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Lesson 7: Task: Write a film review
This is the lesson where you put everything together. We want you to write a review of a film.
Writing a Film Review
This is the lesson where you put everything together. We want you to write a review of a film. You will see two examples of film reviews which you can use to help you write your own review. When you’ve finished your review, post it in the comments section and read other participants reviews and tell them what you think. In lesson one we looked at film vocabulary, in lesson three we gave you some advice about using film to improve your English and gave two short reviews of films about football, in lesson four we focussed on the passive which is a common form to use when writing about films, and in lesson six we showed you some websites where you can read lots of film reviews. While you are writing your review, you can go back to these lessons for some help.
What should I include in my film review?
It's up to you! Here is a list of some common things that you see in film reviews. Have a look at the Bend It Like Beckham film review and match the five colours to the things in this list. Is there anything extra included in the review? Is there anything missing?
- The film's title.
- An eye-catching heading.
- The genre (type of film).
- The audience. Who is the film for?
- The director, main actors, when it was made, has it won any awards?
- The plot. A brief summary that doesn't mention the ending!
- Your opinion.
- Your evaluation.
Film Review 1
Bend it like beckham – brilliant and funny.
How can I describe Bend It Like Beckham? If I had to choose a genre, I would say it’s a romantic comedy-drama sports film!
The film was made in 2002 and directed by Gurinder Chandha who is well-known for films which explore the lives of Indians living in the UK.
The film is set in London and stars Jess (Parminder Naghra) , who is an 18-year-old girl with Indian parents. One of the main storylines is the tension between Jess, who loves football, and her parents, who don’t allow her to play. Jess’s friend and teammate, Jules, who is played by Keira Knightly (Pirates of the Caribbean) encourages Jess to play despite her parent's wishes.
The film deals with serious social problems such as sexism and racism, but the film is very funny at the same time! The acting is very good and of course, there is a happy ending! Oh, and David Beckham is in the movie, but you must wait until the end for that! I would give Bend It Like Beckham four and a half stars out of five and definitely recommend you watch it!
Now, look at the second film review. Is it a good review ? What does it include? Is there anything missing?
Film Review 2
Fever pitch – funny, dramatic and a perfect finish.
I love football and I love films, so Fever Pitch was the perfect movie for me. It tells the story of a school teacher who is mad about his football club – Arsenal! The film was made in 1997 and is based on a best-selling book of the same name. The film has also been remade for American audiences based on baseball.
The main role is played by Colin Firth (Paul) one of the UK’s most famous actors. Paul falls in love with a new teacher (Sally) at his school during the 1989/90 football season, one of the most important seasons in Arsenal’s history. The plot follows the ups and downs of Paul’s romance with Sally and the fortunes of Paul’s football team. But who does he love more? Sally or Arsenal? You’ll have to watch the film to find out!
There are strong performances by Colin Firth and Ruth Gemmell (Sally) in this romantic comedy-drama. If you are a football fan you will love this film, but it definitely has a wider appeal, too! I will give it five-stars and not just because I’m an Arsenal fan!
Write a film review
Write a film review in the comments section below.
Write about a film you enjoyed or a film that you didn't like. It could be a recent film or a film that you watched a long time ago.
The film doesn't have to be about football.
Reply to other learners and tell them if you have seen the film. Did you like it? Do you agree with their opinions?
When you have finished, mark the page complete on the side of this page and go to the end of week quiz!
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The other side of the door-thriller
the other side of the door is a horror movie that was made in 2016-the stars is Sarah Wayne and Jeremy Sisto and it is directed by Johannes Roberts the movie is set in India and it tells the story of maria whose her son died in an accident and she blame herself because she is the one who caused this accident and therefore she is doing a spell ritual to bring her son back to life Or feel his presence which causes harm to her and her family
I love this film because the plot was interesting as it means don't try to life in past and accept the situation you are in trying to adapt.
That isn't a just horror movie but actually it is a movie Know the consequences of what you do so if you are fan of wisdom movie ,I recommend this movie to you, I give it four star of five Don't miss it .
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El Ruby House
El Ruby House is a comedy-drama Movie that was made in 2023. the stars are Kareem abdelaziz and Nour, and directed by Peter Mimi.
The movie is set in Boston and it tells the story of private family event gets leaked on social media, Ibrahim Al Ruby decides to live in a village with his wife and children, far from people and the pressure of modern life. After his younger brother, Ihab, convinces Ibrahim to go back to the city for some important paperwork, the family embarks on a trip full of surprises that is bound to change the lives of the "Rubies".
The film deals with serious social problems, but the film is very funny at the same time! The acting is very good and of course, there is a happy ending!, I love this movie because the plot was interesting. I am also a big fan of Kareem abdelaziz
I would give It four and a half stars out of five and definitely recommend you watch it!
Assel Aswad dramatic - comedian Aseel Aswad is a drama - comdey film. The film was made in 2010 . it tells the story of an Egyptian person (masry) he was live in America along his life .then came back home(Egypt).he surprised about deferent between the life in America VS Egypt. he discovered that deference when he dose some files in government interests school transportation . The main role is played by Ahmed Hilmy(masry) one of Egyptian famous actors share with Anaam Salosa ' Edward 'Lotfy Labib ' Emy Samir ghanim. The film directed by KHaled maray. I would give Asel Aswad four stars out of five and definitely recommend you watch it!
Hatchi: a dog's tale It's a drama film The film was made in 2009 and directed by ( lasse hallstrom ) and the stars are (Richard Gere ) ,( Jason Alexander) and ( Joan Allen) The story is based on Barker who works as a professor and he goes to the university by the train And one day he found a little dog at the train station, he took it home with him and called it ( hatchi ) Then ( hatchi) grown up and it's attachment to the professor ( Barker ) increased, the dog used to drive the professor every day to the train station and wait until his return The dog was very popular with the people at the train station And on day the professor didn't come back to take ( hatchi) home with him So what's happened to the professor and hatchi ?!! Watch the film to know the end This is one of my favorites movies Definitely recommend you to watch it ❤️
Pride and prejudice It's a romance and drama film. It's directed by (Joe Wright) in 2005 the story is based on (Jane Austin's) novel. The film is set in United States . the stars Mr.Darcy (Matthew Macfady) and his best friend Bingley( Simon Woods) Jane (Rosamund Pike), Elizabeth (Keira Knightley),Mary (Talulah Riley),Kitty (Carey Mulligan)and Lydia Bennet (Jena Malone) . The story tells about Mr and Mrs Bennetts five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr . Darcy and his best friend Mr . Bingley have moved into their neighborhood. While Mr . Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter Elizabeth ,Jane and Darcy has difficulty adapting to local society and repeatedly. You must wait until the end to know what will happen! I like Pride and prejudice and I would like to give Pride and prejudice eight and half stars out of ten and definitely recommend you to watch it ♡
Work it It’s dance comedy film that was made in 2020 . The stars Sabrina carpenter and Liza koshy and Jordan fisher , and it directed by Laura Terruso . The film talk about quinn Ackerman she is a nerd and she want to Join in college duke because was dreaming her like her father because father Quinn joined this college but she can’t because they won’t accept her , she has to do something different, so she will apply to a dance competition and be her team . But my favorite character is jake Taylor in this film . Watching a jake Taylor dance is very funny and fantastic. I recommend this film to watch it who wants to laugh and exciting watch this film , so go to see it with your friends. I give jake Taylor 5 stars because he deserve this 5 stars . Don’t miss it.
I agree with you ♡
John Wick 3. It is an action film directed by Chad Stahelski and the cast includes Keonu Reeves and Scott ADKINS SET IN 2023. The plot is about Johnwick taking his fight against the high table global as he seeks out the most powerful players in the underworld. The performance of the cast was thrilling and keeps the audience on the edge of their seats from the beginning to the end. I would give it a four rating and strongly recommend others to watch it.
John Wick 4. It is an action film directed by Chad Stahelski and the cast includes Keonu Reeves and Scott ADKINS SET IN 2023. The plot is about Johnwick taking his fight against the high table global as he seeks out the most powerful players in the underworld. The performance of the cast was thrilling and keeps the audience on the edge of their seats from the beginning to the end. I would give it a four rating and strongly recommend others to watch it.
I would like to give a film review about 'Titanic.' It was written, directed and also produced by James Cameron. It is a genre of romance and drama. The film was made in 1997. It's about two characters falling in love during a voyage. The plot was remarkable and brilliant. It was first-rate and I would give it five stars and also strongly recommend those who missed this film to watch it.
I love the Long Shadow movie, an animated series, a comic series about the story of an orphan girl named Judy Abbott, who got a scholarship to Lincoln High School, by someone she doesn't know named John Smith, Judy called him the Long Shadow Owner, because she had never seen anything but his shadow . Her story contains sad clips, but she overcomes all misfortunes. Her story ends with a happy marriage with the owner of the long shadow.
Django Unchained-Action,romantic and comedy.
Django is a action movie and a one of the best movies have directed and it was made in 2012.The stars are Jamie Foxx (Django),Christoph Waltz (Dr.Schultz) and the infinite Leonardo Dicaprio(Candie) and it is directed by Tarantino.The story tells about Django the slave whose wife was kidnapped by Englishmen then Django try to find his wife with Dr.schultz.So can he find his wife ?
I was interested in this movie because the plot is wonderful and graphics is outstanding and i am a big fan of Dicaprio but my favorite characters in this movie is Dr.s schultz .
I think this movie is not for children because there is blood and screenshots +18. I recommend this movie to adults .I give the movie four stars Don`t miss it.
Enchanted - Real world and the animated world collide I am fond of princesses and fantasy world , so enchanted is my favourite film i would say it's animation adventure comedy family romance film it was made in 2007 at New York City it's related PG for some scary images and mild innuendo. It was produced by Alan menken and stephen schwartz and performed by Amy Adams and james marsden its story line is about the beautiful princess Giselle is banished by evil queen narissa from her magical land shocked by this strange new environment,but when Giselle begins to fall in love with a divorce lawyer, Can a storybook view of romance survive in the real world?. I think it's a great choice for a movie night. I would give it five stars.
