How to Talk About Movies and Books

Vocabulary

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).

Genre

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).

Characters

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

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

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?

Tell Stories Easily by Using 4 Parts

speaking

You can tell stories easily by using four parts: beginning, main point, reaction and ending. Remember that stories usually stick to the past tense.

Beginning

It is common to use a past-continuous clause (was/were ~ing) and ‘when‘, followed by a past-tense clause (simple or continuous) for a detail to link to the main point.

“I was having a job interview when I felt the room shaking.”

Main Point

Get straight to the point. This is an action.

“There was a huge earthquake.”

Reaction

What did you do after the action you just talked about?

“Everybody left the building and went home.”

Ending

How did things get back to normal or back to a comfortable situation for you?

“I had to walk for five hours because there were no trains.”

This might be useful next time you write your diary.

Write a diary