us to have an insight into if the film is worth the watch or not. But surely a film critic’s opinion is subjective, so should be taken with a pinch of salt? Yes and no.

Of course, a critic’s opinion of the plot itself can be subjective. But most other contributing factors are objective.

Cinematography and editing for example can be done good or bad. They require technical skills and direction to be successful. Because of this, these aspects are easier to measure, almost statistically, and reviewed objectively. 

A bad review from a respected film critic can set up a movie for complete failure. Their reviews have huge impacts on the film industry and greatly influence how the industry functions. 

Types Of Film Critic 

There are three different types of film critics:


Which you become depends on your experience and the direction you want to work towards. Let’s dive a little deeper.


typing on keyboard

Remember we mentioned that a lot of what a film critic does is objective? This is not so much the case in this example. Generally, publishing on personal sites and blogs , amateur film critics review films subjectively. 

They share their opinion with other film fans and discuss the success or failure of the movies .

This is how many aspiring film critics start out, building a portfolio showcasing their critical ability. 

person writing

This form of film critic is probably the most familiar to you. Publishing their work in articles, magazines, and newspapers, journalist critics share their reviews of different aspects of a film. 

Often they give a score or rate the different factors separately, making it easier for the audience to interpret.

As well, as commonly providing a brief overview of the plot, giving us our first insight into whether the storyline is of personal interest. 


person writing stock photo

Academic critics are the most elite out of the 3 types. Usually, with a respectable background in film education , they provide a more in-depth and detailed review of a film.

Publishing their work in academic journals and books , the wider audience is unlikely to come across them. 

They provide a view into the position of the film within movie history and scrutinize every technical aspect.

Providing the most objective review out of the 3 types of critics, an academic critic must have a well-developed understanding of film production and every aspect involved. 

If you’ve stayed until this point, maybe you’re warming up to the thought of becoming a film critic yourself. The idea of watching and analyzing films as a profession is appealing to many. 

Now we will look more closely at what it takes to become a film critic and the requirements to enter the industry.

This completely depends on what type of critic you want to be and your experience level. 

What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A Film Critic? 

graduation caps

Having a related degree is the most recommended way when considering how to become a critic.

A bachelor’s degree in journalism, English, or film studies is the most viable way of entering straight into a career as a film critic. 

However, being educated on the subject is not the only contributing factor. Previous experience and evidence of your work are still essential, we will discuss these in more detail later. 

How To Become A Film Critic Without Qualifications

people watching a film

Don’t worry, if you’re wondering how can I become a movie critic without qualifications, there’s still plenty of opportunities out there. 

Many aspiring critics start as amateurs. Having a blog with your portfolio is a great way of documenting your ability as a critic. If your blog gets noticed, you could be pulled in by a publication and offered a job. 

Starting in an entry-level position can give you the ability to work your way up the ladder. If you don’t have the qualifications to become a critic within a big publishing company, you still have options for lower-skill roles. 

Getting a position with your local newspaper or radio show can be a great way to enter the industry. Even though this method might be long-winded, it could be the best way for you personally to become a critic. 

The Essentials 

Qualification or not, there are aspects outside of education that are fundamental for being a film critic. 


cinema seats

Experience within the film industry is maybe the most important factor. No matter your knowledge of film production , you need to have evidence so you can convey your opinion and analyze a film correctly. 

Whether you gain experience through volunteering at a theater or starting an entry-level job for a radio station, any experience will aid your journey to become a critic. 

Writing Ability 

person writing stock image

Fundamentally, your writing style and skills have to be excellent. If you’re not so confident in your writing ability, maybe this isn’t the role for you.

You not only have to analyze a film professionally and cover all aspects but make your content engaging and clear for the public. 

The ability to write about such complex subjects in a way that is easily understood by an average reader is a rare skill. If you’re currently working towards being a critic, improve your film critic writing skills whenever possible. 


pile of magazines

We’ve already touched on this a few times but it is very important. Having a portfolio is one of the best ways to get seen by the desired people.

Even if you have a respected degree, worked an entry-level role, and have amazing writing skills, without a portfolio you have no evidence of your actual critical ability. 

When thinking about how to become a film reviewer, your first consideration should be: is it your main passion in life? This is a career that requires you to devote a lot of your life to it.

You should be thinking about films all day and dreaming about them all night. If this is the case you should already have the drive to review films in your own time. 

Posting and writing in your own time showcase your passion for being a film critic. No publication would want a critic who doesn’t live and breathe movies . The portfolio is your best way of showing that.


typewriter with film critic review

That was a lot of information! So we wanted to summarize and point out the key factors. 

Having qualifications is great, but not essential for becoming a film critic. Drive and experience are everything. Having a background in the industry will show your level of understanding of technical aspects.

Having a good portfolio will show your passion for films that goes deeper than just a career. 

Getting your name out there might be the most important aspect. Through entry-level jobs and building your portfolio, you increase your chance of having your name recognized. The more blogs you write, the more chance someone will spot and remember your name. 

There is no right way to become a film critic, but considerable effort will be required of you whichever route you take. 

Where To Find Film Critic Jobs? 

5 star film critic review

Now that you know what you need to become a movie critic we will touch on where to find critic jobs. There is no clear answer to this and depends on what you want to do and your background. 

Working for magazines and newspapers is the most common option for most. This is simply a case of trying to get their attention either through applying or just expressing your interest.

Because a single magazine won’t require enough content to employ you full-time, you will likely end up working for multiple publications. 

Finding a position in writing for a respected blog is another great way of entering the industry. With more and more people using the internet for their queries, this may be a more viable way to get noticed than for physical publications.

If no opportunities arise, continue working on your blog! You never know, it might become the next key source for film buff knowledge. 

Finally, apprenticeships are another way to enter the industry. Despite being rare, an apprenticeship in writing or film will give you the start you need. 

There is no clear way for finding your first film critic job. Whatever gets you experience is a good path to follow. You can’t expect to become the next big critic overnight. Patients, hard work, and determination are key. 

Now You Know How To Be A Film Critic

how to be a film critic

After all that, do you still think you have what it takes to become the next movie critic? We hope highlighting the requirements hasn’t put you off, but rather inspired you. 

Becoming a film critic is no easy task. With many famous film critics already out there, you are unlikely to get a role with a big publication straight away. The road might be long and hard, but for a true film fanatic, it is worth every step. 

Whether you want to be an amateur or academic critic, you need a passion for film and an understanding of the influencing factors. Simply gauging the impact of a storyline is not enough.

You should have an understanding of filming , acting, writing , editing , and much, much more. Do all those things meld together into you? Then you’re made to be a film critic!

Are you a film critic? We’d love to hear all about it in the comment section below. Be sure to share this article on social media if you enjoyed it. Tag us @musicgateway!

If you enjoyed this article, why not check out another on our blog? Here are articles on What Is A Key Grip In Movies , What Is Satire & How Can It Be Used In Film? , and Production Coordinator Guide to get you started!



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How to Be a Film Critic

Last Updated: August 5, 2023 References

This article was co-authored by wikiHow Staff . Our trained team of editors and researchers validate articles for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 175,417 times. Learn more...

Film critics study movies, provide insightful commentary, and let us know whether a movie is a success or a flop. Whether you want to be a professional or hobbyist film critic, you must first possess a passion for film. Watching as many films as you can and reading the work of other critics is key for your development as a film critic. As with any craft, practice is crucial. Practice writing film criticisms as often as you can. Continue to sharpen your writing skills, because these are central to the film critic’s job. With enough practice and passion, you might even become a professional film critic!

Learning about Film

Step 1 Cultivate a passion for film criticism.

  • A passion for film criticism will show through in your work.

Step 2 Watch a variety of quality films.

  • Be sure to watch as many “classic films” as you can--film critics often reference these. Search “classic films” online to find a number of lists. [3] X Research source
  • Purchasing a subscription to a streaming service like Netflix is a great way to get access to a wide variety of films.

Step 3 Read the work of other film critics.

  • Form your own opinions about a given film, then read a critic’s review to see how your opinions compare with theirs. [5] X Research source
  • Take note of your favorite critics’ writing style and tone, and examine how they present their ideas. How do humor and context factor in to the critique? [6] X Research source

Step 4 Make some films of your own.

Gaining Experience

Step 1 Study journalism.

  • You don’t need to study journalism to become a film critic, but it’s helpful if you want to make a career out of film criticism. [9] X Research source

Step 2 Take some film classes.

  • Don’t be shy when it comes to expressing your opinion on your blog. Your content should be high quality, but also honest and genuine. [11] X Research source

Step 4 Publish your commentary.

