By the end of this section, you will be able to:
- Explain the role of the review genre in personal, professional, and academic contexts.
- Articulate what differentiates the review genre from other genres.
Using Evidence to Make a Judgment
Ultimately, your judgment is your opinion. For example, it is expected that some people will love Avengers: Endgame (2019) and others will not. In fact, because some people may disagree with you, reviews provide a perfect opportunity to use evidence to defend your judgment. You are probably familiar with some ways in which reviewers present their judgments about their subjects. Reviews on Facebook, Google, and Yelp have a star rating system (the more stars the better). The film review site Rotten Tomatoes shows the percentage of reviewers that recommend the film. The review site The AV Club rates films and TV episodes by using an A-to-F grading scale.
Although a simple rating might be effective when reviewing a business, reviews of creative works such as films, TV shows, visual arts, and books are more complex. Critics —professional writers who review creative works—like Willa Paskin try to review their subjects and at the same time analyze their subjects’ cultural significance. In addition to providing an overall judgment, critics guide audiences on how to view and understand a work within a larger cultural context. Critics provide this guidance by answering questions such as these:
- In what genre would I place this work? Why?
- What has this work contributed to its genre that other works have not?
- How does the creator (or creators) of this work show they understand the culture (audience) that will view the work?
- How does this work reflect the time in which it was created?
People look to critics not only to judge the overall quality of a work but also to gain insights about it.
Other writing genres feature characteristics similar to the review genre, using criteria and evidence to analyze and sometimes evaluate the effectiveness of written or visual text: Rhetorical Analysis: Interpreting the Art of Rhetoric, Print or Textual Analysis: What You Read, and Image Analysis: Writing About What You See.