Films are similar to novels or short stories in that they tell a story. They include the same genres: romantic, historical, detective, thriller, adventure, horror, and science fiction. However, films may also include sub-groups such as: action, comedy, tragedy, westerns and war. The methods you use to analyze a film are closely related to those used to analyze literature; nevertheless, films are multimedial. They are visual media made for viewers. Films take command of more of our senses to create special atmospheres, feelings or to bring out emotions.
- Does it take place in the present, the past, or the future?
- What aspects of setting are we made aware of? – Geography, weather conditions, physical environment, time of day.
- Where are we in the opening scene?
Ideally, when I start on the path of reviewing a film, I will know very little about it—aside from the actors and the director involved. If I’m not familiar with the cast and/or the director, I’ll do a little filmography research, but only about their past work if I’ve never seen it before. Avoiding exposure to the movie can be more difficult than it sounds when it’s a popular film—as trailers and marketing run rampant. But if you can avoid watching the trailers and reading about other peoples’ opinions prior to watching, you won’t have any preconceived judgments and can go in with an unbiased perspective.
Hands down, the most important component to address in a movie review is how it made you feel. Anyone can write a summary of a film or create lists about the highlights. But good reviews should convey to the audience how the movie resonated with you.
Next in this series is How To Analyse Movies: Signs, Codes & Conventions. I’ll discuss semiotics, the study of meaning in a film through decoding symbols and conventions.
Today, though, it’s understood that film should not be compared to reality, whether it is to measure the gap between reality and depiction, or to measure the accuracy of the depiction. Instead, we should look at how movie and reality are related to each other, how they are interlinked. Film draws from real life, but also influences it. It’s not so much about the gap between movie and reality, but the interaction between them. Lines between reality and fiction have blurred (and not just in film!).
After presenting the main facts about the film, it’s time to go deeper into analysis and summarise it.
Besides, you can recommend to your reader to watch this film or to avoid it completely.
5. Body paragraphs: Specific elements from the film that support that theme, such as character, language, imagery, etc.;
The rough structure of this essay is as follows: