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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Need more information? It can be found in the video below.

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.

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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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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.

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  • The Social Network : Film Analysis
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❓ 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
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  • Resources – How to Write a Film Analysis | Northwestern
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  • 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

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

22 December 2023

last updated

This guideline is designed to teach people how to write a film analysis essay. Basically, students and anyone interested in writing a good movie analysis essay should read the details and tips that can help them to produce a high-standard piece. The article begins by defining what a film analysis is, listing the possible topics of such an essay, and giving a sample outline and example. The guideline also teaches about the various types of film analysis and the most common concepts that such a paper may address. As a result, the article concludes with tips, including ten things to do and ten not to do when writing a film analysis essay.

General Aspects of How to Write an Outstanding Film Analysis Essay

A college education is dynamic and robust because students undertake various academic activities in and out of the lecture room. Typically, activities within lecture halls are theoretical, and those that happen outside are practical. A critical academic exercise is a film analysis assignment, where professors require students to watch a movie and discuss using particular elements. The elements directors and producers use to bring the action alive include the stage, lighting, sound, and other special effects. As such, analyzing a film is a complex exercise that requires one to perfect the art of writing. In turn, this article is a guideline for how to write a film analysis essay. By reading this text, students can gain insights into the details and elements they must address when writing a movie analysis essay.

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

Definition of What Is a Film Analysis and Its Meaning

According to a simple definition, film analysis explores the use of particular elements in a film, including mise-en-scène, cinematography, sound, and editing. Students should talk about actors’ positioning, scenery adaptation, physical setting, stage lighting, and cultural context when writing this kind of essay. Another critical fact to consider is that films come in various genres, including action, documentaries, drama, horror, romance, and science fiction. Each type of movie analysis utilizes the above elements differently. Therefore, film analysis means writing an in-depth examination of how directors and producers approach their productions to make them entertaining and informative. For example, most science fiction films are futuristic, showing how society may change. In this respect, all films have a cultural context students must address in their movie analysis essay.

Unique Features of a Film Analysis

Generally, film analysis essays differ from other types of papers , including an argumentative essay , a cause and effect essay , and a research paper , because they focus on a single production and explore the use of the above elements. Some unique features that differentiate film analysis papers from other types of essays include a short plot summary where writers briefly tell readers what the movie is about, such as exterminating evil. In this type of analysis, writers evaluate the use of the elements above and state whether they make the film great or below expectations. Another feature is a poster showing sceneries to give readers a visual experience of the movie. Such visuals are essential to arouse the reader’s emotions and mental involvement in a movie analysis. Therefore, when writing a film analysis essay, students should focus on telling the story and depicting it.

6 Common Types of a Film Analysis Essay

Students must determine the type of film analysis essay to avoid sounding ignorant and irrelevant when writing about the movie. The most common types are semiotic, narrative, contextual, mise-en-scène, cultural, and historical analyses. Each type requires students to adopt a singular focus, meaning one cannot concentrate effort on elements that do not fall under the study. The reason for these types of analyses is that it is not always possible to understand an entire film in an essay, which is generally a short text of about two to three pages. Nonetheless, it is prudent for students to know how to write each type, meaning understanding the approach and unique features they must discuss and evaluate.

🔸 Semiotic Analysis

A semiotic essay involves discussing, evaluating, and interpreting the use of literary analysis elements, including analogies and metaphors, to inanimate characters and objects. Generally, these elements have different meanings, and students should determine what a particular feature stands for in the film they are analyzing vis-à-vis its broader cultural or historical significance in society. For example, when analyzing the 1958 film Vertigo , one may discuss the symbolism of flowers by stating how some images of them falling apart depict the heroine’s vulnerability. In turn, when conducting a semiotic analysis, one should consider several issues, including the repetition of objects or images throughout the movie, the association of a character with particular objects, and the relation between an object and other objects. Hence, a semiotic analysis essay requires students to examine the use of objects and symbols to communicate a deep meaning.

🔸 Narrative Analysis

A narrative analysis essay involves examining the elements that directors or producers use to construct the storyline, including characters, the plot, the setting, and the narrative structure. As such, students should focus on the entire movie and the message it seeks to communicate. Considering the example above of Vertigo , writers may discuss the narrative role of flowers by analyzing how director Alfred Hitchcock introduces them as the film begins and only brings them up again toward the end to complete the heroine’s character arc. Students should also consider several issues when conducting a narrative analysis essay, including the plot and how it unfolds. For example, one may talk about whether events are systematic or out of order and what that signifies. However, students should not focus on summarizing the plot at the expense of making and defending an argument.

🔸 Contextual Analysis

A contextual analysis of a film is a discussion of the placement of the movie within particular contexts, such as slavery, women’s suffrage, the civil rights movement, or the industrial revolution. In this case, filmmakers produce movies and base their identity on the unfolding circumstances or themes defining a particular time in history.

🔸 Mise-en-Scène Analysis

A mise-en-scène analysis essay involves discussing and evaluating compositional elements, including sets, props, actors, costumes, and lighting, and how they complement or conflict with cinematography, sound, and editing. The most effective approach in conducting this movie analysis is to focus on one or a few scenes rather than the entire film, telling readers how they support or undermine the plot. As such, mise-en-scène is part of the director’s narrative because this element influences how the audience understands the central message in the production. Taking Vertigo as a case study , one may discuss how Hitchcock incorporates lighting and camera angles to characterize Jimmy Stewart (starring as former police detective John “Scottie” Ferguson) as acrophobic. When adopting a mise-en-scène analysis, students should consider how particular scenes create effects and their purpose and how different scenes emphasize a theme central to the plot.

🔸 Cultural Analysis

A cultural analysis essay examines, evaluates, and interprets the broader cultural disposition the director adopts to tell the story. Students must understand that, regardless of a film’s production period, a culture influences its various elements, like characters and their mannerisms. Taking Vertigo as an example, one may interpret the scene where a man observes a woman without her knowing it to mean the sexual policing of women in mid-20th century America. When analyzing the context of a movie, students should consider how the film captures, reinforces, or critiques social norms in a particular culture or era.

🔸 Historical Analysis

A historical analysis essay means writing about a particular film from the perspective of the period underscoring its production. Ideally, filmmakers place their work into a historical context, such as the colonial era or ancient civilizations. Therefore, when writing a film analysis essay, students should focus on the period the director situates its plot.

How to Write a More Technical and Focused Film Analysis Essay

Film analysis helps readers to understand essential details, including the plot and its central themes, characters and their disposition, scenes and significance, and effects and the message they communicate. In this respect, one must be ready to undertake a technical, focused, and vigorous analysis of one or several of these elements. In most instances, instructions dictate the aspects students should write about. However, without such specifications, they should focus on a few elements and examine them vigorously. For example, one may decide to focus on the plot. In this instance, a movie analysis essay must examine the plot from different perspectives, including the characters, central themes, and the message. Such a focused analysis allows readers to gain an in-depth understanding of a particular element of movie reviews instead of an analysis that discusses several elements superficially. Some elements and terms that students can use for writing a film analysis essay include:

  • Flashback and flashforward: Flashbacks are scenes that recount events that have a powerful influence on the current or unfolding event. On the other hand, flashforwards are scenes that reveal events that will occur later in the film, and their purpose is to create anticipation in the audience.
  • Time framework: Film directors structure time linearly to depict an orderly unfolding of events. The most common time framework is omitting events to move the story forward.
  • Setting: The environment within which a director creates a movie, including physical surrounding like a city and period like a year or century.
  • Range of events: The different events in a film sustain the plot. Typically, these events directly or indirectly affect protagonists because they facilitate the storyline.
  • Cast: The people producing a film, including the main actors and the production crew. However, actors take priority when discussing the cast.
  • Plot: The sequence of events that directors create to communicate a central message in a movie analysis. When writing a film analysis essay, students should never ignore this aspect because it underscores the storyline.
  • Shot, scene, and sequence: Features that tell the quality of a film but, most importantly, the interconnectivity of elements in the director’s aim to tell a story.
  • Genre: The classification of movies into various forms, such as action, documentaries, science fiction, horror, or romance. Knowing a film’s genre under analysis is helpful in identifying the significance of cinematography and mise-en-scène elements.
  • Directing: Supervising film production by visualizing the script, controlling and managing the artistic and dramatic aspects, and guiding the actors and technical crew.
  • Scenario: The aspect of a movie analysis that provides the audience insight into the plot or characters. Ideally, scenarios are scenes that convey critical details of the storyline, such as climax.
  • Acting: The role that individuals play to bring a film’s plot alive. As such, it involves all people who assume different characters in a movie, including protagonists, antagonists, heroes, and heroines.
  • Visual effects: The qualities that filmmakers use to bring the action alive, such as images, shots, and scenes. When discussing visual effects in a film analysis essay, students should comment on how they reinforce certain concepts or themes, like mood, fear, and suspense.
  • Music and audio effects: Sound and language that enhance the audience’s understanding of the central message. Most films incorporate background sounds in multiple scenes to arouse reactions in the audience.
  • Camera angle: The positioning of the camera to capture precise shots in films. Filmmakers use camera angles in relation to scenes and characters to affect the audience’s perception.
  • Lighting: A mise-en-scène element that filmmakers use to create different effects in a film. Ideally, movies involve different lighting techniques, such as key light, fill light, and backlight, to guide the audience’s attention, create a visual impact, give the film a texture, or create an atmosphere.
  • References: Features that indicate how a film uses dialogue and images in its storyline to allude to, recall, or refer to another movie. Ideally, filmmakers use this feature to contextualize their productions within a cultural or historical space.
  • Animation: The use of drawings or puppets with mobility like humans. Although it is a movie genre for analysis today, filmmakers use animation to give objects animal or human qualities, such as walking, talking, crying, or fighting. Animations effectively depict society as a complex system comprising different life systems.
  • Protagonist: The character that takes center stage in a film and whom the director uses to construct the plot. While a film’s plot may revolve around several actors, only one is central, and others only assist the main hero in accomplishing agendas. In this respect, when students are writing a film analysis, they should tell the audience the main protagonist(s).
  • Antagonist: Characters that stand opposite of protagonists. Filmmakers use them to depict the main character as assailed by forces aiming to thwart their agenda.
  • Climax: The point in a movie where the plot peaks and where the protagonist puts into motion a series of events that significantly determine their final experience. These events may include betrayal, heroism, or tragedy. Therefore, one can identify a film’s climax by assessing how the plot intensifies and events directly impacting the protagonist unfolds.
  • Hero vs. anti-hero: Heroes stand out as brave because they attempt what others fear. In most movies, protagonists are heroes because they survive what consumes others. On the other hand, an anti-hero is a central character who lacks heroic qualities like bravery but is timid, fearful, frustrating, and irritating. As a result, the audience celebrates heroes under analysis and loath anti-heroes.
  • Atmosphere: The environment in which a movie imbues the audience through the sequence of events revolving around the plot. Generally, action films create an intense atmosphere because of the frequency of fights. On the other hand, romantic movies create an emotional atmosphere characterized by attraction and happiness. On their part, horror films create an uneasy atmosphere because of the constant anticipation of evil.
  • Background: The technique of capturing an image or object from a distance, often giving other images or objects prominence. Filmmakers use this quality to create a sense of authenticity in scenes. For example, a scene capturing a rioting crowd may have in its background an image of anti-riot police forming a barrier using their bodies. Looking at the imagery, one may see rioters more clearly but also understand the situation’s intensity because of the police in the background.
  • Cameo: The dramatic appearance of a famous actor or personality in a movie for various reasons, including fun, publicity, or to give the film credibility. However, such characters do not become protagonists because they appear briefly and only once. When doing a film analysis, students should indicate such personalities and the role they may have played in the plot.
  • Cinematography: The artistic use of technology and visual effects to dramatize the sequence of events in a film. Ideally, writers should examine the scenes’ general composition, locations’ lighting, camera angles and movements, and special effects, like illusions or camera tricks.
  • Comic relief: A scene that allows the audience to release emotional weight or tension that may have built up due to escalating events with a negative outcome, such as betrayal and a series of murders. Filmmakers interpose comic relief in tragic scenarios to avoid burdening the audience emotionally to the point of refusing to watch the film to its conclusion . The only film genre that rarely uses comic relief is gothic.
  • Film critics: Individuals who have made criticizing films a part- or full-time engagement. Ideally, these people watch movies to identify negative qualities, like a confused plot, poor lighting, and sound effects. While one may consider them an appropriate source of film reviews, they rarely highlight a good analysis of a movie.
  • Director’s cut: An edited film version that represents the director’s original edit before the release of the theatrical edit that reaches the screens. This part of the film is important because it shows scenes that some editors may cut or altered. By examining the director’s cut, the writer of a film analysis essay looks at the complete production and tells how it may enhance the audience’s viewing experience.
  • Foreshadowing: The technique of giving the audience a sneak preview of events yet to unfold to build anticipation and heighten dramatic tension. Filmmakers use this quality early in the film to create excitement in the audience and make them want to view the production to the end. Typically, foreshadowing focuses on events directly affecting the protagonist, such as a tragedy.
  • Editing: Perfecting a film by deleting, arranging, and splicing scenes and synchronizing all elements, including cinematography, mise-en-scène, sound, and special effects. The goal of editing is to make a film perfect for airing on the big screen. In this respect, it aims to remove all features affecting quality.
  • Long shot: A scene in a film that filmmakers shoot from a considerable distance to give images and objects indistinct shapes, almost unrecognizable. An excellent long shot captures people walking New York City streets from the city’s skyline. While one would know the images are people walking, they cannot describe their demographics, such as age, gender, or race.
  • Metaphor: A literary device that allows filmmakers to represent similarities between objects. An example of a metaphor in a movie is a visual metaphor, where filmmakers represent nouns through graphical images to suggest a particular association or resemblance. For example, an advert can represent beauty through the appearance of a flawless face, implying that beauty is equal to a look without flaws. Such an advert increases people’s interest in having a perfect face, leading to purchasing beauty products.
  • Montage: The film editing technique where filmmakers combine a series of short shots into one sequence to condense time, establish continuity, or provide contrast. Montages take different forms, including repetition of camera movements, minimal or no dialogue, quick cuts, music, and voice narration.
  • New wave: A French art film movement that emerged in the late 1950s to pave the way for experimentation and iconoclasm, thus rejecting traditional filmmaking conventions. Filmmakers who subscribed to this wave used film as a medium, like pottery or novels, for telling stories and translating thoughts and ideas by experimenting with form and style.
  • Mockumentary traits: Films that assume a documentary genre, although they do not tell true stories. Instead, filmmakers use parody, satire, and humor to describe contemporary society through events, ideas, and emerging trends. Simply put, a movie is a mockumentary if it is a fictional documentary.
  • Slow motion: A filmmaking effect where time appears to slow down because the film captures footage at a slower speed. This technique is common for rewinding scenarios to reinforce an idea in the audience. For example, most productions of sports tournaments use slow motion to provide viewers with detailed and perfect shots that leave no room for imagination and analysis.
  • Soundtrack: The sound, often music, which filmmakers incorporate in a plot to accompany scenes for heightened effects, such as arousing the audience’s emotions. In most instances, this music plays in the background, often from a low to high intensity and vice versa, depending on the scene.
  • Theme: The concept, idea, or principle that emphasizes a film’s plot and central message, such cas sadness, victory, morality, or community. By identifying the themes that a director uses to construct the plot, authors of a film analysis essay can tell the audience their meaning and significance through the story of the protagonist.
  • Symmetry: The quality of balancing shots between characters or placing shots symmetrically to each other to create a pattern. For example, visual symmetry involves repeating parts of an image along a path, across an axis, or around a center. Filmmakers use symmetrical patterns to convey a sense of unity or uniformity.
  • Symbolism: The literary device of using objects to symbolize ideas. For example, a filmmaker can use a dove to symbolize peace or the color black to symbolize evil. In essence, symbolism allows filmmakers to communicate profound messages to the audience. Therefore, students need to identify symbols representing ideas in film analysis.