  • While jobs with print media are becoming more scarce, digital media offers a wide range of new opportunities.
  • Getting published is difficult, so don’t give up! It may take years of practice, so keep blogging, reading the work of other film critics, and studying film.

Step 5 Apply for jobs as a film critic.

  • There are many freelance job sites online. Take some time to look at the listings to see if a project interests you.
  • This will probably be a side job, at least initially. Many positions are part time, and likely won’t pay enough to be your only source of income.

Thinking Like a Film Critic

Step 1 Learn about the different forms of criticism.

  • An academic article is more formal than a review, and much longer. It is less focused on opinion, and assumes the reader has seen the film.
  • A critical essay is less formal and more opinionated than an academic article, but more formal than a review.
  • Don’t feel pressured to choose a particular form of criticism and stick to it. Many film critics write in all three forms, or blend different forms!

Step 2 Analyze the film.

  • For example, you might observe that a director uses a lot of dark colors in his film. Through analysis, you might conclude that this use of color mirrors the dark emotions of the main character.
  • Critical essays and academic articles focus on description and analysis, while reviews usually do not.

Step 3 Interpret the film.

  • A film critic might interpret the film Snow White as a commentary on the pitfalls of vanity.
  • Critical essays and academic articles offer interpretations, whereas reviews sometimes do, but often don't.

Step 4 Evaluate the film.

  • A critic might offer the evaluation that Snow White is one of the best animated films of its time.
  • Reviews focus heavily on evaluation, while critical essays and academic articles place less emphasis on evaluation.

Step 5 Distinguish between preferences and critical judgement.

  • You should base your judgments on general criteria for excellence. These include originality, good acting, technical skill, an engaging plot, and emotional intensity. Reading the work of other critics and watching high quality films will give you a better idea of what makes an excellent film.
  • It’s fine to let your tastes show through in movie reviews--many critics do. Celebrity critics are often famous for displaying their preferences. Just make sure you are looking at the film with a critical eye, too.

Writing Like a Film Critic

Step 1 Learn how to write well.

  • Formal training in writing is not necessary, but it can help. Many employers, particularly those in mainstream media, look for film critics with a background in journalism or communication. Consider taking writing classes at your school, university, or local community college. [21] X Research source

Step 2 Develop a guiding philosophy.

  • Some critics believe that film can offer guiding wisdom to help people live better lives. Others believe that every film element has a significant symbolic value. To develop your own guiding philosophy, think about what film means to you as an art form and how it relates to life.

Step 3 Be honest.

Community Q&A

Rod Gustafson

  • Get involved in a film club online or in your neighborhood, community college, or workplace. If you can't find one, start your own! Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

film critic qualifications

  • Making a career out of film criticism is challenging. Be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to your craft, work hard, and make sacrifices. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 1

You Might Also Like

Appreciate the Art of Film

  • ↑ https://www.nyfa.edu/student-resources/how-to-become-a-film-critic-with-robert-ager/
  • ↑ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/2Zpj4YL3HK8YmS71C0lk2fG/ali-plumbs-guide-to-becoming-a-film-critic
  • ↑ http://www.academicinvest.com/arts-careers/film-studies-careers/how-to-become-a-film-critic
  • ↑ http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-write-a-movie-review-online-and-earn-money-doing-it/
  • ↑ http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/2008/05/14/in-critical-condition/
  • ↑ https://www.ukfilmreview.co.uk/become-a-film-critic
  • ↑ https://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/20/writing-rules-advice-from-the-new-york-times-on-writing-well/?_r=0

About This Article

wikiHow Staff

To be a film critic, start by watching as many classic films as you can across all genres, so that you can see what makes a quality film. Then, read the work of established film critics to get a better understanding of the things to analyze in a movie. Additionally, try making a few short films of your own to learn about video editing and give you a basis for critiquing other films. You can also take film classes online or at a community college to bring your commentary to the next level before having your work published or applying for a job as a critic. For advice on how to develop your own guiding philosophy for critiquing movies, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Make Money Watching Films: How to Become a Movie Critic

film critic qualifications

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For film aficionados, it’s easy to get invested in a movie, no matter the genre.

You love the genius of unexpected plot twists and celebrate the classics that inspired the films we see today.

Perhaps you even love bad movies, if only because it excites you to figure out where the story line really went wrong.

When you know how to become a movie critic, the hours you spend watching and analyzing movies can completely pay off.