Jumanji is an amazing adventure movie and its comedy at the same time that was made in2017. The stars are (dwayne Johnson)and (Karen Gillian) and it’s directed by (Jake Kasdan) while a group of teenagers were in detention at school one of them found a video game which took them inside it and they stuck at that video game until they complete the missions I am in love with this movie because it’s make me laugh and excited to watch the end This movie for children and adults so I recommend it for a family night. I give jumanji five stars
Marvel Age of Ultron Its my favourite film cause i like the gerne and from all marvel films its my favourite. i like the characters and i like the plot and everything that happends in the film
avenger is an amazing action superhero film that is made in 2012 in United Kingdom it is directed by Joss Whedon its cast including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, and Jeremy Renner as the Avengers, alongside Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, and Samuel L. Jackson. i am abig fan of this film and i recommened the all to see this film
Africano Africano is an amazing adventure, comedy movie I have ever seen. It was made in 2001.Ahmed El Sakka and Mona Zaki played the leading role, Hassan Hosny was in it. The movie was directed by Amr Arafa. It was set in South Africa and it tells the story of Badr who workes as a vet. His wish is tragically granted when his uncle who lives in Africa dies and Badr travels to get his inheritance as he meets his cousin Gamila. I love this movie because, the plot was interesting. I am also a big fan of Ahmed El Sakka. Hoever my favourite character in this movie is Gamila . Also the music is fantastic. I highly reccommend this movie, So go see it with your friends. I give it three stars, Do not miss it.
Spider man is my favourite movie
My fav is marvel movies
yes that is a good movies company
World war Z is my favorite movie , It has been my favorite movie since I watched it , it's my favorite movie cause i love zombie movies and every one liked it ; The film was made in 2013 and the director is Marc Forstar He is a German film producer and screenwriter , The film won an Empire award. U.K .The film is set on U.S.A and the star is Brad pett (Gerry Lane), Former United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop a zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatens to destroy humanity itself. it is the best film i had watched it ever I would give it five stars and I recommend everyone to watch it!.
Spiderman no way home It's my favourite superhero and the actor who role the Peter parker is Tom Holland and the other actors played the role very well also i like the genre of this movie it's action. Finally, I think that this movie can watch it teenagers and adults but I don't think youngers can't watch it.
yes its a good one too
Marvels: Endgame is my favorite movie, It has been my favorite movie since 2019, and it has been my favorite because everyone loved Avengers: Endgame, but it’s not just any other superhero flick. It’s actually the best film in the MCU. It’s emotionally resonant. Endgame has a sense of beauty behind all of the action and violence. At the center of the film, it really is a love story. Thor goes back to see his mother before she is murdered by the Dark Elves, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) reconciles with his father, and Steve Rodgers reunites with his wife back in his original time.
The equalizer the equalizer is a realistic action film, where Denzel Washington, plays Robert mccall , the film talks about how robert faked his death in order to live a quiet life, but when he sees a young woman being abused by a Russian gang, he comes out of his retirement to fight crime and reinforce justice, the movie is set in Salisbury, Hamilton, Chelsea, Haverhill, and Boston, Massachusetts and is directed by Antoine fuqua it was released in 2014 has an interesting story, the acting is fantastic, and the special effects are impeccable, to me this movie is perfect, 10/10, i recommend it to everyone, but be warned since it has a lot of violence
end game if you like action movies this movie will be perfect for you the film is talking about the marvel universe Thanos has come to the earth and he wants to take all of the infinity stones and destroy the world then the avengers came to kill him and they make many wars two on earth and one in the space the film was made in 2019 and directed by Anthony Russo The film stars are Robert Downey Jr(iron man) and Chris Evans(Captain America) I would give this film five stars because the film is very Interisting
interstellar 2014 this is an amazing sci-fi movies that was made 2014.Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway & Jessica Chastain. And its director is Christopher Nolan. the movie revolves around the Earth when it becomes uninhabitable in the future, a farmer and ex-NASA pilot, Joseph Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), is tasked to pilot a spacecraft, along with a team of researchers, to find a new planet for humans. I love this movie because the poly is amazing. I'm also a big fan of Christopher Nolan's works. I recommend this movie to everyone I'm sur that you gonna love it, don't miss it
i had to watch it twice to understand the idea
I loved this saga, I saw it many times and today in summer I saw it again and I can't get enough of it. I love the story, the characters and the villains, everything was well done. When I finished the saga for the first time, I did a lot of research on the characters, their lives, relationships etc. I saw a news that they will make a new movie based on Edwar Cullen's point of view, I hope they make it soon.
Mamma Mia! - Who is my father?
If you like musicals and the popular Swedish group ABBA, this is a perfect film for you. Dona is a single woman managing a small family hotel on a little Greek island. Her daughter, Sophie, is getting married and she decides to invite her father to the wedding. The tricky thing is that she doesn‘t know who her father is. The film was made in 2008 and directed by Phyllida Lloyd. It stars Meryl Streep (Donna), Amanda Seyfried (Sophie), Pierce Brosnan (Sam), Colin Firth (Harry) and Stellan Skarsgard (Bill). There is fabulous music, excellent acting and singing and a lot of funny scenes. The plot is funny on one side but there is a serious overtone. I would give Mamma Mia! five stars because I think the film has positive vibes and it is more important than anything else.
Films title: Mission Impossible Fallout is an action movie and is for a person that like action and tension. The Director is Christoper Mcquarrie, the main actors is Tom Cruise,Henry Cavill , Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg and more. The film was made in 2018 and it has won Prizes. My little review is that it is nice, entertaining and it´s so nice to watch. The film is about after a mission After a mission to recover a deadly weapon goes wrong, IMF agent Ethan Hunt and his team are forced to work alongside CIA agent Augustus Walker as they must race against time to continue their assignment. When Lane escapes from prison, Hunt must do whatever it takes to capture him once more.
Hello, I'm at school and have to write answers, I think it's good
So I like what you wrote
I am going to talk about Frozen. I don´t like the most of films but i thinked that i wanted to take one that i hated the most, why i hate it is becuse they sing those bad songs all the time and its just annoying.
The Twilight Saga, a franchise you've probably all heard of. But it is actually that good? Here's what I think:
The movies are based on the book series with the same name, written by Stephenie Meyer. I would describe them as your high school-dream books: you've got the romance, the rivalry, the drama, and an amazing story! What more could you ask for. In the first movie from 2008, we see Bella (Kristen Stweart), Edward (Robert Pattinson), and Jacob (Taylor Lautner) live out their triangle-drama just the way we imagined from the books we already know and love!
If you, like me, love watching a cheesy, teenage drama and would like to fall in love with your new favorite vampire family over and over again - I suggest you watch and/or read the amazing Twilight saga, written by the one and only Stephenie Meyer, brought to life by Melissa Rosenberg.
The Bourne identity is really good action spy movie. The main actor Matt Damon is just perfect for his role. This movie is about a good-looking young man suffering from amnesia, trying to find out his identity. On the beginning we can see a fisherman on a boat spots a body floating … When they got him on board, the body turns out to be alive. The friendly fisherman rescued him, gave him some money to go to Switzerland, because he has a capsule embedded under his skin, contains the code to a Swiss bank account. He was welcome in that country, he took a lot of money despite lacking a name or any form of personal identification. Also, he finds several passports, one saying his name is Bourne. The problem was that he really wanted to know why he was in the sea, and his real name, because he noticed about himself that he is not like everyone else. He speaks several languages, has highly trained power observation and memory, know all the spy tricks and was perfect driver. In a fact he was a special agent, he was hired by special service to kill important political people. When he finds out who he really is, he decided to leave his job, because he was a good person, he did not want to kill anyone anymore. And of course, there was a girl, why helped him a lot and he was in love with her. In the end of that movie, he has found his girl Maria and decided to live with her a simple normal life… far away from his past life. I like that movie a lot it has everything. I would definitely recommend that movie.
The book of life It is an animated film directed by Jorge Gutiérrez with a duration of 95 minutes, released in the United States in 2014. It is a legend-like story of two young men, Manolo and Joaquín, who live in a traditional Mexican town and compete for the love of María. Behind that bet are also two spirits, La Muerte and Xibalba, who will take part for each young person, tipping the balance for one of them to know who will conquer the sweet Maria? From that moment on, a very dizzying adventure begins that takes the viewer into the world of the living and the dead with fantastic colors and definition. It amazes so much level of detail and authenticity. The movie offers unique universes. The Book of Life is an entertaining animated film, suitable for children from the age of seven (more or less), it is a fairly elaborate film, with easy and simple content to digest. For me, the film also has authenticity, it is that although there is a stamp of the producer, it does not go beyond the creativity of the author.
I'm not a big fan of superhero films, but the movie Black Panther really caught my attention. It was directed by Ryan Coogler and it came out on February 16, 2018. The film is about a young man name T'Challa, play by the late Chadwick Boseman, who returns home to the African country of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. But when he's tested by a sudden enemy, Erik Killmonger play by non other than the talented Michael B Jordan, he must resolved this conflict because the fate of Wakanda and the world is at risk. With that said, he must gather an army, the Dora Milaje(adore ones) and the lead Okye (Danai Gurria), his wife to be Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and his brilliant little sister Shuri(Letitia Wright) that must fight with him till the end to defeat their enemy and keep their country safe. Overall the movie was amazing. I like that it appreciated the cultures of blacks in the United States and African cultures. Also the actors and actresses put their heart, soul, mind and body into each of their roles. Last but not least, the customs changes and effects was flawless.
Film title "Eddie the Eagle" Directed by Dexter Fletcher.This movie based on real life of British first ski-jumper Eddie Edwards. Film gives us an idea about the power of encouragement, dedication and passion. All the person should have a target and must try to pass barriers.Then "the light will appear at the end of the tunnel" In my opinion this movie must be watched by all the students who at the beggining of their life journey. Don't give up and try and try again. This is motto of this film.
