how to analysis a film
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.
- through dialogue?
- by the way they speak?
- physical appearance? thoughts and feelings?
- interaction – the way they act towards other characters?
- Are they static characters who do not change?
- Do they develop by the end of the story?
- What type of characters are they?
- What qualities stand out?
- Are they stereotypes?
- Are the characters believable?
After you watch the movie get your ideas down as quick as possible.
I also try not to take many notes while I watch the movie—if you’re jotting down a long critique or opinion while watching the movie, you can miss brief, yet vital moments. I will however, write down a word or phrase that stands out so that I can recall scenes or story information that catch my attention and that I deem important. This will help later when I’m constructing my review—for brief summary recaps, breaking down the themes, and reflecting on the direction or acting.
- COSTUMING: The nuns have stark-white uniforms, which juxtapose the muddy-brown colour of the childrens’ uniforms, a sign of oppression. This implies a level of ‘purity’ with the nuns, but also emphasises the clinical and unsettling nature of the nuns.
Like watching films but don’t know how to talk about them? You’re not alone. in this article, we will guide you through how to analyse a film scene.
Crimson Peak (2015) – source: Universal Pictures
Do you enjoy thinking about or discussing the meanings of a movie after you’ve watching it? How do you go about “reading” a movie’s meaning? Can you think about any movies that have made you understand the world better, even fiction?
- The camera’s movement
- Framing – close ups vs long shots to convey emotion vs location/proximity
- Lighting to help convey emotion
Most modern films involve some controversial elements in order to make it more interesting for audiences. Here are some of these controversial elements and how to think about them: