In this article, we are going to learn how to describe a movie in English, and how to learn English with movies.
Over the years, I have worked with more than 10,000 students, and I noticed that those who learn English by doing what they like are always more successful at learning the English language. The key is to pursue your hobbies in English. For example, if you are a soccer fan, you can read news articles in English. If you like music, check the English lyrics of your favorite English songs. And if you like movies, then let me tell you what you need to do to learn English with movies!
In this article, first we are going to learn some adjectives to describe films and talk about them in English. Then, we will discuss the best way of watching English movies and TV series in order to improve your English. Let’s get started!
Words and adjectives to describe a movie in English
If you want to talk about movies in English, you need to learn how to improve English vocabulary. So, let’s learn the most common adjectives and words to describe a movie.
1. Genre (of words to describe a movie)
“Genre” is the style of a movie. We have many different genres. For example:
Western movies are about the American wild west. If you are a fan of this movie genre, you must have watched “The hateful eight” which is my favorite English movie of this genre! I also recommend “Django unchained“, a masterpiece by Quentin Tarantino.
Samuel L.Jackson in The Hateful Eight
Action movies are movies with action scenes like gunshots or car chases. A very good movie in this genre is “Top Gun : Maverick” which can help improve your English. Later on in this article, I will explain the best way of watching movies to improve your English, so keep reading!
Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick
Another name for animated movies is “cartoons”. However, cartoons are mainly for children, while animated movies can be for adults. For example, an amazing animated series for advanced students of English is “Rick and Morty” which is by far my favorite series! (Careful: this animated series is for adults only!).
Rick and Morty by Adult Swim
Sci-Fi stands for Science-Fiction. This genre is about unrealistic or unreal things. An examples of this genre is the masterpiece “Interstellar” by Christopher Nolan. Sci-Fi movies are imaginary and they are mainly about the future of mankind.
Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar
If you are looking for fun and laughter, you can watch a comedy movie. These movies are really funny (not all of them!) and you can have fun while improving your English! You can see a list of 100 best comedy movies which you can watch to improve your English!
Rowan Atkinson AKA Mr. Bean!
Drama movies can make you sad or feel very emotional. Romantic movies fall into this category. I am not a big fan of this genre. However, to be able to describe movies in English, you need to know about it! The best movie of all time “The Shawshank Redemption” is a drama movie.
Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption
The plot of the movie is the series of events that form the story of the movie. If you want to say “I really enjoyed the movie because the story was good”, instead of “story” you can say “plot”. Like this sentence:
- I really enjoyed it because it had a very good plot.
“Cast” is a collective noun meaning all the people (actors and actresses) who act and perform in a movie. The word “cast” is very useful in order to describe a movie and its actors and actresses. Take a look at this sentence:
- The movie had a very good cast, but the plot wasn’t really interesting.
It means all the actors and actresses played very well.
4. Cast list
The “cast list “is the list of all the actors and actresses who perform in a movie. The final “credit roll” shows the cast list of the movie. I never read it!
5. Members of the cast
“Members of the cast” are the individual actors and actresses who are performing in a movie. In other words, “cast” refers to all the people in the movie, and “cast list” is the list of names showing who acts in a particular movie. Members of the cast are actors and actresses. To understand the concept better, pay attention to the following example:
- One movie that I watched about a year ago was “Once upon a time in Hollywood”. It has a very strong cast. However, in my opinion, the plot was weak and very boring. I didn’t like the story, no specific point was in the movie.
“Character” is each individual in a movie. A movie has a main character which is the leading role of the movie (also called the protagonist of a movie). The main character, leading role, or the protagonist is the person who has the main role in a movie.
We also have supporting roles. Actors and actresses who are in the movie and in relation with the protagonist, but they are not the main character.
7. To nominate
Every year in Oscars, leading and supporting roles nominate for an award.
What does “to nominate for an award” mean ?
“To nominate” means to be selected or enter a competition to win a prize. If an actor like Leonardo DiCaprio or Brad Pitt nominates for Oscars, it means they enter the competition.
”Performance” means the act of presenting something. Every actor and actress in a movie is performing and showing his/her ability to act. Then, you can say that their performance was good or bad. Pay attention to the following example:
- I liked the movie. It had a very strong cast and an amazing plot, but the performance of the main actor/ the protagonist/ the leading role was poor.