I learnt about the genre of film. props that characters use to make the movie realistic.
Five feet apart Romance This film is a 2019,directed be Justin Baldony.The stars are Cole Sprouse,Geyly Lu Richardson,Emily Baldony. The movie tells about girl Stella,who was sick on cystic fibrosis.She met a guy Will.He was also ill.But they weren’t allowed to approach each other’s,because they could infecting deadly viruses. But they didn’t heed all the bons... This film is very interesting and exciting. I highly recommend watching this movie to everyone.This story won’t leave anyone indifferent.
The Theory of Everything Drama/melodrama/biography, 2014 This film directed by James Marsh. The stars are Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones. This movie is based on a book. This is the story of the life of the famous physicist Stephen Hoging. Stephen goes to university, where he meets Jane. She became his wife in the future. Then, he learns of his incurable illness. His friends and wife support him. Man tries to fight. They are born children and all are happy in the family. But his health is deteriorating. Stephen makes great discoveries in physics. He becomes known worldwide. This film is very moving and romantic. The most touches is the love of Steven and Jane. I recomend this film everyone because it's very interesting and good. It has strong points.
my favourite film is THE DARK KNIGHT i think is action and drama and crime, itis the most brilliant movie made by nolan, it was awsom movie, full of shoking seens.
My favourite film in recent year is " The Greatest Showman" .It is a musical film and was directed by Michael Gracey in 2017. The film has a lot of star who portray in like Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, ... The film tells the story about Barnum, a poor man but he still had a dream to become a star in stage . He has a girlfriend call Charity ,a wealthy lady but always love Barnum. The life become harder when Barnum's farther died, the couple decides to escape to New york. In Ny by the juggle he became very rich. Not latter ,Barnum establish " Barnum museum," where he concentrate mutants or people at the bottom of society to make a largest show in the world and avenge who libelled he ago. the end. I like this film very much because it teaches me that every dream will come true if you have enough courage, passion and strong will. Hope you enjoy that film.
Skills: Writing a film review
Non-fiction text types - AQA Review
Non-fiction texts come in many types, and have many different purposes. They surround us in everyday life but can also come in more sophisticated forms.
A review gives an opinion about anything from a restaurant to a concert.
The most common types of review are film and book reviews, but people also review music, television programmes, theatre performances and computer games.
Critics close critic Someone who reviews books, film or music professionally. often write reviews for a living. They are knowledgeable on certain topics, eg films or music. We trust their judgement and may decide to read a book or watch a film because they persuade us to do so.
All reviews share a number of different purposes. For example, a film review needs:
- to inform - the review needs to tell people who is in the film, who it is by and where or when readers can see it
- to describe - the review should describe the story, characters and some of the action - without spoiling the plot or giving too much away
- to entertain - to provide the reader with their opinion in a way that readers will enjoy, eg with a lively or witty tone
- to analyse - a good review weighs up whether the film is good or not, giving opinions backed up with reasons and evidence
- to advise - the review should recommend to the reader whether or not they should go to see the film
The audience of a review varies - this depends on where it is published.
The audience might be specific or general. For example, a specialist computer games magazine will assume their readers have a major interest in gaming and an understanding of specialist terminology close terminology A group of specialised words relating to a particular subject. , such as spawning and simulator . However, a review of a game in a national newspaper, with a much wider audience, would need to simplify the language or explain the terms.
Reviews of popular new books and films aim to reach nationwide audiences - but a local newspaper will review a performance at their own theatre, aimed at local readers.
This is a review of the film The Golden Compass .
A review of a children’s film is probably aimed at parents, who will want to know whether to take their children to see it.
The Golden Compass
Reviewed by Stella Papamichael
Free will is the object of the game in The Golden Compass , a big budget exercise in orienteering where witches and polar bears point the way to enlightenment. You'll have to look between the CG seams to find the original intent of Philip Pullman's atheistic novel, but this isn't the overriding problem. It's that writer/director Chris Weitz doesn't convey a strong enough sense of purpose.
Thank goodness for the star presence of Dakota Blue Richards. She is thoroughly engaging as Lyra, a young girl singled out in prophecy as 'the one' to save all others from some awful yet indeterminate fate. It all sounds a bit messianic really, except that organised religion, represented by The Magisterium, is a force for evil. Nicole Kidman does the ominous eyebrow lifting as a guardian of the establishment who kidnaps children to wrest them from their 'daemons' (the animal sidekicks who embody their better judgment). Among the abductees is Lyra's best friend, and so begins the voyage north to find him.
Many questions raised
Daniel Craig has little to do as Lyra's scientifically minded uncle except hint at potential sequels. The draw is in a simple story of friendship and Lyra's journey of self-discovery. The line-up of curious characters she meets along the way helps to lighten Pullman's otherwise dark material. Sam Elliot is wryly amusing as a cowboy aeronaut and the spectacle of Lyra being carried across the arctic wastelands on the back of a polar bear (voiced by Ian McKellen) will appeal to the child in everyone. Towards the end, some impressively realised battle scenes up the excitement. Disappointingly though, all this magic and mystery fails to lead to any grand unveiling. There are just too many questions raised and not enough answered. Approach this not as a lesson in the facts of life, just a bit of childish escapism.
The Golden Compass is out in the UK on 5 December.
How has the writer structured the text to interest the reader?
- The review opens with a focus on the fantasy characters and genre of the film, engaging readers with the idea of the film pointing you “to enlightenment” – a journey of discovery.
- The opening paragraph ends with a short statement summing up the critic’s conclusion that it “doesn’t convey a strong enough sense of purpose”. This raises the question - why not?
- The focus shifts to the actors and Richards’ “star presence” – this balances the good and bad points. Finishing the paragraph with “the voyage north” continues the sense of a journey.
- The subheading “Many Questions Raised” is repeated in the final paragraph and highlights the critic’s conclusion that there are “not enough answered”.
- She balances this with positives – “will appeal to the child in everyone” and “childish escapism” – leaving the reader to decide for themselves whether they want to see it.
- The review concludes with the key dates. This informs the reader when they can see it.
How does the writer use language to influence the reader?
- The critic begins with a pun close pun A form of wordplay where a word suggests two or more meanings. on the film’s ‘compass’ title, describing it as “a big budget exercise in orienteering” – implying that a lot of money has been spent producing a simple “find your way” story.
- A disappointed tone states that you “have to look between the CG seams” to find the “intent” of Pullman’s novel – as if the focus on special effects means the message of the story has been lost.
- Positive language choices, eg “star presence” and “engaging” are more upbeat as the review appreciates the acting.
- Humour is used to entertain the reader – “Kidman does the ominous eyebrow lifting” – the caricature close caricature An exaggerated characterisation of someone. A stereotype or archetype could be a caricature. Often used to mock or satirise a type of person. of the villain is amusing rather than frightening. This is more appealing to children.
- The contrasting adverbs – “ impressively realised battle scenes” and “ disappointingly …fails to lead to any grand unveiling” - captures the feeling of anticlimax the writer experienced when watching the film. A direct statement reinforces this – “too many questions” and “not enough answered”.
- Describing the film as “childish escapism” suggests that it can still be enjoyed if we don’t expect too much from it. “Escapism” implies a light relief from reality - for both adults and children.
More guides on this topic
- Purpose and audience - AQA
- Language and structure - AQA
- Responding to a non-fiction text - AQA
- Sample exam question and answer - AQA
- Personalise your Bitesize!
- Jobs that use English
- BBC Young Writer's Award
- BBC News: School Report
- BBC Writersroom
- Pearson Education
- Fast Past Papers
- TES: English resources Subscription
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Writing a Movie Review: Teaching Tips and Lesson Ideas
To me, there’s nothing more enjoyable as a middle school teacher than blending films into English language arts classes. I’m a real movie lover, and I find that a good film-based activity is the perfect way to engage students in work on essential ELA skills in the last few weeks of school.
Thanks to Netflix, Disney+, and other streaming services, our students have more access to films than people at any other time in history! But I’ve noticed that even with so much exposure to movies, students need quite a lot of guidance to view films critically and with intention.
This is why I find an end-of-year film review project to be so useful in the ELA classroom. Most students are natural movie reviewers already. They always come in on Monday mornings buzzing about the movies they saw over the weekend!
With this in mind, I like to tap into their natural instincts to share what they love, and help them learn the step-by-step organizational skills for writing a film review in the process. Here’s how this looks in the classroom:
1. Show Students Film Review Examples
To begin, I like to lead a brief whole-class discussion where we chat about the difference between getting a recommendation from a friend and reading a professional movie review . During this discussion, I point out that there are some specific things that a movie reviewer considers, including cinematography, actors, lighting, and sound.
Once students have the basic idea, I like to show them several examples of film reviews in different formats. If your school receives a newspaper subscription, you could collect and save film reviews to share with your class. Or, you may prefer a more modern approach and search online! Written film reviews tend to follow a similar structure and provide students with a good understanding of what they need to include.
Because most students also enjoy video content, we spend time looking at YouTube reviews as well. I might be dating myself, but I like to show old clips of Siskel and Ebert, the famous “two thumbs up” reviewers from the ‘80s and ‘90s! What I especially enjoy about their style is that they don’t always agree, but their reviews are still effective and engaging.
2. Know Your Audience
As we wrap up this lesson, I ask students to consider the audience of each review. For example, is the review aimed at children, adults, or even a teen magazine? The target audience affects not only tone and style, but also impacts the focus of the review. For example, a teen magazine review might focus on the famous actors of the film. By contrast, a special effects magazine might provide insight into a particular element of the filmmaking process.
3. Teach How to Watch the Film
The next step is to teach students how to watch a film with purpose, rather than simply for pleasure! In an ideal situation, I recommend watching a film twice. The first time is to get an overall understanding of the plot, and then to consider the choices the director and actors made in creating the film.
In the classroom, I like to pause the film frequently and let my students jot down notes. While they are watching, I remind them to consider each scene with an observant eye. I ask:
- What does the director choose to show (or not show)?
- How do the actors convey emotion, depth, and intention through their movements, as well as their words?
4. Provide Common Vocabulary
As part of a film study, it’s important for students to be able to speak the “language” of movie making. After viewing the movie, I like to take some time to outline some key terms to help students write their reviews.
Words like blockbuster, avant-garde, disjointed, or uninspired can help elevate movie reviews in ELA from “friendly recommendations” to “review quality.” I find a printable list of useful writing terms is especially helpful. This is especially true if you want to avoid the “It was a good movie,” trap!
5. Provide An Organizational Framework
When it comes to actually writing the review, I like to be quite specific in my instructions, breaking down the review into specific paragraphs .
For example, introductory paragraphs should start by engaging the reader with a strong opinion, thought-provoking statement, or even a quote to act as a “hook.” I like to remind students that the purpose of this paragraph is also to share some basic information about the film. This should include title, director, genre, and setting, as well as a brief plot overview. No spoilers, please!
Next, I have students plot out their paragraph about the main characters of the movie. I like to begin this process by having them reflect on the portrayal of the characters, and whether the actors are well-suited for their roles. As they evaluate the performances, middle school ELA students can support their opinions using evidence and examples from the film.
Because film techniques can vary so much from movie to movie, I like to give quite a lot of freedom in the next paragraph. I ask students to consider the following film techniques and choose one to focus on in detail:
- Camera work
- Sound effects
After they have evaluated film techniques, it’s time for students to flex their ELA muscles and reflect on the overall theme of the movie. In their fourth paragraph, I ask them to consider how the director uses filming techniques, set design, characters, conflict, or other elements to express or develop this theme. I like to guide this paragraph by asking questions like:
- Has the theme been developed effectively?
- Does it have an impact on the viewer, a specific community, or the world?
Finally, it’s time to wrap up the review! In this final paragraph, students need to give the film a rating in whatever “system” they choose. Popular choices in my classroom include thumbs up, stars, or even popcorn kernels on a scale of one to five! As they justify their rating and provide their personal opinions, I also encourage the class to consider what type of person would enjoy the movie.
6. Give Prompting Questions
In my experience, prompting questions help students focus on key things to include in their ELA movie review. I like to remind my students that graphic organizers are a tool for working through their ideas. They don’t need to be filled out in complete sentences, but they provide a useful framework for structuring their review.
7. Make time For Peer Feedback & Editing
While students always resist the peer feedback and editing stage of the writing process, it really makes a difference in their overall quality of work.
Before they finalize their review, I have students work with a peer for a closer look at the grammatical and structural elements of their movie review. One way to do this is to follow the “three stars and a wish” format. In this activity, each student has to identify three positive things about the writing and one “wish” – an area of improvement.
Alternatively, if you have an established peer editing process in your classroom, this is a great opportunity to use it!
8. Provide Options for Presentation
Now for the fun part – the presentation of the movie review! I believe that students do their best work when they can express choice and voice in their finished product.
Movie reviews can be shared in a lot of different ways (in the ELA classroom and in real life!). First, I have students select whether they want to share their completed review as a newspaper article, blog post, podcast, pre-recorded video, or even a live presentation in class.
If you’re tight on time, one trick I love is to put students in small groups (I find four works well) and present their reviews to each other. This alternative to whole-class presentations frees me up to circulate among the different groups. You’d be surprised at how much you can see and hear while doing this! At the end of each presentation, I like to have students grade each other using a common rubric. The presenters can self-assess their work as well!
There you have it! I hope you have a blast bringing a movie review assignment into your middle school ELA classroom. Three cheers to the end of the year!
Looking to integrate more videos into your ELA classroom? Check out my suggestions for 7 Ways to Bring Videos Into Secondary ELA .
Wrapping up your year? My 9 Creative Ideas for Student Awards celebrate every student in your class!
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This lesson is for teenagers or young adults with a language level of A2-B2 and focuses on discussing and writing film reviews.
In this lesson learners will revise some film review vocabulary through pair-work discussions. They they will write their own film review after analysing a model. Then they will read each other’s reviews and have a class vote about which film looks most interesting.
Topic : Films
- To encourage students to join in a discussion
- To develop students’ writing skills
- To train learners to spend time planning before they write.
Age group : Teenagers and young adults
Level : A2 - B2
Time : 60 minutes +
- Teacher's notes
- Film review worksheet
The plan and worksheet are downloadable in pdf format - right click on the attachment and save it on your computer. Copyright - please read All the materials on these pages are free for you to download and copy for educational use only. You may not redistribute, sell or place these materials on any other web site without written permission from the BBC and British Council. If you have any questions about the use of these materials please email us at: [email protected]
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How to Write a Movie Review
Last Updated: October 13, 2023 Fact Checked
wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 177 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 5,438,069 times. Learn more...
Whether a movie is a rotten tomato or a brilliant work of art, if people are watching it, it's worth critiquing. A decent movie review should entertain, persuade and inform, providing an original opinion without giving away too much of the plot. A great movie review can be a work of art in its own right. Read on to learn how to analyze a movie like a professional film critic, come up with an interesting thesis, and write a review as entertaining as your source material.
Sample Movie Reviews
Writing an Intro for a Movie Review
- Comparison to Relevant Event or Movie: "Every day, our leaders, politicians, and pundits call for "revenge"– against terrorist groups, against international rivals, against other political parties. But few of them understand the cold, destructive, and ultimately hollow thrill of revenge as well as the characters of Blue Ruin. "
- Review in a nutshell: "Despite a compelling lead performance by Tom Hanks and a great soundtrack, Forrest Gump never gets out of the shadow of its weak plot and questionable premise."
- Context or Background Information: " Boyhood might be the first movie made where knowing how it was produced–slowly, over 12 years, with the same actors–is just as crucial as the movie itself."
- Using stars, a score out of 10 or 100, or the simple thumbs-up and thumbs-down is a quick way to give your thoughts. You then write about why you chose that rating.
- Great Movie: ABC is the rare movie that succeeds on almost every level, where each character, scene, costume, and joke firing on all cylinders to make a film worth repeated viewings."
- Bad Movie: "It doesn't matter how much you enjoy kung-fu and karate films: with 47 Ronin, you're better off saving your money, your popcorn, and time."
- Okay Movie: "I loved the wildly uneven Interstellar far more than I should have, but that doesn't mean it is perfect. Ultimately, the utter awe and spectacle of space swept me through the admittedly heavy-handed plotting and dialogue."
- Great: "Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer's chemistry would carry Fruitvale Station even if the script wasn't as good. The mid-movie prison scene in particular, where the camera never leaves their faces, shows how much they can convey with nothing but their eyelids, the flashing tension of neck muscles, and a barely cracking voice."
- Bad: " Jurassic World's biggest flaw, a complete lack of relatable female characters, is only further underscored by a laughably unrealistic shot of our heroine running away from a dinosaur – in heels."
- Okay: "At the end of the day, Snowpiercer can't decide what kind of movie it wants to be. The attention to detail in fight scenes, where every weapon, lightbulb, and slick patch of ground is accounted for, doesn't translate to an ending that seems powerful but ultimately says little of substance."
- Does the film reflect on a current event or contemporary issue? It could be the director's way of engaging in a bigger conversation. Look for ways to relate the content of the film to the "real" world.
- Does the film seem to have a message, or does it attempt to elicit a specific response or emotion from the audience? You could discuss whether or not it achieves its own goals.
- Does the film connect with you on a personal level? You could write a review stemming from your own feelings and weave in some personal stories to make it interesting for your readers.
Composing Your Review
- When you name characters in your plot summary, list the actors' names directly afterward in parenthesis.
- Find a place to mention the director's name and the full movie title.
- If you feel you must discuss information that might "spoil" things for readers, warn them first.
- Cinematography: " Her is a world drenched in color, using bright, soft reds and oranges alongside calming whites and grays that both build, and slowly strip away, the feelings of love between the protagonists. Every frame feels like a painting worth sitting in."
- Tone: "Despite the insane loneliness and high stakes of being stuck alone on Mars, The Martian's witty script keeps humor and excitement alive in every scene. Space may be dangerous and scary, but the joy of scientific discovery is intoxicating."
- Music and Sound: " No Country For Old Men's bold decision to skip music entirely pays off in spades. The eerie silence of the desert, punctuated by the brief spells of violent, up-close-and-personal sound effects of hunter and hunted, keeps you constantly on the edge of your seat."
- Acting: "While he's fantastic whenever he's on the move, using his cool stoicism to counteract the rampaging bus, Keanu Reeves can't quite match his costar in the quiet moments of Speed, which falter under his expressionless gaze."
- Keep your writing clear and easy to understand. Don't use too much technical filmmaking jargon, and make your language crisp and accessible.
- Present both the facts and your opinion. For example, you might state something such as, "The Baroque background music was a jarring contrast to the 20th century setting." This is a lot more informative then simply saying, "The music was a strange choice for the movie."
- Great: "In the end, even the characters of Blue Ruin know how pointless their feud is. But revenge, much like every taut minute of this thriller, is far too addictive to give up until the bitter end.""
- Bad: "Much like the oft-mentioned "box of chocolates", Forest Gump has a couple of good little morsels. But most of the scenes, too sweet by half, should have been in the trash long before this movie was put out."
- Okay: "Without the novel, even revolutionary concept, Boyhood may not be a great movie. It might not even be "good.” But the power the film finds in the beauty of passing time and little, inconsequential moments – moments that could only be captured over 12 years of shooting – make Linklater's latest an essential film for anyone interested in the art of film."
Polishing Your Piece
- Ask yourself whether your review stayed true to your thesis. Did your conclusion tie back in with the initial ideas you proposed?
- Decide whether your review contains enough details about the movie. You may need to go back and add more description here and there to give readers a better sense of what the movie's about.
- Decide whether your review is interesting enough as a stand-alone piece of writing. Did you contribute something original to this discussion? What will readers gain from reading your review that they couldn't from simply watching the movie?
