How to Write a Critical Analysis of a Film
If you enjoy watching movies, you would most probably like to know how to write a critical analysis of a film. Critical analysis refers to a subjective form of writing in which the author evaluates or critiques the work of another person. The work that is critiqued or evaluated can be a film, an essay, a book, a painting or any other creative work. The aim of writing a critical analysis is to enhance the understanding of the work by the reader. Additionally, the analysis aims at determining how effective the work is. It is important to note that critical analysis of a film is different from a movie review. A movie review is just about watching a film passively while a critical analysis entails engaging on a level that surpasses mere storytelling.
How to write a critical analysis of a film step by step
While writing a critical analysis of a film, you should always remember that this writing is subjective because it should express your evaluation or opinion of the film. Analysis simply means breaking down and studying the parts. Therefore, your analysis should depict two major aspects: studying and critiquing.
Here are the steps to follow when writing a critical analysis of a film:
Step 1: Watch the film
At this step, you watch the film severally to get its gist. This is very important because it enables you to understand different aspects of the film which is crucial in writing a good critical analysis paper. To watch the film critically implies that you must watch it severally and take notes while watching it. If you are watching the film using a DVD player or a computer, rewind and pause to understand crucial parts of the movie.
Step 2: Engage with the film critically
At this step, start engaging critically with the film that you want to analyze. This is very important because it will enable you to come up with a strong critical analysis essay. Identify and focus on a single concept or theme that dominates the film. For instance, you can focus on how the film was photographed, how a sequence in the film relates to a broader cinematic concept, how the film relates to a specific historical event dramatically without compromising facts. You can also focus on the use of various devices such as dramatic irony and overlapping dialogue.
Step 3: Outline your critical analysis
Writing an outline of a critical analysis will enable you to present your critical analysis in a more organized manner. Writing an outline entails determining the information that you intend to include in the analysis, where to place it in the critical analysis paper or essay and how to place the information. In this step, determine the number of chapters to have in your analysis. Create rough headings for different chapters. Outlining a critical analysis is simply planning how to write a critical analysis of a film and this makes the actual writing easier.
Step 4: Introduce the film
In this step, you start the actual writing by introducing the film that you are analyzing critically and the major participants in it. Among the participants that you can introduce at this step include the film director and the actors. You can also include names of other technicians in the film especially if you will focus on that particular aspect of the film in your analysis. For instance, if you will be writing about shadows in a film, introduce the cinematographer. If you will be writing about the importance of the included background information in creating the emotional tone, introduce the composer of the movie.
Step 5: Write the movie story overview or summary
In this step, provide an overview of the film story in a brief manner. However, avoid writing a synopsis of the movie instead of an analysis. Reveal twists in the plot or how the film ends if this is related to the analysis directly.
Step 6: Write the analysis
Start writing the analysis section with the film at hand. If possible, have the movie in the DVD player and the television close to you. To write a food critical analysis of a film, avoid relying on your memory. This is because it is difficult to memorize all the events, cinematic techniques and dialogues after playing the film. Therefore, make sure that you have easy access to the film while writing your critical analysis.
Step 7: Make sure that you are familiar with filmmaking technical jargons
While writing your critical analysis, make sure that you can differentiate a dissolve from a cut. Familiarizing yourself with such terms will enable you to write about the subjective work of a camera if the analysis entails a film shot part from the viewpoint of a character. Using filmmaking words properly will make your critical analysis essay more authoritative.
How to write a critical analysis essay of a film in a conventional essay format
You should know the format of a critical analysis essay to compose a good critical analysis of a film.
Here is a simple format that you can use as a template for writing a critical analysis of a film:
- The introduction
In the introduction section, introduce the key players in the movies. These can include the producer; the director and the cinematographer among others depending on the angle that you intend to take in your analysis. You can also include the main idea or theme of the movie as well as the thesis statement of your essay or paper.
In the summary or film overview section, you outline the major theme or idea of the film. This involves what, who, where, when, how and why. You can also discuss the style, structure or view point.
In this section, you tell readers what you liked and what you did not like about the film. Provide an explanation for your ideas by citing specific examples from the film. Additionally, identify the goal of the film and whether it accomplished it. Your analysis should focus on determining whether the film is understandable, focused, interesting, properly concluded, authentic, clear and meeting its purpose, among others. Include several paragraphs in the analysis section with each paragraph giving a specific idea and supporting it with evidence from the film.
In the conclusion section, end your critical analysis by restating the thesis statement that you stated in the introduction. However, use new words. Also summarize the main ideas that you discussed in the analysis section using stronger and new words. End the conclusion with an effective call to action.
Remember that a critical analysis is a systematic evaluation of the effectiveness of a work of another person. This entails determining whether the work does well, how and where as well as how it does poorly, where and how. Therefore, watch the film carefully and severally to familiarize yourself with its different aspects before you start writing your critical analysis paper or essay.
Bonus tips on how to write a critical analysis of a film
- Conduct research from secondary sources before you start writing the analysis
Before you write your critical analysis of a film, conduct some research from other sources. Find analyses by other people and reviews about the film that you are about to analyze. Consider the issues that others have raised about the film before you start writing your analysis.
- Select the theme or idea that dominates the movie and other analyses
This could be the theme that you agree with, find relevant or disagree with. It could be a controversial theme that some people are uncomfortable with on the basis of their beliefs. Find out whether it is worth majoring in while analyzing the film critically.
- Consider the question that you are required to investigate
While giving you the assignment, your teacher or lecturer may have given you a question or prompt. This prompt may require you to investigate a particular idea. Consider your feelings towards that issue or idea and why you may support the feelings that you hold about the issue. If what you have written is interesting, then you can use it as or in forming your preliminary thesis. If it does not impress you, continue analyzing the film until you come up with a good preliminary thesis. This is a very important tip on how to write a critical analysis of a film because it guides you in creating a thesis that you can use as the controlling idea of your critical analysis paper or essay.
- Use a sample of a critical analysis of a film
Using a good critical analysis of a film sample makes mastering the steps of writing a critical analysis essay or paper easier. Therefore, look for a well-written sample analysis of a film and use it in writing your own analysis. To read a critical analysis of a film online, click here.
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