So far, we have learned several words that you can use to describe movies in English. However, if you want to talk about a movie clearly, you need to use adjectives as well.
ways to describe a movie
Describing movies is like telling a really exciting story! One of the ways to describe a movie is by talking about the characters. You can tell your friends if there’s a brave hero, a clever sidekick, or a funny villain. Share what you like about the characters and how they make the movie interesting. Of other ways to describe movies is by talking about the genre. Is it a thrilling adventure, a magical fantasy, or a hilarious comedy? Explaining the genre helps your friends know what kind of movie it is and if it’s something they might enjoy. You can also mention if it’s based on a book, a true story, or if it’s completely made up!
When describing movies, it’s fun to talk about the plot. The plot is like the big puzzle that the movie tells. You can explain if the characters are going on a quest, solving a mystery, or trying to save the world. Share the exciting moments, like the chase scenes, the surprises, or the happy endings. Of other ways to describe a movie is by talking about the visuals. You can tell your friends if the movie has beautiful scenery, amazing special effects, or colorful animations. Visuals can make the movie even more captivating and bring the story to life!
To describe a movie in English is also about sharing your own feelings and opinions. You can tell your friends if you loved a movie and why. Maybe it made you laugh so hard that your tummy hurt, or it made you feel really inspired. If you didn’t enjoy a movie as much, you can explain why too. Maybe it was too scary, or the story didn’t make sense to you. It’s okay to have different opinions, and it’s fun to hear what your friends think too. Describe a movie in English helps you express yourself and discover new movies that you might enjoy. So, don’t be shy and share your thoughts with your friends!
Adjectives to describe movie cast
1. All-star cast
If you want to talk about the cast of a movie, you can use the term “all-star cast”. It means a cast full of stars or full of very good and famous actors and actresses.
- Once upon a time in Hollywood had an all-star cast.
2. Star-studded cast
Synonymous with “all-star”, you can also use “star-studded” to describe a movie. Like the example below:
- Once upon a time in Hollywood had a star-studded cast.
3. Strong cast
A movie that is very strong in terms of acting and performing has a strong cast. Pay close attention to this example:
- Once upon a time in Hollywood had a strong cast.
|The cast of a movie can be…||All-star
Adjectives to describe movie plots
If it isn’t easy to follow the story or understand what is going on in a movie, the that movie is complicated.
If the plot is very complicated, you can say it’s “intricate”. It means that the movie is so complicated that you cannot understand anything. Just like the movie “Inception”. “Inception” is an all-star cast movie, but the plot is intricate. I watched it several times but I couldn’t figure out what happened in the end.
If a movie is “Gripping”, it means it’s so good that you can’t stop watching it. For example:
- I found the movie so gripping that I couldn’t take my eyes off the TV.
You can say the plot was “intriguing”, which means the movie is very interesting or fascinating. A good example of an intriguing movie is “Edge of tomorrow“. While I was watching this movie, I couldn’t move or pause, I had to keep watching to figure out what was happening in the movie and to understand what will happen in the end! Truly a masterpiece!
The plot of a movie can also be very boring, predictable, or tiresome, meaning it’s not intriguing or gripping at all. You just want a boring movie to end and every event that takes place in this movie is very predictable.
- I wish this movie wasn’t so boring
In my opinion, “Bad boys for life” was a comedy movie which was very boring and predictable. I think it wasn’t gripping or intriguing at all.
|The plot of a movie can be…||complicated
Adjectives to describe movie characters
If you want to describe the characters of movies in English, you can use adjectives like:
1.Central/ main/ principal
To talk about the leading role of a movie, we can use “Main”, “central” or “principal“. For example:
- In the movie “Edge of Tomorrow”, the central/ main/ principal character was Tom Cruise.
You can also use “protagonist” or leading role instead of the main, central, or principal character. Like the sentence below:
- The leading role was Tom Cruise.
We use “Supporting character” to talk about the supporting roles.
“fictional character” means a character that does not exist in reality and it’s imaginary. For example:
- My favorite fictional character is Thanos. I adore Josh Brolin for his performance as Thanos in Avengers movies. He is my favorite fictional character.
Adjectives to describe the performance of the cast in a movie
If you want to say that the performance of the cast was very good, you can say it was remarkable. Instead of remarkable, you can also use the adjectives below:
All of the adjectives above have the same meaning. They mean very good, strong, or top-notch.
If the performance isn’t very good, you could say that the performance was disappointing or use synonyms like:
“Lackluster” means unimaginative, dull, or colorless.
Adjectives to describe movies in English
In order to describe a movie in English, you need to be equipped with a set of adjectives to describe films!
If you want to say that a movie was really good, you can say it was first-rate, which means it was very good, extremely interesting, or top-notch.