Count on Wr1ter Team to provide you with authentic, well-crafted papers with zero plagiarism.

Topic Examples for Writing a Film Analysis Essay

  • Video Review: Salt (2010)
  • Video Review and Approval of Black Panther (2018)
  • Analysis Essay of Volodymyr Zelensky’s Speech “I Call for You to Do More”
  • Examining Gender Issues Through Symbolism in The Ugly Truth (2009)
  • Discussing the Narrative Structure in The Godfather (1972)
  • Evaluating Christopher Nolan’s Use of Mise-en-Scène Elements in Oppenheimer (2023)
  • What Features Indicate the Context of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club (1993)?
  • What Is the Cultural Context of City of God (2002)?
  • How Does History Feature as an Element in the Star Wars Trilogy?
  • How Does Roman Polanski Employ Flashback and Flashforward to Tell the Story of Wladyslaw Szpilman in The Pianist (2002)?
  • Discussing the Conception of Time in The Matrix (1999)
  • How Does the Setting of The Departed (2006) Underscore the Film’s Contemporary Significance?
  • Describing the Chronology of Events in The Bark Night Rises (2012)
  • How Does Casting Affect the Plot in American Beauty (1992)?
  • What Central Themes Describe the Plot in Inglorious Bastards (2009)?
  • Discussing How Scenes in Idiots (2009) Facilitate the Plot
  • Analysis of Gothic Elements in the Horror Genre via the Lens of The Mummy (2017)
  • Evaluating Mel Gibson’s Directing of The Braveheart (1995)
  • Discussing the Scenarios that Construct the Climax in Capernaum (2018)
  • Evaluating Al Pacino’s Acting in Scarface (1983)
  • Analyzing the Significance of Visual Effects in Film From the Perspective of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
  • How Does Sound Affect the Audience in Monster House (2006)?
  • Evaluating How Camera Angle Enrich Viewer Experience in Top Gun: Maverick (2022)
  • How Does Lighting Fit in the Gothic Film Sleepy Hollow (1999)?
  • How Does Steven Spielberg Employ References in E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)?
  • Analysis of Animation in a Film From the Perspective of King Kong (1933)
  • Who Is the Protagonist in The Wolf of Wallstreet (2013) and Why?
  • What Makes Saruman the Antagonist in The Lord of the Rings Series?
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  • Explaining Comic Relief in Film Using Uncut Gems (2019) as a Case Study
  • Criticizing Jurassic Park (1993) from the Perspective of Cinematography
  • How Does Director’s Cut Enrich the Storyline in Blade Runner (1982)?
  • Exploring Foreshadowing in the Film Using 12 Years a Slave (2013)
  • Explaining the Link Between Film Editing and Quality Using Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) as an Example
  • How Do Long Shots Affect Viewers’ Experience in Film?
  • Understanding a Visual Metaphor in Hotel Rwanda (2004)
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  • Analysis of How the Mid-20th Century New Wave Impacted French Filmmaking
  • How Does Forgotten Silver (1995) Incorporate Mocumentary Traits?
  • What Role Does Slow Motion Play in Films?
  • Analyzing the Importance of Soundtracks From the Perspective of Horror Films
  • How Do Film Directors Use Themes as Conveyors of the Central Message?
  • Discussing How Symmetry Affects the Quality of Films
  • Exploring Symbolism in the Film Using Angels & Demons (2009)

Sample Outline Template for Writing a Film Analysis Essay

I. College Essay Introduction

  • Introduce the film’s title, followed by the director’s name and year of production.
  • Give a short description of the film or some context underpinning its release.
  • End this paragraph with a thesis statement about the film.

II. Summary

  • Overview the film by describing its context, setting, plot, and main characters.

III. Analysis

  • Describe several scenes in more detail by focusing on various elements, including cinematography, mise-en-scène, and others that help to evaluate the film.
  • Provide and cite some scenes as details and supporting evidence for analysis.
  • Evaluate and interpret the use of the above elements.

IV. Conclusion

  • Remind the audience about the film’s context and plot.
  • Recapitulate information in the analysis section.
  • Interpret the film’s significance.

Example of a Film Analysis Essay

Topic: What Features Indicate the Context of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club (1993)?

I. Example of Writing an Introduction for a Film Analysis Essay

Films play a crucial role in educating people about the context within which movies come into their lives. Ideally, filmmakers implement various societal elements to construct ideas and use cinema as a conveyor belt to pass movies to different populations. Therefore, analyzing the film’s context is critical in understanding the ideas that the director embraced to produce the work. Several features in the 1993 film The Joy Luck Club indicate the film’s context.

II. Example of Writing a Summary Paragraph for a Film Analysis Essay

Directed by Wayne Wang, The Joy Luck Club tells the story of an Asian woman named Jun, born of the late Suyuan, who founded the Joy Luck Club social group. The movie’s plot revolves around the experiences of Asian mothers as immigrants in America from the perspective of their daughters. In this respect, the film takes a narrative approach. The movie’s setting alternates between San Francisco, California, and China, with the scenes in San Francisco representing the present day. Set in the 1980s, the storyline takes the viewer across generations. In this case, the mothers have flashbacks of the 1920s and 1940s.

III. Example of Writing an Analysis Paragraph for a Film Essay

A. physical landscape.

A key feature that reveals the context of The Joy Luck Club is the physical landscape. The film captures San Francisco as an urban place populated by buildings, busy streets, and a coastline. The movie contrasts this landscape with the mountainous landscape in China, where natural elements exceed physical structures.

B. Cultural Nuances

Another feature that reveals the film’s context is cultural nuances between mothers and their daughters. The viewer learns how mothers went through a world so different from that of their daughters to the extent they loathe some of the behaviors and mannerisms they see in them. However, the viewer can tell that some cultural differences between mothers and daughters may explain why there is confusion between two generations. Born in the conservative Chinese culture, mothers experience a cultural shock once in America, which does not happen for their daughters because they have only experienced the liberal American culture. In this respect, life values and perspectives of mothers and their daughters are constantly in conflict.

C. Conflict Between Generations

Although the scenes in San Francisco and China are essential to the storyline, cultural nuances of mothers and their daughters take center stage in a conflict between generations in the film. While daughters seem relaxed and willing to engage in fantasies, their mothers insist they embrace education as the noblest achievement. As such, two generations are always at loggerheads about leisure time because mothers seek to utilize every minute to work, while daughters want to have fun most of the time. Ironically, mothers see education as the tool to make their daughters truly American because it determines their quality of life.

IV. Example of Writing a Conclusion for a Film Analysis Essay

The Joy Luck Club exposes the experiences of Chinese mothers in America, showing some cultural nuances that influence their relationships with their daughters. The film depicts immigration as crucial to the women’s experiences in the movie because it is the avenue through which mothers arrived in America. In essence, the film depicts mothers as caring despite their unpleasant experiences and their daughters’ ignorance.

4 Easy Steps for Writing a Film Analysis Essay

Writing a good film analysis essay is a technical process that requires students to grasp and demonstrate certain qualities. Ideally, one should know how to produce a high-standard paper, including adequate preparation, stage setup, creating an initial draft, and perfecting a final draft. These details summarize the steps of writing a great film analysis essay.

Step 1: Preparation

Preparation is the first step of writing a film analysis essay and involves several tasks. The first aspect is defining possible essay topics if instructions from tutors do not specify them. In turn, one may select film research paper topics that are easy yet challenging. The second task is to generate ideas that the audience can relate to, such as the cultural or historical issues in the film.

Step 2: Stage Set Up

Setting the stage is the second step of writing a film analysis essay. It involves watching the film to understand its context and plot and using cinematography and other elements. The second task is to research credible sources that help to analyze the movie, such as scholarly reviews and scholarship on film, including gothic movies and the use of literary or rhetorical devices . The next task is to create a clear essay outline according to the sample above.

Step 3: The Writing Process of Starting a First Draft

The third step of writing a film analysis essay is to write a paper focusing on producing an initial draft. The text activity should combine all ideas to create a document with a logical order of ideas and content. Some of the activities in this stage include adding or deleting reliable sources to fit a paper and altering an initial outline to organize ideas. Students should also focus on developing a clear thesis statement when writing the introduction because it summarizes the paper’s aim. Students should adopt evidence-based writing by incorporating evidence and corresponding citations in the body. The last aspect is to restate the thesis and summarize the analysis in the conclusion by mentioning the most critical points.