Studying Your Source Material
- The title of the film, and the year it came out.
- The director's name.
- The names of the lead actors.
- Make a note every time something sticks out to you, whether it's good or bad. This could be costuming, makeup, set design, music, etc. Think about how this detail relates to the rest of the movie and what it means in the context of your review.
- Take note of patterns you begin to notice as the movie unfolds.
- Use the pause button frequently so you make sure not to miss anything, and rewind as necessary.
- Direction: Consider the director and how he or she choose to portray/explain the events in the story. If the movie was slow, or didn't include things you thought were necessary, you can attribute this to the director. If you've seen other movies directed by the same person, compare them and determine which you like the most.
- Cinematography: What techniques were used to film the movie? What setting and background elements helped to create a certain tone?
- Writing: Evaluate the script, including dialogue and characterization. Did you feel like the plot was inventive and unpredictable or boring and weak? Did the characters' words seem credible to you?
- Editing: Was the movie choppy or did it flow smoothly from scene to scene? Did they incorporate a montage to help build the story? And was this obstructive to the narrative or did it help it? Did they use long cuts to help accentuate an actor's acting ability or many reaction shots to show a group's reaction to an event or dialogue? If visual effects were used were the plates well-chosen and were the composited effects part of a seamless experience? (Whether the effects looked realistic or not is not the jurisdiction of an editor, however, they do choose the footage to be sent off to the compositors, so this could still affect the film.)
- Costume design: Did the clothing choices fit the style of the movie? Did they contribute to the overall tone, rather than digressing from it?
- Set design: Consider how the setting of the film influenced its other elements. Did it add or subtract from the experience for you? If the movie was filmed in a real place, was this location well-chosen?
- Score or soundtrack: Did it work with the scenes? Was it over/under-used? Was it suspenseful? Amusing? Irritating? A soundtrack can make or break a movie, especially if the songs have a particular message or meaning to them.
- If you don't like the movie, don't be abusive and mean. If possible, avoid watching the movies that you would surely hate. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Understand that just because the movie isn't to your taste, that doesn't mean you should give it a bad review. A good reviewer helps people find movie's they will like. Since you don't have the same taste in movies as everyone else, you need to be able to tell people if they will enjoy the movie, even if you didn't. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Structure is very important; try categorizing the different parts of the film and commenting on each of those individually. Deciding how good each thing is will help you come to a more accurate conclusion. For example, things like acting, special effects, cinematography, think about how good each of those are. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/subject_specific_writing/writing_in_literature/writing_about_film/terminology_and_starting_prompts.html
- ↑ https://www.spiritofbaraka.com/how-write-a-movie-review
- ↑ https://www.nyfa.edu/student-resources/9-tips-for-writing-a-film-review/
- ↑ https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/writing-help/top-tips-for-writing-a-review
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/summary-using-it-wisely/
- ↑ https://twp.duke.edu/sites/twp.duke.edu/files/file-attachments/film-review-1.original.pdf
- ↑ https://www.dailywritingtips.com/7-tips-for-writing-a-film-review/
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/subject_specific_writing/writing_in_literature/writing_about_film/film_writing_sample_analysis.html
- ↑ https://learning.hccs.edu/faculty/onnyx.bei/dual-credit/movie-review-writing-guide
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/conclusions/
- ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/how-to-write-a-movie-review/
- ↑ https://gustavus.edu/writingcenter/handoutdocs/editing_proofreading.php
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/
- ↑ https://edusson.com/blog/how-to-write-movie-review
About This Article
To write a movie review, start with a compelling fact or opinion to hook your readers, like "Despite a great performance by Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump never overcomes its weak plot." Then, elaborate on your opinion of the movie right off the bat so readers know where you stand. Once your opinion is clear, provide examples from the movie that prove your point, like specific scenes, dialogue, songs, or camera shots. To learn how to study a film closely before you write a review, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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Using film & media in KS2 and KS3 Literacy & English
Mar 9, 2023 | 18 min read
Home » Key Stage 2 literacy resources » Using film & media in KS2 and KS3 Literacy & English
Are books the best impetus for Creative Writing?
Books, used as a text impetus, dominate the teaching of writing in English in KS2 and KS3. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it is worth considering that the popularity of storytelling in print form is largely a late 19th-century and 20th-century phenomenon. Prior to that oral storytelling traditions and dramatic performances were much more commonplace and accessible than the printed word. Also, before the advent of cheap mass-market paperback production, ‘books’ often reached the reader in the form of serialisations in broadsheets or early newspapers. Neither was the single author’s work necessarily common – for example, Alexandre Dumas reputedly employed teams of editors and story writers for his novels, in a way not dissimilar to network TV screenwriting today. Arguably, only since the advent of public libraries and the Education Act have books been the first choice medium for the delivery of storytelling in education. For most of the twentieth century, the use of literature in teaching writing reflected the preeminence of literature as a storytelling form. But is that still the case now, or will it be in the future?
Can the teaching of film make reading books more appealing?
Which is the chicken and which is the egg? Is it more useful to be able to appreciate, create and tell a story, or is it more useful to be able to read books and write a range of similar narrative genres? Surely the ability to create a narrative in a range of forms using a variety of media is more useful than relying on one form?
If printed literature is seen as a brief period in the historical synthesis of storytelling, it isn’t surprising that technology will deliver a succession of new forms for the delivery of stories. Whether film will last longer than print as a form is debatable, but film is currently more accessible and more engaging to young learners than books. How many pupils have seen the film but not read the book? Is that a good thing – I don’t know – but it’s certainly worth taking advantage of when considering how to improve the teaching of writing.
At the simplest level, reading the book and watching the film increases the pupil’s understanding and appreciation of the story. The story is ‘king’ – not the form in which it is told. Instead of simply reading a story; hearing it, seeing it, experiencing it, retelling it, feeling it and acting it are key to the pupil then being able to create their own imaginative stories. ‘Getting lost’ in a book is one way of achieving this, which will appeal to some pupils. Experiencing film-making, dramatic performance, mime, dance, music, audiobooks, animation, oral retelling, improvisation and imagination journeys – in tandem with the printed text – will increase the teacher’s chances of appealing to and engaging all of the pupils and not just those who are already interested in books.
In short, encouraging pupils to enjoy stories (in whatever form) is more likely to result in pupils reading books than relying on encouraging pupils to read books in order to enjoy stories. Some children are more likely to read the book after seeing the film or listening to the audiobook.
Children learn to understand pictures before words
Children learn to understand pictures before words and they enjoy enacting their imaginations. Yet by KS2, creative writing tasks are almost always derived from literature as an impetus. Using the visual and kinaesthetic elements to watching films, making films, acting and performing as an impetus for writing will help ensure all learning styles are catered for.
None of this should infer that children no longer read, either as much as they should, or as much as their parents did. From my teaching experiences, I’d argue that children today do read as much, if not more, than previous generations. It’s just that there is a perception that children do not read as much fiction . Nonfiction writing skills are better now than when I started teaching. Is this due to an increase in using the internet to source information? Grammar pedantry and spelling superiority complexes turn up in the classroom -,, particularly in peer review sessions. Is this due to similar trends on social networking websites?
Let’s examine what we really ask the children to produce in terms of creative writing. Very generally, a KS2 story writing task might expect a complete plot, with characters and descriptions. Similarly, a KS3 task might also expect the same, with more development, better use of figurative language and a sense of style suited to the genre. KS2 writers might hope to achieve the equivalent of 1-2 sides of A4 for an extended task, and KS3 might reach 4 sides for a complete story under timed conditions.
Quality over quantity apart, what is it that we are asking them to produce? It isn’t a short story – typically this form might range from 2000-20000 words – onerous even for an A-level student. It’s not a chapter – these can range typically from 1000-10000 words even in children’s literature; and besides as teachers, we ask the pupils to write a completed plot, not an episode.
The point is this – can you find an example of a KS2 or KS3 ‘story’ written by a published writer? It’s very hard to do so. A story in 300-800 words is a form that doesn’t really exist in published literature. As teachers, we ask the pupils to write a form, in terms of length and expectation, which no professional writer would attempt. Using the pupils’ time and word length requirement, it isn’t possible to develop a complete plot with problems, climax, resolution and ending; developed characters with dialogue and convincing settings and descriptions – not in a way that would satisfy the reader. It’s a written form that is inherently unlikely to achieve the aims and expectations of the pupils and teachers, regardless of the effort or ability of the writer.
A much more limited story form is required. Only a few characters, perhaps only two or three settings, one key problem which requires a resolution and lots of opportunities to show off a good use of description, a change of pace, the use of figurative language and turn of phrase are all strategies which work well. But finding a real-world example of such a self-contained 300-800 word story in published literature is still difficult.
However, it’s very easy to find such examples in film. 6-12 minute short films, or ‘shorts’, are very common. They often fit the peculiar 300-800 word short story format in which we ask pupils to compose perfectly. Settings and characters are limited. The story is distilled down to key elements. The atmosphere and setting play an important part. The story must be self-contained and achieve a satisfying ending. An award-winning short film is likely to display far more of the narrative requirements for KS2 and KS3 creative writing than any modelled excerpt of children’s literature. There are lots of examples of short film portfolios and festivals on the internet.
Consider this – despite advising on suitable settings, limiting characters and writing about a subject or in a style which best utilizes the pupil’s knowledge and abilities – how many times do you find yourself marking stories involving car chases, yes/no dialogue. or a constant stream of events with no developed setting or description? Can all the pupils see what they’re being asked to write? Are they able to do the planning – in terms of mental sequencing? Is there evidence of this in the written work you mark?