Another item of adjectives to describe films is “Insightful” . This word means it shows deep understanding or is very perceptive.
3. Intriguing/ absorbing/dazzling
The third item of adjectives to describe a movie is intriguing/ absorbing/ dazzling. If you want to say that the movie was very interesting, instead of interesting you can say “intriguing”, “absorbing” or “dazzling”.
The fourth word of adjectives for movies is “Thought-provoking” . This word means it can make you think about the meaning of life or etc.
“Moving” is also of adjectives to describe films that means, it can make you emotional. A synonym for “moving” is “touching”, which means it touches your soul, just like the animated movie by Disney called Soul.
It was dazzling, very insightful and really thought-provoking. After watching the movie, I was thinking about my life, my future, why I am alive, why we are in this world for a couple of years. It was very thought-provoking, absolutely dazzling, and insightful.
the sixth item of adjectives to describe movies is second-rate/third rate. However, if you didn’t like a movie and you want to describe it negatively, you can say it was second-rate. If it was very bad you can use third-rate.
“Unpleasant” or “distasteful “ are used to describe a movie in English in a negative way, and they mean you didn’t like it or it didn’t appeal to you.
“Boring” means tiresome or predictable which is of common words to describe a movie .There was no surprise in the movie.
|A movie can be…||First-rate
Second-rate / Third-rate
Intriguing/ absorbing/ dazzling
thought – provoking
moving / touching
unpleasant / distasteful
Adjectives for action movies
How to describe a good movie in one word
If you have always had a challenge with how to say a movie is good , this section is for you!
When you want to describe a good movie in just one word, “exciting” can be a great choice. An exciting movie is one that keeps you on the edge of your seat with thrilling action, suspenseful moments, and unexpected surprises. It makes your heart race and fills you with anticipation for what’s going to happen next. An exciting movie is like a roller coaster ride of emotions that leaves you feeling exhilarated and wanting more.
Another word to describe a good movie in one word is “funny.” A funny movie is filled with hilarious jokes, silly situations, and lovable characters that make you laugh out loud. It brings joy and happiness, and it’s a great way to have a good time with your friends and family. A funny movie can brighten your day and leave you in stitches from all the laughter.
If you’re looking for a word to describe a good movie that touches your heart, “inspiring” is a great choice. An inspiring movie is one that uplifts you, fills you with hope, and makes you believe in yourself. It tells stories of courage, determination, and overcoming obstacles. It can teach you important lessons about life, friendship, and the power of never giving up. An inspiring movie leaves you feeling motivated and ready to chase your dreams.
Lastly, a word to describe a good movie that sparks your imagination is “magical.” A magical movie takes you on a journey to extraordinary worlds filled with enchantment, wonder, and fantastical creatures. It has elements of fantasy, adventure, or even science fiction that transport you to places you could only dream of. A magical movie ignites your creativity and makes you believe in the power of imagination.
Remember, one word may not capture all the amazing aspects of a movie, but it can give you a glimpse into what makes it special and worth watching!
How to describe a movie in one sentence
Describing a movie in just one sentence is like telling a quick story. For example, you can say “This movie is a hilarious comedy filled with funny jokes and silly characters that will make you laugh non-stop.” In this sentence, you’re highlighting the movie’s genre (comedy), its main feature (funny jokes), and the effect it has on the audience (laughter). It’s of great ways to describe a movie that gives a sense of joy and entertainment.
Another way to describe a movie in English in one sentence is by focusing on its main theme or message. For instance, you can say “This movie is an inspiring tale about never giving up and believing in yourself, where the main character overcomes challenges to achieve their dreams.” In this sentence, you’re emphasizing the movie’s theme of perseverance, the character’s journey, and the motivational aspect of the story. It evokes a sense of empowerment and optimism.
Remember, when we describe a movie in English in just one sentence, we capture its main elements and make others curious about it. Choose words that reflect the movie’s genre, main features, and overall message to give a glimpse of its exciting and meaningful aspects!
Describe a film that you found really boring
Sometimes, we come across movies that we find really boring. One way to describe a film that you found boring is by using the word “slow.” A slow movie is one that seems to take a long time to tell the story and doesn’t have many exciting or interesting moments. It may have long, quiet scenes or dialogue that doesn’t capture your attention. A slow movie can make you feel like time is passing by slowly and may leave you feeling a bit uninterested or sleepy.
