How to Write a Movie Analysis: Definition of the Assignment
A movie analysis essay is an academic assignment that analyzes a film from different aspects: cinematography, visual storytelling, editing, and sound.
Since we’re talking about an academic paper, you’re not going to write a freestyle review like the ones you read on IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes. We’re talking about taking an analytical approach. If you’re allowed to make your own choice, we’d recommend you to opt for a classic or a critically acclaimed movie. Choosing a chick flick might not impress your professor.
Many students love cinema but don’t know how to write about film. That’s what this guide is for. We’ll give you important starting points, and we’ll provide an example of movie analysis essay at the end.
How to Write a Good Movie Analysis: The Format
Before you start thinking about the format, it’s important to understand that there are different ways to analyze a movie:
|Narrative structure analytics||In this type of paper, you analyze the elements of the story. You’ll focus on the plot, characters, and themes.|
|Semiotic analytics||If it’s a symbolic movie that involves a lot of analogies and metaphors, you’ll write a semiotic film review.|
|Compositional analytics||Also known as mise-en-scene analytics, this approach focuses on the compositional elements of the movie. You’ll talk about the effects and their purpose. The movies that are heavy on visual effects, such as Avatar, are perfect for this type of paper.|
|Contextual analytics||In this type of writer, you see the movie as an element of a broader context. If, for example, you analyze Citizen Kane, it’s important to mention the time, place, and culture of the movie’s creation.|
The format of your paper will depend on the type of review you’re writing. But in any case, you’ll write an introduction, body, and conclusion for your paper.
How to Start a Movie Analysis
Before you start writing the content, you need to understand what the assignment calls for. What type of review did the professor ask you to write? If you’re free to choose from the style of analysis, you can make your own decision. But make sure to choose a format and stick to it.
- In the introduction, it’s important to provide some background for the reader. You’ll start by mentioning the title of the movie, so they will know what you’re talking about.
- To get the reader’s attention you may include a memorable quote or mention the most powerful scene.
- Then, you’ll indicate the main ideas, depending on the type of review you’re writing.
- In most cases, a film analysis needs a thesis statement. That’s the connection between the facts you observed from the movie and your opinion about it.
How to Write the Main Part of a Movie Analysis
When writing a paper about a film, you’re not merely describing the plot. When a friend asks “What’s this movie about?” you’ll give a simple description. That’s not an academic assignment. For this project, you’ll go beyond basic scene descriptions. You’ll focus on the theme of the movie, and the values it’s trying to convey.
- You can illustrate the theme by sharing impressions of the events and characterizations. A Clockwork Orange, for example, is about the life of a gang leader. But under the surface, this movie is a thorough critique of human society. You want to dig below the surface to find the ideas that make the film great.
- It’s okay to include your own opinion. Although you’re writing an objective analytical paper, you should also mention how it affected you.
To wrap up the analysis of a film, you’ll restate the main ideas. Don’t get repetitive, though. You won’t write the same sentences again. You’ll mention the main ideas again but in the context of the discussion from the body of your paper.
You may include quotes from the movie, which will offer proof of your statements. In conclusion, you may also draw a parallel between this film and similar ones. However, don’t introduce any new ideas. Just mention those movies as a recommendation for the reader.
When you’re done writing the conclusion, don’t forget to reflect on the paper and edit it. We’re talking about an academic assignment, after all. So it has to be perfect in terms of style, grammar, and format.
Example of Movie Analysis
Do you need some inspiration? This brief sample of a film review will help you write your own assignment:
Movie Review: The Ghost Writer (2010)
In terms of genre, The Ghost Writer may be characterized as a political drama, with imprints of a thriller. In theory, a movie about a ghostwriter hired to write the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister could hardly be exciting. Roman Polanski, however, manages to get the most out of that story and somehow makes it interesting. Although nothing “special” occurs in the film, it managed to keep my attention from the start to the very end. Polanski managed to infuse a certain amount of suspense, which keeps the viewer intrigued on what’s about to happen.
The scenography and cinematography of The Ghost Writer are exquisite. The scenes give some sense of claustrophobia. The obvious intention behind such a technique is for the viewer to understand the feeling of captivity o the main characters. Adam Lang (played by Pierce Brosnan) is restricted in movement due to a war crime investigation. The Ghost (played by Ewan McGregor) is trapped in this job, which he dived into without really assuming what awaited him. The security protocols, the setting on an island, and the house itself give the impression that the characters are in some kind of a prison.
I liked the fact that the character of The Ghost had no name. That symbolism depicts the lives of many writers who work as ghostwriters. They are marginalized and live in anonymity, never receiving credits for their work. They don’t even get invited to the promotions of the books they wrote. From the “author’s point of view,” that’s like inviting a mistress to your own wedding.
The film lasted for over two hours, which may be considered long according to today’s cinematography standards. After watching it, however, I couldn’t assume what part could have been left out. Each scene perfectly fit in the story, allowing the viewer to understand another aspect of the complex relations between the characters.
At the end, Polanski leaves some questions unanswered. It’s clear that The Ghost dies, but was his death intentional or an incident? Another question that arises: was Adam Lang aware that his decisions led to war crimes? He was, but he genuinely believed he made those decisions for the benefit of his country and its citizens.
In this story, both the Ghost and the politicians are victims. The Ghost suffers the consequences of being accidentally involved in political games. The politician was a victim of his own naivety and blind trust in his wife.