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How to Write a Film Analysis Essay: Essential Tips

How to Write a Film Analysis Essay: Essential Tips photo

Published: | Categories: Blog

Usually, a film analysis assignment seems quite fun: you watch a movie and share your overall impressions on paper, nothing complex at first sight. However, it often happens that when it comes to writing, you have no idea where to start and what exactly people expect to read here. With that in mind, we created a quick guide on how to write a film analysis where we have a closer look at integral elements so you can learn the basics before starting your essay and come up with a well-structured and logically written paper in the end. 

Step-by-Step Movie Analysis

There is a standard structure of a film analysis essay that consists of most important topics to be covered: we have 11 here (not mentioning standard parts such as introduction, main body and conclusion, obviously you have to take care of it as well). Let’s examine each of these topics:

  1. Storyline and dialog. This is the element by which the overall movie success can be analyzed: if the story is intriguing, catchy, or touching, the film would probably be successful. The actors should be comfortable with scenarios and dialogs, thus easily telling a story to the audience. Ask yourself a few basic questions answering which you can fill in this paragraph: are the scenes logically connected? Is the language of actors hard or easy to understand? What is the whole story based on and how does it affect the audience?
  2. Background. Every film background plays an important role in presenting the storyline: it should be realistic based on the circumstances and present the overall mood. To analyze its effectiveness, you should ignore the actors` play and the dialog for a while and examine the sets, scenery, shapes, and colors that were used by producers of the movie. Do these elements overwhelm, complement or distract the viewers?
  3. Acting. The performance of actors is one of the key factors that make a movie fail or succeed. Ideally, the actors` play should push the plot forward and help the viewers brightly develop the characters in their minds. No matter, whether the role is main or not: actors should fit into it and complement each other. Do actors make the movie more realistic? How are emotions expressed?
  4. Editing. Even the best actors and an exciting story cannot save the movie if it is edited the wrong way: some scenes are useless or important ones left out. Editing needs to be done professionally so that the audience cannot notice any mistakes, confusing parts or not logical interconnections in the movie. Do the movie flow smoothly? Is there a climax in action moments? 
  5. Director`s style. Almost all film directors (like Quentin Tarantino) have their own distinct styles characterizing the movies they produce. They combine scripts, actors` skills and operating crew work to get a total look and feel of the movie. Research other movies done by this director to find out their unique style: it can be music, camera perspectives, actors, dialogs, etc. Is the director`s reputation good or bad? How does it impact the movie? 
  6. Conflicts. Many films have quite simple concepts so it is important to reveal and analyze the conflicts to understand its meaning or theme. Movie conflicts are usually represented as dramatic actions or dialogues so such scenes should be analyzed more detailed;
  7. Main character. It is important to understand what changes the main hero undergoes during the movie: for that, you have to analyze their personalities at the beginning and the end. What experiences made them change? What difficulties did they face?
  8. Personal experience. The most interesting thing is that different people may interpret the same movie differently based on their personal experiences. Many film topics are related to social rules and experiences, so you can find its meaning analyzing your own experience in this sphere;
  9. Cultural influence. The movie culture can be either real or fictional and the characters may either follow or deny it. What is the popular culture presented in the movie? How does it impact the actions of the characters?
  10. Contradictions. The main components of each movie are sound, settings, theme, music, characters, and narrative. Do any of them contradict (for example, words and actions of the actor)? Its analysis can help to find the deeper meaning of the film and understand it better.
  11. Music and visual elements. Music, effects, costumes, particular make up – all these things set the mood and reflect the overall atmosphere. Do they look real? Do they convince the audience of things happening in the movie?

Final Tips

You should remember that film analysis is not the same as a critical review: you should examine it from different angles, provide an objective, follow a structure and summarize your ideas. So how to write a movie analysis? Here are a few final comments on it you can use:

  • offer a short summary of the plot and specify its peculiarities;
  • compare the film to the original text (book, story);
  • provide your impression relying more on subjective ideas;
  • suggest a way to improve the movie;
  • compare the movie to other movies.

A good tip: search for some good film analysis example essays presented on the web to have an overall idea to follow.