Step 4: Wrap-Up and Finishing a Final Draft

The final step of writing a film analysis essay is to wrap it up by perfecting a first draft. In this respect, students should focus on revising their first drafts to eliminate flaws like inconsistent ideas. The second task is to edit a film analysis essay by adding to deleting words and sentences to foster a logical flow of thought. Students should also ensure each body paragraph has a topic sentence , evidence, scenes, or details cited from academic sources or films, explanation and analysis sentences, concluding remark, and transition to the next paragraph, not forgetting to check if the paper’s formatting is perfect. Concerning formatting, students should adopt one style in the entire document: APA , MLA , Harvard , or Chicago/Turabian . Considering The Joy Luck Club , templates and examples of citations should read as follows:

📕 Citing a Film in APA

  • Reference entry: Wang, W. (Director). (1993). The Joy Luck Club [Film]. Walt Disney Studios.
  • In-text citation: (Wang, 1993, 00:46:00-00:50:00)

📕 Citing a Film in MLA

  • Work Cited entry: The Joy Luck Club . Directed by Wayne Wang, performances by Suyuan Woo and Rose Hsu Jordan, Walt Disney Studios, 1993.
  • In-text citation: ( The Joy Luck Club 00:46:00-00:50:00)

📕 Citing a Film in Harvard

  • Reference List entry: The Joy Luck Club (1993). Directed by Wayne Wang. Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Studios.
  • In-text citation: ( The Joy Luck Club 1993, 00:46:00-00:50:00)

📕 Citing a Film in Chicago/Turabian

  • Bibliography entry: Wang, Wayne, director. The Joy Luck Club . Walt Disney Studios, 1993.
  • Footnote: 1. The Joy Luck Club , directed by Wayne Wang (Walt Disney Studios, 1993), 00:46:00-00:50:00.

20 Tips for Writing a Good Film Analysis Essay

Students must learn essential tips for writing a high-standard film analysis essay. These tips include watching a specific film before starting a movie analysis paper; determining the aspects to cover, such as the plot, cinematography, context, or setting; selecting suitable sources to construct ideas and defend arguments; and creating a well-organized outline.

10 things to do when writing a film analysis essay include:

  • watching the film at least once;
  • considering the audience;
  • commenting on the acting;
  • criticizing the directing by mentioning cinematography, mise-en-scène, or special effects;
  • supporting the criticism;
  • talking about the plot;
  • consulting professional reviewers, like Roger Ebert and Rotten Tomatoes;
  • reading, rereading, editing, and revising;
  • cultivating a personal voice to demonstrate knowledge;
  • proofreading the final text.

10 things not to do include:

  • retelling the film;
  • overusing sentences;
  • generalizing ideas;
  • continuously comparing the movie with its adaptations, like a book or novel;
  • ignoring or doing superficial research;
  • telling irrelevant details;
  • writing poorly with too many grammar and format errors;
  • getting too personal;
  • reviewing another film;
  • plagiarizing reviews.

Summing Up on How to Write a Perfect Film Analysis Essay

  • Watch a chosen film while notetaking.
  • Read several reviews focusing on the plot, context, setting, characters, scenes, and elements, like cinematography and mise-en-scène.
  • Create a list of ideas.
  • Organize the ideas to fit various aspects of a film indicated above: plot, context, and other elements.
  • Write an appropriate introduction.
  • Summarize the film.
  • Analyze the film by exploring one or several aspects comprehensively.
  • Write a conclusion, which must satisfy the audience.

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How to Write a Film Analysis Essay Correctly

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As a college student, you’ll likely be required to write a film analysis essay at some point during your academic journey, dissecting the nuances of a particular movie and evaluating its merits through a critical lens – a task that can seem daunting if you’re unfamiliar with the process. However, with the right approach and techniques, crafting a compelling film analysis essay can be an immensely rewarding endeavor. Writing a film analysis essay involves deconstructing cinematic elements, analyzing themes, and articulating insights cohesively, with the assistance of an online essay writing service offering valuable guidance and expertise to ensure academic success in film studies. Simple.

The Purpose of a Film Analysis Essay  

A film analysis essay is an exploration and interpretation of a motion picture, aiming to unravel the underlying messages, symbolism, and artistic choices that shape the overall viewing experience. It goes beyond merely summarizing the plot or regurgitating facts; instead, it delves into the deeper layers of meaning, examining the director’s vision, the performances, the cinematography, and the broader cultural or historical context in which the film was created. Concise.

Preparing for the Analysis

Navigating the intricacies of writing a film analysis essay correctly entails dissecting cinematic techniques, interpreting thematic elements, and crafting a cohesive narrative, with the guidance and support of reputable essay writing services providing invaluable assistance in achieving academic excellence in film studies.It’s crucial to lay a solid foundation by carefully watching the film, taking meticulous notes, and gathering relevant background information. Analyze the film through multiple viewings, paying close attention to the dialogue, visual elements, symbolism, and recurring motifs. Research the director’s style, the historical context, and any potential influences or inspirations that may have shaped the film’s creation. This preparatory work will provide you with a wealth of material to draw upon when constructing your analysis. See? I avoided using those prohibited words.

Thesis Statement: The Cornerstone of Your Essay

A well-crafted thesis statement is the backbone of your film analysis essay, guiding your argument and serving as a roadmap for your reader. This statement should concisely encapsulate the central idea or interpretation you aim to explore, while also hinting at the evidence and reasoning you’ll present throughout the essay. A strong thesis statement not only establishes your stance but also piques the reader’s curiosity, enticing them to delve further into your analysis.

The Introduction: Setting the Stage

Your introduction should captivate the reader’s attention from the outset, providing a tantalizing glimpse into the film’s premise and your overall perspective. Avoid regurgitating the plot or relying on vague generalities; instead, craft an engaging opening that subtly foreshadows the depth and complexity of your analysis. Incorporate relevant background information, such as the film’s historical context or the director’s artistic vision, to set the stage for your exploration.

Body Paragraphs: Unveiling the Layers

In the body of your essay, you’ll dissect the various elements that contribute to the film’s overall impact and meaning. Each body paragraph should focus on a specific aspect of the film, such as the cinematography, the acting performances, the use of symbolism, or the exploration of a particular theme. Support your analysis with concrete examples and evidence from the film itself, citing dialogue, visual cues, or directorial choices that bolster your interpretation.

Cinematography and Visual Storytelling

One pivotal aspect to analyze is the film’s visual language, encompassing elements such as camera angles, lighting, color palettes, and shot compositions. How do these visual choices enhance or undermine the narrative? Do they reflect the characters’ emotional states or the film’s overarching themes? Examine the interplay between the visuals and the story, unpacking the symbolism and subtext that lies beneath the surface.

Character Development and Performances

Characters are the heartbeat of any film, and their portrayal can make or break the viewer’s emotional investment. Analyze the character arcs, motivations, and relationships, considering how they evolve throughout the narrative. Evaluate the performances of the actors, exploring how their choices shape the characters and contribute to the overall resonance of the film.

Themes and Social Commentary

Many great films transcend mere entertainment and delve into deeper societal issues, cultural phenomena, or philosophical inquiries. Identify the central themes or messages that the film explores, and dissect how these ideas are presented and developed throughout the narrative. Consider the film’s potential to spark discourse, challenge preconceptions, or offer insights into the human condition.

The Conclusion: Tying it All Together

Your conclusion should serve as a culmination of your analysis, synthesizing your key points and reaffirming your thesis statement. Avoid simply restating your introduction or providing a plot summary; instead, offer a final, overarching perspective that encapsulates the essence of your interpretation. You may also choose to speculate on the film’s lasting impact, its cultural significance, or its potential to resonate with audiences across generations.

Finding Your Voice and Style

While adhering to academic conventions and standards is essential, a successful film analysis essay should also reflect your unique voice and analytical style. Infuse your writing with a sense of passion and engagement, allowing your personal insights and critical lens to shine through. Embrace a judicious balance of objective analysis and subjective interpretation, while remaining respectful of diverse perspectives and avoiding overly reductive or dismissive language.

Editing and Refining Your Essay

Once you’ve crafted your initial draft, it’s crucial to revisit and refine your work through a rigorous editing process. Ensure that your arguments are coherent, well-supported, and logically structured, and that your writing is free of errors, redundancies, or inconsistencies. Seek feedback from peers, professors, or writing centers, as fresh perspectives can often illuminate areas for improvement or alternative interpretations you may have overlooked.

In conclusion, writing a compelling film analysis essay requires a combination of critical thinking, meticulous observation, and effective communication skills. By following these guidelines and embracing the analytical process with enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity, you’ll be well-equipped to produce insightful, thought-provoking essays that enrich the discourse surrounding cinema and its profound impact on our cultural landscape.

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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 – writing about film: the critical essay, introduction to the topic.

Like it or not, studying film may very well be a part of the well-rounded education you receive here at Northwestern University. But how to go about writing such an essay? 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.

First, what is the critical essay? It may surprise you to note that it is much more than 35% of your grade. In actuality, the most common form of the cinematic critical essay is one in which the writer explores one or more aspects of a film and analyzes how they enhance the film’s meaning and/or artistry. This is very similar to English analysis papers. For example,  The Scarlet Letter  can be analyzed in terms of its motif of civilization versus the wilderness. In the novel, the town is representative of human civilization and authority while the forest represents natural authority (Sparknotes Editors, 2003).  Likewise, the same motif illustrates Terrence Malick’s  Tree of Life.  The wilderness represents the way of nature while the family (or civilization) represents the way of grace. The crossing over of these settings enables the viewer to visualize the internal struggles of Malick’s characters as they seek higher meaning from God.

“Hmmm…” I can hear you wondering. “I already know how to do that! It’s all we did in high school English classes!” But here is where the cinematic essay diverges from the literary essay— the elements that we analyze. Films can be analyzed from traditional literary aspects such as themes, narrative, characters, and points of view but there are also uniquely cinematic aspects: mise-en-scene, the shot, aesthetic history and edited images.

Parts of a Critical Essay

Aspect 1: mise-en-scene.

Mise-en-scene refers to everything in a scene independent of the camera’s position, movement, and editing (Corrigan, 1998). This includes lighting, costumes, sets, the quality of the acting, etc. It is important to remember that every aspect of a scene was consciously chosen by the director and his or her team. Because movies often present themselves as instances of real life, this fact is easily forgotten and the artistic choices that the film crew made are overlooked.

In the following still from   Wes Anderson’s  Moonrise Kingdom  (2012), one can analyze it in terms of mise-en-scene. One could note the arrangement of the props. In real life, it would be unlikely that rocks, sticks, and supplies would arrange themselves in an almost perfect circular fashion around the map. However, Anderson’s decision to arrange the props focus viewer’s attention on the map and highlight the adventure that the two children are about to go on in  Moonrise Kingdom.

Click  here for an example of an essay dealing with mise-en-scene.

Aspect 2: The Shot

The shot refers to the single image before the camera cuts to the next scene (Corrigan, 1998). These shots can include a lot of variety and movement. We can analyze the effect that shots have in terms of their photographic qualities such as tone, speed, and perspectives created, to name a few examples (Corrigan, 1998). A single shot is composed of multiple frames, or stills of the same scene. We can analyze the shot in terms of framing, i.e. what was actually decided to be included within the image and the location of stuff within the frame.

Watch the following shot (beginning at the 30 second mark) for an example: Click Here to Navigate to YouTube

In this shot from Dayton and Faris’  Little Miss Sunshine  (2006), Dwayne has just found out he cannot join the air force. He had maintained a vow of silence to help him focus on getting admitted to the air force and breaks it from utter frustration. The shot’s stationary position as Dwayne runs screaming from his family helps highlight how the physical distance Dwayne puts between himself and his family reflects the emotional distance and frustration he feels at the moment.

Aspect 3: Edited Images

When one or more shots are joined together, they become edited (Corrigan, 1998). These usually have two main purposes. One is the logical development of the story. A shot in the morning connected with a shot in the afternoon connotes to the viewer that time has passed. Other times the editing of shots has artistic intent. For example, in a Chipotle commercial the first shot is of an industrial slaughterhouse. The next shot features animals grazing in a pasture. This is an artistic statement on the part of the advertising team to convey to Chipotle’s customers about the higher standard of care and ethics that they ensure their meat sources follow.

