Film analysis and critique essay

A film analysis and critique essay invites you to respond to a film and will likely be your first exposure to the film that will drive your research projects for the rest of the semester. Your task as analyst and critic is to isolate one theme (a message or lesson) from the movie and discuss how the film explores and portrays that theme. You will analyze how the creator uses the parts of the film (such as dialogue, characterization, setting, imagery, etc.) in conjunction with rhetorical strategies (ethos, pathos, logos, and Kairos) to deliver their message. Once you have completed your analysis, you will then comment on the effectiveness of the film; did it do a good job portraying the message (theme) of the creator? What was good about the film? What could have been improved, removed, or added to enhance the film? When you write your critique, do not use the first person; maintain the third person voice but be subjective.

For this assignment, you must choose one of the approved films listed above to watch outside of class and to write your essay on. Talk to your classmates—if several of you want to write about the same film, try planning a ‘movie night’ to watch together.

As you watch the film, make sure you take careful notes. One time viewing it will probably not be enough for a thorough analysis and critique; you may have to stop and re-watch part or all of the film. You may also wish to remind yourself of certain parts of the film by reading about it on Wikipedia or imdb.com; if you use outside sources, be sure to cite and document them correctly in your essay.

Your essay will provide a brief summary of the film [at most one paragraph], have a solid thesis statement arguing how the creator delivers their message (theme), support the thesis with evidence drawn from the film itself, provide a thoughtful critique of the film, and ruminate on how the film is significant. Why is this film important to society?

The OWL at Purdue University says that when you write an analysis “you are essentially making an argument. You are arguing that your perspective—an interpretation, an evaluative judgment, or a critical evaluation—is a valid one.” While writing, be mindful of the roles the basic rhetorical situations of purpose, audience, genre, and stance play in your essay.

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