How to Write a Film Analysis Essay: Examples, Outline, & Tips

A film analysis essay might be the most exciting assignment you have ever had! After all, who doesn’t love watching movies? You have your favorite movies, maybe something you watched years ago, perhaps a classic, or a documentary. Or your professor might assign a film for you to make a critical review. Regardless, you are totally up for watching a movie for a film analysis essay.

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However, once you have watched the movie, facing the act of writing might knock the wind out of your sails because you might be wondering how to write a film analysis essay. In summary, writing movie analysis is not as difficult as it might seem, and experts will prove this. This guide will help you choose a topic for your movie analysis, make an outline, and write the text.️ Film analysis examples are added as a bonus! Just keep reading our advice on how to get started.

❓ What Is a Film Analysis Essay?

  • 🚦 Film Analysis Types

📽️ Movie Analysis Format

✍️ how to write a film analysis, 🎦 film analysis template, 🎬 film analysis essay topics.

  • 📄 Essay Examples

🔗 References

To put it simply, film analysis implies watching a movie and then considering its characteristics : genre, structure, contextual context, etc. Film analysis is usually considered to be a form of rhetorical analysis . The key to success here is to formulate a clear and logical argument, supporting it with examples.

🚦 Film Analysis Essay Types

Since a film analysis essay resembles literature analysis, it makes sense that there are several ways to do it. Its types are not limited to the ones described here. Moreover, you are free to combine the approaches in your essay as well. Since your writing reflects your own opinion, there is no universal way to do it.

Film analysis types.

  • Semiotic analysis . If you’re using this approach, you are expected to interpret the film’s symbolism. You should look for any signs that may have a hidden meaning. Often, they reveal some character’s features. To make the task more manageable, you can try to find the objects or concepts that appear on the screen multiple times. What is the context they appear in? It might lead you to the hidden meaning of the symbols.
  • Narrative structure analysis . This type is quite similar to a typical literature guide. It includes looking into the film’s themes, plot, and motives. The analysis aims to identify three main elements: setup, confrontation, and resolution. You should find out whether the film follows this structure and what effect it creates. It will make the narrative structure analysis essay if you write about the theme and characters’ motivations as well.
  • Contextual analysis . Here, you would need to expand your perspective. Instead of focusing on inner elements, the contextual analysis looks at the time and place of the film’s creation. Therefore, you should work on studying the cultural context a lot. It can also be a good idea to mention the main socio-political issues of the time. You can even relate the film’s success to the director or producer and their career.
  • Mise-en-scene analysis . This type of analysis works with the most distinctive feature of the movies, audiovisual elements. However, don’t forget that your task is not only to identify them but also to explain their importance. There are so many interconnected pieces of this puzzle: the light to create the mood, the props to show off characters’ personalities, messages hidden in the song lyrics.

To write an effective film analysis essay, it is important to follow specific format requirements that include the following:

  • Standard essay structure. Just as with any essay, your analysis should consist of an introduction with a strong thesis statement, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The main body usually includes a summary and an analysis of the movie’s elements.
  • Present tense for events in the film. Use the present tense when describing everything that happens in the movie. This way, you can make smooth transitions between describing action and dialogue. It will also improve the overall narrative flow.
  • Proper formatting of the film’s title. Don’t enclose the movie’s title in quotation marks; instead, italicize it. In addition, use the title case : that is, capitalize all major words.
  • Proper use of the characters’ names. When you mention a film character for the first time, name the actor portraying them. After that, it is enough to write only the character’s name.
  • In-text citations. Use in-text citations when describing certain scenes or shots from the movie. Format them according to your chosen citation style. If you use direct quotes, include the time-stamp range instead of page numbers. Here’s how it looks in the MLA format: (Smith 0:11:24–0:12:35).

Even though film analysis is similar to the literary one, you might still feel confused with where to begin. No need to worry; there are only a few additional steps you need to consider during the writing process.

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Starting Your Film Analysis Essay

There are several things you need to do before you start writing your film analysis paper. First and foremost, you have to watch the movie. Even if you have seen it a hundred times, you need to watch it again to make a good film analysis essay.

Note that you might be given an essay topic or have to think of it by yourself. If you are free to choose a topic for your film analysis essay, reading some critical reviews before you watch the film might be a good idea. By doing this in advance, you will already know what to look for when watching the movie.

In the process of watching, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Consider your impression of the movie
  • Enumerate memorable details
  • Try to interpret the movie message in your way
  • Search for the proof of your ideas (quotes from the film)
  • Make comments on the plot, settings, and characters
  • Draw parallels between the movie you are reviewing and some other movies

Making a Film Analysis Essay Outline

Once you have watched and possibly re-watched your assigned or chosen movie from an analytical point of view, you will need to create a movie analysis essay outline . The task is pretty straightforward: the outline can look just as if you were working on a literary analysis or an article analysis.

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  • Introduction : This includes the basics of the movie, including the title, director, and the date of release. You should also present the central theme or ideas in the movie and your thesis statement .
  • Summary : This is where you take the time to present an overview of the primary concepts in the movie, including the five Ws (who, what, when, where, and why)—don’t forget how!—as well as anything you wish to discuss that relates to the point of view, style, and structure.
  • Analysis : This is the body of the essay and includes your critical analysis of the movie, why you did or did not like it, and any supporting material from the film to support your views. It would help if you also discussed whether the director and writer of the movie achieved the goal they set out to achieve.
  • Conclusion: This is where you can state your thesis again and provide a summary of the primary concepts in a new and more convincing manner, making a case for your analysis. You can also include a call-to-action that will invite the reader to watch the movie or avoid it entirely.

You can find a great critical analysis template at Thompson Rivers University website. In case you need more guidance on how to write an analytical paper, check out our article .

Writing & Editing Your Film Analysis Essay

We have already mentioned that there are differences between literary analysis and film analysis. They become especially important when one starts writing their film analysis essay.

First of all, the evidence you include to support the arguments is not the same. Instead of quoting the text, you might need to describe the audiovisual elements.

However, the practice of describing the events is similar in both types. You should always introduce a particular sequence in the present tense. If you want to use a piece of a dialogue between more than two film characters, you can use block quotes. However, since there are different ways to do it, confirm with your supervisor.

For your convenience, you might as well use the format of the script, for which you don’t have to use quotation marks:

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ELSA: But she won’t remember I have powers?

KING: It’s for the best.

Finally, to show off your proficiency in the subject, look at the big picture. Instead of just presenting the main elements in your analysis, point out their significance. Describe the effect they make on the overall impression form the film. Moreover, you can dig deeper and suggest the reasons why such elements were used in a particular scene to show your expertise.

Stuck writing a film analysis essay? Worry not! Use our template to structure your movie analysis properly.


  • The title of the film is… [title]
  • The director is… [director’s name] He/she is known for… [movies, style, etc.]
  • The movie was released on… [release date]
  • The themes of the movie are… [state the film’s central ideas]
  • The film was made because… [state the reasons]
  • The movie is… because… [your thesis statement].
  • The main characters are… [characters’ names]
  • The events take place in… [location]
  • The movie is set in… [time period]
  • The movie is about… [state what happens in the film and why]
  • The movie left a… [bad, unforgettable, lasting, etc.] impression in me.
  • The script has… [a logical sequence of events, interesting scenes, strong dialogues, character development, etc.]
  • The actors portray their characters… [convincingly, with intensity, with varying degree of success, in a manner that feels unnatural, etc.]
  • The soundtrack is [distracting, fitting, memorable, etc.]
  • Visual elements such as… [costumes, special effects, etc.] make the film [impressive, more authentic, atmospheric, etc.]
  • The film succeeds/doesn’t succeed in engaging the target audience because it… [tells a compelling story, features strong performances, is relevant, lacks focus, is unauthentic, etc.]
  • Cultural and societal aspects make the film… [thought-provoking, relevant, insightful, problematic, polarizing, etc.]
  • The director and writer achieved their goal because… [state the reasons]
  • Overall, the film is… [state your opinion]
  • I would/wouldn’t recommend watching the movie because… [state the reasons]
  • Analysis of the film Inception by Christopher Nolan .
  • Examine the rhetoric in the film The Red Balloon .
  • Analyze the visual effects of Zhang Yimou’s movie Hero .
  • Basic concepts of the film Interstellar by Christopher Nolan.
  • The characteristic features of Federico Fellini’s movies.
  • Analysis of the movie The Joker .
  • The depiction of ethical issues in Damaged Care .
  • Analyze the plot of the film Moneyball .
  • Explore the persuasive techniques used in Henry V .
  • Analyze the movie Killing Kennedy .
  • Discuss the themes of the film Secret Window .
  • Describe the role of audio and video effects in conveying the message of the documentary Life in Renaissance .
  • Compare and analyze the films Midnight Cowboy and McCabe and Mrs. Miller .
  • Analysis of the movie Rear Window .
  • The message behind the film Split .
  • Analyze the techniques used by Tim Burton in his movie Sleepy Hollow .
  • The topic of children’s abuse and importance of trust in Joseph Sargent’s Sybil .
  • Examine the themes and motives of the film Return to Paradise by Joseph Ruben .
  • The issues of gender and traditions in the drama The Whale Rider.
  • Analysis of the film Not Easily Broken by Duke Bill.
  • The symbolism in R. Scott’s movie Thelma and Louise .
  • The meaning of audiovisual effects in Citizen Kane .
  • Analyze the main characters of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo .
  • Discuss the historical accuracy of the documentary The Civil War .
  • Analysis of the movie Through a Glass Darkly .
  • Explore the core idea of the comedy Get Out .
  • The problem of artificial intelligence and human nature in Ex Machina .
  • Three principles of suspense used in the drama The Fugitive .
  • Examine the ideas Michael Bay promotes in Armageddon .
  • Analyze the visual techniques used in Tenet by Christopher Nolan.
  • Analysis of the movie The Green Mile .
  • Discrimination and exclusion in the film The Higher Learning .
  • The hidden meaning of the scenes in Blade Runner .
  • Compare the social messages of the films West Side Story and Romeo + Juliet .
  • Highlighting the problem of children’s mental health in the documentary Kids in Crisis .
  • Discuss the ways Paul Haggis establishes the issue of racial biases in his movie Crash .
  • Analyze the problem of moral choice in the film Gone Baby Gone .
  • Analysis of the historical film Hacksaw Ridge .
  • Explore the main themes of the film Mean Girls by Mark Walters .
  • The importance of communication in the movie Juno .
  • Describe the techniques the authors use to highlight the problems of society in Queen and Slim .
  • Examine the significance of visual scenes in My Family/ Mi Familia .
  • Analysis of the thriller Salt by Phillip Noyce.
  • Analyze the message of Greg Berlanti’s film Love, Simon .
  • Interpret the symbols of the film The Wizard of Oz (1939).
  • Discuss the modern issues depicted in the film The Corporation .
  • Moral lessons of Edward Zwick’s Blood Diamond .
  • Analysis of the documentary Solitary Nation .
  • Describe the audiovisual elements of the film Pride and Prejudice (2005) .
  • The problem of toxic relationships in Malcolm and Marie .

📄 Film Analysis Examples

Below you’ll find two film analysis essay examples. Note that the full versions are downloadable for free!

Film Analysis Example #1: The Intouchables

Raising acute social problems in modern cinema is a common approach to draw the public’s attention to the specific issues and challenges of people facing crucial obstacles. As a film for review, The Intouchables by Oliver Nakache and Éric Toledano will be analyzed, and one of the themes raised in this movie is the daily struggle of the person with severe disabilities. This movie is a biographical drama with comedy elements. The Intouchables describes the routine life of a French millionaire who is confined to a wheelchair and forced to receive help from his servants. The acquaintance of the disabled person with a young and daring man from Parisian slums changes the lives of both radically. The film shows that for a person with disabilities, recognition as a full member of society is more important than sympathy and compassion, and this message expressed comically raises an essential problem of human loneliness.

Movie Analysis Example #2: Parasite

Parasite is a 2019 South Korean black comedy thriller movie directed by Bong Joon-ho and is the first film with a non-English script to win Best Picture at the Oscars in 2020. With its overwhelming plot and acting, this motion picture retains a long-lasting effect and some kind of shock. The class serves as a backbone and a primary objective of social commentary within the South Korean comedy/thriller (Kench, 2020). Every single element and detail in the movie, including the student’s stone, the contrasting architecture, family names, and characters’ behavior, contribute to the central topic of the universal problem of classism and wealth disparity. The 2020 Oscar-winning movie Parasite (2019) is a phenomenal cinematic portrayal and a critical message to modern society regarding the severe outcomes of the long-established inequalities within capitalism.

Want more examples? Check out this bonus list of 10 film analysis samples. They will help you gain even more inspiration.

  • “Miss Representation” Documentary Film Analysis
  • “The Patriot”: Historical Film Analysis
  • “The Morning Guy” Film Analysis
  • 2012′ by Roland Emmerich Film Analysis
  • “The Crucible” (1996) Film Analysis
  • The Aviator’ by Martin Scorsese Film Analysis
  • The “Lions for Lambs” Film Analysis
  • Bill Monroe – Father of Bluegrass Music Film Analysis
  • Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Harry Potter’ Film Analysis
  • Red Tails by George Lucas Film Analysis

Film Analysis Essay FAQ

  • Watch the movie or read a detailed plot summary.
  • Read others’ film reviews paying attention to details like key characters, movie scenes, background facts.
  • Compose a list of ideas about what you’ve learned.
  • Organize the selected ideas to create a body of the essay.
  • Write an appropriate introduction and conclusion.

The benefits of analyzing a movie are numerous . You get a deeper understanding of the plot and its subtle aspects. You can also get emotional and aesthetic satisfaction. Film analysis enables one to feel like a movie connoisseur.

Here is a possible step by step scenario:

  • Think about the general idea that the author probably wanted to convey.
  • Consider how the idea was put across: what characters, movie scenes, and details helped in it.
  • Study the broader context: the author’s other works, genre essentials, etc.

The definition might be: the process of interpreting a movie’s aspects. The movie is reviewed in terms of details creating the artistic value. A film analysis essay is a paper presenting such a review in a logically structured way.

  • Film Analysis – UNC Writing Center
  • Film Writing: Sample Analysis // Purdue Writing Lab
  • Yale Film Analysis – Yale University
  • Film Terms And Topics For Film Analysis And Writing
  • Questions for Film Analysis (Washington University)
  • Resources on Film Analysis – Cinema Studies (University of Toronto)
  • Does Film Analysis Take the Magic out of Movies?
  • Film Analysis Research Papers –
  • What’s In a Film Analysis Essay? Medium
  • Analysis of Film – SAGE Research Methods
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Have you ever read a review and asked yourself how the critic arrived at a different interpretation for the film? You are sure that you saw the same movie, but you interpreted it differently. Most moviegoers go to the cinema for pleasure and entertainment. There’s a reason why blockbuster movies attract moviegoers – cinema is a form of escape, a way to momentarily walk away from life’s troubles.

Custom Writing

It’s an interesting point of view. Thank you for your opinion, Sourav!


Thank you, Mike!

Hi Rebecca,

Glad you liked the post. Sure thing, feel free to share the link with your audience!

All the best.

Step By Step Guide to Writing an Essay on Film Image

Step By Step Guide to Writing an Essay on Film

By Film Threat Staff | December 29, 2021

Writing an essay about a film sounds like a fun assignment to do. As part of the assignment, you get to watch the movie and write an analytical essay about your impressions. However, you will soon find that you’re staring at an empty sheet of paper or computer screen with no idea what to write, how to start writing your essay, or the essential points that need to be covered and analyzed. As an  essay writing service proves, watching the movie countless times isn’t all there is to write a film analysis essay. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you with an essay service :

introduction to film essay

1. Watch the Movie

This is the obvious starting point, but surprisingly many students skip this step. It doesn’t matter if you’ve watched the movie twice before. If you’re asked to write an essay about it, you need to watch it again. Watching the film again allows you to pay more attention to specific elements to help you write an in-depth analysis about it.  

Watching the movie is crucial because it helps you not specific parts of the movie that can be used as illustrations and examples in your essay. You’re also going to explore and analyze the movie theme within your structured plan. Some of the critical elements that you have to look out for while watching the movie that may be crucial for your essay are:

  • Key plot moments
  • Editing style
  • Stylistic elements
  • Scenario execution
  • Musical elements

2. Introduction

Your introduction will contain essential information about the film, such as the title, release date, director’s name, etc. This familiarizes the reader with the movie’s primary background information. In addition, researching the filmmaker may be crucial for your essay because it may help you discover valuable insights for your film analysis.

The introduction should also mention the movie’s central theme and explain why you think it was made that way.

Do not forget to include your thesis statement, which explains your focus on the movie.

3. Write a Summary

According to an  essay writing service  providing students   help with essays , a movie summary comes after the introduction. It includes the film’s basic premise, but it doesn’t have to reveal too many details about the film. It’s a summary, after all. Write the summary like your readers have not heard about the movie before, so you can mention the most basic plots but assume you have minimal time so you won’t be going into great details.

introduction to film essay

4. Write Your Analysis

This is the central part of the essay in which you analyze the movie critically and state your impressions about the film. Ensure to support your claims with relevant materials from the movie.

There are also several creative elements in a movie that are connected to make the film a whole. You must pay attention to these elements while watching the movie and analyze them in this part of the essay.

In this, you are looking out for the dialogs, character development, completion of scenes, and logical event sequences in the film to analyze.

Ensure you try to understand the logic behind events in the film and the actor’s motives to explain the scenario better.

The responsibility of different parts of the movie, such as plan selection and scenario execution, falls on the director. So, your analysis here focuses on how the director realized the script compared to his other movies. Understanding the director’s style of directing may be crucial to coming up with a conclusion relevant to your analysis and thesis.

The casting of a film is a significant element to consider in your essay. Without a great actor, the scriptwriter and director can’t bring their ideas to life. So, watch the actor’s acting and determine if they portrayed the character effectively and if their acting aligns with the film’s main idea.

  • Musical element

A movie’s musical element enhances some of the sceneries or actions in the film and sets the mood. It has a massive impact on the movie, so it’s an essential element to analyze in your essay.

  • Visual elements

This includes special effects, make-up, costumes, etc., which significantly impact the film. These elements must reflect the film’s atmosphere. It is even more crucial for historical movies since it has to be specific about an era.

Ensure to analyze elements relevant to your thesis statement, so you don’t drift from your main point.

5. Conclusion

In concluding your essay, you have to summarize the primary concepts more convincingly to support your analysis. Finally, you may include a CTA for readers to watch or avoid the movie.

These are the crucial steps to take when writing an essay about a film . Knowing this beforehand prevents you from struggling to start writing after watching the movie.

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introduction to film essay

It’s really amazing instructions! I have got the great knowledge.

[…] now and then. Unfortunately, not all of us can afford to get cinema tickets to do so.  Some…Writing an essay about a film sounds like a fun assignment to do. As part of the assignment, you get…Since a few decades the film and entertainment sector have undergone some drastic transformation. […]

introduction to film essay

I can’t list the number of essays that don’t follow this format in the least. But then I find most reviews of movies terrible and most people who purport themselves to be writers as people who need to spend more time drafting and editing before publishing.

introduction to film essay

Thanks for this

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Film Analysis

What this handout is about.

This handout introduces film analysis and and offers strategies and resources for approaching film analysis assignments.

Writing the film analysis essay

Writing a film analysis requires you to consider the composition of the film—the individual parts and choices made that come together to create the finished piece. Film analysis goes beyond the analysis of the film as literature to include camera angles, lighting, set design, sound elements, costume choices, editing, etc. in making an argument. The first step to analyzing the film is to watch it with a plan.

Watching the film

First it’s important to watch the film carefully with a critical eye. Consider why you’ve been assigned to watch a film and write an analysis. How does this activity fit into the course? Why have you been assigned this particular film? What are you looking for in connection to the course content? Let’s practice with this clip from Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958). Here are some tips on how to watch the clip critically, just as you would an entire film:

  • Give the clip your undivided attention at least once. Pay close attention to details and make observations that might start leading to bigger questions.
  • Watch the clip a second time. For this viewing, you will want to focus specifically on those elements of film analysis that your class has focused on, so review your course notes. For example, from whose perspective is this clip shot? What choices help convey that perspective? What is the overall tone, theme, or effect of this clip?
  • Take notes while you watch for the second time. Notes will help you keep track of what you noticed and when, if you include timestamps in your notes. Timestamps are vital for citing scenes from a film!

For more information on watching a film, check out the Learning Center’s handout on watching film analytically . For more resources on researching film, including glossaries of film terms, see UNC Library’s research guide on film & cinema .

Brainstorming ideas

Once you’ve watched the film twice, it’s time to brainstorm some ideas based on your notes. Brainstorming is a major step that helps develop and explore ideas. As you brainstorm, you may want to cluster your ideas around central topics or themes that emerge as you review your notes. Did you ask several questions about color? Were you curious about repeated images? Perhaps these are directions you can pursue.

If you’re writing an argumentative essay, you can use the connections that you develop while brainstorming to draft a thesis statement . Consider the assignment and prompt when formulating a thesis, as well as what kind of evidence you will present to support your claims. Your evidence could be dialogue, sound edits, cinematography decisions, etc. Much of how you make these decisions will depend on the type of film analysis you are conducting, an important decision covered in the next section.

After brainstorming, you can draft an outline of your film analysis using the same strategies that you would for other writing assignments. Here are a few more tips to keep in mind as you prepare for this stage of the assignment:

  • Make sure you understand the prompt and what you are being asked to do. Remember that this is ultimately an assignment, so your thesis should answer what the prompt asks. Check with your professor if you are unsure.
  • In most cases, the director’s name is used to talk about the film as a whole, for instance, “Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo .” However, some writers may want to include the names of other persons who helped to create the film, including the actors, the cinematographer, and the sound editor, among others.
  • When describing a sequence in a film, use the literary present. An example could be, “In Vertigo , Hitchcock employs techniques of observation to dramatize the act of detection.”
  • Finding a screenplay/script of the movie may be helpful and save you time when compiling citations. But keep in mind that there may be differences between the screenplay and the actual product (and these differences might be a topic of discussion!).
  • Go beyond describing basic film elements by articulating the significance of these elements in support of your particular position. For example, you may have an interpretation of the striking color green in Vertigo , but you would only mention this if it was relevant to your argument. For more help on using evidence effectively, see the section on “using evidence” in our evidence handout .

Also be sure to avoid confusing the terms shot, scene, and sequence. Remember, a shot ends every time the camera cuts; a scene can be composed of several related shots; and a sequence is a set of related scenes.

Different types of film analysis

As you consider your notes, outline, and general thesis about a film, the majority of your assignment will depend on what type of film analysis you are conducting. This section explores some of the different types of film analyses you may have been assigned to write.

Semiotic analysis

Semiotic analysis is the interpretation of signs and symbols, typically involving metaphors and analogies to both inanimate objects and characters within a film. Because symbols have several meanings, writers often need to determine what a particular symbol means in the film and in a broader cultural or historical context.

For instance, a writer could explore the symbolism of the flowers in Vertigo by connecting the images of them falling apart to the vulnerability of the heroine.

Here are a few other questions to consider for this type of analysis:

  • What objects or images are repeated throughout the film?
  • How does the director associate a character with small signs, such as certain colors, clothing, food, or language use?
  • How does a symbol or object relate to other symbols and objects, that is, what is the relationship between the film’s signs?

Many films are rich with symbolism, and it can be easy to get lost in the details. Remember to bring a semiotic analysis back around to answering the question “So what?” in your thesis.

Narrative analysis

Narrative analysis is an examination of the story elements, including narrative structure, character, and plot. This type of analysis considers the entirety of the film and the story it seeks to tell.

For example, you could take the same object from the previous example—the flowers—which meant one thing in a semiotic analysis, and ask instead about their narrative role. That is, you might analyze how Hitchcock introduces the flowers at the beginning of the film in order to return to them later to draw out the completion of the heroine’s character arc.

To create this type of analysis, you could consider questions like:

  • How does the film correspond to the Three-Act Structure: Act One: Setup; Act Two: Confrontation; and Act Three: Resolution?
  • What is the plot of the film? How does this plot differ from the narrative, that is, how the story is told? For example, are events presented out of order and to what effect?
  • Does the plot revolve around one character? Does the plot revolve around multiple characters? How do these characters develop across the film?

When writing a narrative analysis, take care not to spend too time on summarizing at the expense of your argument. See our handout on summarizing for more tips on making summary serve analysis.

Cultural/historical analysis

One of the most common types of analysis is the examination of a film’s relationship to its broader cultural, historical, or theoretical contexts. Whether films intentionally comment on their context or not, they are always a product of the culture or period in which they were created. By placing the film in a particular context, this type of analysis asks how the film models, challenges, or subverts different types of relations, whether historical, social, or even theoretical.

For example, the clip from Vertigo depicts a man observing a woman without her knowing it. You could examine how this aspect of the film addresses a midcentury social concern about observation, such as the sexual policing of women, or a political one, such as Cold War-era McCarthyism.

A few of the many questions you could ask in this vein include:

  • How does the film comment on, reinforce, or even critique social and political issues at the time it was released, including questions of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality?
  • How might a biographical understanding of the film’s creators and their historical moment affect the way you view the film?
  • How might a specific film theory, such as Queer Theory, Structuralist Theory, or Marxist Film Theory, provide a language or set of terms for articulating the attributes of the film?

Take advantage of class resources to explore possible approaches to cultural/historical film analyses, and find out whether you will be expected to do additional research into the film’s context.

Mise-en-scène analysis

A mise-en-scène analysis attends to how the filmmakers have arranged compositional elements in a film and specifically within a scene or even a single shot. This type of analysis organizes the individual elements of a scene to explore how they come together to produce meaning. You may focus on anything that adds meaning to the formal effect produced by a given scene, including: blocking, lighting, design, color, costume, as well as how these attributes work in conjunction with decisions related to sound, cinematography, and editing. For example, in the clip from Vertigo , a mise-en-scène analysis might ask how numerous elements, from lighting to camera angles, work together to present the viewer with the perspective of Jimmy Stewart’s character.

To conduct this type of analysis, you could ask:

  • What effects are created in a scene, and what is their purpose?
  • How does this scene represent the theme of the movie?
  • How does a scene work to express a broader point to the film’s plot?

This detailed approach to analyzing the formal elements of film can help you come up with concrete evidence for more general film analysis assignments.

Reviewing your draft

Once you have a draft, it’s helpful to get feedback on what you’ve written to see if your analysis holds together and you’ve conveyed your point. You may not necessarily need to find someone who has seen the film! Ask a writing coach, roommate, or family member to read over your draft and share key takeaways from what you have written so far.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Aumont, Jacques, and Michel Marie. 1988. L’analyse Des Films . Paris: Nathan.

Media & Design Center. n.d. “Film and Cinema Research.” UNC University Libraries. Last updated February 10, 2021. .

Oxford Royale Academy. n.d. “7 Ways to Watch Film.” Oxford Royale Academy. Accessed April 2021. .

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Study Guide - Edward Scissorhands: How to write a Film Analysis Essay & Cinematic Techniques

  • Characters, Plot, Synopsis &Themes
  • Quotations & Bibilography
  • Film Reviews
  • How to write a Film Analysis Essay & Cinematic Techniques
  • Film Genres & Film Lighting Terminology, Film QUIZ

How to write a film analysis essay

How to Write a Film Analysis Essay

By Timothy Sexton

introduction to film essay

Writing a film analysis essay is an assignment that is less likely to terrorize those who fear the idea of writing an essay, because it allows them to write about something most people enjoy. Film analysis is not the same thing as writing a movie review, which involves passively watching a movie. An analysis means you must engage on a level beyond that of storytelling.

Watch the movie. Then watch it again. Take notes during the first viewing and, if you are analyzing a movie that is available on DVD, be ready with your remote control to pause and rewind.

Critically engage the movie so that you can effectively produce a strong essay. Focus on a single thematic concept related to the film. Ideas for essays taking this route could include an analysis of how the film is photographed, how the movie relates a historical event in a dramatic way without compromising the facts or how a single sequence within the film relates to larger cinematic concepts, like overlapping dialogue or the utilization of dramatic irony.

Introduce the film and its major participants, such as the actors and director. Include the name of another technician on the film if your analysis will be focusing on that aspect. For instance, cite the name of the cinematographer if you are going to be writing about the importance of shadows to film noir, or include the name of the composer of the movie’s score if you are writing about the importance of background music to the emotional tone of the film.

Provide a brief overview of the story, but avoid the temptation to pad your word count by writing what amounts to a synopsis of the story rather than analysis. Reveal plots twists or the ending of the film only if they relate directly to your analysis.

Write your film analysis with the movie at hand if this is possible. Write next to a television and DVD player if applicable. Stay inside the theatre for the second or third showing with your notepad ready if this is possible. Writing an effective film analysis is best accomplished if you don’t have to rely on your memory of events, dialogue or cinematic techniques.

Familiarize yourself with technical jargon related to the art of filmmaking. Learn the difference between a cut and a dissolve. Write about subjective camera work if the analysis is dealing with a part of the movie shot from the point of view of one of the characters. Properly utilizing filmmaking terms will strengthen the authority of your essay.


Cinematic Techniques

Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands Film Analysis

Help with writing a film essay - Linda Rubens

Film Techniques

Film techniques is the term used to describe the ways that meaning is created in film.

Camera Shots

A camera shot is the amount of space that is seen in one shot or frame. Camera shots are used to demonstrate different aspects of a film's setting, characters and themes. As a result, camera shots are very important in shaping meaning in a film. Reviewing the examples on the right hand side of this page should make the different camera shots clearer.

An extreme long shot ( animation on right ) contains a large amount of landscape. It is often used at the beginning of a scene or a film to establish general location (setting). This is also known as an establishing shot.

A long shot ( animation on right ) contains landscape but gives the viewer a more specific idea of setting. A long shot may show the viewers the building where the action will take place.

A full shot ( animation on right ) contains a complete view of the characters . From this shot, viewers can take in the costumes of characters and may also help to demonstrate the relationships between characters. For more information on costumes and acting refer to Chapter 4.

A mid shot ( animation on right ) contains the characters or a character from the waist up . From this shot, viewers can see the characters' faces more clearly as well as their interaction with other characters. This is also known as a social shot

A close-up ( animation on right ) contains just one character's face . This enables viewers to understand the actor's emotions and also allows them to feel empathy for the character. This is also known as a personal shot.

An extreme close-up ( animation on right ) contains one part of a character's face or other object. This technique is quite common in horror films, particularly the example above. This type of shot creates an intense mood and provides interaction between the audience and the viewer.

When analysing a film you should always think about the different camera shots and why they are being used. The next time that you are at the cinema or watching television see what camera shots are being used.

Important: These camera shots are used in all forms of visual texts including postcards, posters and print advertisements.

Camera angles

It is important that you do not confuse camera angles and camera shots. Camera shots are used to demonstrate different aspects of setting, themes and characters. Camera angles are used to position the viewer so that they can understand the relationships between the characters. These are very important for shaping meaning in film as well as in other visual texts.

The following examples will help you to understand the differences between the different camera angles

A bird's eye angle ( animation on right ) is an angle that looks directly down upon a scene . This angle is often used as an establishing angle, along with an extreme long shot, to establish setting.

A high angle ( animation on right ) is a camera angle that looks down upon a subject . A character shot with a high angle will look vulnerable or small. These angles are often used to demonstrate to the audience a perspective of a particular character. The example above demonstrates to us the perspective or point of view of a vampire. As a viewer we can understand that the vampire feels powerful.

An eye-level angle ( animation on right ) puts the audience on an equal footing with the character/s . This is the most commonly used angle in most films as it allows the viewers to feel comfortable with the characters.

A low angle ( animation on right ) is a camera angle that looks up at a character . This is the opposite of a high angle and makes a character look more powerful. This can make the audience feel vulnerable and small by looking up at the character. This can help the responder feel empathy if they are viewing the frame from another character's point of view.

As with camera shots, you will be able to see many examples of camera angles in any film or visual text that you view. The next time that you watch television or see a film, take note of the camera angles and think of how they affect your perception (idea) of different characters.

Another camera angle that you might come across is a Dutch angle.

A Dutch angle ( animation on right ) is used to demonstrate the confusion of a character. The example above should disorientate you.

Camera movement

Composers of films also use camera movement to shape meaning. The following are some examples of common camera movements and how they can be used to shape meaning in films.

A crane shot ( animation on right ) is often used by composers of films to signify the end of a film or scene. The effect is achieved by the camera being put on a crane that can move upwards

A tracking shot and a dolly shot ( animation on right ) have the same effect. A tracking shot moves on tracks and a dolly shot is mounted on a trolley to achieve the effect in the example above. This camera movement is used in a number of ways but is most commonly used to explore a room such as a restaurant. By using a tracking shot or a dolly shot the composer of a film gives the viewer a detailed tour of a situation. It can also be used to follow a character.

Panning ( animation on right ) is used to give the viewer a panoramic view of a set or setting. This can be used to establish a scene

An Evangelion shot ( animation on right ) is derived from the popular anime series 'Neon Genesis Evangelion'. This camera movement begins as an extreme close-up and zooms out abruptly, creating a blurring effect to emphasise the speed and size of the object

Lighting is a very important aspect for shaping meaning in films. What kind of atmosphere is created in a room lit by candles? Have you ever heard of mood lighting? A room that is brightly lit by neon lights might seem to be sterile or a shadowy room might be eerie or scary. The lighting technicians in a film crew have the task of creating lighting to suit the mood and atmosphere of each scene in a film.

Consider the animations Lighting example one, Lighting example two, Lighting example three and think about what type of atmosphere is created in each.

For each example, do you think the lighting suits the characters in the frames? For instance, in Example Three the two people are very happy and the scene is lit brightly. What would be the effect on the atmosphere if the lighting were dark and shadowy, similar to Example Two?

Remember that lighting is used in still image visual texts as well as in films.


Cinematography is the combination of the techniques described in this chapter. This includes camera shots, camera angles, camera movement and lighting. Use the term cinematography to group all of these together, for example, 'The cinematography in that film was exceptional.'

Mise en Scene

Mise en scene refers to all the objects and characters in a particular frame. More specifically, it refers to the composition of the frame. When you use the term mise en scene, you are discussing where the composer or director has placed all the elements of the scene within the frame.

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introduction to film essay

How to Write a Film Analysis Essay – Step by Step

introduction to film essay

So, your assignment is to watch a movie and analyze it in an essay. Great!

I’m Tutor Phil, and in this tutorial I’ll show you how to write a film analysis. 

In short, to write a film analysis means to:

  • Identify the elements of the film
  • Identify the relationships among those elements
  • Form an argument about your findings
  • Support your argument using evidence

If this task seems daunting, don’t worry – it is actually fun once you know exactly what to do. 

So, let’s dive right in. Here are…

7 Steps to Writing a Film Analysis Essay

Step 1. Watch the movie while taking notes

If you already saw the film you need to analyze, you’ll probably need to watch it again, this time taking some notes. 

Why is note taking important? Well, to analyze really means to break something into parts and to discuss relationships among them. 

And to identify parts (or elements) of a movie, you need to watch it while paying attention to details and writing down your observations. 

Taking notes will allow you to do several things:

  • Identify some of the elements of the film so you have something to discuss
  • Uncover details you would otherwise miss
  • Make connections between ideas
  • Get some raw content you can readily use in your essay

How to take notes

Here’s a tip on how to do it most efficiently. Play the movie on one device while taking notes on another. 

For example, play the movie on your TV or iPad, and take notes on your laptop. This way, you can pause the movie and make a note without switching apps on your laptop. 

What to look for 

When watching the movie, you are looking for elements that it is made up of. You can simply start a bulleted list with a timeline and some of the things you observe. 

Importantly, you usually don’t want to simply describe every event of the film. You need some kind of a theme or motif to focus on because otherwise you’ll simply write a synopsis if the movie. 

But you want some useful notes. Here’s how to choose what to focus on. 

First, your assignment should determine your focus. For example, if your instructor wants you to write about a particular character, then pay special attention to that character.

If your assignment includes more details, that’s even better. Maybe you have to pick a character and write about her love life or her relationship with her mother. 

Great – that will help you narrow down your focus. 

Second, you can choose your own theme to focus on. If your assignment is very general, don’t worry – just pick your own character, theme, or something in the movie you want to write about.

In this case, if you’ve already seen the film, just think back and choose something to focus your analysis on. 

Third, you can simply analyze the entire film. In this case, your task is to identify the overall message of the film and how its elements help deliver this message. 

Each of these ways to approach writing a film analysis essay works great. And the steps you learn here will help you whatever approach you choose. 

Example of note-taking

Let me give you an example. Recently, I had to write about one particular character in a movie. I also had to discuss the mental health of the character. So, I paid special attention to anything that had to do with mental health. 

I chose the movie The Hours based on Michael Cunningham’s book of the same title. And by the way, let’s use this film from now on as an example to illustrate our seven steps to writing a film analysis. 

This movie follows three women at different periods of the twentieth century. One of them is Virginia Woolf, based on the real-life writer of the same name. 

Since my task was to write about her, I took notes primarily related to her. But I also noted relevant elements in other parts of the film. 

Note that I time-stamped the events that happen on the screen. This would help me orient myself in the story when I later read my notes. 

This can also help you use quotations from the film because in some citation styles you are required to provide exact time stamps for the dialogue lines. 

Here is a sample of the notes that I took while watching the movie:

00:00 – 3:30 Very compulsive behavior. Frantically dressing up. 

“I feel that I’m going mad again.”

08:35 – ~11:00 “How was your sleep?” “Uneventful. No headache. I believe I may have the first sentence.”

“Always giving parties to cover the silence.” – Ed Harris. ~22:00

27:44 – 31:50 “Her fate becomes clear to her.” 

Makes demands on her cook. Being kind of rude. 

43:20 Doesn’t comply with doctors. Depressed all the time. Lies down by the dead bird, as if wanting to join it.

01:05:45 Talking to herself, mumbling, in the presence of others – sister, nephews, niece. 

-What were you thinking about? 

-I was going to kill my heroine but I changed my mind. 

01:08:05 “I’m afraid I might have to kill someone else instead.”

Your notes don’t have to consist of perfect sentences. You can jot down sentence fragments, phrases, or even just words. 

But complete sentences, or at least sentence fragments, will help you understand what you were thinking when taking the note. A sentence will tell you more than a word or a phrase. 

Write down some important dialogue verbatim. You can later use these quotations in your essay. 

Elements to look for

Let’s explore what kinds of elements you can look for while watching the movie. Cinema is an amazing medium that combines a multitude of things to talk about.

A film can contain everything a novel can. And in addition, it has visuals and sound. So, it’s very rich. Let’s divide the elements into two categories – literary and cinematic.

Literary elements

  • Story (the beginning, middle, and end)
  • Plot (how events are arranged in time and space)
  • Setting (where and when the action takes place)
  • Characterization (characters and their unique qualities)
  • Themes (recurring elements that link things together by topic)
  • Message (the point, the argument, if you will, of the movie)
  • Dialogue (what characters say)
  • Symbols (concrete visual or auditory bits that stand for abstract ideas)
  • Contrast (highlighting differences)

Cinematic elements

  • Sound (music, noises, or the use of silence)
  • Lighting (how light is used to convey or emphasize ideas)
  • Camera angles (positioning of the camera when shooting a scene)
  • Editing (putting different shots together in a sequence)
  • Mise-en-scene (everything you see on the screen)
  • Casting (the choice of actors)
  • Acting (the art of playing a character)

If you’re a film or literature student, many of these elements will sound familiar to you. But even if you’re not, you don’t have to know much about all or even most of these to write a great film analysis. 

All you need is a few good elements that will serve as ideas to organize and develop your paper. And you are probably already familiar with some of them, such as story and characters, for example.

As you watch the movie and take notes, keep these elements somewhere in your document so you could check in with the list at any time. 

Step 2. Make some connections among the elements

If you really want to do well on this paper, you might want to watch the movie one more time after you’ve taken your initial notes. This time, you’ll be making connections using these elements.

You can do this step from memory and your initial set of notes, but if you do it while watching the film one more time, your paper will be a lot stronger. And the writing part will be easier.

As you watch the film, especially for the second and maybe even a third time, you’ll notice patterns. 

You’ll begin to see how different elements are connected by themes and other unifying elements.

Here are examples of how different and seemingly distant elements can be connected in a movie:

Thematic connection

Two or more characters have the same pattern of behavior. They may not know each other or may even live on different continents or in different time periods. But they both feel stuck in their marriages, for example.

Connection through dialogue

Two or more characters who, again, seem completely unrelated say the same things. Or, one character says something, and another picks it up or answers it in the next scene or shot. 

Connection through mise-en-scene

Mise-en-scene is all the visual elements on the screen. A recurring visual can link different elements, such as characters, together.

For example, a character can have a red rose in her hand. Another character, in a different time and space, can also have a red rose in her hand. This is a director’s way of saying: “Pay attention and look for connections between these characters.”

Musical connection

The same music can play in different scenes. Or, the same tune can be played in a major, happy key in one scene but in a minor, sad key in another. Or, a short motive can be repeated at pertinent moments in the film. 

Movie writers and directors make all kinds of other connections in their films. If you watch the movie more than once while being consciously aware of the possibilities, you’ll notice things. 

You can choose any types of connections you want. If your instructor wants you to be specific and use cinematography and dialogue, for example, then use these two categories. 

But if you identify some nice connections in other categories, put them in your notes, too. You’ll use them as supporting ideas in your essay. 

Example of making connections 

Let me give you an example of how I used elements of film to make some connections for that film analysis I worked on. 

Note that I’m using only four categories of these elements because to discuss more of them would only make the essay get out of hand. It’s better to focus on a few. Make sure it’s no fewer than two, and preferably three or four. 

The first one or two can be the main ones, and the rest can be used as supporting ideas (more on this later). 

To make better sense of the example below, keep in mind that the movie The Hours follows three women in different times and places. 

I used letters V, L, and C as acronyms of their first names, because it’s faster and easier that way. 

Here is a sample of connections (as brief notes)  

  • Homosexuality and bisexuality. 
  • Around 42:00 – L kisses her neighbor Kitty. Later, V kisses her sister Vanessa. Both women are not only stuck in their situations – they are also stuck in the closet. 
  • C is also stuck, according to her own words. 
  • V tries to write a novel. L tries to bake a cake. C tries to throw a party. Each one is frustrated. 
  • But there is a progression from V-L-C. V never succeeds. L fails at first attempt but succeeds with the second one. C makes everything ready, but the party never happens through no fault of her own.
  • Also, trying to run away. V fails. L succeeds. So does Louis in modern times. 
  • C says at one point, “From then on I’ve been stuck.” It seems she’s stuck in bisexuality. 
  • When L drops off her son, it’s with Mrs. Latch (note the name). A latch is a fastening or binding device. 
  • Louis Waters says, “The day I left him, I got on a train and made my way across Europe. I felt free for the first time in years.”
  • V succeeds on the third attempt. L contemplates it but changes her mind. C never attempts. But Richard succeeds. 
  • 13:54 – (1951) L’s son asks to help with the cake. L: “Of course you can, sweet pea. I’m not gonna do anything without you.” Cuts to 2001 New York: C: “No, of course!” 
  • It’s as if the director is being sarcastic: “Yeah, sure. Of course I’m not gonna do anything without you.” 
  • L eventually abandons her family, including her son. So, this juxtaposition seems sarcastic and acts as foreshadowing. 

Mise-en-scene (visual elements)

  • Each of two women, V and L, is alone in a bed; one is in bed with a partner. 
  • L is particularly emphasized as alone with an empty half bed – happens again later in the film.
  • The light is pouring in from outside, but the room is dark. She is isolated by the window frame. Isolated from everything in the home, including her son. 
  • Later, around 17:30, her son will be alone in a very dark apartment: “I needed to let in some light.” Maybe light is associated with freedom.
  • V depressed, even disturbed
  • L wondering what the day will bring
  • C excited about the upcoming day.
  • There seems to be a progression from worse to better in V-L-C. 

When you actively look for connections, you’ll make many of them. In this step, you’re not thinking deeply about them. You’re just noticing things and jotting them down.

The main thinking is done in the next step. 

Step 3. Formulate your main argument

Now that you have your elements and you’ve perceived some relationships among them, it’s time to formulate your thesis. 

A thesis is the main point of your essay. This step is the most important because this is where you take a stand. 

This is also a creative step. You’re essentially making a decision about what to say about this movie or an aspect of the movie. 

Here’s a short video I created, explaining what a thesis is:

Read back through your notes

Read through the initial notes you took and the connections that you’ve made. 

What stands out to you as the most important, the most general and overarching idea that is probably the main one?

Make your thesis about this idea. And the rest of the elements or ideas will act as supporting points (we’ll add them in the next step). 

Choose the subject

Let’s choose what to write about – our subject – in our sample film analysis. We have four categories of elements in which we’ve made notes and connections:

  • Mise-en-scene

Just by looking at this list and reading through the connections made, it is easy to notice:

One or more of the themes are dominant, and the rest is supportive. Therefore, our main point should probably be about a theme . 

Again, if your instructor has given you a specific subject to focus on, then that’s what your thesis will be about. 

In this example, let’s assume that we must simply write a film analysis, and we’re free to choose what to write about.

So, we’ll pick one of the themes, take a stand on it, and formulate our thesis based on it. Let’s look at the themes we’ve picked out again:

  • Repressed sexuality
  • Frustration
  • Being stuck
  • Seeking freedom  

Which of these is the dominant one? Which one is all-encompassing? Which one includes some of the others?

These are some of the questions we might ask to pick the main subject for our essay. Let’s arrange these themes in the order of more general to more specific:

Why is being stuck the most general and all-encompassing theme? That’s because it seems that the rest of the themes are either the signs or the effects of it. 

Repressed sexuality and frustration in trying to accomplish things and failing are signs, examples, or manifestations of being stuck. 

It is only possible to seek freedom if you feel stuck. And suicide, at least in this film, is a result of being stuck and seeing no way out. 

This tells us that being stuck as a theme is the best candidate for our thesis. In other words, this essay will be about the theme of being stuck in the film The Hours .  

Formulate the thesis

At this point, we have everything we need to formulate our thesis, our main point that we’ll be supporting in the essay. Let’s do it:

“In the film The Hours, the feeling of being stuck in terms of their sexualities and life situations plagues the main characters. And the earlier in the century the action takes place, the more disastrous the consequences of them feeling stuck.” 

What’s going on in this thesis? 

First, we have two sentences because this film analysis is kind of complex. It is possible to write out the main point in only one sentence, but then it would be too long and complicated. 

Second, note that we have all the main elements either explicitly or implicitly present in this statement. In other words, this thesis summarizes our entire essay perfectly. 

It contains the themes of:

  • Being stuck (which is our main subject)
  • Sexuality (one supporting idea)
  • Seeking freedom (from an unwanted life situation)
  • Sucide (a disastrous consequence)

In other words, it’s all there in the thesis. And we’ll unpack these concepts more in the next two steps. 

Step 4. Write the introductory paragraph

The introductory paragraph consists of three parts:

  • An introductory sentence
  • The thesis (main point)
  • The supporting points

Here is a diagram of how it is organized:

introduction to film essay

We already have one of these parts, which is the thesis (part 2). Now, all we need is  the introductory sentence and the supporting points. 

Let’s put together our supporting points – the crucial part of a thesis statement. A full thesis statement always includes the main point and the supporting ideas. And then we’ll write out the complete introductory paragraph.

Keep in mind that each of our supporting points will correspond to a section of our essay. And I always recommend using the Power of Three to organize a paper. 

introduction to film essay

Three is a great number to divide one idea into many. Note that writing an essay on any topic is very much a matter of dividing big topics into subtopics. 

What three supporting points or sections can we have in this essay? Well, luckly, it just so happens that the film The Hours centers around three main characters set in different time periods and places. 

This makes a perfect division into three parts. Now, your movie may not have such a clear division, and in that case you’ll need to come up with three supporting ideas creatively. 

For example, you could discuss the feeling or predicament if being stuck in terms of these concepts:

And your essay would have three main sections. Each section would be devoted to being stuck in a particular sense. 

In our essay, the three women are:

  • Virginia Woolf (1923)
  • Laura Brown (1951)
  • Clarissa Vaughan (2001)

From our thesis, we know two things:

  • They all share the feeling of being stuck, in similar ways
  • There is a progression from past to present in how it affects them

So, now, let’s write out the complete thesis statement. Note that we’re also including the introductory sentence, whose function is to pull the reader into the subject matter of the essay.

Our film analysis thesis statement example

“Through the power of narrative and visual elements, cinema allows the viewer a glimpse into worlds she otherwise could not know, revealing difficulties people have faced throughout history. In the film The Hours, the feeling of being stuck in terms of their sexualities and life situations plagues the main characters. And the earlier in the century the action takes place, the more disastrous the consequences of them feeling stuck. Virginia Woolf, set in 1923, is in the worst situation because while she suffers from repressed homosexuality and hates living in the country, it is next to impossible for her to find a viable way out. Laura Brown, set in 1951, is also a closet lesbian and lives a small-town family life she despises. But she eventually finds a way to liberate herself. Finally, Clarissa Vaughn, set in 2001, is stuck in her bisexuality. But her life situation, while challenging, is otherwise better than those of the other two characters.”

Step 5. Outline the essay 

The thesis statement that we just put together also acts as our big-picture outline. Let’s see how our essay will be organized, in terms of the main sections:

introduction to film essay

Notice that this big-picture outline is dictated completely by our thesis statement. This is why a great, detailed thesis statement is so important. 

Fulfilling the word count requirement

Your film analysis essay assignment may have a specific word or page count requirement. Let me give you an example of this film analysis outline with a breakdown of words per section and subsection.

Let’s say you need to write a 2,000-word paper. Well, right now our introductory paragraph contains about 150 words. Here is how we could distribute words to meet that word count requirement.

Outline with word count distribution

  • Introductory paragraph (150 words)
  • Sexuality ( 300 words )
  • Life situation ( 300 words )
  • Conclusion (100 words)

If you add up all the sections and subsections, you’ll get 2,050, which is about our desired word count. 

If you need to write 5,000 words, then distribute your words accordingly. You’ll have about 250 words per introduction and conclusion, which will leave you with 4,500 words for the body of the essay.

That will be 1,500 words per main section. Divide each main section into three subsections using the Power of Three, and you have 500 words per subsection. 

It’s very helpful to know how to distribute your words because that allows you to map out how much you’re writing in each section and paragraph. 

Step 6. Write the body of the essay

The body of a film analysis essay consists of sections, and each section consists of one or more paragraphs. 

So, your main building block in the body of the essay is the body paragraph. Here is how a body paragraph is structured:

introduction to film essay

The first sentence is the so-called lead sentence. It must summarize the contents of the paragraph succinctly and perfectly. 

An explanation is where you have a chance to provide any reasoning or describe a process.

And examples are the most specific parts of any paragraph or essay. They are the most fun to write and to read. 

Let’s write a body paragraph to illustrate exactly how such a building block works in a movie analysis. 

Our example is about Virginia Woolf. It belongs in Section 1, subsection 1 – about being stuck with repressed homosexuality. 

Note that this subsection can have more than one paragraph. This will be one of the paragraphs in this section. 

Film analysis body paragraph example

“Virginia feels stuck in her personal life as if in a prison because of her repressed sexuality. She appears to be a closet homosexual, which is a difficult predicament to endure in the early 20th century England. Homosexuality was looked down upon, and a woman had to be married to a man, regardless of her innate sexual preferences. She lives with her husband who takes care of her and clearly loves her. However, when her sister Vanessa comes to visit, at the end of the visit, Virginia gives her a long, passionate kiss on the lips that is apparently reciprocated. The kiss is so intense that it indicates a repressed desire. Vanessa accepts it, but it is not clear whether she does so out of mutual attraction or compassion for her sister’s suffering.”

This paragraph follows the structure illustrated in the diagram. 

It opens with a lead sentence which summarizes and introduces the entire contents of the paragraph perfectly. It is also the most general statement of the essay.

Next comes the explanation. We explain why we think that Virginia has a problem. The time period she lives in makes it difficult to be a sexual minority. 

Finally, we provide an example – the most specific kind of evidence in an essay. It is an example of a kiss, with a description and implications. 

To complete the body of the essay, we would need to build it out by writing one paragraph after another, following the outline and maintaining this body paragraph structure. 

Note that you can also use outside sources to support your points. But first write out what you can without resorting to research. And only then go and find sources that would confirm your thinking and ideas. 

Step 7. Write the conclusion

This is the final step and the easiest one. I usually advocate for concluding with a simple restatement. 

All you need to do is write out the thesis statement using different words so it doesn’t come across as a mere copy. 

Your conclusion can be shorter than the introductory paragraph. After all, you’ve already said it all. And now, just restate in fewer and different words. You can also add a more general statement at the very end, as a finishing touch. 

And let’s do it.

“The Hours is a fascinating study of how repressed sexuality and confining life situations have affected people’s lives throughout the twentieth century. The three characters live in different times, and the earlier the period the more difficult the situation and the harder it is to endure. Virginia commits suicide because she can’t find a way out of her situation. Laura almost commits suicide but then chooses to abandon her situation, which is physically a little easier in the 1950’s. And Clarissa lives with her girlfriend. Her situation is better although she is still stuck as a bisexual. Life in 2001 is significantly better, though not devoid of challenges.”

And there you have it. Now you know exactly how to write a film analysis paper. 

I hope this was helpful!

Tutor Phil is an e-learning professional who helps adult learners finish their degrees by teaching them academic writing skills.

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50 Film Analysis

Film analysis, what this handout is about.

This handout provides a brief definition of film analysis compared to literary analysis, provides an introduction to common types of film analysis, and offers strategies and resources for approaching assignments.

What is film analysis, and how does it differ from literary analysis?

Film analysis is the process in which film is analyzed in terms of semiotics, narrative structure, cultural context, and mise-en-scene, among other approaches. If these terms are new to you, don’t worry—they’ll be explained in the next section.

Analyzing film, like  analyzing literature (fiction texts, etc.) , is a form of rhetorical analysis—critically analyzing and evaluating discourse, including words, phrases, and images. Having a clear argument and supporting evidence is every bit as critical to film analysis as to other forms of academic writing.

Unlike literature, film incorporates audiovisual elements and therefore introduces a new dimension to analysis. Ultimately, however, analysis of film is not too different. Think of all the things that make up a scene in a film: the actors, the lighting, the angles, the colors. All of these things may be absent in literature, but they are deliberate choices on the part of the director, producer, or screenwriter—as are the words chosen by the author of a work of literature. Furthermore, literature and film incorporate similar elements. They both have plots, characters, dialogue, settings, symbolism, and, just as the elements of literature can be analyzed for their intent and effect, these elements can be analyzed the same way in film.

Different types of film analysis

Listed here are common approaches to film analysis, but this is by no means an exhaustive list, and you may have discussed other approaches in class. As with any other assignment, make sure you understand your professor’s expectations. This guide is best used to understand prompts or, in the case of more open-ended assignments, consider the different ways to analyze film.

