How to Talk About Movies and Books


To talk about movies and books looks easy but is difficult for a lot of English learners. In this post, I will teach you how to talk about films and novels.

Normally, we talk about genre, characters, setting and plot (or story).


Some genres are the same for films and books: science fiction, sci-fi or SF (Star Wars, ; fantasy (Lord of the Rings); romance or love story (Brief Encounter); comedy (Dumb and Dumber); and horror (Dracula).

Some genres are used only for films: romantic comedy (Notting Hill) is not used for books, but one might say a comedy romance (Emma); drama (Babel) is not used for books, one would say it’s general fiction or literature (On The Road).


One normally talks about the character by talking about their gender or their job.

Harry Potter is a fantasy about a boy who becomes a wizard.
Die Hard is an action film about a policeman who fights against terrorists when he’s at the airport at Christmastime.


Setting means where and when the story happens. For example, Die Hard is set in an airport.

Back To The Future takes place in the Los Angeles suburbs in 1985 and 1955.


Plot is the main story of a film or book. Remember not to spoil the ending!

In Back To The Future, Marty McFly goes back in time and has to make his parents fall in love but it is more difficult than he thinks.

Be Kind Rewind is about a guy who is struck by lightning and wipes the tapes in a video store and has to remake all the films with his friend.

What are your favourite books and movies that you’ve studied with? Why not leave a short note in the comments?