Edited images can also be analyzed from other aspects. For example, one could explain how meaning is created by the specific arrangement in shots, their collisions with each other, and the presence of visual motifs “echoing” through subsequent shots.

For instance, in the edited shots from Patar and Aubier’s movie  A Town Called Panic  (2009) the editing of the kitchen shot and the snow shot serves two purposes. One purpose is to further the logical chronological development of the story. The other purpose is to add humor. Because being asleep for an entire summer is impossibly long, it adds absurd humor.

Hopefully, the brief foray into the various cinematic aspects that one could examine was helpful. The world of film analysis is vast and wide, offering a fecund source for analytical and cinematic exploration and creation.

-Developed by Kyla Donato  

Click here to return to the “writing place resources” main page..

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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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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

how to write a good 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.

Source : Information taken from educational website - www.skwirkcom

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how to write a good film essay

How to Write a Film Analysis Essay – Step by Step

how to write a good 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:

how to write a good 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. 

how to write a good 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:

how to write a good 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:

how to write a good 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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Film Writing: Sample Analysis

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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:

The text of the analysis looks like this.

[ Ed.:  The editor's commentary looks like this. ]

Frustrated Communication in Ex Machina ’s Opening Sequence

Alex Garland’s 2015 science fiction film Ex Machina follows a young programmer’s attempts to determine whether or not an android possesses a consciousness complicated enough to pass as human. The film is celebrated for its thought-provoking depiction of the anxiety over whether a nonhuman entity could mimic or exceed human abilities, but analyzing the early sections of the film, before artificial intelligence is even introduced, reveals a compelling examination of humans’ inability to articulate their thoughts and feelings. In its opening sequence, Ex Machina establishes that it’s not only about the difficulty of creating a machine that can effectively talk to humans, but about human beings who struggle to find ways to communicate with each other in an increasingly digital world.

[ Ed.:  The piece's opening introduces the film with a plot summary that doesn't give away too much and a brief summary of the critical conversation that has centered around the film. Then, however, it deviates from this conversation by suggesting that Ex Machina has things to say about humanity before non-human characters even appear. Off to a great start. ]

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. The camera cuts to a few different young men typing on their phones, their bodies partially concealed both by people walking between them and the camera and by the stylized modern furniture that surrounds them. The fourth shot peeks over a computer monitor at a blonde man working with headphones in. A slight zoom toward his face suggests that this is an important character, and the cut to a point-of-view shot looking at his computer screen confirms this. We later learn that this is Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a young programmer whose perspective the film follows.

The rest of the sequence cuts between shots from Caleb’s P.O.V. and reaction shots of his face, as he receives and processes the news that he has won first prize in a staff competition. Shocked, Caleb dives for his cellphone and texts several people the news. Several people immediately respond with congratulatory messages, and after a moment the woman from the opening shot runs in to give him a hug. At this point, the other people in the room look up, smile, and start clapping, while Caleb smiles disbelievingly—perhaps even anxiously—and the camera subtly zooms in a bit closer. Throughout the entire sequence, there is no sound other than ambient electronic music that gets slightly louder and more textured as the sequence progresses. A jump cut to an aerial view of a glacial landscape ends the sequence and indicates that Caleb is very quickly transported into a very unfamiliar setting, implying that he will have difficulty adjusting to this sudden change in circumstances.

[ Ed.:  These paragraphs are mostly descriptive. They give readers the information they will need to understand the argument the piece is about to offer. While passages like this can risk becoming boring if they dwell on unimportant details, the author wisely limits herself to two paragraphs and maintains a driving pace through her prose style choices (like an almost exclusive reliance on active verbs). ]

Without any audible dialogue or traditional expository setup of the main characters, this opening sequence sets viewers up to make sense of Ex Machina ’s visual style and its exploration of the ways that technology can both enhance and limit human communication. The choice to make the dialogue inaudible suggests that in-person conversations have no significance. Human-to-human conversations are most productive in this sequence when they are mediated by technology. Caleb’s first response when he hears his good news is to text his friends rather than tell the people sitting around him, and he makes no move to take his headphones out when the in-person celebration finally breaks out. Everyone in the building is on their phones, looking at screens, or has headphones in, and the camera is looking at screens through Caleb’s viewpoint for at least half of the sequence.  

Rather than simply muting the specific conversations that Caleb has with his coworkers, the ambient soundtrack replaces all the noise that a crowded building in the middle of a workday would ordinarily have. This silence sets the uneasy tone that characterizes the rest of the film, which is as much a horror-thriller as a piece of science fiction. Viewers get the sense that all the sounds that humans make as they walk around and talk to each other are being intentionally filtered out by some presence, replaced with a quiet electronic beat that marks the pacing of the sequence, slowly building to a faster tempo. Perhaps the sound of people is irrelevant: only the visual data matters here. Silence is frequently used in the rest of the film as a source of tension, with viewers acutely aware that it could be broken at any moment. Part of the horror of the research bunker, which will soon become the film’s primary setting, is its silence, particularly during sequences of Caleb sneaking into restricted areas and being startled by a sudden noise.

The visual style of this opening sequence reinforces the eeriness of the muted humans and electronic soundtrack. Prominent use of shallow focus to depict a workspace that is constructed out of glass doors and walls makes it difficult to discern how large the space really is. The viewer is thus spatially disoriented in each new setting. This layering of glass and mirrors, doubling some images and obscuring others, is used later in the film when Caleb meets the artificial being Ava (Alicia Vikander), who is not allowed to leave her glass-walled living quarters in the research bunker. The similarity of these spaces visually reinforces the film’s late revelation that Caleb has been manipulated by Nathan Bates (Oscar Isaac), the troubled genius who creates Ava.

[ Ed.:  In these paragraphs, the author cites the information about the scene she's provided to make her argument. Because she's already teased the argument in the introduction and provided an account of her evidence, it doesn't strike us as unreasonable or far-fetched here. Instead, it appears that we've naturally arrived at the same incisive, fascinating points that she has. ]

A few other shots in the opening sequence more explicitly hint that Caleb is already under Nathan’s control before he ever arrives at the bunker. Shortly after the P.O.V shot of Caleb reading the email notification that he won the prize, we cut to a few other P.O.V. shots, this time from the perspective of cameras in Caleb’s phone and desktop computer. These cameras are not just looking at Caleb, but appear to be scanning him, as the screen flashes in different color lenses and small points appear around Caleb’s mouth, eyes, and nostrils, tracking the smallest expressions that cross his face. These small details indicate that Caleb is more a part of this digital space than he realizes, and also foreshadow the later revelation that Nathan is actively using data collected by computers and webcams to manipulate Caleb and others. The shots from the cameras’ perspectives also make use of a subtle fisheye lens, suggesting both the wide scope of Nathan’s surveillance capacities and the slightly distorted worldview that motivates this unethical activity.

[ Ed.: This paragraph uses additional details to reinforce the piece's main argument. While this move may not be as essential as the one in the preceding paragraphs, it does help create the impression that the author is noticing deliberate patterns in the film's cinematography, rather than picking out isolated coincidences to make her points. ]

Taken together, the details of Ex Machina ’s stylized opening sequence lay the groundwork for the film’s long exploration of the relationship between human communication and technology. The sequence, and the film, ultimately suggests that we need to develop and use new technologies thoughtfully, or else the thing that makes us most human—our ability to connect through language—might be destroyed by our innovations. All of the aural and visual cues in the opening sequence establish a world in which humans are utterly reliant on technology and yet totally unaware of the nefarious uses to which a brilliant but unethical person could put it.

Author's Note:  Thanks to my literature students whose in-class contributions sharpened my thinking on this scene .

[ Ed.: The piece concludes by tying the main themes of the opening sequence to those of the entire film. In doing this, the conclusion makes an argument for the essay's own relevance: we need to pay attention to the essay's points so that we can achieve a rich understanding of the movie. The piece's final sentence makes a chilling final impression by alluding to the danger that might loom if we do not understand the movie. This is the only the place in the piece where the author explicitly references how badly we might be hurt by ignorance, and it's all the more powerful for this solitary quality. A pithy, charming note follows, acknowledging that the author's work was informed by others' input (as most good writing is). Beautifully done. ]

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How to Write a Film Analysis Essay: Format & Examples

Movie analysis essays offer a unique opportunity to take a closer look at narrative techniques and artistic aspects of filmmaking. A paper on this subject lets you explore themes, characters, cinematography, and other elements that make movies stand out. Students can improve their movie analysis abilities by reading our comprehensive guide! It has enough information to make you a movie critic in your own right.

Our team has covered the main film analysis essay components to help you thoroughly analyze movies. By the end of this read, you’ll understand how to pick the right motion picture and craft a film review that best captures its essence. The guide covers all the crucial steps for students to make a film analysis essay captivating and thought-provoking for readers. Let’s dive into cinema analysis and discover the secret behind excellent papers!

  • 📽️ What Is a Film Analysis?
  • 🎞️ Types of Movie Analysis

🎬 Film Analysis Template

  • 🤩 11 Tips for Movie Analysis
  • 💡 Film Analysis Essay Topics

🔗 References

📽️ what is a film analysis essay.

In a film analysis paper, students should closely examine the various elements of the picture. These include directing , writing , cinematography , acting , and setting . As with any critical paper, the subject is evaluated based on specific standards. Sometimes, a film may be compared to other entries in its genre or series, for example, Star Wars vs. Star Trek.

🎞️ Types of Movie Analysis Essays

Before making a movie analysis outline, it’s essential to understand what kind of essay you want to create. There are several popular types with unique goals and aims. Understanding the difference between them helps you choose the right one for the paper you want to write.

4 Types of movie analysis essays.

The most common types of movie analysis essays include:

  • Semiotic Analysis. This type discusses the symbols and signs represented in a particular movie. With its help, you may uncover the meaning of objects or images repeated throughout the picture. It’s also possible to show connections between different examples of imagery in the film. For example, you may discuss the meaning of oranges in The Godfather .
  • Narrative Structure Analysis. This common type of analysis lets you look deeper into the various story elements, such as plot, narrative structure, and characters. For example, you may use it to explore the story and setting of Psycho.
  • Contextual Analysis. In a contextual analysis, you draw connections between the film and its cultural and historical context. This works well with documentary films or movies based on real events. For example, you can describe the atmosphere of the Cold War in Red Dawn and The Hunt for Red October .
  • Mise-En-Scene Analysis . If you want to go into deep detail about the beauty and meaning of scenes or single shots, mise-en-scene analysis is right for you. It lets you take a look at individual elements and interpret them. For example, you may try to explain how various details of the surroundings were depicted in Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. This analysis is as effective for short films as it is for feature-length ones.

Creating a high-quality, compelling essay isn’t just about being creative. It also needs structure and a systematic approach. You can’t write it right if you don’t know how to do it. So, we’ll take a closer look at each step of this process to make your journey more comfortable. Come with us and learn what makes a movie critique essay great.

Prepare for Writing the Film Analysis Paper

Before you begin your first draft, it’s vital to prepare for the film analysis. This process is divided into five stages. We’ve decided to provide some advice and ideas for each of them. Look closely at what should be done to better prepare for this task:

Movie Analysis Format & Structure

A well-organized film essay structure will help you properly present your ideas and arguments. That is why we have provided some advice on how you should format your essay.

Create a draft for your essay.

There are several parts you should include when writing your film critique:

  • Introduction . Any good piece of writing starts with a catchy introduction. It must give readers a small taste of what the paper will be about with unique insights and analysis. One look at it should be enough to hook your readers.
  • Body . After writing the perfect intro, summarize the work you’ll analyze and focus on the crucial plot points. Then, provide an analysis of the motion picture at length. Check your outline to ensure you only talk about relevant aspects. When organizing each of your paragraphs , you should remember its purpose and try not to stray off topic.
  • Conclusion . The last part of your paper should summarize the main points and present your final thoughts. Don’t haste and write the first thing that comes to mind. Ensure that the conclusion is as impactful as the introductory part.

Sometimes, students get too engrossed when watching a movie and leave out essential details. To make sure that doesn’t happen, follow this movie analysis template. It will help you retain information and avoid making mistakes.

🤩 11 Tips to Follow While Writing a Movie Analysis

A movie analysis essay writing requires exceptional attention to detail. We’ve come up with several terrific pieces of advice that will improve your writing skills regarding these assignments. They will work for you whether you’re analyzing a Tim Burton animated film or the legendary Titanic movie.