Keep in mind that any of the elements of film can be analyzed, oftentimes in tandem. A single film analysis essay may simultaneously include all of the following approaches and more. As Jacques Aumont and Michel Marie propose in Analysis of Film, there is no correct, universal way to write film analysis.

Semiotic analysis

Semiotic analysis is the analysis of meaning behind signs and symbols, typically involving metaphors, analogies, and symbolism.

This doesn’t necessarily need to be something dramatic; think about how you extrapolate information from the smallest signs in your day to day life. For instance, what characteristics can tell you about someone’s personality? Something as simple as someone’s appearance can reveal information about them. Mismatched shoes and bedhead might be a sign of carelessness (or something crazy happened that morning!), while an immaculate dress shirt and tie would suggest that the person is prim and proper. Continuing in that vein:

  • What might you be able to infer about characters from small hints?
  • How are these hints (signs) used to construct characters? How do they relate to the relative role of those characters, or the relationships between multiple characters?

Symbols denote concepts (liberty, peace, etc.) and feelings (hate, love, etc.) that they often have nothing to do with. They are used liberally in both literature and film, and finding them uses a similar process. Ask yourself:

  • In Frozen Elsa’s gloves appear in multiple scenes.
  • Her gloves are first given to her by her father to restrain her magic. She continues to wear them throughout the coronation scene, before finally, in the Let It Go sequence, she throws them away.

Again, the method of semiotic analysis in film is similar to that of literature. Think about the deeper meaning behind objects or actions.

  • Elsa’s gloves represent fear of her magic and, by extension, herself. Though she attempts to contain her magic by hiding her hands within gloves and denying part of her identity, she eventually abandons the gloves in a quest for self-acceptance.

Narrative structure analysis

Narrative structure analysis is the analysis of the story elements, including plot structure, character motivations, and theme. Like the dramatic structure of literature (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution), film has what is known as the Three-Act Structure: “Act One: Setup, Act Two: Confrontation, and Act Three: Resolution.” Narrative structure analysis breaks the story of the film into these three elements and might consider questions like:

  • How does the story follow or deviate from typical structures?
  • What is the effect of following or deviating from this structure?
  • What is the theme of the film, and how is that theme constructed?

Consider again the example of Frozen. You can use symbolism and narrative structure in conjunction by placing the symbolic objects/events in the context of the narrative structure. For instance, the first appearance of the gloves is in Act One, while their abandoning takes place in Act Two; thus, the story progresses in such a way that demonstrates Elsa’s personal growth. By the time of Act Three, the Resolution, her aversion to touch (a product of fearing her own magic) is gone, reflecting a theme of self-acceptance.

Contextual analysis

Contextual analysis is analysis of the film as part of a broader context. Think about the culture, time, and place of the film’s creation. What might the film say about the culture that created it? What were/are the social and political concerns of the time period? Or, like researching the author of a novel, you might consider the director, producer, and other people vital to the making of the film. What is the place of this film in the director’s career? Does it align with his usual style of directing, or does it move in a new direction? Other examples of contextual approaches might be analyzing the film in terms of a civil rights or feminist movement.

For example, Frozen is often linked to the LGBTQ social movement. You might agree or disagree with this interpretation, and, using evidence from the film, support your argument.

Some other questions to consider:

  • How does the meaning of the film change when seen outside of its culture?
  • What characteristics distinguishes the film as being of its particular culture?

Mise-en-scene analysis

Mise-en-scene analysis is analysis of the arrangement of compositional elements in film—essentially, the analysis of audiovisual elements that most distinctly separate film analysis from literary analysis. Remember that the important part of a mise-en-scene analysis is not just identifying the elements of a scene, but explaining the significance behind them.

  • What effects are created in a scene, and what is their purpose?
  • How does the film attempt to achieve its goal by the way it looks, and does it succeed?

Audiovisual elements that can be analyzed include (but are not limited to): props and costumes, setting, lighting, camera angles, frames, special effects, choreography, music, color values, depth, placement of characters, etc. Mise-en-scene is typically the most foreign part of writing film analysis because the other components discussed are common to literary analysis, while mise-en-scene deals with elements unique to film. Using specific film terminology bolsters credibility, but you should also consider your audience. If your essay is meant to be accessible to non-specialist readers, explain what terms mean. The Resources section of this handout has links to sites that describe mise-en-scene elements in detail.

Rewatching the film and creating screen captures (still images) of certain scenes can help with detailed analysis of colors, positioning of actors, placement of objects, etc. Listening to the soundtrack can also be helpful, especially when placed in the context of particular scenes.

Some example questions:

  • How is the lighting used to construct mood? Does the mood shift at any point during the film, and how is that shift in mood created?
  • What does the setting say about certain characters? How are props used to reveal aspects of their personality?
  • What songs were used, and why were they chosen? Are there any messages in the lyrics that pertain to the theme?

Writing the film analysis essay

Writing film analysis is similar to writing literary analysis or any argumentative essay in other disciplines: Consider the assignment and prompts, formulate a thesis (see the  Brainstorming Handout  and  Thesis Statement Handout  for help crafting a nuanced argument), compile evidence to prove your thesis, and lay out your argument in the essay. Your evidence may be different from what you are used to. Whereas in the English essay you use textual evidence and quotes, in a film analysis essay, you might also include audiovisual elements to bolster your argument.

When describing a sequence in a film, use the present tense, like you would write in the literary present when describing events of a novel, i.e. not “Elsa took off her gloves,” but “Elsa takes off her gloves.” When quoting dialogue from a film, if between multiple characters, use block quotes: Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented one inch from the left margin. However, conventions are flexible, so ask your professor if you are unsure. It may also help to follow the formatting of the script, if you can find it. For example:

ELSA: But she won’t remember I have powers? KING: It’s for the best.

You do not need to use quotation marks for blocked-off dialogue, but for shorter quotations in the main text, quotation marks should be double quotes (“…”).

Here are some tips for approaching film analysis:

  • Make sure you understand the prompt and what you are being asked to do. Focus your argument by choosing a specific issue to assess.
  • Review your materials. Rewatch the film for nuances that you may have missed in the first viewing. With your thesis in mind, take notes as you watch. Finding a screenplay of the movie may be helpful, but keep in mind that there may be differences between the screenplay and the actual product (and these differences might be a topic of discussion!).
  • Develop a thesis and an outline, organizing your evidence so that it supports your argument. Remember that this is ultimately an assignment—make sure that your thesis answers what the prompt asks, and check with your professor if you are unsure.
  • Move beyond only describing the audiovisual elements of the film by considering the significance of your evidence. Demonstrate understanding of not just what film elements are, but why and to what effect they are being used. For more help on using your evidence effectively, see ‘Using Evidence In An Argument’ in the  Evidence Handout .

New York Film Academy Glossary Movie Outline Glossary Movie Script Database Citation Practices: Film and Television

Works Consulted

We consulted these works while writing the original version of this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find the latest publications on this topic. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the  UNC Libraries citation tutorial .

Aumont, Jacques, and Michel Marie. L’analyse Des Films. Paris: Nathan, 1988. Print. Pruter, Robin Franson. “Writing About Film.” Writing About Film. DePaul University, 08 Mar. 2004. Web. 01 May 2016.

Film Analysis Copyright © 2020 by Liza Long; Amy Minervini; and Joel Gladd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Film Essays: The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Film Essay

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By Essaywriter

Film Essays: The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Film Essay

If you’re a film buff or a student of film studies, you’ve probably encountered film essays at some point in your academic career.

Writing a film essay can be challenging, but with guidance, you can craft a compelling analysis of any cinematic masterpiece.

One of the world’s most well-liked and regularly watched forms of entertainment is a film, whether blockbusters or indie movies. The film has become an essential part of culture and society worldwide.

A film is a powerful tool for social critique and cultural expression. Despite changes, movies have never lost their capacity to amuse, instruct, and inspire. This post offers knowledge, suggestions, and resources for writing film essays. An analysis of a particular film’s many elements is done in a film essay.

Understanding the Elements of Film Analysis

Film analysis comprises evaluating and comprehending the many components that make up a film. These include the movie’s cinematography, sound, editing, acting, and narrative. It is possible to gain a deeper understanding of the movie’s themes, messages, and overall relevance by analyzing these components.

Films comprise certain components, which directors and movie producers tend to tweak to recreate different cultures and historical points in time. For instance, a movie set in the 1980s will have very different scenery, costumes, and soundtrack than a movie set in the present.

There has been a major advancement in technology, music, fashion, and social conventions between the 1980s and now. Therefore, these film components need to be properly considered when writing a film essay.

Tips for Writing Film Essays

Researching and selecting a film to analyze.

To explore possible films, choose your areas of interest, such as a specific genre, era, or filmmaker. After that, you can use various tools to gather information and ideas for new films.

Thousands of films, reviews, and ratings are available through online databases such as IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes. Search engines such as Google and Bing can also be used to find articles, criticisms, and analyses of certain films or directors.”

Outlining and Organizing the Film Essays

Outlining and arranging a film essay can help ensure that your analysis is clear and succinct. Create an outline that breaks down the various parts of the film you will be analyzing, such as the narrative, characters, cinematography, and symbolism so that you can arrange your thoughts.

Maintain focus by avoiding needless details. Instead, concentrate on offering specific examples from the film to back up and connect your analysis. You should also employ transitions between paragraphs to make it easier for the reader to follow your train of thought.

Citing Sources and Formatting the Film Essays

Citation of sources and Proper formatting gives credit to the film’s creators, but it also demonstrates the credibility of your research and analysis. When citing a film, it’s important to follow the guidelines of the citation style you use, whether it be MLA, APA, or Chicago.

This includes the title of the film, the director, and the year of release. When citing sources such as articles or books, it’s important to include the author, title, publication date, and page number(s).

Tips for Incorporating Film Terminology and Analysis Techniques

It is critical to strike a balance between employing technical language and making it accessible to your audience when incorporating cinema vocabulary and analysis procedures in a film essay.

One technique is to start with a clear and short statement that defines your essay’s major argument or purpose. From there, you can support and deepen your thesis by employing specialized cinema terminology and analysis approaches. Use film examples to illustrate your views and make them more accessible to the reader.

Use a clear and simple writing style and be consistent in using technical language and analysis methodologies. This will help the reader follow your argument and understand your views.

Finally, to provide a full understanding of the film, employing a variety of analysis methodologies such as formalism or psychoanalysis. This will not only help you obtain a deeper understanding of many components of the film, but it will also allow you to provide a more sophisticated analysis.

Sample Film Essays Outline

Thesis statement: “Through its use of surreal imagery and unconventional narrative structure, ‘Mulholland Drive’ deconstructs the Hollywood dream and exposes the darkness at the heart of the film industry.”

Main point 1: The cinematography and mise-en-scène of ‘Mulholland Drive’

Main point 2: The themes and messages of ‘Mulholland Drive’

Main point 3: The cultural and historical context of ‘Mulholland Drive’

Conclusion: Recap of main points and analysis of the lasting impact of the film

Film elements are what make each film production distinct from every other. Therefore, understanding them empowers writers with the tools to analyze and write fitting essays adequately.

When writing a film essay, tips like researching and selecting a film to analyze, outlining and organizing the essay, citing sources and formatting the essay, and incorporating film terminology and analysis techniques help present your essay in the most logical, clear, clear, concise, and comprehensive way.

If you’re looking to write a film essay anytime soon, following this stepwise guide on writing film essays will get you critical acclaim when your work is peer-reviewed.

Perhaps you do not have the time to write a film essay or any other paper, or maybe you need professional help writing your paper.

Our website, , is a place you can visit to get your paper professionally written and delivered on time, irrespective of the type of essay you need to be written.

Try us now by calling 1-888-774-9994 and speak to an academic advisor today and get help with film essays!

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Resources – how to write a film analysis, introduction to the topic.

While most people watch films for entertainment, those who study film focus on the elements of a film that combine to create the ultimate product. Behind the scenes production editing that occurs before, during, and after filming contribute to the images that people see on screen. A formal analysis of a film asks you to break a film down into its different components and discuss how those pieces work together to create an overall experience. Here is a checklist to help you write a film analysis.

Sections of a Film Analysis with Tips

The introduction to the paper.

Begin by  briefly  summarizing the film. You should not rehash the entire plot, but instead give the most critical information about the film to the reader. Then, introduce the formal elements that you will be discussing. Finally, your thesis should connect the elements you will discuss to their importance to the film as a whole.

The Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of a film analysis are similar to those found in other analytical essays.  Each paragraph should discuss a different small component of the film and how the component serves the entire film. In these paragraphs, you should give concrete examples to support your claims. These examples can include scenes or quotes from the film itself, but you can also include different editing techniques or other behind the scenes work. Connect your examples to the overall film and try to answer the question, “Why does this element ultimately matter for the viewing audience?”

The Conclusion

Briefly summarize what you have talked about in the essay. Be careful not to make generalizations about the film that are not supported by the effects of the specific elements you discussed. In this section, you can discuss the overall importance of the film its historical context or address any lingering questions the film leaves.

Tips for Film Analysis

  • Understand the vocabulary of filmmaking. Knowing how to talk about elements such as lighting, special effects, framing, focus, and screenwriting are critical to writing a film analysis.
  • Try to watch the film more than one, if possible. After you decide which element(s) to write about, watch the film again, keeping those ideas in mind.
  • A film analysis is not the same of a film review. Avoid making pedestrian judgments about the film’s entertainment factor. If you wish to criticize the film, do so by referencing formal elements.
  • Unless the assignment asks you, do not try to cover every single element the film uses. Try to narrow your focus as much as you can to one or two salient elements.
  • If you are referring to the actions of a person in the film, refer to the scene using the character’s name. If you are referring the acting itself, use the actor’s real name.

Exercise: Which Sentence Belongs in a Film Analysis?

Sentences and instructions.

When writing a film analysis, many students have to fight the urge to incorporate the components of a film review into their essays. In each of the following exercises, one sentence could be a part of a film analysis, while the other is better suited for a review.

See if you can tell the difference:

1.      (a.) In  Winter’s Bone , Jennifer Lawrence gives the performance of the decade. (b.) For her role in  Winter’s Bone , Jennifer Lawrence had to learn a West Virginia accent in order to portray an authentic character.

2.   (a.) The editors of  Hocus Pocus  use special effects to create magic on screen. (b.) The editors of  Hocus Pocus  used a green screen to give the appearance that the witches were flying over the city.

 3.    (a.) The lack of shadows in  V for Vendetta  gives the viewer the impression that the editors forgot to add in some special effects. (b.) The lack of shadows in  V for Vendetta  gives the viewer the impression that the scenes are occurring in a futuristic world.

Developed by Ann Bruton, with the help of Alexander Waldman

Adapted F rom:

Dartmouth Writing Program’s “Writing About Film” 

Duke University’s Thompson Writing Program “Writing About Film”  

Click here to return to the “Writing Place Resources” main page.

Film Analysis: Example, Format, and Outline + Topics & Prompts

Films are never just films. Instead, they are influential works of art that can evoke a wide range of emotions, spark meaningful conversations, and provide insightful commentary on society and culture. As a student, you may be tasked with writing a film analysis essay, which requires you to delve deeper into the characters and themes. But where do you start?

In this article, our expert team has explored strategies for writing a successful film analysis essay. From prompts for this assignment to an excellent movie analysis example, we’ll provide you with everything you need to craft an insightful film analysis paper.

  • 📽️ Film Analysis Definition

📚 Types of Film Analysis

  • ✍️ How to Write Film Analysis
  • 🎞️ Movie Analysis Prompts
  • 🎬 Top 15 Topics

📝 Film Analysis Example

  • 🍿 More Examples

🔗 References

📽️ what is a film analysis essay.

A film analysis essay is a type of academic writing that critically examines a film, its themes, characters, and techniques used by the filmmaker. This essay aims to analyze the film’s meaning, message, and artistic elements and explain its cultural, social, and historical significance. It typically requires a writer to pay closer attention to aspects such as cinematography, editing, sound, and narrative structure.

Film Analysis vs Film Review

It’s common to confuse a film analysis with a film review, though these are two different types of writing. A film analysis paper focuses on the film’s narrative, sound, editing, and other elements. This essay aims to explore the film’s themes, symbolism , and underlying messages and to provide an in-depth interpretation of the film.

On the other hand, a film review is a brief evaluation of a film that provides the writer’s overall opinion of the movie. It includes the story’s short summary, a description of the acting, direction, and technical aspects, and a recommendation on whether or not the movie is worth watching.

This image shows the difference between film analysis and film review.

Wondering what you should focus on when writing a movie analysis essay? Here are four main types of film analysis. Check them out!

📋 Film Analysis Format

The movie analysis format follows a typical essay structure, including a title, introduction, thesis statement, body, conclusion, and references.

The most common citation styles used for a film analysis are MLA and Chicago . However, we recommend you consult with your professor for specific guidelines. Remember to cite all dialogue and scene descriptions from the movie to support the analysis. The reference list should include the analyzed film and any external sources mentioned in the essay.

When referring to a specific movie in your paper, you should italicize the film’s name and use the title case. Don’t enclose the title of the movie in quotation marks.

📑 Film Analysis Essay Outline

A compelling film analysis outline is crucial as it helps make the writing process more focused and the content more insightful for the readers. Below, you’ll find the description of the main parts of the movie analysis essay.

This image shows the film analysis essay outline.

Film Analysis Introduction

Many students experience writer’s block because they don’t know how to write an introduction for a film analysis. The truth is that the opening paragraph for a film analysis paper is similar to any other academic essay:

  • Start with a hook to grab the reader’s attention . For example, it can be a fascinating fact or a thought-provoking question related to the film.
  • Provide background information about the movie . Introduce the film, including its title, director, and release date. Follow this with a brief summary of the film’s plot and main themes.
  • End the introduction with an analytical thesis statement . Present the central argument or interpretation that will be explored in the analysis.

Film Analysis Thesis

If you wonder how to write a thesis for a film analysis, we’ve got you! A thesis statement should clearly present your main idea related to the film and provide a roadmap for the rest of the essay. Your thesis should be specific, concise, and focused. In addition, it should be debatable so that others can present a contrasting point of view. Also, make sure it is supported with evidence from the film.

Let’s come up with a film analysis thesis example:

Through a feminist lens, Titanic is a story about Rose’s rebellion against traditional gender roles, showcasing her attempts to assert her autonomy and refusal to conform to societal expectations prevalent in the early 20th century.

Movie Analysis Main Body

Each body paragraph should focus on a specific aspect of the film that supports your main idea. These aspects include themes, characters, narrative devices , or cinematic techniques. You should also provide evidence from the film to support your analysis, such as quotes, scene descriptions, or specific visual or auditory elements.

