IELTS Cue Card: Describe a film you would like to recommend to a friend

IELTS Cue Card: Describe a film you would like to recommend to a friend


Describe a film you would like to recommend to a friend.
You should say:
  • When you watched it
  • Where you watched it
  • Whether you liked it or not
And explain why you would recommend it to a friend.

Part 3:
  • What kind of films are popular?
  • What kinds of films do young people like to watch?
  • Do fewer people watch films at the cinema nowadays?
  • Do you think cinemas will disappear in the future?

Part 2 — Sample Answer:

I don’t tend to watch as many movies as I used to just because of the time pressures I have at work nowadays. However, there was a movie I saw a couple of years ago that I absolutely adored.

When I lived in New York, I used to see a lot of live musicals. There’s something really special about seeing performers live on a stage that’s often lost when a musical is made into a movie.

This movie is the exception to the rule in my book. The Greatest Showman is a movie that was released a few years ago and I had goosebumps when I was watching it. The music together with the cinematography was outstanding and brought the whole performance alive.

The movie itself won quite a number of awards and was critically acclaimed, which I believe was well deserved.

The plot is a fairly standard rags to riches story that documents the triumphs as well as the struggles that the protagonist faces. In many ways the plot embodies the American dream, and showcases the idea that equal opportunity is available to anybody and that the highest aspirations and goals can be achieved. Of course, like any good Hollywood movie, it has a happy ending.

This kind movie is one I especially like. When I’m going to see a movie, usually I want something lighthearted and easy to follow. I’m usually going to see a movie in order to unwind, and this was no exception.

I remember I went to see it with a friend who’d been dying to see it ever since he saw the trailer. We saw it in a special VIP cinema that had extra comfortable and roomy seats, unlimited popcorn and soda, and an all-you-can-eat buffet before the movie. It was one of the few VIP cinemas in Europe, and it definitely beat the standard experience hands down.

I loved the movie so much that I went back a week later to see it again. I’d already added a few of my favorite songs from the soundtrack to my playlist and had been practically listening to them on loop, and singing the songs to myself in the shower.

I have recommended it to a few friends already. One or two did actually watch it, and I believe they thoroughly enjoyed it too.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

Exception to the rule (idiom)
It’s the short version of “the exception that proves the rule”, which means that something that emphasizes the truth of a statement by disagreeing with it. You say that something is the exception to the rule if the example you’ve just mentioned is not normal and is the opposite of what you usually find.
Example: Most British people are very quiet and shy, but Chris is the exception to the rule — he’ll talk to anyone.

In my book (idiom)
It’s a phrase that’s used when you’re giving your strong opinion about something.
Example: In my book, he’s the greatest athlete of all time.

Goosebumps (noun)
To get small bumps on your skin because of cold, fear, or excitement. Usually it’s where your body hair will stand on end.
Example: I got goosebumps watching that scary movie last night.

Cinematography (noun)
The art or technique of filming a movie with cameras, including both the shooting and the processing of the video.
Example: The cinematography is what makes this film as wonderful as it really is.

Outstanding (adjective)
Something that’s outstanding is extremely good or impressive.
Example: He’s an outstanding athlete and performs better than most others.

Critically acclaimed (adjective)
Something that’s received generally good reviews from a number of critics.
Example: The movie was critically acclaimed for its cinematography.

Rags to riches (phrase)
It’s a phrase that is used to describe a situation in which someone who has been very poor becomes very rich.
Example: Almost overnight, she went from rags to riches.

Triumphs (noun)
Something that is a great victory, achievement, or success.
Example: The signing of the agreement was a huge personal triumph for the prime minister.

Protagonist (noun)
The main character in a play, movie, book, or story.
Example: The protagonist wasn’t a very nice person.

Embodies (verb)
Something that represents a quality or an idea exactly.
Example: The spirit of hope is embodied in the character Anna.

American dream (noun)
The idea that the United States is a place where anyone can become successful if they work hard enough.
Example: People work all their lives to achieve the American dream.