Much like music albums, Broadway shows, and restaurants, movies are constantly being reviewed by critics all around the world.

Professional film reviews are in demand among thousands of consumers who want to know whether a movie is worth their time before they purchase a ticket for a two-hour experience.

As a result, you have the opportunity to turn your everyday film criticism into extra cash — or even a full-time work-from-home job .

This article will guide you through what it really takes to become a movie critic and show you three routes you can take to reach your goal.

Looking for movie critic jobs? Look no further - we've found openings

We have the information you need to find, apply to, and land a job as a movie critic

  • Browse open positions
  • Apply to the one you want
  • Get the job you've always wanted
  • Movie Critic Job Description
  • Movie Critic Job Requirements
  • How Much Do Film Critics Make?
  • 1. Apply for a Job
  • 2. Become a Freelancer
  • 3. Start Your Own Blog
  • Turn Your Passion into a Career

The role of a professional film critic is to give their audience an overview of a movie and its quality — always without any spoilers.

Film critiques traditionally take the form of a written article, though it’s become increasingly common for movie reviews to be presented in videos and even podcasts in our multimedia-driven world.

No matter what type of content you’re creating, you should expect to go beyond your personal opinion to create the most high-quality criticism possible.

Most professional movie critics keep their reviews consistent by creating a set ratings system that considers factors like cinematography, screenwriting, acting, and more.

A movie critic’s day-to-day may involve more than watching and reviewing movies.

In most cases, you’ll find yourself working with editors or clients to select movies that are relevant for your print or online publication’s audience.

As your reviews gain traction, you may start working with publicists to gain access to press previews, so your audience can learn more about a movie before or immediately upon its release.

Before you become a movie critic, you’ll need to be fairly knowledgeable about the film industry and the filmmaking process.

This will help you identify the different elements of a film — from plot development to art direction — and be as objective as possible when determining their strengths.

For many movie reviewers, watching plenty of films with close attention to detail, especially the award-winners and industry-changers, is enough to get familiar with the makings of a good or bad movie.

However, some may choose to get a formal degree in film studies, though this is rarely required.

On the technical side, it’s an absolute must to have great writing skills .

Even reviewers who mainly work with audio or video recording equipment and editing software will need to be good writers to put together scripts for their content.

Because of this, many film critic job listings require four-year journalism or English degrees — though there are ways to become a movie critic without college.

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The average salary of a movie critic is over $42,000 per year . The full range of average earnings varies from over $10,000 to over $213,000 per year.

However, because of the many routes that you can take as a film critic — from being a part-time reviewer with a TV segment to a full-time writer with a dedicated column — this salary can fluctuate a lot.

For a more exact look at how much you can expect to make, you can look at the average income for the specific type of movie critic you want to be.

On-screen critics tend to earn the most while writers for print publications often make under $30,000 per year .

There’s still a lot of fluctuation when it comes to the earnings of freelance writers , who can make anywhere between $5 and $200 per review.

Ultimately, your salary depends on the type of reviews you create, how much time you expect to spend in your movie criticism gig, and how much experience you have.

How to Become a Movie Critic: 3 Options

As you now know, there are many ways to review films nowadays with many forms of media readily available to consumers.

Similarly, the path to becoming a movie critic is never set in stone.

No matter your background, there’s a good chance you can earn extra money by reviewing movies.

How to Become a Movie Critic: movie theater

The most traditional route that professional movie critics take is applying for a part-time or full-time job, whether it’s a writing job or an opportunity to be a live personality for a TV or radio station.

This route comes with the biggest barriers to entry, typically having set experience or education requirements.

If you want to gain a traditional entry-level job, there’s a good chance you will need a four-year degree or, at the very least, some internship or related work experience.

More often than not, your employer will ask for samples of your work, professional references, or a portfolio so they can best assess your aptitude for the job.

Applying for a movie critic job is a great path to take if you want to quickly gain a large following, as the media outlet you work for will already have subscribers or a dedicated audience.

However, you may not have as much flexibility with your schedule, ratings system, or your writing style.

You can find both in-person and remote movie critic jobs on sites like Indeed and LinkedIn.

woman working on computer

Because many local and online media outlets don’t need full-time movie reviewers at hand, freelancers are quite common in this field.

While you don’t need any prior education to become a freelance movie critic, you will likely be required to have a strong portfolio of your work.

To get your work published, you can start small by submitting your film reviews to local publications or smaller companies that accept movie reviews.

