How to Write a Critical Analysis of a Film

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In place of writing a formal essay, your final assignment in this course is designing a PowerPoint (PPT) presentation, accompanied by a short, one (1) page double-spaced guiding summary of your entire project, and a bibliography page. In other words, you will convert and transfer the same ideas you would have written down on long pages of script to a series of carefully and artistically detailed PPT slides. Many, if not most, of the presentations you will do either in your college careers, or later on in your professional lives, will usually require a PPT, or another visual presentation of some type. Getting a good grasp of this skill early on is favorable and helpful.
How to Write a Critical Analysis of a Film
If you enjoy watching movies, you would most probably like to know how to write a critical analysis of a film. Critical analysis refers to a subjective form of writing in which the author evaluates or critiques the work of another person. In other words, the film critique is based on or influenced by your personal feelings, tastes, or opinions. The aim of writing a critical analysis is to enhance the understanding of the work by the reader. Additionally, the analysis aims at determining how effective the work is. It is important to note that a critical analysis of a film is different from a movie review. A movie review is just about watching a film passively while a critical analysis entails engaging on a level that surpasses mere storytelling.
In addition, the critical film review is designed to get you to think and evaluate the different sociological perspectives that have been presented to you during the semester through the use of cinema. In doing so, we should take into account that we may not be familiar with the cultural content expressed in the assigned film:
How can we know if the film is accurate or even fair?
Whose voices are we hearing?
Who are we not hearing from?
Are we being led to form a particular opinion – that of the filmmaker – or are we left to make our own opinion?
Does the film do a good job in helping us to understand the sociological agenda it is attempting to address?
How to write a critical analysis of a film step by step
While writing a critical analysis of a film, you should always remember that this writing is subjective because it should express your evaluation or opinion of the film. The analysis simply means breaking down and studying the parts. Therefore, your analysis should depict two major aspects: studying and critiquing.
Here are the steps to follow when writing a critical analysis of a film:
Step 1: Watch the film
At this step, you watch the film several times to get its gist. This is very important because it enables you to understand different aspects of the film which is crucial in writing a good critical analysis. To watch the film critically implies that you must watch it attentively, with no distractions, and take notes while watching it. If you are watching the film using a DVD player or a computer, rewind, and pause to understand the crucial parts of the movie or those that stand out to you the most. Step 2: Engage with the film critically
At this step, start engaging critically with the film that you want to analyze. This is very important because it will enable you to come up with a strong critical analysis essay. Identify and focus on a single concept or theme that dominates the film. For instance, you can focus on how the film relates to a specific historical or current sociocultural event or crisis dramatically without compromising facts. You can also focus on the use of various devices such as dramatic irony and overlapping dialogue.
Step 3: Outline your critical analysis
Writing the outline of a critical analysis will enable you to present your critical analysis in a more organized manner. Writing an outline entails determining the information that you intend to include in the analysis, where to place it in the critical analysis summary, and how to place the information. In this step, create rough headings for the different sections. Outlining a critical analysis is simply planning how to write a critical analysis of a film and this makes the actual writing easier.
Step 4: Introduce the film
In this step, you start the actual writing by introducing the film that you are analyzing critically and the major participants in it. Among the participants that you can introduce at this step include the film director, the actors, the characters being portrayed, and if they represent real people, include how the actors enact their personas.
Step 5: Write the movie story overview or summary
In this step, provide an overview of the film story in a brief manner. However, avoid writing a synopsis of the movie instead of an analysis. Reveal twists in the plot or how the film ends if this is related to the analysis directly.
Step 6: Write the analysis
Start writing the analysis section with the film at hand. To write a good critical analysis of a film, avoid relying on your memory. This is because it is difficult to memorize all the events, cinematic techniques, and dialogues after playing the film. Therefore, make sure that you have easy access to the film while writing your critical analysis.
Here is a simple format that you can use as a template for writing a critical analysis of a film:
The introduction
In the introduction section, introduce the key players in the movies. These can include the producer; the director and the cinematographer among others depending on the angle that you intend to take in your analysis. You can also include the main idea or theme of the movie as well as the thesis statement of your analysis.