Showcase (verb)
To showcase something is to show the best qualities or parts of something.
Example: The main aim of the exhibition is to showcase British design.

Lighthearted (adjective)
Something that’s happy and not serious.
Example: It was a fairly light-heated conversation.

Easy to follow (idiom)
Something that’s straightforward and easy to understand is easy to follow.
Example: The book is easy to follow and can be read in just a few hours.

Unwind (verb)
To begin to relax after you’ve been working hard or feeling stressed or anxious.
Example: I need to sit down and unwind for half an hour.

Dying to (idiom)
If you’re dying to do something, you’re really eager and excited to do it.
Example: My son is just dying to learn how to drive.

Hands down (phrasal verb)
It’s a phrase that means without any doubt.
Example: Prague is hands down one of the prettiest cities I’ve ever visited.

Part 3 — Sample Answers:

What kinds of films are popular?

I think the most popular movies are the ones that have a happy ending. This is what most moviegoers expect and anticipate, and to see something else would be quite jarring for most.

I think Hollywood has bred this kind of expectation that everything should work out in the end in spite of challenges and difficulties that are faced along the way. Personally I quite like this notion, and I believe that this kind of optimism is great for society. It motivates people to keep trying in the face of adversity.

Second to this, entertaining movies. There are some movies that are really dry and are a challenge to sit through because they’re so boring. But people love to laugh and the ones that are the funniest are usually the biggest box office successes.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

Jarring (adjective)
Something that’s surprising, or slightly shocking. Usually it’s a sight, sound, or experience that is very different. It usually has a strong an unpleasant effect on someone or something.
Example: The book’s ending was jarring.

Work out (phrasal verb)
This phrasal verb can mean a few things. Most commonly it means to exercise, and people work out at the gym. It also is commonly used if you’re successful. It can also mean to figure out how to do something.
Example A: He works out at the gym every day.
Example B: If it doesn’t work out, you can always come back here.
Example C: I haven’t worked out how to do that yet.

In spite of (idiom)
It’s a phrase used for referring to a fact that makes something else surprising.
Example: In spite of his injury, he’s going to play football this weekend.

Along the way (idiom)
Something that happens during the time that you are doing something else.
Example: I’ve been doing this job for 30 years and I’ve picked up a good deal of expertise along the way.

Notion (noun)
A notion is a belief or idea.
Example: The show’s director rejects the notion that seeing violence on TV has a harmful effect on children.

Dry (adjective)
This word has a lot of meanings, but in this case it is a synonym of boring or very serious.
Example: The style was too dry for a children’s book.

Sit through (phrasal verb)
If you sit through something, it means you stay until the end, especially if you aren’t enjoying it.
Example: If I have to sit through one more boring meeting, I’m going to quit.

Box office success (noun)
A very successful movie or play that earns a lot of money.
Example: Titanic was one of the biggest box office successes of all time.

What kind of films do young people like to watch?

I suppose it depends how young they are. If they’re children, they’re more likely to enjoy watching animated movies with talking animals or films that feature superheroes. I think adults like those movies too, but they’re definitely geared towards kids.

Teenagers would probably like the same kinds of movies as adults. Movies that used to be taboo for them are likely to be more appealing though. Horror movies and movies with adult themes are inappropriate for children, as they may be overwhelmed by what they see. However, as a person matures they’re better equipped to deal with such content and make informed choices about what they consume. As such, they’re going to want to test the waters and watch movies with content they’ve never seen before.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

Geared towards (phrasal verb)
If you design something or organize something so that it suitable for a particular purpose, situation, or group of people.
Example: These advertisements are geared towards a younger audience.

Taboo (noun)
A subject, word, or action that is avoided because it is offensive or shocking.
Example: Discussing money has always been a social taboo in Britain.

Adult themes (noun)
Something that’s about sex or related to sex, for example, adult films, adult magazines.
Example: The film is rated R for language and adult themes.