As you begin to grow your portfolio and your credibility, you can start pitching to larger media outlets that can pay more for your work or apply to ongoing freelance gigs that you may find on standard job listing sites .

When you’re a freelancer, developing a relationship with editors and publicists is key to finding ongoing work.

You’ll also find it helpful to build your personal brand and online following, as having a large audience reading, listening to, or watching your reviews can make your work even more desirable to potential publishers.

If you want to be your own boss and set your own deadlines, you can consider creating your own film review blog to get complete control over your work.

This will allow you to decide what movies you want to watch and review.

Plus, you’ll earn 100% of any money you make from ads or sponsorship.

However, this is the most difficult route to take if you want to make money online fast .

You’ll have to learn how to start a website, create your social media channels, and market yourself to build your following.

For aspiring multimedia movie critics, you’ll also have to create a YouTube channel or profile on your desired platform.

Once you get to the point where your blog is monetized, it will likely still take a while before you can turn your movie critiques into a full-time job, if that’s your goal.

As long as you’re willing to put in the effort, starting your own blog has virtually no job requirements, lowering the barrier to entry, and provides an enormous amount of flexibility.

It’s an excellent way to make extra cash while fulfilling your passions — writing reviews the way you want to instead of following someone else’s rules.

movie theater audience

Being a movie buff can absolutely become a great side hustle  or a full-time career as long as you refine your writing skills and film expertise.

Whether your goal is to have a stable job, land flexible freelance gigs, or monetize a blog that’s completely your style, your path can lead you to the point where you’ll finally be making money by watching films.

If you’re a sharp writer interested in all things pop culture, you don’t necessarily need to limit yourself to movies.

There’s no one way to learn how to become a movie critic, so this is a great opportunity for a little creativity in your career journey.

1 thought on “Make Money Watching Films: How to Become a Movie Critic”

I’m very interested in becoming a movie critic. I am a huge movie buff and I feel like that would be a great path for me but I don’t know how to get into it without guidance and I also don’t have a degree. I graduated high school in 2017 and have just worked different jobs since but movies are my passion and watching and writing reviews letting people know enough about the film to know if they will enjoy it but not giving away the whole movie is something I believe I would be great at. Do you know how to get into critiquing movies without a degree. If so please let me know.

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Film critic

£20k - £60k

Typical salary

Hours per week

Film critics analyse films and produce reviews and articles for newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, social media channels and websites.

Film critic video 1

  • Use your love of film and critical ability to review films
  • Develop your own critical writing style with experience
  • You could combine this work with writing books, editing, or teaching

As a film critic, you'll be likely to work freelance or be self-employed (especially when starting out) and you'll use excellent critical ability to produce film reviews.


  • Watching films of all genres, often several times
  • Making notes about scripts, music, storylines and influences
  • Looking at technical details like camera angles, lighting and editing
  • Submitting reviews by strict deadlines
  • Building up contacts with film-makers, agents and distributors
  • Attending film festivals, talks, previews and press conferences
  • Interviewing film-makers, actors and production staff
  • Researching archival information about films and film-makers
  • Keeping up to date with critical theories


You could work at events, at a venue, from home, or in an office.

You'll need

To be a film critic, you'll need knowledge of English language, the ability to critically analyse information, knowledge of media production and communication, thoroughness and attention to detail, the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure, excellent written and verbal communication skills, and ambition and a desire to succeed. You can do a foundation degree, degree or postgraduate qualification in film studies, journalism, English, creative writing, or film and television. Courses like these will help you develop the analytical and writing skills needed to be a film critic. You could also do a college course to teach you some of the relevant skills you'll need for this role, such as A level Film Studies, or a Level 3 Certificate or Diploma in Journalism. You can even work towards this role by starting with an advanced apprenticeship as a junior journalist before specialising in film reviewing and criticism. This is a highly competitive role, so you'll need to prove you have writing experience through a portfolio. To develop this experience, you can write for student or local newspapers, create your own blog and build an online presence on social media, submit articles to online film review channels and websites, post video reviews online and produce podcasts. Alternatively, you may be able to do short courses to help develop critical writing skills and expand your knowledge of film and different genres. Short courses are offered by some colleges, adult education centres, university film departments, and film organisations online. These courses include film criticism, history of cinema, creative writing, journalism skills, and cinema from other countries.


As an established film critic, you could combine your job with writing books on film, editing, or teaching criticism on film courses. You could also work on film archives.