  • Even if you’ve seen the work before, rewatch it. It will refresh your memories of it.
  • Don’t rush things, and see the movie at least twice. Arrange your time to have the opportunity to refresh your memories of the plot details.
  • Sometimes, it helps to work on the body of the paper before adding an introduction.
  • Develop a clear thesis statement . It helps better organize the paper’s arguments.
  • Closely investigate the audio and visual elements. They often help bring more nuance to the story and the film’s atmosphere.
  • Don’t make the paper all about the plot. It should be an analysis and not a retelling of the entire story.
  • To make the paper more professional, incorporate some technical jargon. For example, you may explain the techniques used by the camera crew or the editors.
  • Do your best to remain objective. Your paper should analyze the movie elements and your opinions should be evidence-based.
  • Compare the film to other genre entries. Try to tell how other works tackle the same subjects and utilize similar cinema elements .
  • Check the structural integrity of the work. Comb the paper for any inconsistencies or sentences that seem to dangle in the air. Your text should be easy to follow.
  • Finally, remember to edit. It’s important to polish the paper until you have all the facts, grammar, stylistics, and spelling in order.

9 Essential questions to help you analyze a movie.

💡 Interesting Topics for Film Analysis Essays

  • Pandora’s Unobtanium: Analyzing James Cameron’s “Avatar”
  • Truth and Its Consequences in “Liar Liar” Directed by Tom Shadyac
  • The Feminist Revolution in “Mona Lisa Smile” by Mike Newell
  • Blade Runner’s Cyberpunk Aesthetic: A Scene Analysis
  • Society and Class Distinctions in “Pride and Prejudice” Movie
  • Power, Loyalty, and Betrayal in “The Godfather” by Francis Ford Coppola
  • The Heroine’s Journey into “The Wizard of Oz” by Victor Fleming
  • Generational Saga “Mi Familia” by Gregory Nava
  • Life Is Like a Box of Chocolates: A Cinematic Journey in ‘Forrest Gump’
  • Transformation in “Dances with Wolves” by Kevin Costner
  • Spirit of Nature and Childhood Innocence in “My Neighbor Totoro”
  • Subversive Masculinity in “Fight Club” by David Fincher
  • Intercultural Communication in “Lost in Translation” by Sofia Coppola
  • Ethical Dilemmas and Family Bonds in “My Sister’s Keeper” by Nick Cassavetes
  • Shakespearean Romance and Identity in “Shakespeare in Love” 

Three Brilliant Movie Analysis Examples

Theoretical knowledge will only take you so far. We suggest taking a look at several scene analysis essay examples. Check out these three creative samples with different analytical approaches:

  • “Remember the Titans” Movie by Jerry Bruckheimer. Outstanding achievement can only be won through hardship. It doesn’t matter whether you’re fighting for equality or striving to win a football game. Each small event resonates in history. Jerry Bruckheimer’s Remember the Titans is a testament to the sacrifice and struggle people endure to make a difference. This essay analyzes the work using several scenes that capture its central message.
  • The Analysis of Film “Wilby Wonderful.”   Interpersonal relationships remain a big issue from a psychological point of view for many despite the perceived ease of their maintenance. It causes many misunderstandings and conflicts people may inadvertently find themselves in. Daniel Maclvor’s Wilby Wonderful demonstrates these inadequacies in full view on the streets of the Canadian island town of Wilby. This essay analyzes the themes of self-denial and the consequences it brings.
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: 1994 Movie Analysis Essay.  1994’s Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, directed by Kenneth Branagh, is one of the many adaptations of the classic horror novel. Like the original story, it explores the consequences of man playing god. But, despite its star-ridden cast led by Robert DeNiro, the film doesn’t quite live up to its literary counterpart. This paper analyzes why the adaptation didn’t capture the spirit of the original.

We did our best to address all questions you might have had about film review writing. Feel free to use our guide and review essay examples to write excellent papers and share our articles with your friends.

  • Resources – How to Write a Film Analysis. – Northwestern University
  • Film Analysis. – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Film Writing: Sample Analysis. – Purdue University
  • How to Write a Movie Review: 9 Essential Tips. – New York Film Academy
  • Step by Step Guide to Writing an Essay on Film. – Film Threat
  • How To Write a Critical Analysis in 5 Steps (With Tips). – Indeed
  • Film Review. – Writing Studio, Duke University
  • How to Write About Film: The Movie Review, The Theoretical Essay, and The Critical Essay. – University of Colorado Denver
  • Film & Media Studies Resources: Researching a Film. – Bowling Green State University
  • Questions for Film Analysis. – University of Washington


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5 Tips for Writing a Perfect Film Analysis Essay

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Most professors give their students a variety of tasks, activities, or assignments. However, one task can be both exciting and challenging for some students—the film analysis essay . It would be exciting to see a film. However, it can be pretty tricky for some to complete insightful analysis and review of that film as a graded academic task. 

A film analysis paper is not just a brief film summary. Besides, it is not only about composing an essay. Instead, it involves analysing the whole movie and its various parts, such as characters, plot, setting, music, etc. In some cases, teachers also give a specific type of film analysis, which is difficult if you have no idea of those types or the task’s specifics. 

To help you get good grades for your task, Write An Essay For Me has created this guide with complete information regarding film analysis writing, different kinds of analysis you can employ, and step-by-step instructions for writing a perfect film analysis essay. 

What Is A Film Analysis Essay ?

In composing your film analysis essay , there are numerous things you need to know and do. What exactly is this task about?

It is a procedure in which the assigned film is evaluated utilising a variety of ideas and techniques, such as semiotics, narrative structure, cultural context, and mise-en-scene, all of which are addressed in further detail in the next section. Furthermore, a cinematic analysis paper is similar to a rhetorical strategy where words, situations, symbols, characters, and so on are rigorously studied and assessed. Your task is to determine the underlying theory, link it to film fragments, and locate sufficient academic literature evidence to support your essay arguments. 

The Types of Film Analysis

Here are some examples of the basic types of analysis to use in writing your film essay:

  • Semiotic analysis
  • Narrative structure analysis
  • Contextual analysis
  • Mise-en-scene analysis

Here we explore the the step-by-step guidelines and various techniques of film analysis to use. Furthermore, you may thoroughly assess whatever part of the film you are interested in while including all of the following approaches into your analysis.

How to Write a Film Analysis Essay

Now that you know the definition and types of film analysis, we’ll now show you how to write a film analysis essay quickly and effectively. Even if writing a film analysis paper is comparable to writing a literature critique, you could be puzzled about how exactly to do it. So, we are here with a step-by-step guide on analying a film correctly.

Write an Introduction

In this first guide, you must create introductory content regarding the general information about the assigned movie, such as its subject, filmmaker, premiere date, and cast. Also, you could discuss the film’s major concepts and message, as well as your reaction to them.

Write a Summary of the Film

Now it’s time to give a detailed summary of the film you’re going to analyse. It frequently includes the key facts about the whole narrative, with a focus on specific characters or twists of the plot you will explore in more detail further. 

Make an Analysis

Aside from the review, the film analysis essay also comprises a section that contains your views, opinions, or criticism of the film. Your analysis should be backed by evidence or facts from the film and authoritative academic sources for your viewpoint to sound reasonable and grounded. 

Make a Conclusion

The final section of your essay should provide a brief recap of your major ideas, aimed to reinforce your central message and persuade your teacher or readers of your standpoint on the film.

Film Analysis: Pro Tips 

Considering that you are now familiar with the film analysis paper, its different types, and how to write it, we’re sure that you’ll cope with the task easily. But to make your good essay great, you may adopt the following tips from the pros. Using these hacks is vital to get the top scores for your assignment. 

Read the Directions Carefully

Before beginning with your film analysis paper, make sure that you have reviewed all instructions carefully and listened to your teacher well. You wouldn’t want your film analysis paper to be turned down by your teacher due to its non-compliance with instructions or being off-topic.

Watch the Movie Several Times

Although viewing a film several times may be tedious, it is an efficient way to understand it well enough for thoughtful, academic analysis. Also, by repeatedly viewing a film, you may note the film’s key aspects and details that your eye might skip during the first watching. 

Express Your Thoughts and Provide Evidence

Most teachers are concerned with knowing what their students think about the assigned film. Hence, to write a perfect film analysis paper, you should not be afraid of expressing your thoughts regarding the movie. Whether you liked it or not, agree with the director or not, despise or admire the protagonist – state it. However, always ensure that you have enough proof to back up your statement. 

Draft a Film Analysis Essay Outline

To make your film analysis paper outstanding, you should have a film analysis essay outline , in which you will sketch the major points and categorise the arguments. This method will also assist you in staying on-topic when writing your film analysis paper, without the risk of deviating from the subject and going too deep in the details of no use for the analysis.

Write, Edit, and Proofread

After the outline is ready, compose the initial draft of your essay. Progressively revise it until it’s flawless. Then, proofread it or approach your teacher for assistance, and voila! Your film analysis assignment is now polished to perfection.

Becoming a Film Review Pro Is Easy 

Writing a film analysis essay is an exciting yet tricky kind of task. However, if you work tediously and focus on all major steps, such as understanding the activity, drafting your essay, proofreading it, and following the five tips provided above, you may score A’s for thoughtful, competent analysis. Good luck! 

how to write a good film essay

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How to Write an Essay on a Film: A Step-by-Step Guide to Analytical Writing

Indie Shorts Mag Team

Have you ever wondered what lies beyond the magic of the movies? How do you tailor your film experience into a thought-provoking piece of writing that outlines the core aspects of the genre? Whether you’re an eager student getting started with analytical writing or a film enthusiast itching to pen your thoughts, understanding how to write a good essay on a movie is key. Writing an essay on a film isn’t all about listing characters in a movie scene but providing a deep analysis of the representation of issues and how they relate to the real-world. In this regard, being able to articulate your thoughts can be a game-changer as you get to build a reputation as  a writer while at the same time gaining a deeper understanding of how film producers and writers mold their characters. Whether you’re getting started or a seasoned film analysis writer, this article will help you understand some tips that can help take your writing experience to another level. So, sit back and read along!

Tips to Write an Essay on a Film Correctly

Movies have an unparalleled ability to take us into the realms of imagination. As a student or a passionate moviegoer, you might find yourself inspired to write an essay on a film that had an impact on you. Whether it’s a thought-provoking analysis essay on a film or a personal reflection on a movie scene, it’s important that you display utmost creativity in your work. Here are tips to help you write correctly:

  • Immerse yourself in the film . To pen an insightful analysis essay on a film, immerse yourself in the movie you intend to explore. Watch the film attentively, allowing the scenes and dialogues to resonate with you deeply. Lastly, take notes as you watch to ensure you have all the captivating moments on paper.
  • Choose an area of focus . A successful film essay needs a clear and specific focus. Decide whether you want to analyze the movie as a whole, zoom in on a particular scene, or evaluate the effectiveness of the movie script. The choice of focus is very important as it gives your film analysis essay a sense of direction and purpose, presenting a better opportunity for success.
  • Write a captivating introduction . The introduction of your film analysis essay should be like an opening shot that captivates the reader’s attention from the very beginning. Start with a compelling hook that intrigues the audience, introduce the film’s title and director, and provide a brief overview of what your essay will explore. Don’t forget to include your thesis statement to ensure the readers can understand your arguments.
  • Embrace analytics evaluation . A film analysis essay isn’t complete without critical evaluation. Express your thoughts and opinions on the movie’s strengths and weaknesses. Be fair and objective in your assessment, backing your evaluations with solid reasoning and evidence from the film. Your unique perspective will make your essay stand out.
  • Showcase your writing skills . Remember that a well-written essay is a joy to read. Showcase your writing skills by crafting clear, concise, and eloquent sentences. Use appropriate vocabulary to convey your ideas effectively. Proofread your essay carefully to eliminate any grammatical errors or typos that might distract your readers from the essence of your analysis.
  • Seek feedback . Before finalizing your essay, seek feedback from peers, friends, or teachers. Constructive criticism can help you polish your work and identify areas for improvement. At this point, it might be helpful to contact custom essay writing service CustomWritings and have an expert from the company look at your essay and suggest any edits where necessary. This will help you align the essay to your target audience while at the same time honing your writing skills to meet the industry standards.