If instead the same written task is planned as a short film the limitations and restrictions the teacher places on the exercise suddenly become more visual and kinaesthetic – less reading and writing based, and more an exercise in recorded oral storytelling. Settings, for example, become limited to what is immediately available – no car chases for example – there aren’t any cars or streets available. What is available in terms of a setting or props? In terms of writing, it forces the pupil to consider: ‘What familiar settings can I use effectively for my story? Or, how can I use characters to tell my story effectively?’ Drawing the scenes using a storyboard template will force the pupil to consider what the viewer sees, imagines, and in terms of writing, what needs to be described. For kinaesthetic story planning, try cutting up the storyboard scenes – deleting some, adding others and arranging for the best effect. Explaining the benefits of ‘in media res’ openings are better demonstrated by moving a few storyboard panels rather than drawing a red line through half a written composition. Of course, fantastic events can still be described, but indirectly, by characters using imagination and narrative dialogue. Once a story has been planned as a film , ie visually and kinaesthetically, many pupils will find writing an effective story more straightforward.
Shorts films can provide an excellent form of impetus for specific creative writing tasks. For example, to focus the pupils on using description and show rather than tell (non-dialogue) forms of characterization, using a silent film as an impetus can be very effective. This is one example. Similarly, when focusing on specific genres – a matching short film genre can help the students visualize the effect of the required style of writing.
Autobiographical and biographical writing
Autobiographies – an example: create a movie from scanned or digital still images by creating movement with a ‘ Ken Burns ‘ effect. Set the soundtrack to the music in the week the person born. Selecting the pictures reveals what the subject considers important or pivotal to their life. What words would you use for the voiceover? Would a biography using the same pictures be the same? How do we gauge what defines us as a person? Are our own views more important than anyone else’s? Comparing an autobiography and a biography created with the same raw media can be interesting. The resulting plans then form the scaffold not for a film, but a piece of autobiographical writing. This could also form a longer-term homework project, where the pupils write a biography of a family member. Grandparents often work very well.
Ideas for using film as the primary impetus for writing
Case study: describing places and scenes.
Typically the impetus would be text from a book on a related topic or genre. Structure and modelling might be suggested by the teacher – for example, top to bottom and side to side descriptions of rooms or near to middle distance to far distance and back to near distance for landscapes and places. In film, the parallels are there. Distance and drawing the eye can be defined by the ‘ z-axis ‘ or moving to and from wide angles shots. Interior scenes might focus on one particular aspect of the room or an object, or the camera might follow what the eye might look at. Once pointed out these aspects of filmmaking are easy to spot. There is a plethora of further examples here . Framing the description is often the biggest challenge for pupils in KS2 and KS3. Framing what you might look at, what you think is most important for someone to see, or how you might film a scene may seem easier for a lot of pupils than drafting ideas in an exercise book – and the same visual framing and planning can be utilised for writing as effectively as any scaffold on paper.
For example – in Harry Potter 1 – the description of the street and shops in the ‘Diagon Alley’ chapter can provide a good impetus for descriptive writing in Year 5 or Year 6. One lesson involved reading the text and discussing it, modelling some possible structures and scaffolds for visual and physical descriptions and helping explore the pupils’ imaginative ideas. Any activity of this sort will result in some amount of imitation, and in this case, using the book text as an impetus led to instances of similar visual chronologies, content, phrases, and constructions. Almost all ended up focusing on brooms, owls and overheard conversations.
With another group, I used the same scene from the first film ( http://youtu.be/zhWoqobDZXQ ) as the impetus. Interestingly although some content was imitated, almost all the planning, structures and constructions used were unique. Using the film resulted in a batch of more varied and ‘creative’ writing.
Swapping the accounts of the two groups and rereading and watching the book and the film improved the second drafts further. Perhaps exploring this further with ‘imagination journeys’ or ‘creative visualizations’ either in the classroom or acted out through mime or drama could provide an alternative or extension.
Film clips are a useful way of exploring:
- Character viewpoints in writing
- Use of the narrator when telling the story
- Use of weather, light, and sound as metaphors
- Describing a character by showing rather than telling – especially with title sequences and establishing shots
- Interior monologue – as a voiceover or a dream sequence
- Telling stories or creating descriptions using no dialogue at all
Ideas to try with a class:
- Characterisation – film (or act out) someone walking across the room in five different ways – each perhaps with a different emotion, or a different motivation (for example: to distract and steal, to scare, to encourage, to irritate, to make laugh), or simply a different physical characteristic. Ask the pupils to use powerful verbs and interesting nouns to describe the walking. Extend to using metaphors and similes, and other forms of figurative language. See if the pupils can build up a character sketch that defines the motivation and emotion of the character by describing little more than the way they walk.
- Suspense – film (or act out) an indication of tension and suspense limited to just sound, movement, and facial expressions. Imagine a situation where the characters cannot speak. For example, a KS3 class might write about Anne Frank and her family in the annex when there are burglars in the warehouse below.
- Open-ended creative writing questions: for example: ‘Write about a time you experienced disappointment,’ or ‘Write about a moment of exhilaration.’ This short film is collated from 60 clips submitted by users who were asked to provide one second of video on the theme of “bliss”. (There’s more about the project here and here .) Collated, this makes a one-minute film. When faced with an open-ended question such as ‘Write about a moment of exhilaration’, some pupils might struggle to formulate ideas. But if every pupil across a year group creates just one second of video, and then all the collated clips are played back, most pupils, if not all, will have some creative ideas to focus on for writing. It doesn’t require a great camera to create one second of video.
Software and apps for computers and mobile devices
Free screenwriting software – to allow your pupils to draft and print professional-looking screenplays. (an alternative to writing playscripts in ks2 and ks3).
Many of these applications will also support the development of plot ideas in creative writing, and not just film-making.
- ScriptBuddy – free web browser-based screenplay writing application. Will output to PDF for printing.
- Celtx – Online collaborative writing, screenplay production, organisation, and output software. Web-based. A little more complicated.
Examples of real TV and Radio screenplays – to allow pupils to see how the story translates to the screenplay and onto the screen.
- BBC Writers’ room – a collection of broadcast TV scripts.
- Tracy Beaker – Tracy’s Fantasy – BBC Screenplay | Compare the screenplay to the TV broadcast and the original books by Jacqueline Wilson.
- MI High – The cold war – BBC Screenplay. The TV broadcast is here and here . As an example of how this could be used in KS3 English, this school developed a halt term drama and English unit where the pupils watched the TV episode, read and studied the screenplay and then worked on converting the screenplay into a 20-minute play script. 4 teams then competed in an end-of-term drama competition based on the playscript.
Free or low-cost movie making software and applications
- Windows Live Movie Maker – free download from Microsoft as part of the Live Essentials suite. For MACs and PCs. Will output to Youtube and Vimeo and formats suitable for school websites and VLEs.
- Microsoft Photostory – free download which turns still photographs into a movie. Music and titles can be added. Will output to Youtube and Vimeo and formats suitable for school websites and VLEs.
- VideoPad video editor – low cost fully featured video editing software for PCs.
- Sony Vegas family – more expensive but capable of producing professional results. Easy to learn interface.
- Blufftitler – a low-cost motion graphics, lower third, and titling application. Ideal for BBC School Report and creating short film titles. It works well on older machines. It’s even possible to use RSS feeds as a text source.
- Pivot – free stick animation software. Good for creating title sequences.
- Artrage – free/low-cost realistic painting software.
- Toonboom – excellent cartoon-style animation software. There are f ree and trial versions here.
- Comic Life – great for creating and planning dialogue-based stories.
Stop motion animation and time-lapse photo movies are often taught in KS and KS3 ICT. However, they don’t have to be limited to plasticine figures and packs such as those produced by RM. Stop motion animations are created by taking a lot of photos with a digital camera. By a lot – a 500-1000 a minute is a good guide. It doesn’t require an expensive camera. The images need to be small in file size, so even a good mobile phone can be used. Stop motion animations don’t require expensive software to assemble the film. Free software, such as Microsoft Movie Maker can be used to good effect, as described here .
This idea from the University of York, which serves as a visual virtual tour, could be achieved in a school. Similar school examples can be found here and here , where the tour acts as an autobiographical piece about sports and hobbies – suitable for Y7 English.
Instead of a tour, the ‘journey’ might tell a more narrative story – such as this example which uses still pictures, Lego, and a voiceover. Effectively this is story writing, using dialogue, planned with storyboards instead of more traditional writing frames or scaffolds. Other possibilities might include a nonfiction documentary or non-chronological report, or a visual mystery train or quest story.
Other ideas for short films in the English curriculum:
- Filming events and recording documentaries as a comparison or impetus for writing non-chronological reports. BBC School Report , World Book Day or Red Nose day are good opportunities. H ere’s an example that includes voiceovers and vox-pops.
- Sports match reports – use BBC news day stuff
- Telling stories with no dialogue at all – the spin movie
- No dialogue forces the writer or filmmaker to focus on description, imagery, and imagination, to tell the story. Creating scripts, short play scripts or films in this manner transfers to pupils’ writing skills in the form of improved descriptive and imaginative writing. It reduces the reliance on dialogue and action in stories and improves the standard of descriptive writing, particularly in KS2. Here’s an example of a compelling short narrative film with no dialogue.
- Turning video into animation – if you have a large class or want a year group or whole school project, this is one possibility . This explains how it was achieved .
- Tasked with running a verse recital competition, to tick a box in the news KS2 National Curriculum for learning poems off by heart? Why not take the stress out of it by filming the performances, and putting together a short film? The pupils can have as many takes as they need to perfect a recital. Green screens help and offer the possibility of more exciting backgrounds and effects. Here’s a primary school example .
- Poetry writing – instead of displaying it on the wall, why not record it as an audio file so that it can go home and be shared with families and friends? This primary school example combines cross-curricular photography with poetry writing in year 6.
- Use the pupils’ knowledge of a class reading book, together with lego, to create animations – either slideshow or stop motion – backed by narrative stories covering KS2 writing objectives. Here’s an upper KS2 example .
- Put a new spin on the ubiquitous PowerPoint presentation. Instead of still slides, why not try 1-2 second long film clips taken with a digital camera? These can be strung together as a slideshow which moves – back with audio and voiceovers evidence writing for assessment. Here’s a year 5 example for a John Muir Award .