Here are two things to avoid in body paragraphs:

  • Film review . Your analysis should focus on specific movie aspects rather than your opinion of the film.
  • Excessive plot summary . While it’s important to provide some context for the analysis, a lengthy plot summary can detract you from your main argument and analysis of the film.

Film Analysis Conclusion

In the conclusion of a movie analysis, restate the thesis statement to remind the reader of the main argument. Additionally, summarize the main points from the body to reinforce the key aspects of the film that were discussed. The conclusion should also provide a final thought or reflection on the film, tying together the analysis and presenting your perspective on its overall meaning.

✍️ How to Write a Film Analysis Essay

Writing a film analysis essay can be challenging since it requires a deep understanding of the film, its themes, and its characters. However, with the right approach, you can create a compelling analysis that offers insight into the film’s meaning and impact. To help you, we’ve prepared a small guide.

This image shows how to write a film analysis essay.

1. Understand the Prompt

When approaching a film analysis essay, it is crucial to understand the prompt provided by your professor. For example, suppose your professor asks you to analyze the film from the perspective of Marxist criticism or psychoanalytic film theory . In that case, it is essential to familiarize yourself with these approaches. This may involve studying these theories and identifying how they can be applied to the film.

If your professor did not provide specific guidelines, you will need to choose a film yourself and decide on the aspect you will explore. Whether it is the film’s themes, characters, cinematography, or social context, having a clear focus will help guide your analysis.

2. Watch the Film & Take Notes

Keep your assignment prompt in mind when watching the film for your analysis. For example, if you are analyzing the film from a feminist perspective, you should pay attention to the portrayal of female characters, power dynamics , and gender roles within the film.

As you watch the movie, take notes on key moments, dialogues, and scenes relevant to your analysis. Additionally, keeping track of the timecodes of important scenes can be beneficial, as it allows you to quickly revisit specific moments in the film for further analysis.

3. Develop a Thesis and an Outline

Next, develop a thesis statement for your movie analysis. Identify the central argument or perspective you want to convey about the film. For example, you can focus on the film’s themes, characters, plot, cinematography, or other outstanding aspects. Your thesis statement should clearly present your stance and provide a preview of the points you will discuss in your analysis.

Having created a thesis, you can move on to the outline for an analysis. Write down all the arguments that can support your thesis, logically organize them, and then look for the supporting evidence in the movie.

4. Write Your Movie Analysis

When writing a film analysis paper, try to offer fresh and original ideas on the film that go beyond surface-level observations. If you need some inspiration, have a look at these thought-provoking questions:

  • How does the movie evoke emotional responses from the audience through sound, editing, character development , and camera work?
  • Is the movie’s setting portrayed in a realistic or stylized manner? What atmosphere or mood does the setting convey to the audience?
  • How does the lighting in the movie highlight certain aspects? How does the lighting impact the audience’s perception of the movie’s characters, spaces, or overall mood?
  • What role does the music play in the movie? How does it create specific emotional effects for the audience?
  • What underlying values or messages does the movie convey? How are these values communicated to the audience?

5. Revise and Proofread

To revise and proofread a film analysis essay, review the content for grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. Ensure the paper flows logically and each paragraph contributes to the overall analysis. Remember to double-check that you haven’t missed any in-text citations and have enough evidence and examples from the movie to support your arguments.

Consider seeking feedback from a peer or instructor to get an outside perspective on the essay. Another reader can provide valuable insights and suggestions for improvement.

🎞️ Movie Analysis: Sample Prompts

Now that we’ve covered the essential aspects of a film analysis template, it’s time to choose a topic. Here are some prompts to help you select a film for your analysis.

  • Metropolis film analysis essay . When analyzing this movie, you can explore the themes of technology and society or the portrayal of class struggle. You can also focus on symbolism, visual effects, and the influence of German expressionism on the film’s aesthetic.
  • The Godfather film analysis essay . An epic crime film, The Godfather , allows you to analyze the themes of power and corruption, the portrayal of family dynamics, and the influence of Italian neorealism on the film’s aesthetic. You can also examine the movie’s historical context and impact on future crime dramas.
  • Psycho film analysis essay . Consider exploring the themes of identity and duality, the use of suspense and tension in storytelling, or the portrayal of mental illness. You can also explore the impact of this movie on the horror genre.
  • Forrest Gump film analysis essay . If you decide to analyze the Forrest Gump movie, you can focus on the portrayal of historical events. You might also examine the use of nostalgia in storytelling, the character development of the protagonist, and the film’s impact on popular culture and American identity.
  • The Great Gatsby film analysis essay . The Great Gatsby is a historical drama film that allows you to analyze the themes of the American Dream, wealth, and class. You can also explore the portrayal of the 1920s Jazz Age and the symbolism of the green light.
  • Persepolis film analysis essay . In a Persepolis film analysis essay, you can uncover the themes of identity and self-discovery. You might also consider analyzing the portrayal of the Iranian Revolution and its aftermath, the use of animation as a storytelling device, and the film’s influence on the graphic novel genre.

🎬 Top 15 Film Analysis Essay Topics

  • The use of color symbolism in Vertigo and its impact on the narrative.
  • The moral ambiguity and human nature in No Country for Old Men .
  • The portrayal of ethnicity in Gran Torino and its commentary on cultural stereotypes.
  • The cinematography and visual effects in The Hunger Games and their contribution to the dystopian atmosphere.
  • The use of silence and sound design in A Quiet Place to immerse the audience.
  • The disillusionment and existential crisis in The Graduate and its reflection of the societal norms of the 1960s.
  • The themes of sacrifice and patriotism in Casablanca and their relevance to the historical context of World War II.
  • The psychological horror in The Shining and its impact on the audience’s experience of fear and tension.
  • The exploration of existentialism in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind .
  • Multiple perspectives and unreliable narrators in Rashomon .
  • The music and soundtrack in Titanic and its contribution to the film’s emotional resonance.
  • The portrayal of good versus evil in the Harry Potter film series and its impact on understanding morality.
  • The incorporation of vibrant colors in The Grand Budapest Hotel as a visual motif.
  • The use of editing techniques to tell a nonlinear narrative in Pulp Fiction .
  • The function of music and score in enhancing the emotional impact in Schindler’s List .

Check out the Get Out film analysis essay we’ve prepared for college and high school students. We hope this movie analysis essay example will inspire you and help you understand the structure of this assignment better.

Film Analysis Essay Introduction Example

Get Out, released in 2017 and directed by Jordan Peele, is a culturally significant horror film that explores themes of racism, identity, and social commentary. The film follows Chris, a young African-American man, visiting his white girlfriend’s family for the weekend. This essay will analyze how, through its masterful storytelling, clever use of symbolism, and thought-provoking narrative, Get Out reveals the insidious nature of racism in modern America.

Film Analysis Body Paragraphs Example

Throughout the movie, Chris’s character is subject to various types of microaggression and subtle forms of discrimination. These instances highlight the insidious nature of racism, showing how it can exist even in seemingly progressive environments. For example, during Chris’s visit to his white girlfriend’s family, the parents continuously make racially insensitive comments, expressing their admiration for black physical attributes and suggesting a fascination bordering on fetishization. This sheds light on some individuals’ objectification and exotification of black bodies.

Get Out also critiques the performative allyship of white liberals who claim to be accepting and supportive of the black community. It is evident in the character of Rose’s father, who proclaims: “I would have voted for Obama for a third term if I could” (Peele, 2017). However, the film exposes how this apparent acceptance can mask hidden prejudices and manipulation.

Film Analysis Conclusion Example

In conclusion, the film Get Out provides a searing critique of racial discrimination and white supremacy through its compelling narrative, brilliant performances, and skillful direction. By exploring the themes of the insidious nature of racism, fetishization, and performative allyship, Get Out not only entertains but also challenges viewers to reflect on their own biases.

🍿 More Film Analysis Examples

  • Social Psychology Theories in The Experiment
  • Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader: George Lukas’s Star Wars Review
  • Girl, Interrupted : Mental Illness Analysis
  • Mental Disorders in the Finding Nemo Film
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Film: Interpretive Psychological Analysis
  • Analysis of Spielberg’s Film Lincoln
  • Glory – The Drama Movie by Edward Zwick
  • Inventors in The Men Who Built America Series
  • Crash Movie: Racism as a Theme
  • Dances with Wolves Essay – Movie Analysis
  • Superbad by G. Mottola
  • Ordinary People Analysis and Maslow Hierarchy of Needs
  • A Review of the Movie An Inconvenient Truth by Guggenheim
  • Chaplin’s Modern Times and H.G. Wells’s The Island of Dr. Moreau
  • Misé-En-Scene and Camera Shots in The King’s Speech
  • Children’s Sexuality in the Out in the Dark Film
  • Chinese and American Women in Joy Luck Club Novel and Film
  • The Film Silver Linings Playbook by Russell
  • The Role of Music in the Films The Hours and The Third Man
  • The Social Network : Film Analysis
  • My Neighbor Totoro : Film by Hayao Miyazaki
  • Marriage Story Film Directed by Noah Baumbach

❓ Film Analysis Essay: FAQ

Why is film analysis important.

Film analysis allows viewers to go beyond the surface level and delve into the deeper layers of a film’s narrative, themes, and technical aspects. It enables a critical examination that enhances appreciation and understanding of the film’s message, cultural significance, and artistic value. At the same time, writing a movie analysis essay can boost your critical thinking and ability to spot little details.

How to write a movie analysis?

  • Watch the film multiple times to grasp its key elements.
  • Take notes on the story, characters, and themes.
  • Pay attention to the film’s cinematography, editing, sound, message, symbolism, and social context.
  • Formulate a strong thesis statement that presents your main argument.
  • Support your claims with evidence from the film.

How to write a critical analysis of a movie?

A critical analysis of a movie involves evaluating its elements, such as plot, themes, characters, and cinematography, and providing an informed opinion on its strengths and weaknesses. To write it, watch the movie attentively, take notes, develop a clear thesis statement, support arguments with evidence, and balance the positive and negative.

How to write a psychological analysis of a movie?

A psychological analysis of a movie examines characters’ motivations, behaviors, and emotional experiences. To write it, analyze the characters’ psychological development, their relationships, and the impact of psychological themes conveyed in the film. Support your analysis with psychological theories and evidence from the movie.

  • Film Analysis | UNC Writing Center
  • Psychological Analysis of Films | Steemit
  • Critical Film Analysis | University of Hawaii
  • Questions to Ask of Any Film | All American High School Film Festival
  • Resources – How to Write a Film Analysis | Northwestern
  • Film Analysis | University of Toronto
  • Film Writing: Sample Analysis | Purdue Online Writing Lab
  • Film Analysis Web Site 2.0 | Yale University
  • Questions for Film Analysis | University of Washington
  • Film & Media Studies Resources: Types of Film Analysis | Bowling Green State University
  • Film & Media Studies Resources: Researching a Film | Bowling Green State University
  • Motion Picture Analysis Worksheet | University of Houston
  • Reviews vs Film Criticism | The University of Vermont Libraries
  • Television and Film Analysis Questions | University of Michigan
  • How to Write About Film: The Movie Review, the Theoretical Essay, and the Critical Essay | University of Colorado

Descriptive Essay Topics: Examples, Outline, & More

371 fun argumentative essay topics for 2024.

Library Home

Moving Pictures: An Introduction to Cinema

(11 reviews)

introduction to film essay

Russell Leigh Sharman, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Copyright Year: 2020

Publisher: University of Arkansas

Language: English

Formats Available

Conditions of use.


Learn more about reviews.

introduction to film essay

Reviewed by Dennis Lo, Associate Professor, James Madison University on 7/31/23

1. Somewhat concerning how only two groups (women and African Americans) are examined in the “representation in cinema” section. Why only these two groups and not others? 2. The “brief history of cinema” is by and large a brief history of American... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 3 see less

1. Somewhat concerning how only two groups (women and African Americans) are examined in the “representation in cinema” section. Why only these two groups and not others? 2. The “brief history of cinema” is by and large a brief history of American cinema. Left out are most other histories of world cinema. 3. Most intro to film textbooks don’t contain sections on Screenplays because these are more production oriented materials. Having this included is a helpful resource for students who are taking the class because they are aspiring filmmakers and not just future film critics/theorists.

Content Accuracy rating: 4

1. It is accurate in its summary of Hollywood film history, but to make it appear that Hollywood’s history can stand in for histories of film industries all over the world is inaccurate. 2. “How to Watch a Movie” is an excellent introduction and overview of what it’s like to engage in textual analysis of films. Can make for an excellent reading in an early week of Intro to Film.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 4

1. The inclusion of video essays in demonstrating concepts in film terminology is most welcome. 2. In general, it’s very effective to include video essays and examples of scenes directly in the chapters themselves.

Clarity rating: 3

1. It is written in a conversational style that is accessible to students who find jargon either unwelcoming or monotonous. However, the writing does suffer from a lack of rigor, and thus may only be suitable for freshmen and sophomore. Juniors and seniors would benefit from a text that draws from scholarship more rigorously.

Consistency rating: 4

The text is mostly consistent in terms of terminology and framework.

Modularity rating: 5

The text is highly modular and I can see myself assigning individual chapters from the book rather than the entire textbook. These individual chapters can also be assigned for different classes.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 3

1. Acting is technically under mise-en-scene, so I'm not sure why it’s in a separate chapter. 2. Narrative should precede mise-en-scene since it constitutes its own textual system. To include narrative after mise-en-scene is a confusing choice since all other chapters delve into stylistic systems.

Interface rating: 5

1. The interface is clean and well-designed, easy to navigate.

Grammatical Errors rating: 3

1. The style is sometimes so colloquial and casual that it becomes inappropriate (e.g. “It is racist AF”). 2. While grammatically proper, its style is not representative of academic writing and thus might give students the wrong impression of the types of writing assignments they’re expected to complete as film studies minors and majors.

Cultural Relevance rating: 2

1. Most of the examples are from Hollywood films or Western national cinemas. Very few examples come from African, Latin American, Asian, and transnational cinemas. This severely misrepresents the diversity of films.

The text is appropriate for an Introduction to Film class at a high school and Freshmen level for its readability, accessibility, and modularity. Its inclusion of video essays, clips, and other digital resources are especially helpful for visual learners. It is also written in a style that would be appealing to those being exposed to film studies for the first time. However, due to its lack of coverage of cinemas outside the US and the West, its Eurocentric focus (which makes its cultural relevance suffer as a result), and an emphasis on readability over rigor, I cannot recommend it for an Intro to Film class that has upper classmen enrolled, who would require a more broad-based introduction to a history of all major national/transnational cinemas globally, as well as exposure to a more academic writing style which they could model their own prose after. For these reasons, I can foresee assigning each of the chapters as reviews or study guides to supplement my own teaching (they could be especially useful for exam review), but they would not replace the primary text I’m currently using (Bordwell and Thompson’s Film Art).

Reviewed by Ed Cameron, Professor, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on 12/16/22

Russell Sharman’s Moving Pictures: An Introduction to Cinema provides an enjoyable introduction to the study of film and covers much of what is expected from an introductory text. Its level of comprehensiveness is a bit double sided. On one side,... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 4 see less

Russell Sharman’s Moving Pictures: An Introduction to Cinema provides an enjoyable introduction to the study of film and covers much of what is expected from an introductory text. Its level of comprehensiveness is a bit double sided. On one side, the text provides a considerable background of both the aesthetic and social importance of film. In addition, almost half of the text is dedicated to extra-textual issues: historical background and production practices. On the other side, the hermeneutics of understanding film and its meaning-making language is somewhat sacrificed. There is the occasional nod (low-angle shot presents a character as larger than life), but introducing the skills concerned with interpreting a cinematic text is not developed systematically. It is one thing for a student to recognize the difference between a close-up and a long shot, but it is another to understand how and what each of these stylistic elements signify in certain contexts. The heavy attention to the historical background and practices of production might stem from the author’s experience as both a cultural anthropologist and a filmmaker, not sure. I will add that the text does provide a great introduction to the history of cinema and the intricacies of the production process, if that is what you are looking for. If your andragogical approach to film studies stems more from a literary or philosophical perspective, then you may need to supplement the text with an introduction to cinematic interpretive frameworks and the general semiotics of cinema.

Content Accuracy rating: 5

Sharman’s text provides a good amount of formal terminology for the introductory student along with an evolution of many of the concepts behind the terms. The terminology is also all defined accurately. The text’s many forays into film history and the production process are also described accurately. The last section of the course, which deals with the social content of and representation in film, is ideologically heavy, but I would not call it inaccurate.

The text is very relevant and up to date (for the time of this review). It documents numerous contemporary films and transitional periods of film history. Since the text does focus on many current issues affecting cinema, then I suppose there will be some required updating in the future as new issues emerge. But for the current time, I think the text is up to date for an introductory book. Other than the investigations into these contemporary and current issues, the text should maintain its longevity as it devotes most of its attention to structural, historical, and technological features of cinema. It evens makes several references to the latest technological innovations (digitization, etc.) in film production. The author also includes the new mode of closed-form streaming narratives into many discussions. To reiterate, however, the text lacks some relevancy for an introductory course that needs a focus on cinema interpretation.

Clarity rating: 5

The text is easy to read and to follow. The writing is both informative and entertaining. It introduces much technical terminology and many concepts but never at an inaccessible level. The writing maintains an inviting and approachable tone throughout, making it easy for the introductory student to follow without lapsing into the tediousness into which textbooks often devolve.

Consistency rating: 5

As mentioned above, the text maintains a consistent entertaining and informative tone throughout. I think the author’s inviting and entertaining mood makes for a welcoming read. Every time the text is re-opened, the student will instantly recognize this convivial voice. Also, the author clearly displays his deep interest in the study of film, an interest that beneficially should prove contagious. The text is littered with comedic parenthetic asides, as indirect attempts to personalize the author’s voice. At first, these might be more inviting than they later become. Overall, the text could probably benefit some readers with a reduction in the quantity, but not duration, of these asides.