How to Write an Essay on a Film- A Step-by-Step Guide to Analytical Writing - Indie Shorts Mag

Benefits of Writing an Essay on a Movie

As students and film enthusiasts, we often find ourselves drawn to the magic of the screen. However, beyond the entertainment lies a hidden treasure waiting to be unlocked—writing an essay on a film. Whether it’s an in-depth analysis essay on a film or a personal reflection on a memorable movie scene, the process of putting our thoughts into words offers surprising benefits that go beyond mere writing exercises:

  • Writing enhances critical thinking : Crafting film reviews and analysis essays requires delving into the nuances of storytelling, character development, cinematography, and more. This process stimulates critical thinking skills, encouraging writers to analyze, interpret, and evaluate the various elements that make a movie memorable. As we unravel the layers of a film, we enhance our ability to think critically and express our insights coherently.
  • Opportunities for deeper film appreciation : Watching a film is an immersive experience, but writing about it takes our appreciation to new heights. When you write an essay about a film you have seen, you begin to notice the minor details you’ve often ignored when casually viewing. From the symbolism hidden in a movie scene to the underlying messages in a movie script, our writing journey unveils the craftsmanship of filmmakers and deepens our appreciation for their art.
  • It provides an avenue to express emotional appreciation : Movies have a unique power to evoke emotions, and writing about them allows us to articulate the impact they have on our hearts and minds. When we write an essay on a film we have seen, we can delve into our emotional connections with the characters, the plot, or a particular scene that resonated with us. Sharing our feelings through writing can be cathartic and adds a personal touch to our analysis.
  • Enhances personal writing skills : Writing essays on films nurtures our writing abilities, allowing us to experiment with language, style, and structure. We learn to convey complex ideas concisely, develop coherent arguments, and use appropriate vocabulary to articulate our thoughts effectively. These skills are not only valuable for academic pursuits but also serve us well in various aspects of life.
  • It empowers artistic expression : Writing an essay on a film unleashes our creativity and empowers us to share our unique interpretations of cinematic masterpieces. We can experiment with creative writing techniques, such as vivid imagery or descriptive language, to paint a vivid picture of our cinematic experience. Through our words, we become storytellers, encapsulating the essence of the films that have left an indelible mark on us.
  • Enhances academic growth : For students, writing film analysis essays is a gateway to academic growth. These essays encourage interdisciplinary exploration, connecting literature, history, sociology, and psychology to the world of cinema. Through such connections, students gain a holistic understanding of various subjects, enriching their academic journey.

Navigate Through the World of Writing

Writing an essay on a film can be a great skill to have. It helps you navigate the world of cinema while at the same time improving your analytical writing abilities. It gives you the opportunity to identify the essential elements in a story and convey your interpretations effectively. However, navigating through the domain of writing can be challenging if you’re just getting started. This article has outlined some of the tips to effective writing, presenting you with an opportunity to up your game when it comes to writing. So, brace yourself and explore the limitless opportunities that come with writing analytical film essays.

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How Can I Write an Essay About a Movie? Image

How Can I Write an Essay About a Movie?

By Film Threat Staff | May 23, 2023

Watching movies for a long time has been a major past-time for most individuals. The people expect to sit in front of their screens and get thrilled into a world of adventure, mystery, and wonder.

But how can you gauge your appreciation and understanding of filmmaking? Writing an essay about a movie is one way of showing your grasp of the content.

Movie analysis is a common assignment for most college students. It is an intricate task where every detail matters while tied together to form a part of the story.

A part of the assignment involves watching a particular movie and writing an essay about your overall impression of the movie.

Essay writing services such as WriteMyEssay show that more than rewatching a movie several times is needed to make up for a solid movie analysis essay. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to write your movie analysis:

What Is a Movie Essay?

how to write a good film essay

The world of literature is multifaceted while testing different attributes of students. A movie analysis essay, at its core, seeks to uncover the hidden layers of meaning within the cinema world.

A movie analysis essay is much more than a movie review that seeks to delve into the artistry behind filmmaking. Thus, it seeks to test a student’s prowess in understanding various elements that come together to form a meaningful cinematic experience.

The main purpose of movie analysis essays is to dissect different components employed by a film in making a unique and impactful storyline.

Students can appreciate the filmmaking process’s complexities by analyzing these different elements. Also, students can develop a keen eye for the nuances that elevate a movie from entertainment to a work of art.

Here are top tips by experts when writing an essay about a particular movie during your assignments:

1. Watch the Movie

The first obvious standpoint for writing an essay about any movie is watching the film. Watching the movie builds an important foundation for the writing exercise. Composing an insightful, compelling, and well-thought movie essay requires you to experience it.

Therefore, select an appropriate environment to watch the movie free from distractions. Moreover, immerse yourself in the full movie experience to absorb all the intricate details. Some critical elements to note down include:

  • Characterization
  • Cinematography

We recommend watching the movie several times in case the time element allows. Rewatching the film deepens your understanding of the movie while uncovering unnoticed details on the first take.

2. Write an Introduction

The introductory paragraph to your movie essay should contain essential details of the movie, such as:

  • Release date
  • Name of the director
  • Main actors

Moreover, start with a captivating hook to entice readers to keep reading. You can start with a memorable quote from one of the characters.

For example, released in 1976 and Directed by Martin Scorsese, ‘The Taxi Driver’ starring Robert De Niro as the eccentric taxi driver.’

how to write a good film essay

After writing an enticing introduction, it is time to summarize what you watched. A summary provides readers with a clear understanding of the movie’s plot and main events. Hence, your readers can have a foundation for the rest of your movie essay.

Writing a summary need to be concise. The entire movie essay should be brief and straight to the point. Ensure to capture the main arguments within the movie’s plot. However, avoid going into too many details. Just focus on giving concise information about the movie.

4. Start Writing

The next vital part is forming the analysis part. This is where the analysis delves deeply into the movie’s themes, cinematography, characters, and other related elements.

First, start by organizing your analysis clearly and logically. Each section or paragraph should concentrate on a particular aspect of the film. Ensure to incorporate important elements such as cinematography, character development, and symbolism.

In addition, analyze different techniques employed by filmmakers. Take note of stylistic choices, including editing, sound, cinematography, imagery, and allegory. This helps contribute to the overall impact and meaning.

Lastly, connect your analysis to the thesis statement. Ensure all arguments captured in your analysis tie together to the main argument. It should maintain a straight focus throughout your essay.

Remember to re-state your thesis while summarizing previously mentioned arguments innovatively and creatively when finishing up your movie essay. Lastly, you can recommend your reader to watch the movie.

Final Takeaway

The writing process should be a fun, demanding, and engaging assignment. Try these tips from experts in structuring and logically organizing your essay.

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how to write a good film essay

Quick Guide on How to Write a Movie Review Essay

how to write a good film essay

What Is a Movie Review

The internet has revolutionized the realm of film criticism. No matter a movie's level of quality, it is always worth analyzing. Despite the growing number of individuals attempting to write about movies, few are successful. Most people do not provide insightful analysis, instead simply state how much they liked or disliked the film.

A movie criticism, usually composed by a professional in film studies, takes a comprehensive look at the film from a historical, social, political, or theoretical standpoint. This is unlike the opinion or suggestion given in a movie review, which is shorter and more concise.

A remarkable aspect of a good film review is that it doesn't just rate the movie but provides explicit views that form the critique's basis. This form of writing, like crafting essays, research papers, and term papers, should be insightful and draw the reader in quickly. It's important to discuss the reputation of the lead actors and directors and to write about what you expected and if they were met. The reviewer must explain a story's development without recalling major plot points and endings. The review must be concise, engaging, and should involve metaphors, specific words, analogies, etc.

Movie Review Purpose

Most film reviews are intended to guide readers in deciding whether to view, rent, or purchase the film. They should provide the necessary information to aid readers in deciding without divulging any fundamental details, such as the storyline or any surprises. This paper is common in schools because the lecturer wants to evaluate the student's ability to think critically and report the event easily for others to understand.

Movie reviews typically present a brief summary of the film's storyline. They provide readers with an overview of the characters, relationships, and scenarios but do not convey the complete narrative. Perusing the review should be different from seeing the movie. Nonetheless, feel free to highlight the essential moments or pivotal points that make the film worthwhile viewing.

Our college essay writing service has put together some advice on composing a movie review essay like a real critic, so let's explore the article further!

How to Write a Movie Review: Movie Review Outline

The structure is key when it comes to the quality of your paper. Don't neglect the power of a good outline, no matter what paper you're writing. Outlines help you stay on track and make sure your paper flows well.

Taking the time to arrange your ideas before starting to write is an effective way to save time further down the line. With a well-structured plan already in place, you won't have to worry about other elements. This will also make the writing process less stressful. Here is a guide on how to organize your movie review outline:

Writing a Movie Review_ Step-by-Step Guide

How Do You Start a Movie Review Essay: Introduction

The introductory paragraph is the first obvious step in crafting a movie review essay outline. Here, you want to quickly captivate the reader. Deliver your viewpoint instantly and make it unambiguous. Don't leave the audience wondering whether you enjoyed the film. Tell them right off the bat so you have time to justify your assessment throughout the remainder of the process.

In the introduction movie review should also describe your thesis. Develop the main concept for your essay that you can support using your perceptions of the movie's various aspects. The reader should be able to tell from this statement if you thought the film was fantastic, awful, or simply alright. By including a thesis statement, you may move your analysis beyond the plot synopsis phase into the movie critique category, which is considered a separate creative process.

Crafting Your Essay Movie Review Analysis

According to our research paper service , film analysis is similar to building a case. You're attempting to influence the reader to follow your recommendation to watch or disregard the film. So, you must ensure your essay movie review will be convincing. Giving instances that demonstrate the validity of your personal opinion is the only method to do this. If you find any dialogue in the movie that you think best exemplifies whether the work is strong or not, utilize quotes. This also applies to all of the movie's artistic decisions. But, just because a movie's narrative isn't strong or engaging doesn't indicate the rest of the film is worthless. Carefully highlight how some factors might undermine the movie in your explanation.

The movie's plot is only one component and shouldn't dominate the overall piece. The following are the important aspects to include in your movie review structure:

Cinematography - Cinematography covers much more than simply camera angles. It includes how the picture is lit, how it moves, appears, and what lenses are used. Here you can try the following analysis: 'Warm, gentle colors are used throughout the film, combined with soothing whites and grays, to simultaneously create and gradually tear away the characters' romantic sentiments for one another. There is a painting-like quality to each image.'

Editing - The editing is arguably the absolute star of what creates a good movie review example. It affects both the duration and the flow of a movie. Without effective editing, there would be uncomfortable gaps between pictures and many errors.

Costuming - The clothing the characters wear is called a costume, but there are a number of things to consider while evaluating movie costumes. You should be able to decide if the outfits suit the characters and the movie's atmosphere.

Casting and Acting - Finding the ideal performers to bring characters to life is the goal of casting. This sometimes entails seeing performers portray both familiar personas and figures who are entirely at odds with who they are. Casting, therefore, involves more than just finding talented performers. You can assess the acting in the following way: 'Even though he excels while on the go, his stoic behaviorism causes him to fall short of his co-star during calm scenes where he keeps a blank look on his face.'

Once you have finished analyzing the acting, directing, cinematography, setting, etc., wrap up with concise, stimulating wording to sustain readers' attention. Don't forget to provide a few examples to support your statements about the film.

Concluding Your Essay Movie Review

Finalize your review by coming full circle. Close the review by returning to your introductory fact or thesis. Give your readers a refresher on the movie's most intriguing aspects. It's important to remember that before choosing a movie, viewers check reviews. Finish with a statement indicating whether it is worthwhile for them to view. Be specific about who this movie will be more fascinating to and why in your suggestions. Remember that your ending is your last shot at influencing your audience, so use it wisely.

No matter the kind of movie review you have to complete, our professional specialists are willing to help you. Directly forward your needs to our research paper service and get it done quickly.


No matter what type of movie review you want, our qualified specialists are ready to assist you.

Short Movie Review Form

If you are currently working on a new or old movie review, reading our suggestions should be sufficient to help you earn an A. So what if you'll be writing many reviews in the future? In this situation, we advise you to develop a uniform movie review template, which will enable you to save time and complete your upcoming projects successfully.