Another word to describe a film that is boring is “dull.” A dull movie lacks excitement and doesn’t grab your attention. It might have a story that feels predictable or characters that don’t have much depth. A dull movie can make you feel like there isn’t much happening or that it’s hard to stay engaged. While everyone’s preferences are different, a dull movie is one that may not have captured your interest or made you feel entertained.
Remember, it’s okay if a movie doesn’t captivate you or keep you engaged. We all have different tastes and what may be boring to one person can be exciting to another. It’s all about finding the movies that resonate with you and make you feel entertained!
Learn English with movies
Movies are one of the best ways to improve English speaking , because the cast of the movie speak the real language not the words, vocabulary or grammar you find in books. That’s why it’s one of the best ways of improving your English level.
Best method of watching movies to improve your English
Learning about the ways to describe a movie in English is important in communications. But keep in mind that one of the best methods to improve our English level, is to watch different movies. One thing that you have to bear in mind is that movies are supposed to be fun! If you can’t understand the movie without subtitles or the movie is too difficult for you to understand, then you shouldn’t be watching it!
The point is, you shouldn’t force yourself into watching movies and learning English out of them. You should try to have fun, that’s when you will see results. There are two main ways of learning:
1. Active learning
“Active learning” is when you open a book, join an online English course or have a tutor and then you start learning the language.
“Passive learning” is very important and crucial. How do babies learn the language? Do they open a book and start reading? No! They learn the language passively without trying to learn it. They learn the language passively by hearing and watching.
Movies are one of the ways with which you can learn the language passively. When you are watching a movie, even if the movie is with subtitles in your mother tongue; you will still improve your English.
How to learn English by watching movies
By watching the movie, your ears will get used to hearing English ..Your brain gets used to the sound and the rhythm of the language. Plus, you will get familiar with different accents. Therefore it will be easier to describe a movie in English.
In addition, if you are having fun watching the movie, you might as well learn some of the sentences that they are saying. Maybe your favorite character uses a phrase or a catchphrase or a sentence a lot, and you like it. Then, you memorize that scene and then you try to say it out loud because you loved it.
My suggestion is that your method of watching a movie and learning from it should depend on your level of English:
- If you are a beginner and you have a low level of English understanding, then what you should do is to watch animated movies or cartoons. Because in cartoons they pronounce the words and the sentences very clearly . If you watch it with subtitles in your mother tongue, you will read and understand the meanings as well.
- If you are lower intermediate, then what you need to do is to watch movies instead of animated series. You can still watch animated series, animations, or cartoons but you can make a challenge for yourself by watching real movies. However, you can still use subtitles in your mother tongue.
- If you are an upper intermediate student, then what you need to do is to challenge yourself even more by watching movies with subtitles, but the subtitles should be in the English. In this way, you will read, hear and see.
- If your level is advanced, then, watch the movie with no subtitle to challenge yourself! A very important point here is that when you are watching the movie, don’t expect to understand 100% of every single word or line the cast are saying. Instead, try to understand the plot, the story of the movie, or the series of events. Understanding 20 or 30 percent of the movie would be perfect.
|Your level of English||What movies are best suitable for you|
|Beginner||watch animated movies or cartoons|
|Lower intermediate||watch real movies with subtitles in your mother tongue|
|Upper intermediate||watch movies with English subtitles|
|Advanced||watch the movie with no subtitle|
In general, try to make the learning process a hobby for yourself. If you force yourself to learn, you might end up not liking it, but if you make it your hobby, at the same time you will learn and have fun.
Writing a movie review in English
In the last part of this article, we are going to read a review of a movie which I have written for you. It’s a very brief review, but I have used all the words, phrases, and expressions that we’ve learned in this article to describe a movie in English.
The other day, I went to the movies to watch the new movie “Dune“. I had heard a lot about the all-star cast, all my favorite actors including Josh Brolin, Oscar Isaac and Timothee Chalamet were in this movie. The leading role, Timothee chalamet gave a remarkable performance. The supporting actors and actresses all showed dazzling performances. The plot of the movie is intricate and the movie itself is very thought-provoking. The movie is really slow-paced but incredibly gripping and absorbing. Surely, it was one of my all-time favorites and I highly recommend watching this movie if you haven’t seen it so far.
In this article we learned how to describe a movie in English. We talked about the most common words and adjectives to describe a film and also we talked about the different genres in the field of cinema.
As you understand, learning English requires finding effective ways, like watching movies and reading newspapers. Also, attending a good class and practice with a good teacher is an important key to being successful. If you are going to get a high score in IELTS, the PocEnglish online ielts course is perfect for you.
I hope that you’ve found this article productive, useful and learned how to describe and talk about movies in English.