Modularity rating: 4

Because the text is organized in a well-thought-through manner, where some chapters necessarily must precede others, it may not rank the highest in modularity. However, modularity, in my mind, is a bit overrated. In the end, the text does form a unified whole, but teaching out of sequence would require some creativity.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5

The text is organized into two main parts: “An Introduction to Cinema” and “Representation in Cinema.” The former covers the formal elements of film (mise en scène, cinematography, editing, acting, etc.) while the latter covers the social importance of film (cinematic representations of and by women and African Americans). The first part takes up the lion’s share of the text and even begins with an introductory chapter that presents many of the concepts that will be developed in more detail and with examples in separate chapters. The second part of the text also begins with a brief explanation of the importance of representation in cinema. The first two chapters of the text provide a brief history of cinema and a chapter explaining what we do when we watch film. Overall, the text flows well and its purposive design works logically and developmentally. It makes sense that the text provides a formal explanation of cinema before delving into its social significance. One could, however, treat them separately, as the text presents them. So, I guess, modularity slips into the back door after all.

Interface rating: 4

The text is relatively easy to navigate from chapter to chapter. It also includes a table of contents with a drop-down menu that allows the reader to jump to any designated chapter. There are numerous relevant embedded videos scattered through each chapter, and all are bibliographed at the conclusion of the chapters. A handful of the embedded videos were, however, unavailable at the time I read the text. Only a small minority, however. The embedded videos highlight certain matters of formal, historical, and production importance. Alongside the attention to history and production, I would like to see some video clips that highlight how film signifies, how certain formal or stylistic elements indicate a specific significance or meaning. But this is not really a major purpose of this particular text.

Grammatical Errors rating: 5

I only noticed a few typos in the text, none, however, that interrupted the flow to a significant extent.

Cultural Relevance rating: 5

As mentioned above, Sharman’s attention to representation in cinema makes the text culturally relevant. One chapter deals with the representation in cinema of and by women and the other deals with the representation in cinema of and by African Americans. Both chapters provide a critique the cultural hegemony by white men that has historically dominated the cinema industry. Eventually tying the first chapter to the recent MeToo movement and the latter to the also recent OscarsSoWhite campaign provides a culturally relevant examination of important cultural changes taking place in the entertainment industry. While Sharman only focuses on the representation and woman and African Americans, he recommends delving into the issue of representation of other historically underrepresented groups in the cinema for any users of his text.

Except for the lack of concentrated attention to the semiotics of cinema, it is hard to fault Moving Pictures. I think this text is an ideal text for use in academic programs that cross the divide between film production and film studies. For programs whose concentration slants more toward studying film as a finished product (studying Shakespeare’s sonnets without recurse to creative writing, for instance), this lack would require supplemental material.

Reviewed by Kevin Smith, Instructor, Chemeketa Community College on 11/15/22

This textbook by Russell Sharman is an excellent intro to film textbook that covers all of the standard stylistic and formal aspects of cinema study, while also managing to pack in a great deal of interesting history and industry commentary. None... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 5 see less

This textbook by Russell Sharman is an excellent intro to film textbook that covers all of the standard stylistic and formal aspects of cinema study, while also managing to pack in a great deal of interesting history and industry commentary. None of it comes across like it would be boring to students. The text also thoroughly deals with the social context of cinema (throughout, but especially in the second, shorter section of the book). One minor issue this reviewer had is that it felt a little light in its discussion of genre, but this is where the consistently excellent video examples come into play: there’s plenty of multimedia content included as parts of the body of the text (and linked out to if viewers and readers want it). This reviewer personally appreciated the downplaying of the auteur theory in favor of an ongoing discussion of film as a collaborative art form given its industrial underpinnings. The author also puts his own interesting spin on some film terms, such as “character” being a broader umbrella concept that is part of mise-en-scene.

Finally, after decades of almost all other film textbooks (there are a handful of notable exceptions) discussing cinematography as if the focal length of lenses is all that determines the look of a shot, someone finally has included additional, accurate technological information that isn’t dry or too technical and adds to an understanding of what goes into both making and watching a film. This has been a huge oversight in this academic subgenre for far too long, and it’s refreshing to see it corrected here without the need for students to shell out $150 to get it. This is just one example of the thoroughness that the author has brought to the subject, likely because he’s a filmmaker instead of just a film theorist.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 5

The social context of film (always changing, but this is great for being over two years old, and the author notes that the online version is constantly being updated) is covered in both sections, but the second has two chapters devoted to a direct focus on representations of women and black people in film, as well as their participation in, and tragic exclusion from, the film industry. This reviewer has admittedly sometimes awkwardly introduced Lois Weber and Oscar Micheaux into their courses, but here the author does so effortlessly and without missing a beat on the fantastic discussion of film aesthetics. Recent developments in digital cinema are also covered.

The author uses accessible, direct language, and all relevant theoretical concepts are explained. The section on how to watch films is clearer and more practical than in almost every other similar selections this reviewer has previously encountered. How the author manages to (1) discuss feminism and the male gaze almost without mentioning psychoanalysis and the usual accompanying pseudo-scientific techno-jargon associated with it and (2) explain how cinema is like a language without mentioning structuralism and the usual accompanying pseudo-scientific techno-jargon is beyond the ken of this reviewer. The more general concepts underlying sometimes impenetrable critical theory are socially and formally relevant to any study of cinema, and this textbook does an excellent job of explaining why to readers.

The book does a fabulous job of introducing terms and concepts, explaining them, and providing video examples of them throughout, again with full attribution at the end of each chapter. No one concept, whether it be aesthetic, historical, or technological, is given unfair weight when the complete discussion here is taken into consideration. This reviewer did find it a little jarring that D.W. Griffith is discussed repeatedly, and in some detail, early on when the author later states he doesn’t want to talk about him, but that particular director has always deserved both recognition of his work and criticism of the representations he put into his films. It’s a terrible, lingering aspect of film history that shouldn’t be swept under the carpet, so this bifurcation can’t be criticized much.

If one didn’t want to discuss in detail some of the tragic aspects of the social context of film history, industry, and representation, one could easily not assign the final two chapters. However, any imaginable reason one would present to justify doing so would be incomprehensible to this reviewer and — oh hey look, the author already started including that content from the beginning, so students get it whether they think they need/want it or not. Because of this, the second section feels more like a welcome elaboration on earlier points rather than just something he tacked on at the end. In that spirit, this reviewer will finish their thought in the next section.

The technology, the vision, the money, the racism, the art, the hard work, the pushing women offscreen, the “innovators” who took credit for someone else’s work, and everything else that has happened in the film industry in the last 130 or so years is all at least touched on here. It never feels like the author felt obligated to toss something in just because other film textbooks do, and this commitment to discussing (almost) everything, warts and all, makes this the David Attenborough-narrated nature documentary of film textbooks. The author moves from discussions of watching and thinking about movies to their history through their technical aspects and then back to their social contexts in an informal (but highly informed) manner that engages readers with an open, welcoming tone that eschews didacticism while still imparting the crucial information one should have while thinking about film. The videos never seem dropped in randomly: they’re always serving as an example of a point the author is making. There are many, and their tone ranges widely from scholarly to popular. The “Every Single Word Spoken by a Person of Color in [Movie Z]” videos are excellent examples that should resonate with the current generation of college students and drive the point home. The one thing all of the multimedia content has in common is its direct relevance to the text and the concepts being discussed.

Like some other OERs, this is better read online (the author even states so in the preface) than in the PDF version. This reviewer could see situations (no internet connection) where having that latter file on one’s devices might come in handy, but the plethora of illustrative multimedia content shouldn’t be skipped over in those instances. This reviewer has three minor issues with the online version of the text. First, it’s difficult to find specific search terms. The search bar will only direct one to a section where that term appears. Second (and maybe this is just this reviewer), the table of contents might work better on the right-hand side rather than the left-hand side. This reviewer also didn’t understand why all the chapters didn’t appear immediately when the toc is opened. For that matter, why split the book into two sections? As stated earlier, all of the content is blended pretty seamlessly, so perhaps just present all 10 chapters as part of one discussion without bracketing off the last two. Finally, there doesn’t seem to be a way to link to the following chapter when one finishes the current one; one has to return to the toc. “Next Chapter” links at the end of each chapter would be welcome. This reviewer did not engage in a line-by-line comparison of both versions, but is guessing that having access to both versions might be a good idea.

Nothing that interferes with the content was noticed. Some may possibly be turned off by the informal tone and occasional grammar “mistakes” embodied in sentence fragments. But like that’s how people talk. So, okay. There is also the section where the author writes that The Birth of a Nation is “racist AF” and says about Griffith, “f%@k that guy.” This reviewer is not going to pick on those statements because they are relevant and students might possibly find the blunt commentary open and honest.

Enough has probably been said about this, but just in case not, this book has at least presents a solid opening into larger discussions of racism and sexism in film. #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite are discussed, and while perhaps less attention is paid to, for example, Asian representation and participation in cinema, it is mentioned in the discussion of Way Down East. The author puts it best himself when he writes, “But I encourage you not to stop here. Use this as an opportunity to explore issues of representation for Native Americans, Asian Americans and the Latinx community. How does cinema influence our understanding of masculinity? Immigration? Mental health? The list is as long as our collective experience.” Film history and industries outside of Hollywood are covered, and some non-American films are used as examples. The continual emphasis on cinema as a social, political, and economic phenomenon in addition to an art form is solid. It seems like we’re in good hands here.

This reviewer thinks that the only thing left to say, and the highest praise that can be given to this textbook, is that they have found their new foundational film studies text. It only happens once a decade, so yeah: read this book and seriously consider adopting it for your courses. The author could easily have taken this to a commercial publisher, but he did not. Our students are fortunate.

Reviewed by Christina Allaback, Assistant Professor of Theatre, Director of Theatre, Umpqua Community College on 7/13/21

This is an extremely comprehensive book for an introductory to film class. It covers all major areas that I was already teaching and really expands on the basics that I cover in lecture. The first half of the book is entitled "An Introduction to... read more

This is an extremely comprehensive book for an introductory to film class. It covers all major areas that I was already teaching and really expands on the basics that I cover in lecture. The first half of the book is entitled "An Introduction to Cinema," and it covers a short history and also discusses how one should watch a film, but also has chapters on Mise-en-scene, narrative, cinematography, editing, sound, and acting. The second half of the book covers representation of African Americans and women in film, each having its own chapter. I am giving it a four because it does not have a glossary or index. However, each term is in bold in the chapter and since you can read it online, you can easily search the document.

I am my institution's theatre teacher who gets to teach the film class. While I have taken film classes before, it is not my area of expertise. But this book appears to be as accurate as the other two, expensive film textbooks I have read. It actually has helped me reorganize my class in a way that makes more sense. He has included, what I believe, are the formative films in our history, as well as the important film theorists and terms. Is it as detailed as the other film texts I have read? No. But it is perfect for a beginning class. The very long and expensive text I was using before was fantastic, for a film major. It had so much information that I didn't know what to do with it all and in a ten week class, the students barely put a dent in it.

I think this is a very relevant book. The foundations are there, but new films are incorporated. I imagine that this would be a fairly easy book to update. One thing I absolutely love about this book and the format is the fact there are film clips IN THE BOOK! You can read about the concept, then click a link and watch the film clip that demonstrates that concept, then he continues to analyze the film clip. Just fantastic. There are also little videos form YouTube that explain concepts in a little more depth, that might help students who are more aural learners. He also included historical moments and speeches, etc... Just nice little extras to help push the ideas forward. I think it would be very easy to change out those clips if you needed to update the book with newer films.

So most of the book is great. Written in accessible prose, professional sounding, however I am torn. At times he takes a very informal tone and sometimes even slang that I would think inappropriate for a textbook. For example, at one point he uses the term “AF” and he actually swears at one point, but censors it with ** . I understand he may be trying to use slang to be able to be able to bring in younger readers by using their language and slang or even to give a textbook a bit of humor. I understand this. It totally makes sense, especially if we are trying to make things more accessible. However, if I wrote a textbook, I don’t think I would use this language.

Very consistent. Concepts are described and illustrated in each chapter. They all have the same format. It is very easy to read and get into

This book has three formats available, which is great. It is easy to navigate. There are two halves of the book: Part one is an introduction to cinema and has eight chapters, each covering an aspect of film. The second half is about representation and it covers Women and African Americans in cinema. Chapter divisions make sense and there are headings to help keep things organized.

This is a very well organized book and it flows very nicely when read. Topics are definitely presented in a logical and clear fashion. Each chapter is set up in sort of the same way, so it helps reading comprehension. Also, the first chapters help inform the chapters after it.

Excellent and easy to use. You can click on a chapter and you are taken immediately to that chapter. There is a search function. All images and clean and clear, no typos. Note that only the online version has clickable links to film clips. And make sure you tell the students which one you prefer they read. The online version doesn’t have page numbers either.

Great. No errors that I noticed. Very well done.

Even though there are only two chapters on representation, I think this text does a great job with it. I might want a little bit more on representations, but I think this is adequate for a beginning film class that only lasts ten week. I am wondering if I would want more if I were teaching a semester long class. And he does a good job of explaining that the film industry is very male and white.

Reviewed by Caroline Smith, Associate Professor, The George Washington University on 2/25/21

Moving Pictures by Russell Sharman provides readers with a comprehensive introduction to the world of cinema. The book contains a nice balance of history, the discussion of film terminology, and an examination of the way in which cinema can... read more

Moving Pictures by Russell Sharman provides readers with a comprehensive introduction to the world of cinema. The book contains a nice balance of history, the discussion of film terminology, and an examination of the way in which cinema can influence audience’s perceptions, particularly in regard to identity politics. At one point, Sharman writes, “Just as the text you are reading right now defies easy categorization – is it a book, an online resource, an open source text – modern cinema exists across multiple platforms – is it a movie, a video, theatrical, streaming – but the fundamentals of communication, the syntax, grammar and rules of language, written or cinematic, remain relatively constant.” I found this characterization to be extremely accurate. The book with its combination of text and image is more dynamic than the average textbook. It approaches the complexity of cinema by addressing the way in which modern technology as well as social movements have affected the industry.

I found this book to be accurate. It provides readers with comprehensive definitions of film terms and, most importantly, pairs those definitions with video clips that demonstrate the various film techniques discussed.

The book is excellent in terms of introducing students to the world of cinema, but even more importantly, unlike other film texts, this book addresses the role that cinema plays in our current historical moment. The author references movements such as the #MeToo movement and #OscarsSoWhite movement as a way of tying real life events to his subject matter. He does an excellent job of discussing the ways in which the film industry has been complicit in extolling the work of white men. I teach a writing course which focuses on women in film, and I found the second part of the text, “Representation in Cinema,” to be extremely relevant to our class discussions. It would provide my students with a good historical basis for understanding Hollywood’s discriminatory politics. It will be easy to update or add to this last section of the book so that it will be culturally relevant in the future.

Sharman’s book contains accessible and entertaining language. I found his prose easy to navigate, and his periodic inclusion of questions will engage the reader. Furthermore, his tendency to tell stories at the start of each chapter was a terrific way to draw the reader in. Certain moments in the text actually made me laugh. (At one point, he describes D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation “racist as AF.”)

His inclusion of videos to illustrate technical terms and demonstrate various points he is making is invaluable. Being able to talk about match cuts and depth of field shots with students and actually have an accessible example on hand – embedded in their (free!) textbook – is incredibly helpful. I also found the bolding of important terminology to be an effective strategy to draw students’ attention to film concepts. Again, his sense of humor is revealed in these clip picks. His video selection for the section on costuming begins with a clip from the Incredibles in which a character is critiquing the superhero suit of the protagonist. The clips included in the “Representation in Cinema” section included clips titled “Every Single Word Offered by a Person of Color” for popular films such as Jaws and E.T. Needless to say, these moments were pretty much non-existent. Having students watch the silence will drive home the point that Sharman is trying to make.

One of the things that I most appreciated about this book was that it practiced what it preached. In the introduction, the author indicated that it was important to him to discuss the issue of representation in film. He addressed this issue in Part I of his book, which dealt with the more “technical” aspects of film by including video clips from films with directors of various subject positions. The work of women and filmmakers of color were integrated into his textbook alongside those white, male directors who are often included in film texts, which reinforced Sharman’s commitment to social justice.

Not only would it be easy to assign individual chapters to classes, but Sharman’s book is appropriate for a number of different courses. In addition to being a good fit for an introduction to film course, this book would be an excellent choice for anyone teaching a writing course about film. I teach two first-year writing seminars on film – one about romantic comedies and one about women filmmakers. The technical introduction to film would be excellent for both courses, and the “Representation in Cinema” section would enrich my current course about women filmmakers. As a writing instructor, I liked the way in which Sharman made connections between form and content – something I do continually in my writing class. I also liked that the text approached film from a number of disciplinary angles.

The organization of this text worked well for me. I thought that the two-part approach – “An Introduction to Cinema” and “Representation in Cinema” – was extremely effective.

The embedding of images within the text is an incredibly valuable aspect of this text – in fact, it is one of the main reasons I am considering assigning this text to my classes in the future. Being able to see an example of a technique alongside an explanation of a technique is extremely useful.

I did not notice any issues with grammar. The author adopts a fun, conversational tone.

This book is culturally relevant. Right now, with so many social justice movements taking place in the United States, it seems incredibly important to include mention of some of these movements as they relate to the film industry. The sections on women and film and black filmmakers are timely.

I appreciated that the author recommended outside sources to supplement his arguments in the section “Representations in Cinema.” Specifically, his reference to Harry Bernshoff and Sean Griffin’s America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality at the Movies was useful. I also liked his section on how to watch a movie, as it is something that my students find difficult to do, having consumed film primarily for entertainment. His discussion of analysis versus taste would also be useful to undergraduate classes to get students to move beyond “I like it/I don’t like it” into the area of critical film analysis.

Reviewed by Sarah O'Brien, Assistant Professor, University of Virginia on 11/16/20

This is an "intro" text that does not attempt to comprehensively cover everything that a several hundred page film studies 101 textbook would. But it does provide a fulsome frame and set up the key concepts/language for students brand new to film... read more

This is an "intro" text that does not attempt to comprehensively cover everything that a several hundred page film studies 101 textbook would. But it does provide a fulsome frame and set up the key concepts/language for students brand new to film studies.

The text does a lovely job of defining film terms with precision.

The text uses some current examples from pop culture that will appeal to students, but it is not dependent on them and students several years from now will not be lost without them.

Teaches specialized film language effectively.

Tone and style are consistent throughout.

I can see assigning all of the text across 1-2 units for some classes, and using just a couple sections for other courses where I just want to introduce or refresh a concept.

This follows the organizational structure of most intro film texts.

Easy to use interface and three different options for format.

I noticed no grammatical errors.

The chapters on issues of representation (women and African Americans) are one of the text's greatest assets. In establishing them as among the key intro topics, they compellingly frame these issues as fundamental parts of the study of cinema.

