Ready, set, action: Talking about movies in English
by Muireann Prendergast
Talking about movies is a great way to practice informal English. It is also a good way to learn to speak about your interests and pastimes. Let’s look at some of the vocabulary involved as well as some possible question and answer-style scenarios.
What’s your favorite genre?
Romantic comedy (also called rom-com)
Science Fiction (also called sci-fi)
Chick Flick (movies of interest to women)
Independent (also called indie)
Why do you like this genre?
If it is because these movies are exciting you can say:
They keep me at the edge of my seat.
They are fast-paced and I am never bored.
If it is because you like the music you can say:
I generally like the soundtrack to these movies.
If it is because you like to see the technology used to make them you can say:
I think the special effects used to make these movies are very impressive.
If you like the issues they raise you can say:
I can relate to the subject-matter of these movies.
I think the issues they raise are realistic.
I like them because they are frequently controversial.
If you like the movies that you can watch with your whole family, you can say:
I like them because they are family-orientated.
How did your favorite movie do at the box office?
Very well. It was a/an:
– Major Blockbuster
– An academy-award (Oscar) winner
Not so well. It was a:
– Straight to-DVD movie
Who is your favorite actor?
Vocabulary to describe your favorite actors and actresses includes the following:
– Handsome (or pretty is you are talking about a woman)
Vocabulary to describe your least favorite actors and actresses includes the following:
– Too extrovert
– A one trick pony (the opposite of versatile)
If you want to talk about the important actors in the film you can use the terms:
– Lead actor/actress
If you want to talk about the actors/actresses with smaller roles in the film you can use the terms:
– Supporting actor/actress
And, if the part is particularly small:
Some useful vocabulary to describe character traits of protagonists and supporting actors/actresses is:
Now, let’s see what you’ve learned. Watch this movie clip of Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind with Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey. Answer the following questions:
What words from the list of possible character traits above would you use to describe:
1. The female protagonist?
2. The chief male character?
What do you think is the genre of this movie?
What do you like/dislike about this movie?
How do you think it performed at the box office?