Possible Routes

  • Apprenticeship
  • Freelancing
  • Postgraduate Qualification

Education providers

Related job types.

  • Newspaper journalist
  • Editorial assistant
  • Content producer

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What Does a Film Critic Do?

Find out what a film critic does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a film critic.

film critic qualifications

Table Of Contents

Film critic job duties.

  • Film Critic Salary & Outlook

Film Critic Job Requirements

Film critic skills, film critic work environment, film critic trends, how to become a film critic, advancement prospects.

  • Job Description Example

Film critics are responsible for writing and publishing their opinions on movies, television shows, and other forms of media. They’re often tasked with covering the latest releases in theaters or at home, as well as reviewing older titles that may be getting a Blu-ray release or airing on a streaming service.

Film critics typically have a strong knowledge of film history and theory. This helps them to better understand how certain films fit into the larger context of cinema as a whole. It also gives them insight into what makes certain movies more successful than others—and why some succeed despite being poorly made.

Film critics typically have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Analyzing the social and cultural significance of film through reviews and critiques
  • Reviewing the box office performance of new releases, tracking statistics such as audience demographics and popularity with critics
  • Providing feedback to producers or directors regarding the strengths and weaknesses of their film
  • Reviewing screenplays and scripts and offering feedback on plot development, character development, dialogue, and pacing
  • Evaluating acting performances and how they contribute to the success or failure of a film
  • Writing articles about specific actors or directors to help promote their work to new audiences
  • Reviewing film festivals to identify promising new directors and actors
  • Reviewing DVDs and other home entertainment releases for content and quality
  • Identifying trends in the film industry through interviews with directors, producers, actors, and other industry professionals

Film Critic Salary & Outlook

Film critics are typically paid on an hourly basis, and their salaries can vary depending on a number of factors.

  • Median Annual Salary: $62,500 ($30.05/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of film critics is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

An increase in the number of online-only publications and digital platforms will create more jobs for film critics. However, the growth of online streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu, may reduce the demand for traditional print media, such as newspapers and magazines, and limit the need for film critics.

Film critics typically need to have the following background:

Education: Film critics need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to get started in this field. A bachelor’s degree in film, television, English or another related field can provide the critical thinking and writing skills needed to be a film critic. Some aspiring film critics choose to pursue a master’s degree in film studies to further their education and increase their employment opportunities.

Training & Experience: Film critics typically have a background in film studies or a related field. They may have worked as an intern for a film critic or in a film-related position. They may have worked in a movie theater or as a projectionist. They may have worked as a film festival organizer or as a film distributor.

Film critics may also have a background in writing. They may have worked as a journalist or as a copywriter. They may have worked in advertising or public relations.

Certifications & Licenses: While certifications are not common for film critics, they may be required by certain publications. For publications that do not have specific requirements, candidates can submit a portfolio of their best work to apply for an open position.

Film critics need the following skills in order to be successful:

Research: A film critic needs to research topics and films they’re reviewing. This can include learning about the director, producer and actors involved in the film. It can also include learning about the film’s production company, the film’s budget and any other information that can help the critic write a thorough review.

Writing: A film critic uses their writing skills to create reviews of movies. They use their writing skills to convey their thoughts and opinions about a film. They also use their writing skills to communicate with others in the film industry, such as movie producers and directors.

Knowledge of film industry: A film critic needs to have a thorough understanding of the film industry to be able to write about films effectively. They need to know the different roles in the film industry, such as directors, producers, actors and screenwriters, to be able to write reviews that are informative and interesting to their audience. They also need to know the different roles in the film production process, such as pre-production, production and post-production, to be able to write reviews that are detailed and informative.

Ability to analyze films: Analyzing films is the ability to break down a film’s elements and explain how they work together to create a certain mood or message. Film critics use this skill to write their reviews, which are often based on the critic’s opinion of the film’s strengths and weaknesses.

Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to analyze information and form conclusions. Film critics use critical thinking to form opinions about films they review. They use their critical thinking skills to analyze the film’s plot, characters, cinematography and other elements to form an opinion about the film’s quality.

Film critics work in a variety of settings, including print media (newspapers, magazines, and journals), broadcast media (television and radio), and online media (websites and blogs). They may also work as freelance critics, writing for multiple outlets. Most film critics work full time, and their work hours may include evenings and weekends to attend film screenings and premieres. Some film critics travel to film festivals around the world to see new films and meet with filmmakers. The work of a film critic can be stressful because of the tight deadlines and the need to be constantly aware of new films and developments in the film industry.