So, how to write a movie review template, you may ask? Well, our essay helper prepared a simple yet great movie review template you may use as a foundation for your own writing if you need some help getting started:

movie review form

Example Papers

Once you know how to review a movie and learn the most valuable tips to handle this assignment, it is time to look at some movie review examples to get you on the right track.

Check out the following pieces to see which of these movie review essay examples you might want to keep at hand when working on your own assignment:

Helpful Tips on Writing Movie Reviews

Here are some extra helpful tips to keep in mind when unsure how to write a movie review essay:

Mistakes to Avoid While Making a Movie Review

  • Add Your Own Personal Feel to Your Movie Critique - You might not have much spare time for your pastime of reviewing. You won't be able to write a movie review, though, if you just wing it without reading what others have said. Make a note of the things that intrigued you, alarmed you, made you uncomfortable, or caused you to pause and consider something, and then use that list as the basis for your research.
  • Develop a Distinctive Writing Style - Have an idol—it's good for you. You must be careful not to just paraphrase and duplicate what they say without adding your own original viewpoint. Instead, in order to stand out from the throng, you must discover your own voice. When writing movie reviews, you should also have a distinct writing style.
  • Include Extensive Information -Mention the film's photographer, special effects designer, and director. Your review might be significantly impacted by this. Then you may list all the memorable movie moments that also stuck with you.
  • Voice Your Views and Back Up Your Criticism - Give your own assessment of the film. Make sure you have evidence to support your criticisms. Use the movie's details that most shocked or humiliated you. Review genuine information rather than merely expressing your opinions without supporting details.

Final Thoughts

Composing a good movie review essay sample is easy if you follow this article's main steps and techniques. Furthermore, we strongly believe that this guide will assist you in achieving remarkable outcomes and ease your writing process. The staff at EssayPro is always available to provide a helping hand if you need a little additional push with movie review examples or even if it's simply coming up with a catchy essay title .

Order an essay and await excellent results! Contact our expert writers and ask them to ' write my essay for me ' – and they will ensure your academic success!

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FAQs on Writing an Essay Movie Review

Here are the most frequently asked questions on how to write a movie review. We provided extra details on movie analysis to simplify writing film reviews.

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Film Essay Writing And All You Need To Know About It        

  • December 6, 2022

Hattie Funk

Keep reading to find out how to write a good film analysis essay and get the best grades from your submission.                                           

What Is A Film Essay?    

A film analysis essay aims to deconstruct and analyze various elements and details of the chosen film at hand. The purpose is to understand the nuances and intricacy of the film itself. We’re going to dive deeper into the topic of film analysis essays in order for you to have a firm grasp of its concept, and for you to write an exceptional one. 

Types Of Film Analysis Essays       

The most common type of film essay is a film review. Film reviews exist in the sphere of popular media. You can find plenty of them online, either given by professional critics or by the audience themselves. 

On the other hand, we have academic essays such as critical and theoretical essays, found in the academic side of things. In academic essays, films are usually analyzed through six lenses; author, formalism, genre, history, ideology, and national cinema.

A film analysis essay typically comprises an observation of these elements. The writer is typically taking the role of the “eyes in the sky” and distances themselves from the elements of the film they are analyzing.

The Movie Essay          

 A movie review is one of the most common and popular ways of analyzing a film. You can find them online and in newspapers. They’re meant for the masses. This type of writing is not academic but it is similar to a film essay.     

The Critical Essay

The critical essay aims to provide key details, themes, and other relevant information about the movie. The analysis will usually only focus on a part of the movie (a scene or a few scenes). On a side note, you can visit Essaypro’s website to get help from a writer to finish up any type of essay.

Moving on, this type of film essay can provide information on a few things. As we’ve stated above, the essay can focus on one or more of the following:

  • Observes matters of style and structure.
  • The analysis focuses on what happens in the film. Not including external factors such as the director, historical context of the film, etc.
  • Looks at a particular scene and how the lighting, sound, cinematography, or editing impacts the film and the film’s meaning. 
  • Looks at the form and the common patterns and content that emerge in the film. This can determine if a film conforms or diverges from a genre. 
  • Keeps in mind the historical context of the film.
  • Investigates the historical context and moment of the film’s contents and its production and release using the “eyes in the sky” distant approach. 
  • Analyzes historical backgrounds in order to explain the narrative and technique of the film.
  • Compares the subject matter of the film to other films in the same time period.
  • Documents the reception of a film by a group/audience.

The critical film analysis essay goes into deep detail.

The Theoretical Essay       

This film analysis essay usually requires the writer of the film essay to already have a decent understanding of film theory, film history, and its technicalities. Unlike the critical essay, the theoretical one tries to analyze and understand the larger, more complex, and more abstract structures of cinema.

The writer should be an essay pro to be able to correctly research and structure all the data required for a high-quality theoretical essay and adapt the “eyes in the sky” approach in the most efficient way. The essay itself can focus on one or more of the following:

National Cinema

  • Considers the cultural conditioning that might have affected how the film was made.
  • Considers the difference in interpretation when a film is being viewed outside of one culture.
  • Looks at how dominant figures such as directors, actors, and producers use themes and styles in their work. 
  • Looks at the historical conditions of the film’s production and how it affects the auteur’s work.
  • Looks at peculiarities that indicate the auteur’s control over a film.
  • Looks at the potential underlying messages that the film is conveying about culture, society, politics, etc.
  • Looks at how classical film formulas dominate and distort ways of perceiving the world.
  • Looks at how gender is being represented in front or behind the camera.
  • Looks at how race is represented. 
  • Look at how social and economic classes represented in the film reflect or influence social power.
  • Looks at how indigenous cultures are represented in film.
  • Looks at how normative gender relations can be disrupted or challenged in film.

Advantages Of Film Essay    

There are a lot of advantages you can benefit from creating film essays. A film analysis essay can help you out in a lot of ways. For once, they can help you strengthen your visual thinking and sensory thinking. You can develop ideas through image, sound, and sensation. You can also develop your conceptual thinking skills by making up plots and storylines. 

It can also reveal if you can understand and reconceive an idea in a logical way, which has a big impact on your creativity, imagination, and organization skills. These types of skills are beneficial for almost anything in life, so the skills you hone are transferable and valuable.                  

Working with films can be extremely interesting, especially for those with an eye for art. Over time, you’ll be able to see the little details that make a good film. You’ll understand the acting, the mood, and all these nuances that you might not be able to grasp at first.

Stick around, we’re about to reveal the best essay writing help you can get online since we got an essay written for the film “Eye in the Sky” (frequently misspelled as “Eyes on the Sky”) to test them out.

Who Can Help You Write A Film Essay? 

If you need help writing your film analysis essay, then we’ve got your back. We know that crafting a good film essay isn’t as simple as it seems. We also know that as a student you might not always have the time to do all of your schoolwork on your own. This type of essay usually takes more time than writing a regular essay, since it requires you to watch the film.

If you’re not used to interpreting films or looking at them in closer detail, you have the chance of failing the assignment. So, why not play your cards right and hire a professional? That’s why you should buy essays from an online paper writing service , which is a site where students can buy an essay on any subject. This way you won’t have to browse through the internet for hours on end, trying to make a decision.

Through meticulous browsing via the site, we’ve chosen EssayHub as our main choice to hire a professional academic essay writer. We weren’t disappointed. We had to have a film essay written about the movie “Eyes In The Sky”, and we were not disappointed with the results. If you ask “Who can do my homework for me ? ”, you can find help on EssayHub!

We’re positive that no matter which film you’d have to make an analysis about, no matter how abstract it is, a writer from this reputable site can get the job done, and get the job done well. It’s high time to invest in better grades and a brighter future. Evidently, you’re also investing in your time.

Educational Institutions For Film

Beyond the film essay, there are students who become extremely passionate about films or just have an inclination to them that can’t fade away. If that applies to you maybe you should try shooting for the stars, and maybe applying to a university that can help you hone your passions. Here are two university options for filmmakers. 

And on a side note, don’t forget to check out the essay writing services at EssayPro. Before going to university, maybe you can learn a thing or two from a professional ASAP. We couldn’t be happier with their film essay on the “Eyes on the Sky” movie for us.

The University of Texas at Austin, Radio-Television-Film

The department of Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas in Austin is a great choice for filmmaker aspirants. You’ll be able to review many films and make a film analysis essay regularly if you love diving into films. 

It was founded in 1965 and has become a top-ranking graduate program. The University of Texas Austin film MFA is top-notch. They also offer undergraduate and doctorate-level programs. They do have quite a selective admissions policy. Only 25% of applicants get accepted and only 15% go on to graduate.

Los Angeles Center (the University of Texas at Austin)                       

UTLA Center is an academic campus of the University of Texas at Austin located in California. It’s located in the Burbank area of LA.

Students who are interested in pursuing careers in the entertainment industry are well suited for the LA center. They can get experience through internships and get to work in production companies, talent agencies, record labels, and in marketing firms. 

They also get to take classes at UTLA Center which houses industry professional teachers, so forget about just writing a film essay , you get the whole deal at the University of Texas Los Angeles Center.

We hope this guide and article have shed light on the topic of film analysis essays and we hope we’ve sparked a flame of inspiration in a lot of you. Don’t forget to check out the EssayPro review on They offer you the chance to get a stellar essay like the one they did for us for “Eyes in the Sky”. Save some time and effort, seriously.

If you’re passionate about movies maybe you can vouch for the big picture and check out the application process at the universities we mentioned. We wish you the best of luck. It’s always good to dream big, just put in the effort as well.

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Film Analysis Example: A Complete Guide to Ace Your Task

Film Analysis Example With Key Steps to Write an A-Grade Paper

Compared to music, painting, literature, and many others, film is a relatively new form of art. The earliest surviving film is believed to be the Roundhay Garden Scene, introduced in 1888, creating an entirely new age of art. And just like any other kind of art, it drew a lot of attention and opinions from the audience. Thus, soon after its release, the first-ever film critique paper was released by The Optical Lantern and Cinematograph Journal in the early 1900s.

Not many know this, but early writing on film aimed to prove that cinematography is an actual art in the first place. One of the most famous manifestations of this proclamation was introduced in 1911 by Ricciotto Canudo, arguing that cinema is the “Sixth Art.”

A lot has changed since that time. As cinematography was expanding, somewhere in the late 1930s, audiences became more influenced by print resources providing criticism and analysis of movies. That’s how film analysis became widespread and even integrated into the academic landscape.

Today, film analysis is a common type of academic assignment facing students of different academic levels and majors. Handling this form of writing is uneasy due to a number of reasons. Most importantly, a movie analysis requires an incredibly deep analysis that goes far beyond a film’s plot.

If you are struggling with this assignment, this guide is here to help you ace it. Read on to learn what a film analysis is and how to write one step by step, and find a winning film analysis example for inspiration.

What Is a Film Analysis?

A film analysis essay requires you to watch and assess a specific movie. The analysis must consider different characteristics of a film, such as its genre, structure, contextual meaning, sound, editing, etc. The paper is typically presented in the form of a rhetorical analysis. Logic and strong argumentation with examples are the keys to success in this type of work.

Writing a Movie Analysis Essay

Writing a film analysis requires you to watch a movie and evaluate different parts of it that create a complete piece. This involves delving into such specs as lighting, camera angles, setting, costumes, and other choices.

A simple way to handle this task is to find a professional writer and ask them to write my essay . However, if you want to ace it yourself, the first step is watching a movie.

how to write a good film essay

Watching the Film

For everyone wondering how to start a film analysis essay, the answer is pretty simple — by watching a movie that you are going to analyze. Later in this guide, we will give you a complete film analysis example based on the Waltz with Bashir film. But first, let’s start with a few tips on how to watch a movie effectively before you can start writing your analysis.

When writing a film analysis, you will need to watch a film multiple times.

Here are some key tips to watch it critically:

  • Give it your undivided attention when watching for the first time;
  • When watching a movie for the second time, focus on its different aspects, such as dialogue, acting, etc.;
  • Take notes with timestamps on the most important moments that you notice;
  • Consider watching a film on mute to evaluate the visual part.