- Write jingles and create idents and stingers for sporting events such as sports days or team events. These can be played with an audio ‘cart’ or the podcasting software below.
- Podproducer – free podcasting software
Free music and sound effects for schools.
- Free Music Archive – free-to-use music suitable for video and movie soundtracks. Great search function and lots of genres.
- Creative Commons (Attribution license) music suitable for film and short video soundtracks from audionautix. High-quality audio.
- SmartSound’s royalty-free music program for schools.
Free online training and film resources for education
- Vimeo Video Schoo l | A great free online training resource.
- After Effects Training | Learn how to create animated titles, special effects, transitions and more. Free training.
- BBC News Day and School Report Teacher resources
- Film course for English teachers | Free teacher inset course accredited as CPD and run by NAACE
- Introduction to screenwriting for teachers | Free teacher inset course accredited as CPD and run by NAACE
- Explore Animation Course for Teachers | Free teacher inset course accredited as CPD and run by NAACE
- Training resources for teachers and students are provided by Film Education.
- Resources suitable for teachers – training in filmmaking from the BBC.
- Guides on how to produce a video from the BBC.
- A f ilmmaking guide by the BBC.
- Resources for young filmmakers from the young film academy.
Displaying films on a school website:
- WordPress TubePress Plugin | Great add-on for WordPress-hosted sites to display youtube or Vimeo movies.
Resources and lesson plans
- Sample screenplays and scripts from CBBC
- Downloadable resources packs from Pilot Theatre – all productions feature packs
- Royal Photographic Society education resource pack.
- FilmClub resources
- Classroom video website – a vast collection of videos for use in curriculum teaching.
- RSC Shakespeare drama and video resources .
- Screen online teaching resources.
- BFI education and teaching resources. And more here .
Competitions for schools and pupils to enter
- Competitions run by Film Education.
- Be Creative Film competitions .
- Primary and secondary school animation competition run by Manchester University.
Resources for running school-based film festivals
- The Pembrokeshire film festiva l.
- Edinburgh Schools Film Festival.
If your pupils prefer a visual stimulus, consider magazines! Magazines for children and teens are a great way to encourage pressure and expectation-free reading for pleasure and improved comprehension.
Disclaimer – None of the videos or resources referenced is hosted on this site. All references to videos are links to external public domain sources such as Vimeo and Youtube. This website: thomastolkien.co.uk cannot be held responsible for the content of any external site linked to from within this site.
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Denis Villeneuve Reveals He's 'Almost Finished' Writing a Third Dune Movie
The director opened up about his plans for dune messiah and how part two is 'much better' than part one..
The countdown until the release of Dune: Part Two ticks on, but director Denis Villeneuve assured fans it'll be worth the wait at a recent press conference in South Korea. Still a couple months out from the sequel's debut, Villeneuve revealed he's almost finished writing the script for a third movie.
"[Dune Messiah] is being written right now," Villeneuve affirmed. "The screenplay is almost finished, but it's not finished. It will take a little time."
Being cautious not to dole out too many details, Villeneuve said the third installment will follow Paul Atreides as he navigates "the end of [his] journey." The film is based off the Frank Herbert of the same name, which was written as a follow-up to 1965's Dune.
The three-time Oscar nominee first expressed interest in expanding the two-part film series into a trilogy during an August 2023 interview with Empire magazine : “If I succeed in making a trilogy, that would be the dream. I will say, there are words on paper [for a third film].”
As for when the next Dune movie will see the light of day, that remains to be seen. Transitioning from the first Dune movie to the second, Villeneuve said "there was no gap in between" the beginning and end of each project. This time around, the Blade Runner 2049 director wants to milk his days off before returning to Arrakis.
“I don’t know exactly when I will go back to Arrakis,” Villeneuve admitted to the South Korean press. “I might make a detour before just to go away from the sun. For my mental sanity I might do something in between, but my dream would be to go a last time on this planet that I love.”
In the meantime, it seems like fans will have to wait a bit longer to get more details on the future of the Dune franchise. The good news? Part Two hits theaters in March 2024, and Villeneuve seems fairly self-assured that it's a significant step-up from its predecessor.
“For me, this film is much better than Part One,” Villeneuve said. “There’s something more alive in it. There’s a relationship to the characters. I was trying to reach for an intensity and a quality of emotions that I didn’t reach with Part One and that I did reach with Part Two. I’m not saying the film is perfect, but I’m much more happy with Part Two than I was with Part One. I can not wait to share it with the fans and the moviegoers.”
Dune: Part Two will see Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya return to the screen as Paul Atreides and Chani. Together, the two set out to lead the Fremen in a battle of revenge against House Harkonnen. Rounding out the star-studded cast are Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Dave Bautista, Christopher Walken, Léa Seydoux, Stellan Skarsgård and Javier Bardem.
Determining the release date for the anticipated sequel has been a long and complicated process: originally supposed to premiere Nov. 17, Warner Bros. ended up revising that date to Nov. 3 in August 2022. Then, the film's debut was postponed to March 15, 2024 due to the Hollywood SAG-AFTRA and WGA Strikes. Most recently, an announcement from Warner Bros. and Legendary confirmed that Dune: Part Two will hit theaters two weeks earlier than planned on March 1, 2024.
To learn more about Dune: Part Two, watch the official trailer here or check out a series of all-new Dune: Part 2 character posters that offer fans a glimpse at the new and returning faces of the upcoming sequel.
Blogroll image credit: Greg Doherty/WireImage/Getty Images
Katie Reul is a freelance writer at IGN.
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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Silent Night, Fatal Night’ on Lifetime Movies Network, Where A Kidnapped Mystery Author is Forced to Write for Her Life
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Lifetime Movies Network is stretching the definition of what it means to be a Christmas movie when it comes to Silent Night, Fatal Night . This mystery thriller stars Alex Camacho and Matthew Pohlkamp as longtime coworkers and collaborators turned enemies after a sudden betrayal that will change their lives forever. It’s a wild ride, but does that mean it’s worth watching? Keep on reading to find out!
SILENT NIGHT, FATAL NIGHT : STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
The Gist: Mallory Dearborn (Alex Camacho) is a world-famous mystery writer, mostly due to her wildly successful ongoing “Gideon Snow” book series. But when promoting her most recent “Gideon Snow” release, Mallory tells her agent, Michael Harrington (Matthew Pohlkamp), that this will be her last of the series so she can focus on writing a new book that has meaning to her and will excite her supporters, including superfan and aspiring mystery writer, Carrie Addison (Hailey Rutledge).
Michael, however, is unwilling to help Mallory pursue a new passion project. In fact, he does the opposite, going over her head to agree to a new “Gideon Snow” novel and accept (…and singlehandedly spend) an advance on Mallory’s behalf, all without telling her. Then he manipulates Mallory into going to his family’s remote old cabin in the woods upstate for the holidays to relax and recharge away from the public eye, especially since she has nowhere else to be now that her parents are dead and gone.
But shortly after arriving at the beautiful old property, Mallory’s getaway turns into something sinister when Michael straps a house arrest ankle bracelet to her and holds her captive, using force and intimidation to make Mallory finish a new “Gideon Snow” book. To make matters even worse, the world thinks that Mallory is dead, ensuring that this “coincidentally discovered manuscript” will make a fortune when published posthumously. Now Mallory must fight, and write, for her life, all while Carrie makes her own inquiries to get to the bottom of her favorite author’s untimely and suspicious death.
What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: More than anything else, Silent Night, Fatal Night will probably evoke certain aspects of the 1990 psychological thriller film Misery .
Performance Worth Watching: Butter, for being this movie’s unsung hero in both delicious sandwiches and helping Mallory escape from her handcuffs and an ankle bracelet. I truly appreciate butter and its many uses more than I ever have before.
Special shoutout as well to Alex Camacho’s hair, which somehow managed to look incredible even while her character was fighting for her life in captivity.
Memorable Dialogue: “You seem so down since your parents died.” Wow, Michael is such an empath. A very astute guy, indeed.
A Holiday Tradition: Uh, none, unless Michael makes a habit of imprisoning writers until they churn out a “posthumous” novel during the holiday season a yearly endeavor.
Does the Title Make Any Sense?: Not really, since this basically has nothing to do with Christmas except that it vaguely takes place around the holidays. Also I’m pretty sure the one fatality in this movie doesn’t even happen at night. What a misnomer!
Our Take: First, it must be said that Silent Night, Fatal Night is not a Christmas movie, it’s just a thriller that happens to take place during the holidays. And to address the “thriller” of it all, I’m generally easily scared and usually avoid movies in this genre and horror, but this movie is so ridiculous and unintentionally goofy that it’s less thrilling than funny and weird. Michael in particular is so overdramatic that he ends up being pretty amusing. I mean, at one point he says, “You want to play the victim?” to his literal kidnapping victim. The guy has zero self-awareness! Not to mention that he’s also kind of an unhinged creep (I so wish I could unhear him saying “Good girl” to Mallory, dear Lord).
Additionally, Silent Night, Fatal Night is absolutely full of plot holes and strange narrative choices. How are news outlets reporting a very well-known figure’s death when there’s no body? And fans of mystery novels seriously aren’t going to question that this healthy-looking 30-something suddenly dies of “natural causes”?! Doesn’t Mallory have any living family or friends that would look into her case? And that’s not even getting into all of the many times where it seemed like Mallory could have easily escaped (she wasted a stick of butter for nothing) or the multiple moronic oversights that Michael made throughout his own nefarious machinations.
If you’re going to jump the gun and become a dastardly criminal just to make your author pen another novel (seriously, talk about taking drastic measures), at least don’t tell the local sheriff that your famous client is currently writing a new book. He also shut off all the house’s WiFi but somehow left his local hotspot on and without any password to protect it, which Mallory discovers and doesn’t even take advantage of. Maybe these two dinguses deserve each other after all (but just to clarify, this is not a romance, thankfully).
Our Call: Despite its title, Silent Night, Fatal Night isn’t about Christmas at all, and even besides that, it certainly is no gift. SKIP IT.