Here are three trends influencing how film critics work. Film critics will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Rise of the Digital Critic

The rise of the digital critic is a trend that is quickly changing the film criticism industry. With the increasing popularity of online publications, more and more critics are turning to the internet as a way to share their opinions with a wider audience.

This shift has led to an increased demand for film critics who can write well-crafted reviews that are both informative and entertaining. As more and more people turn to the internet for information about movies, critics who can create content that meets this demand will be in high demand.

More Focus on Diversity

As the film industry becomes more diverse, so too will the critics who cover it. This means that film critics need to be aware of the different perspectives and experiences that come from being part of a minority group.

By understanding the challenges that minorities face in the film industry, critics can provide a more accurate representation of what is happening in the world of cinema. In addition, they can help to promote films that feature diverse casts and crews, which is important for creating a more inclusive industry.

A Greater Emphasis on Personal Opinions

In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on personal opinions in the media. This is especially true in the world of film criticism, where readers are looking for reviewers who have a unique perspective on the latest releases.

As a film critic, you can capitalize on this trend by developing your own voice and style. By doing so, you will be able to connect with readers and establish yourself as an authority in your field.

A career as a film critic can be both rewarding and challenging. It’s important to have a strong knowledge of cinema, but you also need to be able to write well and have a keen eye for detail. You should also be prepared to see a lot of movies and be able to write about them quickly.

To get started in this field, it’s best to start writing reviews for local newspapers or online publications. This will help you build your portfolio and gain experience. You can also volunteer to work on film festival committees or serve on juries for film competitions. This will give you the opportunity to meet filmmakers and other professionals in the industry.

Film critics may advance in their careers by writing for more prestigious publications or by working as a film critic for a major news outlet. As they gain more experience, film critics may also be able to teach film courses at a college or university. Some film critics may also choose to produce their own films or write screenplays.

Film Critic Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we’re looking for a highly-qualified film critic to join our team. As a film critic, you will be responsible for watching and writing reviews for new release films. Your reviews will help our readers make informed decisions about which films are worth their time and money. In addition to writing reviews, you will also be responsible for conducting interviews with filmmakers, actors, and other industry professionals. The ideal candidate will have a deep love and knowledge of film, as well as strong writing and research skills.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Write and publish reviews of new release films in a timely, professional manner
  • Engage with readers in the comments section of website or blog to discuss film-related topics
  • Attend press screenings and festivals to view new films before they are released to the public
  • Conduct interviews with filmmakers, actors, and other industry professionals to gain insights into the filmmaking process
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of current films, industry news, and trends
  • Keep abreast of new technologies and developments in the field of film criticism, such as new platforms for viewing and discussing films
  • Write thoughtful, well-reasoned essays on classic films and filmmakers
  • Speak publicly about films at events such as panel discussions, Q&As, and lectures
  • Serve as a jury member for film festivals and award ceremonies
  • Teach courses on film history, theory, and criticism at the college level
  • Work with editors and publishers to develop ideas for books, anthologies, and other publications
  • Consult with film production companies on script development and other aspects of pre-production

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in film studies, communications, or related field
  • 3-5 years professional writing experience, with a strong portfolio of work
  • Exceptional research, writing, and editing skills
  • Ability to work independently and meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment
  • Thorough knowledge of film history and theory
  • Familiarity with different genres and film movements

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in film studies or related field
  • Experience teaching film courses at the college level
  • Fluency in more than one language
  • Working knowledge of design software, such as Photoshop or InDesign

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    The average salary of a movie critic is over $42,000 per year. The full range of average earnings varies from over $10,000 to

  11. Film Critic Jobs and Education Requirements

    Some film critics have a background in film studies, while others have a degree in communications or journalism; studying both disciplines through major and

  12. How to Become a Film Critic

    What Does a Film Critic Do? A film critic, or movie reviewer, watches movies and analyzes every aspect of them. They consider the story

  13. Film critic

    DAY-TO-DAY DUTIES · Watching films of all genres, often several times · Making notes about scripts, music, storylines and influences · Looking at technical

  14. Film Critic Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More

    Film critics are responsible for writing and publishing their opinions on movies, television shows, and other forms of media. They're often tasked with covering