I was delighted to find this text in the Open Textbook Library. I teach first-year writing courses that focus on film and television, and I've long needed a resource like this that presents the building blocks of cinema in an accessible and engaging manner. I really cannot ask my students to buy an expensive film studies textbook, as that is not really the focus on my courses, yet I do spend a lot of time teaching them film language and equipping them with the tools needed for close film analysis. My strategy up to now has been to cobble together a bunch of bits and pieces that I've gleaned from books and online resources over many years--inevitably this means updating links and replacing outdated stuff with new finds every semester. This text does all of that work for me, and then some! Sharman strikes a tone that I suspect my students will love, and he presents everything in a conversational yet compelling tone. The inclusion of excellent audiovisual essays within the text (readers do not have to link to them) is especially strong. I'm excited to try this text in courses I'm designing for next semester.

Reviewed by Paul Bempechat, Visiting Lecturer, Massachusetts College of Art and Design on 6/29/20

This book is a fully appreciable, understandable and comprehensive introduction to the origin of film via photography and its evolution. The prose is narrative, personable, and readily understood by undergraduates and graduate students alike. read more

This book is a fully appreciable, understandable and comprehensive introduction to the origin of film via photography and its evolution. The prose is narrative, personable, and readily understood by undergraduates and graduate students alike.

Aside from typographical errors in French, there is literally no room for inaccuracies, as the author substantiates his findings and analyses with graphic and cinematographic illustrations, buttressed by end-of-chapter bibliographies highly pertinent to the materials just explicated.

The author has presented the material chronologically and systematically, along with an analysis of film technologies and procedures as they evolved until the present. All that may be required are updates on evolving technologies as they emerge and become relevant to this study.

The author's prose is perfectly lucid and invitingly informal, making it ideal for students; his enthusiasm is palpable. All technical terms relevant to the creative process, the actual filming and editing processes, choices of stage personnel and behind-the-scenes personnel, from administrators to set/sound/costume/scenery/editing designers are meticulously explained. The histories of the evolutionary processes of the genres and technologies bring cohesion to an ever-developing, complex art form.

The author's enthusiasm runs through the entire book, and his level of explication is entirely consistent from chapter to chapter, as is his linguistic tone.

The book is very well divided by chapter and therein, subdivided very carefully, creating "resting spots" at appropriate spots.

The divisional and subdivisional flows are systematic and highly comprehensible, never overdone, and enhanced with appropriate illustrations and pointings to online videos. Color illustrations would, of course, further enhance the book.

The author provides links to online sites such as Youtube for audio-visual examples, which can be confusing.

Very few errors exist in English. As the author's style is so subjectively narrative, punctuation is obviously idiosyncratic; as stated, there are several errors in the French words, especially with accents missing and occasional upper/lower case misappropriations.

The narrative is inclusive and welcoming to all peoples, and as such, is exemplary.

I find this book an ideal tool for undergraduate film teaching. I would have liked additional emphasis and illustration on the history and incorporation of sound and music, including brief biographies of the major composers of film scores to buttress the historical and technical arguments made. This is entirely subjective, of course.

I recommend this book whole-heartedly and congratulate the author on his excellent achievement and contribution

Reviewed by Stephen Slaner, Instructor in Behavioral Science, Bunker Hill Community College on 6/23/20

It's hard to rate this category. The book is quite comprehensive except for one element, but this is arguably essential: the director. The author might have taken a leaf from Andrew Sarris' THE AMERICAN CINEMA, which analyzes and ranks motion... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 2 see less

It's hard to rate this category. The book is quite comprehensive except for one element, but this is arguably essential: the director. The author might have taken a leaf from Andrew Sarris' THE AMERICAN CINEMA, which analyzes and ranks motion picture directors from Griffith to Hitchcock and beyond. An adequate discussion of the role of the director, with specific examples, should have been included. There are some passages, as in the section on mise-en-scene, that speak to this, but they are few and far between.

Content Accuracy rating: 3

As far as I can tell, the book is accurate, but leaving out an essential element (see above) makes it somewhat misleading as an overview of the cinema. The sections it does have -- including cinematic language, mise-en-scene, and a historical context -- are interesting and helpful, but leaving out the director is a real problem. As to whether a book like this is or should be "unbiased," that is a can of worms. Naturally it has a point of view, but I think it doesn't interfere with the presentation of the material.

The book seems up to date in terms of technical innovations in cinema, and its discussion of cinematic language gives the reader an opportunity to evaluate for herself how future film-makers accomplish their objectives. I'd say it's relevant.

This is a real strength. The book is clear and well written. It should be accessible to an undergraduate audience approaching the subject for the first time.

I saw no obvious inconsistencies, so I would give the book a top rating in this category.

Whether the topic is how to "read" a film or how to situate a film in its historical context, the different chapters lend themselves to whatever organization the teacher might consider, including changing the sequence of material.

The book has a nice flow, making it accessible to students who might have problems with a more self-consciously academic treatment.

Pictures are used effectively to break up the text. I liked the overall appearance of the book.

More important than grammar (which is fine) is that the style is engaging and no more academic than it needs to be.

Cultural Relevance rating: 4

I appreciated the sections on women and African-Americans, but would have liked to see a chapter on working-class themes in film (e.g., John Sayles' MATEWAN, Robert Altman's THIEVES LIKE US, Jean Vigo's L'ATALANTE, Jean Renoir's LA VIE EST A NOUS, Karel Reisz's MORGAN, Raoul Walsh's THE BOWERY, Frank Borzage's MAN'S CASTLE, to name a few). In other words, the book is fine with race and gender, but less so with class.

The word for my reaction to the book is "ambivalent." It's mostly a well-crafted and engaging treatment of the subject, but leaving out an essential element is like writing a book about cars without talking about their engines. As a committed auteurist, I believe that the director is primarily what keeps the film going. A film by Welles, Hitchcock, or Lubitsch is instantly recognizable (think, for example, of "the Lubitsch touch"), which gives you some idea of how important the director is to the whole process. Perhaps a revised edition of the book could include a section on this aspect of the cinema.

Reviewed by Christina Hodel, Assistant Professor, Bridgewater State University on 6/4/20

"Moving Pictures: An Introduction to Cinema," provides a rigorous overview of all of the basic concepts any new film studies student or enthusiast should be aware of. Beginning with a clear definition of what the word 'cinema' means followed by a... read more

"Moving Pictures: An Introduction to Cinema," provides a rigorous overview of all of the basic concepts any new film studies student or enthusiast should be aware of. Beginning with a clear definition of what the word 'cinema' means followed by a concise--yet worthwhile-- history, sets readers up with a solid foundation for forthcoming concepts. Typical subject matter of introductory film courses at the undergraduate collegiate level— such as chapters on mise-en-scene, editing, cinematography, and sound—are well-covered and detailed. Extra content not ordinarily found in comparable texts, including chapters on women in cinema and African Americans in cinema, indicates the author's acknowledgment of covering contemporary issues and an inclination towards inclusivity.

Items not overtly present that would be of value to readers comprehending cinema at the introductory level is material about genre, film theory, film technology, and an overview of the production process. Although these topics are mentioned, they are given little attention, leaving readers with a lacuna in their education and appreciation of movies. Nonetheless, what is covered is a viable compilation of content covering a vast scope sure to retain readers' attention.

"Moving Pictures: An Introduction to Cinema," is not a romanticized version of film history and criticism, nor does it harbor any language acknowledging a 'great man' theory. Unbiased in its approach, the facts set forth are well-researched and up to date. In assessing the accuracy of this book, the following four criteria were considered: 1) Correctness. Information was double-checked against a trustworthy source, and no misleading information was found. 2) Authority. The source is written by a reliable ad unbiased author with the proper credentials on the subject matter. 3) Currency. Up-to-date sources are utilized throughout the book's entirety. 4) Coverage. Claims made provide sufficient information and data indicating work is accurate.

While the text is relevant and content is up to date, references to films will be obsolete in the mind of many of today's young readers. For example, sound in the 2018 film 'A Quiet Place' is discussed, but already the film's sequel is complete in the year 2020. 2018 is hardly “old news” to most, but may be off-putting to those who demand instant news of the moment. While the example still meets learning objectives, some readers may already be more familiar with the sequel rather than the original film, and thus be less engaged in the book's content. The author appears to remedy this by discussing many classic films, which some may argue stands the test of time, while others see it as merely more historical content. This tendency to become obsolete is not unique to "Moving Pictures" as many other fields, especially those in media and technology, also grapple with such issues as swiftly changing trends. The book’s strength is that the films used for case studies or examples are so popular that even if they are a few years old, readers would likely be familiar with them anyways. Overall, the book's value trumps these minor observations.

There are links to many YouTube videos illustrating the text’s content-- a significant strength of the manuscript. YouTube itself is a popular and timely site. However, links to films may no longer be working in a few years. This issue can easily be managed, however, with constant updating.

Again, despite these criticisms, the manuscript is still very timely and uses language to illustrate this by discussing such trending (as of 2020) applications as TikTok, for example.

The books is well-written, and the tone and wordage are accessible to most. Hard to grasp ideas are communicated effectively with an intended undergraduate audience in mind. For example, the book uses the word ‘leitmotif’ before providing a definition and then two concise examples that bring the word to life. Similes pepper the book, such as one explaining how actors are like athletes. These comparisons are nice touches that are relatable to both the earnest film student or generalist. While a few assumptions are made (i.e., the author says, “We most often associate classical acting with Shakespeare” and that is a generalization), the book does not fail to deliver content in a manner that is both academic yet perfectly simplistic. Well-constructed sentences and excellent word choice indicate the manner in which the manuscript is written: deliberately not carelessly.

Writing is consistent throughout the book. For example, active verbs instead of noun-based phrases are used from the first chapter to the last. There is no jargon scattered about, rather words familiar with the reader fill the pages. One writing style is used throughout, thus not distracting readers. Overall, the book consists of wonder harmonization of elements. There is no hesitation that slows reading, comprehension is not impeded, and there is little risk of interpretation error.

The book consists of 10 chapters. The first eight chapters are “Part I: An Introduction To Cinema” while “Part II: Representations in Cinema” follows. Logically organized, early chapters define cinema, provide a historical context, and teaches readers to be critical of their viewing habits before formal elements are introduced in subsequent chapters.

The chapters on representation in Part II are useful examples of how readers can take what they’ve learned and apply it to an analysis of gender and then race representations.

Each chapter consists of approximately five subsections allowing for a sort of "chunking." The subsections of each chapter group together similar concepts and ideas, making for excellent organization by topic and ease of synthesizing major concepts.

Even within these subsections videos, appearing approximately every 5-7 minutes of reading, allow for illustrative purposes and reflective moments.

Many chapters begin with a question or anecdote and fascinating facts to reel in readers. While the ends of some chapters conclude abruptly without a final takeaway or transition to the next topic, overall, each section and subsection flow nicely. Due to these sections and subsections being based on interrelated ideas, they “fit” the other parts in which they are reinforced. For example, the chapter on lighting alludes to a previous chapter about how light aids in storytelling.

The interface is straight forward and user friendly. The scroll-from-top-to-bottom nature of the book allows for those viewing it on their smartphones an easy visual read. An intuitive table of contents on the E-version of the book (there is a PDF version, etc.) allows readers to effortlessly jump from one section to another or find important chapters and subsections with ease. There are no navigation issues and or anything else that would confuse the reader. While there are the aforementioned YouTube videos scattered about, they are neatly tucked between appropriate paragraphs.

There are no grammatical errors. The manuscript is well edited.

The book is culturally sensitive, although there are two chapters at the end that focus on women's issues and African American issues. The problem with these chapters is that they could be more inclusive. Other marginalized groups such as Native Americans, Asians, the disabled, religious groups, etc. are not discussed. Perhaps the two chapters could be broader and turned into three: race, gender, and other marginalized groups. While many chapters about history reference, for example, international cinematic influencers such as the Lumière brothers, the majority of the book about contemporary cinema is centered on mainstream American cinema. Many video clips feature white actors, and white directors make the films, but there are still some international perspectives such as discussion of work by Akira Kurosawa. Additional chapters about arthouse cinema and international cinema are warranted. As I said earlier in this review, the book in generally inclusive and culturally sensitive, making it a solid read for even the most diverse audiences.

“Moving Pictures: An Introduction To Film” is a wonderful open access textbook that is sure to meet any professor’s course objectives and outcomes. Expertly written, entertaining, factual, and comprehensive, Moving Pictures is comparable with many other popular books such as “Looking At Movies” (Dave Monahan) or “Understanding Movies” (Louis Gianetti). “Moving Pictures” is a valuable resource about how films communicate and convey meaning to viewers. Readers will finish the book with increased appreciation and understanding of why we respond to films the way we do and how movies function in society.

Reviewed by Stephen Rust, Part-time instructor, Linn-Benton Community College on 5/27/20

Based on my 15 years teaching Intro to Film at the college-level, I give Moving Pictures a 4 out of 5 for comprehensiveness. I am strongly considering adopting the book for my Intro to Film course at a community college; I appreciate why the... read more

Based on my 15 years teaching Intro to Film at the college-level, I give Moving Pictures a 4 out of 5 for comprehensiveness. I am strongly considering adopting the book for my Intro to Film course at a community college; I appreciate why the author included two chapters on representation but chapters instead on film theory and film production (or film’s relationship to radio and television) would provide a more comprehensive 10 chapter textbook. I say this in part because the author does a great job already of weaving issues of representation into the chapters and selecting women and African Americans (why not gender and race/ethnicity) limit comprehensiveness. In perhaps the unit on Representation were extended to 6 or 8 chapters to parallel the book’s first unit on Form and content then the book would feel more comprehensive. I appreciate the effort to include representation but it feel someone undeveloped and limiting in how it’s organized. I would also love to see the author include review questions like most film studies textbooks and/or a chapter with a sample assignment or two like the textbook Film Studies: An Introduction.

Individual chapters are well developed and the extensive use of well-chosen Youtube videos (which I assume the author will update regularly as links change) to supplement the writing provides a level of comprehensiveness at the undergraduate level eclipsed only by expensive textbooks like Looking at Movies.

Very accurate and precise writing. Any reader will correctly learn the basic vocabulary and language of cinema studies and all the key information any cinema studies student should know to do exceptional work in beginning production courses and upper-division analysis and history courses.

Written recently and based on extensive teaching experience, Moving Pictures: An Introduction to Cinema is a timely and welcome addition to the list of first-year college film course textbooks and is arguable the most relevant, accurate, and comprehensive OER film studies textbook currently available. Examples are drawn from the history of film through the end of the 2010s and all video links are up to day and perfectly selected to compliment the chapter content. The author writes from an American perspective to American students and some figures of speak fairly consistent focus on Hollywood examples make it a little less relevant than some of the more globally focused

From start to finish, the author’s friendly (though opinionated) writing style drew me in as a reader and maintained my interest and engagement with really interesting anecdotes from film history and interdisciplinary references to literature, theater, and other arts.

The blend of video and text throughout the book is consistent and the quality of writing and choice of supplemental videos is strong throughout the book.

Perfectly suited to use in Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard, Google Classroom and any other learning platform a teacher might be using for instruction. 10 Chapters works perfectly for a 10-11 Week academic term. Does not include chapter learning objectives, a glossary, or review questions and sample assignments.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 4

The book is very well organized for Part 1 of the textbook, Chapters 1-8; however, while some reviewers may feel otherwise, I am not a huge fan of how the author organized Part 2 of the book with just two chapters on Women in Cinema and African Americans in Cinema. I can already see the hands going up in class when/if I assign the book to students – “What about Native peoples? What about Latinx representation? What about class? What about men?. Perhaps if the current chapters where organized around Race/Ethnicity and Gender/Sexuality it would work better i think.

Individual chapters are expertly organized to guide student through key concepts and vocabulary that every cinema studies student needs in their scholarly toolkit! I wouldn’t mind seeing a list of learning objectives at the start or end of each chapter.

Like all Pressbooks, the look is clean and sharp though navigating to chapters can be clunky. The extra bonus of this book is the extensive use of embedded Youtube videos in each chapter to enhance the author’s written content. Very user-friendly overall.

No noticeable typos. Accurate use of all cinema studies vocabulary. Does need a glossary for all terms that defined in the chapters.

The writing is inclusive and attuned to cultural difference and equity. The author’s friendly, inviting voice and use of unique examples that are always clearly connected to the content of the chapter will allow readers from a wide range of cultural background to feel welcomed into the conversation. The author is also attentive to issues of gender, race, and ethnicity throughout the book. Youtube videos selected for supplemental learning are also well-chosen with attention to cultural sensitivity. Including Alice Guy’s Cabbage Fairy right with the Lumieres and Edison as part of early film is a small example of the consistent attention inclusivity throughout the book. The two chapters on Women in Cinema and African Americans in cinema are excellent. However, as the only two chapters in this unit they do stand out as seeming to be a start or nod toward greater attention to representation without having the kind of fully developed content of a textbook like American on Film. I understand the effort but would much rather see chapters on Race/Ethnicity and Gender to allow for a broader sense of representation. Culturally, the author presents content from and American point of view and a little more attention to global cinema might be a nice update to a second edition.

Reviewed by Elaine Craghead, Professor of Humanities, Massachusetts Maritime Academy on 5/27/20, updated 7/14/20

The text is divided into Part I and PartII. The first section is very comprehensive (though the genre explanation/definition should either be expanded, or separated out into its own section). It's a wonderful way to introduce students to the... read more

The text is divided into Part I and PartII. The first section is very comprehensive (though the genre explanation/definition should either be expanded, or separated out into its own section). It's a wonderful way to introduce students to the elements and language of film and film techniques. The imbedded clips are fantastic, and run the course of film history, from Intolerance and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari to recent films like Thor: Ragnarock and Snowpiercer. This is the way that students should learn about film: reading and seeing examples at the same time. It makes a textbook for this type of course seem totally obsolete. In Part II, all Sharman covers is Women in Film and African Americans in film. He does fine with them on an introductory level, but adding a section on Asians in American film (Charlie Chan to Nancy Kwan to Crazy Rich Asians, and much more) and a section on Native Americans in film (enduring stereotypical cowboy/Indian motifs; whites playing Native Americans, attempts to "humanize" Native Americans in westerns; Tantoo Cardinal's film career, and much more). In addition, a section on sexuality in film would be an excellent addition to Part II--and here the film censors' control of film production for a time could be introduced. Instructors probably couldn't get through all of the sections in an expanded Part II a semester, but then they could choose from more topics and/or assign groups for in-depth research and presentations.

Very accurate.

Very much up-to-date and yet tethered in the history of film. Each definition/description has multiple examples in the form of clips--from various periods of film.

