IELTS Model Essay: Films on Phones v Cinema

Movies in cinema or on phone

Here is another of my IELTS model essays for IELTS Writing Task 2. It’s a discuss both views essay question from the IELTS General Training Test:

Some people say that now we can see films on our phones or tablets there is no need to go to the cinema. Others say that to be fully enjoyed, films need to be seen in a cinema.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

(Cambridge IELTS Book 13 General Training Test 3)

This is quite a nice IELTS essay question because it may be a topic you’ve thought about and probably have personal experience of, so it should be relatively easy to generate ideas for your essay. There’s also quite a lot you could write about.

However, it’s important not to have too many ideas, as you need to explain and illustrate each idea if you want to get a Band 7 or higher for Task Response.

This essay question is typical of authentic ‘discuss both views’ essay questions: both views have merits. There are clearly sensible reasons for both views. But which view do you personally lean towards?

Personally, I think it depends on the kind of movie you want to watch, as I will explain in my essay.

My Plan

View 1: no need to go to cinema, can watch on mobile devices

  • convenience:
    • can watch movies at home, lying on bed, sitting in cafe, commuting
  • choice:
    • online platforms e.g. Netflix have huge choice (cinemas limited choice)

View 2: need to watch movies in cinema to get full enjoyment

  • immersive experience:
    • modern cinemas offer sound surround and huge screens, so SFX and audio provide an immersive experience (IMAX)
  • latest movies in cinema:
    • cinemas show latest films / Netflix often doesn’t

My View: it depends on type of movie / social

  • Depends on movie genre:
    • action movies / sci fi best in cinema (because of audio / SFX)
    • rom coms / biopics ok on tablets
  • Depends on if watching alone or with friends
    • easier to watch in cinema with friends

So that’s my plan. Here is my essay – remember this is only one way of writing this essay.

My Essay

Now that mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have become more powerful and affordable, there is some debate as to whether there is a need any longer to go to the cinema to watch movies.

It’s certainly true that going to the cinema is not essential. The versatility and portability of these devices mean you can easily watch films while lying on your bed at home, sitting in a cafe or commuting to work or college. Moreover, online services such as Netflix provide low-cost and rapid access to a vast catalogue of movies, whereas cinemas only screen a handful of films at any one time.

However, there are strong arguments in favour of going to the cinema, foremost of which is that modern cinemas, such as IMAX, offer surround sound systems and huge screens, meaning that moviegoers are immersed in a movie, an experience that cannot be replicated by mobile devices. In addition, new movie releases tend to be exclusive to cinema chains, so if you want to watch the latest Bond or Batman movie on your tablet, you may have a long wait.

Personally, I think that while there are clear arguments for both views, someone’s preferences are likely to be influenced by the kind of movie they want to watch. Sci-fi and action movies, for example, are far more enjoyable in a cinema because of the special effects they include, whereas gentle romantic comedies or biopics can easily be enjoyed on a tablet or phone. It also depends on whether you want to watch movies with friends: it’s simply much easier to watch them together in a cinema rather than huddled over a small screen with a tiny speaker.

(282 words)

About the author

Charlie is a former IELTS Examiner with 25 years' teaching experience all over the world. His courses, for both English language learners and teachers, have been taken by over 100,000 students in over 160 countries around the world.