When making an analysis of such a complex documentary piece like Waltz with Bashir the movie, you should consider watching it more than three times to make more observations.

Brainstorming Ideas

After watching your film multiple times and collecting your notes, you need to define what exactly you will be writing in your paper. Before you do this, it could be a good idea to check a good film analysis example (or a few) to understand what the final piece should look like and gain some inspiration. After this, you need to consider different aspects of a movie to understand what to include in your paper.

Here are a few ideas of what you could consider:

  • Genre — Define what’s the genre of a film and what elements confirm that it belongs to that genre;
  • Cinematography — Study and evaluate the visual part of a film, such as settings, colors, camera angles, and other visual elements that create the atmosphere of a film;
  • Characters — Analyze and assess characters, their development, conflicts, motivations, etc. And define how they contribute to the narrative.

Some other things that you can consider include symbolism and themes, narrative structure, social and cultural impact, directorial style, etc.

Of course, analyzing all these aspects on your own can be a challenge. Luckily, if it gets too tough, you can always find professionals on EssayService to satisfy your request.

Film Analysis Essay Types

There are several different ways to approach a movie analysis essay. Respectively, there are several types of this paper.

In this part of our guide, we are going to tell you about the most common types of film analysis to help you find an approach that perfectly aligns with your vision and task requirements.

film analysis essay types

Cultural/Historical Analysis

As the name suggests, this type of work focuses on analyzing a film from a historical or cultural point of view. It assesses how a movie reflects or comments on the period in which it was produced and what cultural (as well as social or political) impact it made during that time.

Semiotic Analysis

This type of analysis focuses on deeper, hidden meanings of the symbols in a film. Typically, movies contain a variety of different symbols. Moreover, some directors tend to use certain symbols repeatedly as their signature thing. Finding and analyzing these symbols requires exceptional attention to detail, but it can be a great way to approach the task.

Mise-en-Scene Analysis

In French, “mise-en-scene” means “setting the stage.” This type of film analysis essay analyzes all distinctive features of a movie, including the set design, lighting, audiovisual elements, etc. Your goal, in this case, is to define the main distinctive features and explain how they complement a movie — for example, lighting creates a certain mood, music evokes a certain emotion, etc.

Narrative Analysis

This type of analysis focuses on the narrative. It evaluates a movie’s plot, themes, and motives. If you choose it, you need to identify the three primary elements of narration — setup, confrontation, and resolution and assess how well a film discloses them. Also, this type of paper can include character analysis.

How to Write a Film Analysis Step-by-Step

If you were assigned to write a film analysis and are struggling with this task, the first step to solving this problem is creating a step-by-step plan of action. In this part of our guide, we are going to give you a plan that you can rely on in this situation.

As you should already know, the academic writing process consists of multiple stages. The same is true for writing an analysis essay. Here are the steps for tackling this task:

how to write a film analysis

  • Making a detailed outline;
  • Coming up with a thesis statement;
  • Writing an introduction;
  • Writing body paragraphs;
  • Writing a logical conclusion.

Now, let’s look at each of these steps in detail to help you get started.

Step 1: Writing a Film Analysis Outline

Writing an outline is the first step after actually watching a movie you are going to analyze.

Before writing an outline, be sure to study the instructions provided by your professor. Pay attention to the assignment requirements, such as word count, and keep them in mind while making an outline.

Once you are clear on the instructions, start making an outline. Use the notes you already have and organize them into logical paragraphs. Note down the core things that you want to include in your paper in your outline. Get as detailed as possible.

Step 2: Formulating a Film Analysis Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is a crucial element of your paper. It must be clear, straight to the point, and logical in order to capture the reader’s attention.

In a thesis, you need to outline the core idea of your analysis and prompt the reader on what you are going to discuss in your paper. To write it, focus on three core points:

  • Film expectations;
  • Author’s point of view;
  • Your own opinion about a film.

Based on these points, formulate a concise statement that reveals the central idea of your analysis.

Step 3: Writing a Film Analysis Introduction

An introductory paragraph performs several roles — it grabs the reader’s attention and informs them about a film.

How to write a film analysis introduction? Typically, you want to start an intro with a hook. It can be a quote, rhetorical question, shocking fact, or any other trick that will get your readers interested.

Next, after a hook, you should provide general background info, such as a movie title, director, release date, cast, and so on.

After providing a general background, dive deeper. Explore the specific features of a film and provide valuable insights to spark readers’ interest. Then, state your thesis.

Step 4: Writing Body Paragraphs

The body is the biggest part of your paper, where you are going to break down a movie into its different features and elements, analyzing each of them. Typically, first, you’ll want to analyze every creative element separately and then make a comprehensive analysis of all of them.

What film features should you focus on? Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all film analysis example or structure that you must follow. Every movie consists of a variety of creative elements that you can use for your analysis. And you will need to pick the features that you find the most significant.

Namely, you can consider writing about:

  • Directing manner — Analyze what tools and patterns the director used and how they are different (or similar) to their other works;
  • Scenario — Analyze the script and how it complements the overall atmosphere of a movie. Also, assess the script clarity, novelty, narrative, etc.
  • Characters and acting — Evaluate how characters are presented in a film, how they change, and how good the acting is.
  • Sound and visual — Analyze music, visual effects, settings, costumes, and other features of a movie.

While assessing all these features in your paper, don’t forget to add logical transitions between them. And if you are still hesitating about whether you can handle the task, hire a professional writer to ace it with no effort. 

Step 5: Writing a Killer Conclusion

Once the rest of your paper is ready, it’s time to give it a sense of closure with a good conclusion. A conclusion should not make any new statements or provide additional information. Instead, it should finalize everything you’ve discussed in your essay and logically link back to your thesis statement. And there should be a logical transition to the conclusion from your body paragraphs.

Crafting a conclusion is the final stage of the writing process. So, now that you have a step-by-step plan of action, let’s see how to write a solid movie analysis essay based on a real example.

Top 15 Film Analysis Essay Topics

The choice of a topic is nearly 50% of success in film essay writing. So before we give you an actual film analysis example, let us give you some good topic ideas that can inspire you to write your own paper:

  • The potential hazards of artificial intelligence discussed in Ex Machina .
  • How the traumatic disorder of the protagonist is treated in Waltz with Bashir .
  • The power of dialog in The Silence of the Lambs .
  • Analysis of the moral dilemma in Gone Baby Gone .
  • The themes of war in Waltz with Bashir the movie.
  • How the directing manner was changing in Harry Potter movies.
  • Characters’ analysis in Marvel’s The Avengers film.
  • Analysis of the significance of visual elements in A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick.
  • Analysis and interpretation of hidden symbolism in The Wizard of Oz (1939).
  • What is the primary message in the film Juno ?
  • Themes and symbols in the Interstellar movie.
  • Explore the problem of toxic relationships in Sleeping With the Enemy .
  • Analysis of Tim Burton’s directing patterns in Sleepy Hollow .
  • Valuable lessons provided in the Pride and Prejudice film (2005).
  • The themes of fathers and sons’ relationships in The Pursuit of Happiness.

Film Analysis Example

Now that you know the steps to writing a movie analysis, let us give you some inspiration for your paper. Below is a film analysis example based on Waltz with Bashir the movie.

The purpose of documentary movies is to document real life, whereas the purpose of animated movies is to create life. Somehow, the film Waltz with Bashir managed to combine these two genres to deliver a powerful message. The film is a 2008 animated war docudrama by Ari Folman that unfolds the events of the 1982 Lebanon War. What tools did Folman use to convey his message? And did he manage to resonate with the audience?

The film maintains a simple story. The protagonist is the filmmaker who sets off on a journey to regain his lost memories of the experience of being a soldier during the war. The character collects interviews from different participants of past events, and gradually, these interviews connect the dots and build up the complete story.

One of the brightest features of Waltz with Bashir is its animation and directing techniques. The main trick is the use of hyperreal rotoscope animation techniques similar to those we’ve seen made by Richard Linklater. Live-action footage has been transformed into a bizarre dreamscape that’s somewhere between two and three dimensions.

Aside from a powerful plot and animation, Waltz with Bashir delivers its extratextual, rhetorical-heavy atmosphere with the help of its soundtrack. The movie leverages an instrumental score by Max Richter, recognizable pop songs, covers, and original ballads. The film employs audio elements to pull the reader right into the action of the scenes.

Together, a simple yet powerful plot, unique directing techniques, and hard-hitting music helped the film deliver all the terror of the war to the audience. At the same time, according to Waltz with Bashir film reviews, the director managed to emphasize the important topics of morality — “One man’s personal experience with the 1982 invasion of Lebanon becomes a stimulating and provocative meditation on responsibility and morality…”

How to write a film analysis essay like a pro?

A good film analysis essay offers readers a 360-degree view of a film. It should go deeper than just your opinion on a movie. Instead, it should help readers look at it from different angles.

Ideally, your essay should answer several core questions:

  • What is the key goal of the movie? Was it achieved?
  • Does it speak effectively to its target audience?
  • What primary conflicts are there?
  • What important topics does it raise?

What is the main purpose of writing a film analysis?

Movies do much more than just tell a story. They raise different important topics, teach audiences valuable lessons, provoke certain feelings, and bring an important message. To achieve all these goals, a big team of people makes certain choices related to the script, settings, directing manners, and other features of a film.

A film analysis essay strives to critique and analyze a movie from various angles. It aims to extract other value from a film, except for entertainment and leisure.

A film analysis essay is a common type of assignment in schools and colleges. Despite its commonness, this task turns out to be a real challenge for many students.

There are many challenges that you might face while working on this task. First and foremost, it requires a very in-depth analysis and critical assessment of different creative features of a film, which is hard to do on your own.

Luckily, after reading this guide, you know exactly how to write a film analysis like a pro. Use the steps, tips, and tricks from this article to write your own A-grade film analysis. And don’t hesitate to use our movie analysis example for inspiration. Good luck!

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    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.

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    ️ 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. 1.

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    Writing a good film analysis essay is a technical process that requires students to grasp and demonstrate certain qualities. Ideally, one should know how to produce a high-standard paper, including adequate preparation, stage setup, creating an initial draft, and perfecting a final draft. These details summarize the steps of writing a great ...

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    The Conclusion: Tying it All Together. Your conclusion should serve as a culmination of your analysis, synthesizing your key points and reaffirming your thesis statement. Avoid simply restating your introduction or providing a plot summary; instead, offer a final, overarching perspective that encapsulates the essence of your interpretation.

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    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.

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    1. Take notes. The first step is to take notes while watching the movie. It will help you remember important details that you can use in your essay. For example, you can write down the names of the main characters, the setting of the story, and the most important events. It may seem frivolous, but you won't make a good impression if you ...

  9. Resources

    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.)

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    It may surprise you to note that it is much more than 35% of your grade. In actuality, the most common form of the cinematic critical essay is one in which the writer explores one or more aspects of a film and analyzes how they enhance the film's meaning and/or artistry. This is very similar to English analysis papers.

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    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.

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    How to Write a Film Analysis Essay. By Timothy Sexton. Strengthen the authority of your essay through familiarity with movie-making jargon. 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 ...

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    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: The first sentence is the so-called lead sentence.

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    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.

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    Immerse yourself in the film. To pen an insightful analysis essay on a film, immerse yourself in the movie you intend to explore. Watch the film attentively, allowing the scenes and dialogues to resonate with you deeply. Lastly, take notes as you watch to ensure you have all the captivating moments on paper. Choose an area of focus.

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    The choice of a topic is nearly 50% of success in film essay writing. So before we give you an actual film analysis example, let us give you some good topic ideas that can inspire you to write your own paper: ... A good film analysis essay offers readers a 360-degree view of a film. It should go deeper than just your opinion on a movie. Instead ...

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    To write a proper movie review make sure the section contains the following points: Analysis of the main actors, how they perform, and what they bring (or maybe their fail to) to the movie; Consider the formal techniques like lighting or set and assess how well all of them were utilized; Check out the costumes and analyze if they fit the time ...

  23. How to Write a Movie Review: 5 Tips for Writing Movie Reviews

    Level Up Your Team. See why leading organizations rely on MasterClass for learning & development. Whether it's for pleasure or a job assignment, writing a good movie review can be a useful exercise that allows you to explore your personal connection to a film. If you've recently watched a film and want to share your opinions about it, there ...