Test the waters (idiom)
If you test the waters, you try to find out what people think about something in order to decide whether or not to do it.
Example: We’re testing the waters about this new product we wanted to launch.

Do fewer people watch films at the cinema nowadays?

Maybe, it’s not something I’ve thought about before. Going to the cinema is expensive and not as convenient as watching a movie at home. Also, not every cinema is super clean, and there might be popcorn left on the seats and floor.

However, there’s something about seeing a movie in a cinema that’s hard to recreate at home. Even the best home theaters aren’t going to be able to match the quality that’s available at a cinema, although in some people’s eyes, it comes close.

I think people tend to see movies at a cinema because it’s where they’re able to see the latest releases. Some people do choose to pirate new movies, and this is one way that someone would be able to watch a new movie at home, although it’s not very ethical.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

In some people’s eyes (idiom)
It means according to what someone thinks or feels.
Example: In his mother’s eyes, he could do nothing wrong.

Comes close (idiom)
A phrase that means something is similar to, or almost as good as something or someone.
Example: He’s not as good as Adam, but he comes close.

Pirate (verb)
To illegally copy a computer program, song, movie, book, etc.
Example: She rarely buys the computer software she uses, and instead pirates it.

Ethical (adjective)
Something that’s related to ethics; the principles used for deciding what is right and what is wrong.
Example: I object to the war for ethical reasons.

Do you think cinemas will disappear in the future?

Probably not. Although it’s hard to make predictions about the future, I think cinemas will be around for the foreseeable future. For as long as movies are first released to cinemas, and for as long as it’s perceived as a social activity, cinemas will still be a thing.

I think that movies will be available for people to buy and stream at home in the future, and home cinema technology will advice to such a level that it will parallel most cinemas, so it’s possible that the number of people going to the cinema will dwindle, but not to the point where cinemas will disappear completely.

I do think that cinemas will have to become more competitive to stay relevant. People will want a more immersive experience, perhaps using some form of virtual reality that they can’t readily emulate at home.

Vocabulary and idioms for this answer:

Foreseeable future (idiom)
The foreseeable future is the period of time when you can predict what is going to happen based on the current circumstances.
Example: It’s unlikely the school will be closed for the foreseeable future.

Be a thing (idiom)
An idea, product, or activity that is generally known or recognized.
Example: Apparently eco-friendly underwear is a thing now.

Parallel (noun)
Something that is very similar to something else.
Example: There are a lot of parallels between the actor and the character he’s playing in the movie.

Dwindle (verb)
Something that becomes gradually less over time, or smaller over a period of time until almost nothing remains.
Example: Helium supplies are dwindling to their lowest levels in 20 years.

Immersive (adjective)
Something that surrounds an audience or player in a way that they feel completely involved in something.
Example: The new game is more immersive than ever.

Emulate (verb)
To emulate something is to copy it and try to do it as well as something else.
Example: They hope to emulate the success of other software companies.

How long will these questions be valid?

At least until the end of April 2020.
Three times a year the British Council changes many of the topics and questions they ask. Sometimes they decide to keep a topic for another four months, but oftentimes they decide to replace it. This one is very likely to be replaced with a new topic at the beginning of May 2020, but it won't be known for sure until then.

Just to let you know, there are 49 possible part 2/3 topics on the current exam. Sometimes there are more, sometimes there are less, and this number changes when the British Council updates the questions.

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I help students with two things: ✅ Day to day speaking practice ✅ IELTS speaking test preparation I correct everything and will help you learn where your mistakes are and how to fix them. I don't ignore your mistakes! I have all the current questions that can appear on the IELTS speaking test. Preparing with me won't be a waste of time, and you won't be practicing questions that are years out of date. I've helped hundreds of students get the score they want on the IELTS speaking test, which can be an incredibly difficult test sometimes. I can help make sure you're as prepared as possible for the questions that examiners can throw at you. Many of my students have commented that they've practiced the very same questions that appeared on the exam, and were happy to have thought through some tricky topics in advance. Let's get started! Book a class and I'll see you soon!
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