Summary
In the summary or film overview section, you outline the major theme or idea of the film. This involves what, who, where, when, how, and why. You can also discuss the style, structure, or viewpoint.
How would you describe the main characters?
What are their goals?
What problems do they face?
What choices do the characters make?
What motivates them?
What are the consequences?
What do the main characters learn about themselves, and how do they change? Analysis
In this section, you tell readers what you liked and what you did not like about the film. It is crucial you include in this section the two (2) Sociological Elements you chose for your project in your proposal. Provide an explanation for your ideas by citing specific examples from the film. Additionally, identify the goal of the film and whether it accomplished it. Your analysis should focus on determining whether the film is understandable, focused, interesting, properly concluded, authentic, clear, and meeting its purpose, among others. Include several slides in the analysis section with each slide giving a specific idea and supporting it with evidence from the film.
What causes the major turning points in the narrative? Does the world of the film work like the real world? If not, what are the differences?
What does the film say about the nature of human beings?
What does the film say about society?
What good insights into life are there in the film? What does it get wrong? How might it affect viewers?
Conclusion
In the conclusion section, end your critical analysis by restating the thesis statement that you stated in the introduction. However, use new words. Also, summarize the main ideas that you discussed in the analysis section using stronger and new words. End the conclusion with an effective call to action. In other words, how can the message of your film create social change? How did the film make you feel?
What aspects worked well, and which didn’t (think about writing, direction, cinematography, acting, editing, and soundtrack)?
To what extent did it fit with your expectations, or did it subvert them in some ways?
The conclusion must include a section where you identify with either the film in general, any of its themes, or a specific character. This requires you to place yourself within the film and then describe what about this film resonates with you.
Bonus tips on how to write a critical analysis of a film
Conduct research from secondary sources before you start writing the analysis
Before you write your critical analysis of a film, conduct some research from other sources. Find analyses by other people and reviews about the film that you are about to analyze. Consider the issues that others have raised about the film before you start writing your analysis.
Select the theme or idea that dominates the movie and other analyses
This could be the theme that you agree with, find relevant, or disagree with. It could be a controversial theme that some people are uncomfortable with on the basis of their beliefs. LAYOUT AND DESIGN
Requirements for your PPT:
This project requires a one-page introductory summary/outline about the contents of the PowerPoint.
There must be at least 15 slides in your presentation, not to exceed 20 slides.
One (1) cover/title slide (be creative!): Get the viewer’s attention right away with a memorable title slide. One slide with your personal details, or if this assignment is group work, then include all names here:
Names/PIDs
Course details (SYG 3002, semester, etc.)
Professors name.
Introduction Slide: present the objectives of the film in a way that catches the audience’s interest.
Presentation slides (10 – 15): Using bullet points and other graphics, outline the film according to the above-mentioned suggestions.
Citations/bibliography: A separate page at the end of the PowerPoint for citations. Minimum five (5) citations for this assignment. Design: choose your backgrounds carefully, they should unify the presentation and make it more attractive.
Clip art must be used on at least five (5) slides.
At least 3 slides must be animated.
Extra credit consideration will be given if each slide contains a slide transition, a sound, a background sound, a character animation, or a text animation effect.
When Writing a PowerPoint presentation, DO:
Choose a single background for the entire presentation.
Use simple, clean fonts.
Use a font size that can be seen clearly.
Write in bulleted format and use consistent phrase structure in lists.
Provide essential information only. Use keywords to guide the reader/listener through the presentation.
Use direct, concise language. Keep text to a minimum.
Provide definitions when necessary.
Use white space to set off text and/or visual components.
Make sure each slide logically leads to the next.
Use a heading for each slide.
When Writing a PowerPoint presentation, DO NOT:
Clutter the slide with graphics.
Use complicated fonts.
Add superfluous information.
Put down every word you are going to say.
Use images if they will distract.
Use hard-to-read color combinations, like black on blue. Try to use high and clear contrast combinations.

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