So clear, comprehensible and approachable for students who have seen quite a bit of film, but who know little about what goes into making a film.

Each section follows a similar approach of describing, defining/illustrating the concepts in words and following up with film clips as illustrations. This process repeats several time within one section, so by the time that a student finishes the section, s/he will have a solid grasp of the term.

One of the best texts I've seen in OER for modularity--the film terms section, and even Part II, on Women in Film and African Americans in film, can be lifted out to be assigned in a different order or to accompany other materials.

Organization works well, but as stated above, its modularity makes for easy reorganization.

Very easy to navigate. No special skills needed.

Well-written, on the whole, and in a tone/approach that students will likely appreciate.

This book addresses the visual world that students know in many ways, that is part of their social and cultural lives. But it addresses the many layers of filmmaking that most students do not know, the many stages of writing, artistry, and critical thinking that go into making a film. In Part II, the diversity of film begins to be addressed, but again, in only providing sections for women and African Americans, the book falls short of what it could accomplish.

The multiple film clips are the biggest plus of this text--the fact that Russell Sharman was able to get permissions for all of them is so impressive--and will simultaneously introduce students to a history of classic film and demonstrate how those techniques live on today in films with which they are familiar.

Table of Contents

I. An Introduction to Cinema

  • 1. A Brief History of Cinema
  • 2. How to Watch a Movie
  • 3. Mise-en-Scène
  • 4. Narrative
  • 5. Cinematography

II. Representation in Cinema

  • 9. Women in Cinema
  • 10. African Americans in Cinema

Ancillary Material

About the book.

Textbook for 1000- level Communication course: Introduction to Films Studies

About the Contributors

Russell Leigh Sharman is a writer, filmmaker and anthropologist. He has worked as a writer for several studios and production companies, including Warner Bros., Fox, Disney, MRC, DeLine Pictures, 21 Laps, Participant Media, Montecito Pictures, Original Media, Dark Horse Entertainment, Strange Weather and Real FX. He is the writer/director of APARTMENT 4E, a feature adaptation of his stage play, as well as a number of award-winning short films and documentaries. He also has a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Oxford University and is the author of two books, THE TENANTS OF EAST HARLEM and NIGHTSHIFT NYC. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Communication at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville where he teaches filmmaking and film studies.

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Film Writing: Sample Analysis

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Summary: A sample analysis of a filmic sequence that makes use of the terminology on the OWL’s Writing About Film page .

Written by Kylie Regan

Introductory Note

The analysis below discusses the opening moments of the science fiction movie  Ex Machina  in order to make an argument about the film's underlying purpose. The text of the analysis is formatted normally. Editor's commentary, which will occasionally interrupt the piece to discuss the author's rhetorical strategies, is written in brackets in an italic font with a bold "Ed.:" identifier. See the examples below:

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In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Essay Film

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Essay Film by Yelizaveta Moss LAST REVIEWED: 12 April 2023 LAST MODIFIED: 24 March 2021 DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791286-0216

The term “essay film” has become increasingly used in film criticism to describe a self-reflective and self-referential documentary cinema that blurs the lines between fiction and nonfiction. Scholars unanimously agree that the first published use of the term was by Richter in 1940. Also uncontested is that Andre Bazin, in 1958, was the first to analyze a film, which was Marker’s Letter from Siberia (1958), according to the essay form. The French New Wave created a popularization of short essay films, and German New Cinema saw a resurgence in essay films due to a broad interest in examining German history. But beyond these origins of the term, scholars deviate on what exactly constitutes an essay film and how to categorize essay films. Generally, scholars fall into two camps: those who find a literary genealogy to the essay film and those who find a documentary genealogy to the essay film. The most commonly cited essay filmmakers are French and German: Marker, Resnais, Godard, and Farocki. These filmmakers are singled out for their breadth of essay film projects, as opposed to filmmakers who have made an essay film but who specialize in other genres. Though essay films have been and are being produced outside of the West, scholarship specifically addressing essay films focuses largely on France and Germany, although Solanas and Getino’s theory of “Third Cinema” and approval of certain French essay films has produced some essay film scholarship on Latin America. But the gap in scholarship on global essay film remains, with hope of being bridged by some forthcoming work. Since the term “essay film” is used so sparingly for specific films and filmmakers, the scholarship on essay film tends to take the form of single articles or chapters in either film theory or documentary anthologies and journals. Some recent scholarship has pointed out the evolutionary quality of essay films, emphasizing their ability to change form and style as a response to conventional filmmaking practices. The most recent scholarship and conference papers on essay film have shifted from an emphasis on literary essay to an emphasis on technology, arguing that essay film has the potential in the 21st century to present technology as self-conscious and self-reflexive of its role in art.

Both anthologies dedicated entirely to essay film have been published in order to fill gaps in essay film scholarship. Biemann 2003 brings the discussion of essay film into the digital age by explicitly resisting traditional German and French film and literary theory. Papazian and Eades 2016 also resists European theory by explicitly showcasing work on postcolonial and transnational essay film.

Biemann, Ursula, ed. Stuff It: The Video Essay in the Digital Age . New York: Springer, 2003.

This anthology positions Marker’s Sans Soleil (1983) as the originator of the post-structuralist essay film. In opposition to German and French film and literary theory, Biemann discusses video essays with respect to non-linear and non-logical movement of thought and a range of new media in Internet, digital imaging, and art installation. In its resistance to the French/German theory influence on essay film, this anthology makes a concerted effort to include other theoretical influences, such as transnationalism, postcolonialism, and globalization.

Papazian, Elizabeth, and Caroline Eades, eds. The Essay Film: Dialogue, Politics, Utopia . London: Wallflower, 2016.

This forthcoming anthology bridges several gaps in 21st-century essay film scholarship: non-Western cinemas, popular cinema, and digital media.

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  • About Cinema and Media Studies »
  • Meet the Editorial Board »
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Accounting, Motion Picture
  • Action Cinema
  • Advertising and Promotion
  • African American Cinema
  • African American Stars
  • African Cinema
  • AIDS in Film and Television
  • Akerman, Chantal
  • Allen, Woody
  • Almodóvar, Pedro
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  • American Cinema, 1895-1915
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  • Exploitation Film
  • Fairbanks, Douglas
  • Fan Studies
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  • Film and Literature
  • Film Guilds and Unions
  • Film, Historical
  • Film Preservation and Restoration
  • Film Theory and Criticism, Science Fiction
  • Film Theory Before 1945
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  • Godfather Trilogy, The
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  • Industrial, Educational, and Instructional Television and ...
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers
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  • It Happened One Night
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  • Lee, Chang-dong
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Cin...
  • Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The
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  • Lubitsch, Ernst
  • Lumet, Sidney
  • Lupino, Ida
  • Lynch, David
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  • Martel, Lucrecia
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  • Memory and the Flashback in Cinema
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  • Planet of the Apes
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Home — Essay Samples — Entertainment — Film Analysis — Shallow Seas Film Analysis


Shallow Seas Film Analysis

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Words: 664 |

Published: Mar 19, 2024

Words: 664 | Page: 1 | 4 min read

Table of contents

Introduction, the essence of shallow seas film analysis, clarity and accessibility, a case study: "the grand budapest hotel".

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introduction to film essay

An expert's guide to Frank Auerbach: three must-read books (and a film) on the German-British painter

All you ever wanted to know about auerbach, from a biography by one of his sitters to a collection of essays about his drawings—selected by the courtauld gallery curator barnaby wright.

Out of the limelight: an early photo of the famously reclusive Auerbach in his studio Heritage Image Partnership Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo

Out of the limelight: an early photo of the famously reclusive Auerbach in his studio Heritage Image Partnership Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo

• Click here for more reading lists on the world's greatest artists The Berlin-born, London-based artist Frank Auerbach is famously reclusive, rarely doing interviews and for much of his career has worked away diligently in his London studio. He is associated with the School of London alongside friends and peers such as Francis Bacon, Leon Kossoff and Lucian Freud. Kossoff sat for Auerbach and is one of the intimate charcoal drawings from the late 1950s and early 60s that have been brought together at the Courtauld Gallery in London for an exhibition titled Frank Auerbach: the Charcoal Heads (until 27 May). The exhibition’s curator Barnaby Wright has selected three books and a film to help us get closer to the life and work of Frank Auerbach.

introduction to film essay

Courtesy Rizzoli International Publications

Frank Auerbach (2022 revised edition) by William Feaver

“This book is the comprehensive account of Auerbach’s work to date. As well as being a writer on art, William Feaver has sat for Auerbach over many years and his introduction and interview with the artist share a wealth of insights. The book’s extensive catalogue section illustrates all the paintings and large-scale drawings Auerbach has made—more than 1,000 at the time of publication. Looking through these gives a sense of how Auerbach’s intense scrutiny over decades of a small number of sitters and areas of London he knows intimately, has given rise to a huge variety of paintings and drawings.”

introduction to film essay

Courtesy Yale University Press

Frank Auerbach: Drawings of People (2022), edited by Mark Hallett and Catherine Lampert

“Drawing has always been fundamental to Auerbach’s way of working. Surprisingly, this is the first book to focus specifically on his drawings. It takes the form of a series of essays by a range of writers who approach Auerbach’s drawing practice from different vantage points. These range from essays that look in detail at the moves, marks and layers of Auerbach’s drawings, to others that situate his work in expanded historical and cultural contexts.”

introduction to film essay

Courtesy Thames and Hudson Ltd

Frank Auerbach: Speaking and Painting (2019) by Catherine Lampert

“Catherine Lampert has been a sitter for Auerbach for over 40 years. She has written extensively on his art and organised his major retrospective exhibitions. This important book is rooted in the numerous conversations she has had with Auerbach and offers a richly detailed and illuminating account of his art and life. The book brings you close to the artist whilst offering a deeply informed account of the development of his art and ideas.”

introduction to film essay

© Hannah Rothschild

Frank Auerbach: To the Studio (2001 film), co-produced by Jake Auerbach and Hannah Rothschild

“Jake Auerbach has made a series of remarkable films about art and artists. This is one of two films he has made about his father (the other being Frank , 2015)—and both are as important as anything written on Auerbach for deepening our understanding of the artist and his work. To the Studio features interviews not only with Auerbach but also with his small group of long-term sitters. Hannah Rothschild’s interview with Auerbach elicits responses that are both insightful and deeply poignant.”

• Frank Auerbach: the Charcoal Heads , Courtauld Gallery, London, until 27 May

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Colman Domingo Pays Tribute to Louis Gossett Jr. : ‘There Would Be No Me, if There Was No Him’

Gossett Jr., the trailblazing Oscar and Emmy winning actor, died Friday at age 87

By Colman Domingo

Colman Domingo

Louis Gossett Jr.

Colman Domingo is an Emmy winner, as well as Academy Award and Tony-nominated actor, playwright and director. Domingo and Gossett Jr. co-starred in 2023’s “ The Color Purple ,” one of the late Oscar winner’s final films.

There is a moment that our wunderkind director Blitz Bazawule set up for the great Louis Gossett Jr. and me that is one of my most memorable cinematic moments of my entire career. It is a moment created just for our offering of Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple.”

So much being said, so much left unsaid. Just the depth of Lou and I staring straight into each other’s souls and bringing generations of Black men with us in that room. Our families. The history of slavery and its effects on the Black family. The women have left the Easter dinner table — and left no crumbs — as liberation took hold in that hot Georgia home. In our eyes I felt horror, fear, trauma, pain, hurt, rage and regret.

The first day that I met Mr. Gossett, I said “Thank you.” Those were the words I wanted to say. Because I knew that there would be no me, if there was no him. And other giants like him. I always looked to him and James Earl Jones and Glynn Turman and Roscoe Lee Browne and Paul Winfield and Morgan Freeman and Sidney Poitier. Men who came from the theater, like me, who gave such dignity to heroes and villains. Every character had grace in some way shape or form.

Lou and I had many moments off screen just chatting about life and art, and he constantly would talk about the responsibility of youth. To get involved and make this world better. He was a teacher and a humanitarian. He wore Kente cloth and sat with a walking stick. He would ask me after a take, with all the humility in the world, “Was that okay?” I looked at him and said, “Anything you give us is a gift.” And I meant that. He brought years of experience, intelligence, with good humor, light and love to our set. I felt a kinship with him. I called him “Daddy” the entire time, since he was Ole Mista and I was his son.

When he wrapped, I kissed his hands twice. I asked Fantasia to sing a song of thank you. He told us, “Knock ‘em dead, now.” He had tears in his eyes. I couldn’t thank him enough for all that he had given. He ran his race for us. It is up to us to “Knock ‘em dead, now.”

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    While film reviews and theoretical essays are part of Film Studies, the most common paper that students will face is: "the critical essay". Fear not. Though its title combines a serious undertone that implies it is both a large chuck of your grade and also really hard and vague, this post will guide you on your way.

  8. PDF Academic Writing Guide: How to Write a Film Analysis

    Academic Writing Guide: How to Write a Film Analysis. • Watch a film with your full attention for the first time. • We are all able to recount plot after watching a movie once; it is more difficult to explain how images and sounds presented make up such a narrative. • So, watch the film again (and again and again)!

  9. Film Analysis

    Writing film analysis is similar to writing literary analysis or any argumentative essay in other disciplines: Consider the assignment and prompts, formulate a thesis (see the Brainstorming Handout and Thesis Statement Handout for help crafting a nuanced argument), compile evidence to prove your thesis, and lay out your argument in the essay.

  10. PDF HOW TO WRITE A FILM ESSAY Introduction Paragraph

    Merit. Blue additions reflect NCEA standard (Y10 Excellence). Describe an important scene in the text. Explain how verbal and/or visual features were used in this scene to show it was important. Everyone has an important moment where they have to decide what they believe in and stand up for themselves. In the film 'The Blind Side' directed ...

  11. Writing About Film

    Style Guide Overview MLA Guide APA Guide Chicago Guide OWL Exercises. Purdue OWL. Subject-Specific Writing. Writing in Literature. Writing About Film.

  12. Film Essays: The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Film Essay

    Body: Main point 1: The cinematography and mise-en-scène of 'Mulholland Drive'. Main point 2: The themes and messages of 'Mulholland Drive'. Main point 3: The cultural and historical context of 'Mulholland Drive'. Conclusion: Recap of main points and analysis of the lasting impact of the film.

  13. Resources

    Try to watch the film more than one, if possible. After you decide which element(s) to write about, watch the film again, keeping those ideas in mind. A film analysis is not the same of a film review. Avoid making pedestrian judgments about the film's entertainment factor. If you wish to criticize the film, do so by referencing formal elements.

  14. Film Analysis: Example, Format, and Outline + Topics & Prompts

    Film Analysis Essay Introduction Example. Get Out, released in 2017 and directed by Jordan Peele, is a culturally significant horror film that explores themes of racism, identity, and social commentary. The film follows Chris, a young African-American man, visiting his white girlfriend's family for the weekend.

  15. How to Write a Film Analysis Essay: Effective Tips

    The essay will examine the scenes, the themes, the narrative structure, and the motives of each character. It aims to answer three questions related to the setup (where), heroes and villains (who), and problems and motifs (what). The more effort you put into describing the film's techniques and the central themes, the better the outcome.

  16. Moving Pictures: An Introduction to Cinema

    2. "How to Watch a Movie" is an excellent introduction and overview of what it's like to engage in textual analysis of films. Can make for an excellent reading in an early week of Intro to Film. Relevance/Longevity rating: 4 1. The inclusion of video essays in demonstrating concepts in film terminology is most welcome. 2.

  17. Film Writing: Sample Analysis

    The film's first establishing shots set the action in a busy modern office. A woman sits at a computer, absorbed in her screen. The camera looks at her through a glass wall, one of many in the shot. The reflections of passersby reflected in the glass and the workspace's dim blue light make it difficult to determine how many rooms are depicted.

  18. A Short Guide to Writing about Film

    Timothy Corrigan. HarperCollinsCollegePublishers, 1994 - Performing Arts - 190 pages. "This best-selling text is a succinct guide to thinking critically and writing precisely about film. Both an introduction to film study and a practical writing guide, this brief text introduces students to major film theories as well as film terminology ...

  19. Essay Film

    Introduction. The term "essay film" has become increasingly used in film criticism to describe a self-reflective and self-referential documentary cinema that blurs the lines between fiction and nonfiction. Scholars unanimously agree that the first published use of the term was by Richter in 1940.

  20. Shallow Seas Film Analysis: [Essay Example], 664 words

    Introduction. In the vast ocean of film analysis, there exists a captivating realm known as Shallow Seas Film Analysis. Just as the name suggests, this approach delves into the shallower depths of cinematic storytelling, examining the surface-level narratives and techniques that captivate audiences worldwide. In this essay, we will embark on a ...

  21. Introduction to Film

    Christina Childs. ENG 225 Introduction to Film. Jenessa Gerling. August 5, 2013. In the opening credits, there is a close up shot of a feather flying in the wind. Like one of Forrest Gump's sayings, "Life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're gonna get" the feather is also used as a symbol for Forrest's life and the ...

  22. An expert's guide to Frank Auerbach: three must-read books (and a film

    All you ever wanted to know about Auerbach, from a biography by one of his sitters to a collection of essays about his drawings—selected by the Courtauld Gallery curator Barnaby Wright

  23. Introduction To Film Essay

    Our cheap essay service is a helping hand for those who want to reach academic success and have the perfect 4.0 GPA. Whatever kind of help you need, we will give it to you. Annie ABC. #14 in Global Rating. Argumentative Essay, Sociology, 7 pages by Gary Moylan. Niamh Chamberlain. #26 in Global Rating. Professional Essay Writing Services.

  24. Introduction To Film Essay

    You will be notified once the essay is done. You will be sent a mail on your registered mail id about the details of the final draft and how to get it. ... Introduction To Film Essay, My Room Essay For Class 5, How To Write Song On Guitar, Nurse Practitioner Resume Examples, Essay On Transnational Corporations, Significance Of The Cuban ...

  25. Colman Domingo Salutes 'The Color Purple' Co-Star Louis ...

    Apr 1, 2024 8:00am PT. Colman Domingo Pays Tribute to Louis Gossett Jr. : 'There Would Be No Me, if There Was No Him'. Gossett Jr., the trailblazing Oscar and Emmy winning actor, died Friday ...

  26. OpenAI Courts Hollywood in Meetings With Film Studios, Directors

    3:08. OpenAI wants to break into the movie business. The artificial intelligence startup has scheduled meetings in Los Angeles next week with Hollywood studios, media executives and talent ...