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Barack obama's leave the world behind role explained: how the former president influenced netflix's new movie.
Barack Obama played a key role in Leave the World Behind and influenced some of the most important parts of the thrilling film.
- Barack Obama's contributions helped bring the apocalyptic tension and realism to life in the thrilling film adaptation of Leave the World Behind.
- The way the characters interact with the complex scene and explore deeper themes, thanks to the Obama family's involvement.
- Barack Obama utilized his presidential experience to fine-tune the technological disaster aspects of the film, contributing to its thrilling and realistic balance.
Leave the World Behind is a thrilling piece of work that strikes the right balance of apocalyptic tension and realism, and part of the reason why it was able to accomplish this was because of Barack Obama's contributions. The psychological thriller is based on Rumaan Alam's 2020 novel of the same name, which achieved critical acclaim. It follows the story of two families whose lives become intertwined after a blackout becomes a major crisis. The film adaptation of Leave the World Behind boasts an incredible and star-studded cast who strongly contributes to the way the twists and turns of the book expertly come to life on screen.
In addition to the stellar cast, part of what has led to Leave the World Behind 's positive reviews is the way in which the characters interact with the complex scene put in front of them. The apocalyptic nature of the movie serves as the background for the film to explore things like race relations and class tensions. The Obama family was able to help bring this to life, thanks to their large contributions to the project.
Barack & Michelle Obama Produced Netflix's Leave The World Behind & Helped With The Script
Both the former president and First Lady of the United States, Barack and Michelle Obama, played major roles in Netflix's Leave the World Behind . In 2022, the production company, Higher Ground, founded by the pair, signed on to the thrilling project. According to The Hollywood Reporter , Barack Obama was especially invested in the film, providing valuable and detailed notes on the script. Leave the World Behind 's director, Sam Esmail, revealed that he would ask the former president for advice when penning the original drafts, as it helped him root the story in reality.
Leave The World Behind Interview: Filmmaker Sam Esmail & Author Rumaan Alam On Cultivating Dread
Although the piece of work is fiction, Esmail's goal was to keep it as lifelike as possible, and Barack Obama helped him achieve that. He provided notes on the characters and the empathy the film should possess when portraying them, as well as when certain plot points were too bare or unlikely. Esmail explained that the former president is a huge movie lover and fan of the book, so his observations weren't just based on his background but also his love for the project.
Barack Obama's Presidential Experience Partially Influenced Leave The World Behind's Technological Disaster Approach
One aspect of Leave the World Behind that Barack Obama was heavily able to influence was its technological disaster. USA Today reports that Obama utilized his White House experience to fine-tune some of the technological disaster parts of the movie. He let Esmail know that some of the more dystopian implications that the movie included were not realistic. Having someone so well-versed in this type of planning made all the difference to the film, which ended up being a strong balance of being thrilling, suspenseful, and realistic.
Sources: The Hollywood Reporter , USA Today
French Historians Slam Ridley Scott’s ‘Napoleon’ Inaccuracies: ‘Like Spitting in the Face of French People’
By Elsa Keslassy
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Ridley Scott ‘s “ Napoleon ” is a movie that French people love to hate. But despite harsh criticism in France, the historical epic smashed the box office and grossed over $9.76 million from 1.15 million tickets sold in its first two weeks in theaters.
Scott’s last two movies, “The Last Duel” and “House of Gucci,” were warmly reviewed in France, and yet they sold only 425,000 and 800,000 tickets respectively during their releases there. But “Napoleon” isn’t totally bulletproof, says Comscore France’s Eric Marti. Released by Sony, the Apple production “debuted with a bang in France but lost 50% in its second week, which is a sign of a bad word-of-mouth,” says Marti, predicting that it will probably sell between 1.6 and 1.8 million tickets in France, on par with Scott’s 2012 movie “Prometheus.” It will still be one of his biggest successes in France — over the last 10 years the only Scott movie that performed better is “The Martian,” with 2.5 million tickets sold.
Variety talked to two Napoleon experts, media columnist Romain Marsily and historian Patrice Gueniffey, to understand the hostile reaction in the emperor’s native country.
“It’s not surprising that French people flocked to see ‘Napoleon’ in theaters when it opened — I just read a survey that said that 74% of people polled still admire Napoleon,” says Gueniffey, who’s written several critically-acclaimed books about the leader, including “Bonaparte: 1769–1802,” and has been talking about the controversial movie on nearly every French news channel.
“Stanley Kubrick tried and failed to make his Napoleon movie so we were all rooting for Ridley Scott to deliver his, so it’s been a big disappointment,” he says.
Before it even came out, the film was criticized by TV historian Dan Snow , who called out some of the inaccuracies in a viral TikTok post, prompting Scott to tell historical fact checkers to “get a life.”
In “Napoleon,” everything is wrong, starting with the ages being “all mixed up,” says Gueniffey. Napoleon Bonaparte was 35 when he became Emperor of France and is played by Phoenix who is 49, “They didn’t try to make him look younger. He looks tired and uninspired,” he says.
Josephine, meanwhile, was six years older than Napoleon, which at the time was a “big age difference, like Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte,” he quips. But in the movie, she’s played by Kirby who is 14 years younger than Phoenix.
“Josephine was a wise woman who had already had a life by the time she married Napoleon, who was this younger and very ambitious man,” says Gueniffey. “That dynamic is completely altered in the film because Napoleon looks much older.” Similarly, the general Paul Barras, who was older than Napoleon, is played by 42 year-old Tahar Rahim.
“I’m not against invented scenes but when we see Napoleon putting his hand in the wounded horse to retrieve the bullet and give it to his mother, I thought it was grotesque,” Gueniffey says, adding, “He had a very distant relationship with his mother.”
The bombing of the pyramids is another scene that upset Gueniffey because “Napoleon killed a lot of people in Egypt, but he didn’t touch any landmarks,” he says. “He brought 130 scholars on this expedition to make an inventory of the Egyptian civilization, so if anything we owe Napoleon the creation of ancient Egyptian studies,” he says. Gueniffey points out another scene that didn’t actually happen, showing soldiers drowning in the pond during the Battle of Austerlitz. “Scott seemed to copy a scene from ‘Titanic’ there, but in reality, the pond was only 15 centimeters (6 inches) deep and soldiers died crossing it, but not from drowning,” he says.
Marsily, meanwhile, says he had low expectations about the film’s historical accuracy from watching the trailer. “When I saw the bombing of the pyramids on the trailer I thought it was ridiculous but I thought, ‘OK, Ridley Scott is giving us his take on Napoleon!,'” says Marsily, who was born in Corsica like Napoleon, and produced a documentary about the emperor for Vice TV France, which he headed.
What irritated French people the most, Marsily says, is the “lackluster” portrayal of Napoleon as a “mediocre” character.
“This film is like spitting in the face of French people because it feels like Ridley Scott ridiculed both Napoleon and the history of France,” says Marsily, who teaches at Science Politique, a prestigious French university.
“There is a fascination for Napoleon in France, even from people who hate him for reinstating slavery in the French West Indies and for his abuse of power once he became Emperor of France, but even these people are disappointed by the film because the film fails to substantially address his legacy, whether good or bad,” argues Marsily.
Marsily says Scott’s movie also fails to show the extent of Napoleon’s positive impact on French society with the creation of the Napoleonic Code, known as the Civil Code of 1804, which outlined laws pertaining to property rights, and individual rights such as freedom of religion.
“Napoleon was a symbol of meritocracy because he succeeded even though he wasn’t a noble, but watching the film you come out thinking he was a total idiot. Napoleon wasn’t a saint and no one expected Scott to give an evangelical portrayal of him, but his Napoleon is so grotesque that you keep wondering how he even got there,” he says.
Marsily says Josephine’s portrayal is also disappointing. “She was a bright woman who had an extraordinary destiny, but in the film she’s depicted as a socialite who collected lovers,” he says.
Gueniffey shares Marsily’s frustration about Napoleon’s embarrassing depiction. “When Kubrick was working on his Napoleon, he said he wanted to know how such an intelligent man could have been beaten so totally, and he would have probably answered that question in his film; but when you watch Ridley Scott’s movie, you just wonder how such a moron could have been such a renowned political and military strategist.” In reality, Gueniffey says, Napoleon was so charismatic than even those who hated him, like Madame de Staël, were fascinated. Madame de Stael described him as having “a seductive smile and a chilly gaze.”
Gueniffey says Scott also failed to delve into the “most captivating chapter of French history that spanned from the French Revolution to Napoleon’s Empire and introduced a plethora of exceptional characters.”
While Marsily didn’t mind the fictional bombing of the pyramids, he was bothered by the scene showing Napoleon on a mission to escape his exile in Elba in order to reunite with Josephine in France when in fact “she was already dead for several months by the time he got out.”
Marsily also says the ending of the movie that gives the number of casualties during the Napoleonic Wars is “shocking” and “totally ridiculous.” He explains, “Unfortunately during those times, wars caused a lot of deaths.”
Both Marsily and Gueniffey lament that no French director has ever tackled Napoleon with a proper biopic. The last French movie centered around Napoleon, Antoine de Caunes’ “Monsieur N.,” which came out 20 years ago, is a totally fictitious story set during the last years of Napoleon during his exile on the island of St Helena. But the historians are more forgiving towards that film than Scott’s “Napoleon,” because at least, “it doesn’t pretend to be the ultimate ‘Napoleon’ movie, and it gives a real sense of Napoleon’s spirit and personality,” says Gueniffey.
The last historical movie that unleashed comparable reactions in France is Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” says Gueniffey, but “nowhere near the backlash that ‘Napoleon’ has earned.”
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Barry Manilow recently broke Elvis' record for performances in Las Vegas, and he has a new Broadway musical called Harmony . He spoke with Terry Gross in 2002 about his hits of the '70s and '80s and writing advertising jingles early in his career. Film critic Justin Chang reviews the new film Poor Things , starring Emma Stone and Willem Dafoe.