Go to https://www.youtube.com/ and log on with the following information
username : email@example.com
password : Anchanh123
watch The Reader (2008) as it is already purchased on youtube
GUIDELINES FOR WRITING A FILM REVIEW AS CRITICISM
Required length: 2 – 3 pages double-spaced, font 12.
Due April 15th
INSTRUCTIONS FOR YOUR ASSIGNMENT
(1) WHAT ARE THE REQUIRED COMPONENTS OF A FILM REVIEW AS
a condensed plot synopsis
a set of abbreviated arguments about the film (THE MAIN FOCUS OF YOUR
an evaluation, and a recommendation about whether to see the film, or not, and/or
who might enjoy seeing the film.
Be sure to attach a critical essay of the film to your film review.
(2) SHOULD THESE ELEMENTS COME IN ANY PARTICULAR ORDER?
Generally, a review with open with a
, a way of catching the
reader’s attention; this is followed by a
of the plot; then a
series of arguments
about the FORM of the film (genre, cinematography, mise-en-scène, narrative structure,
acting, etc); this is accompanied by
(information about the
director, stars, film’s production, reception); in other words, generally the argument and
the background information are woven together; the review concludes with a more
elaborated statement of the evaluation of judgment alluded to, or suggested, in the
(3) WHAT ARE REVIEWERS LOOKING FOR WHEN THEY EVALUATE A FILM?
WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING A FILM?
The motivation of what happens in a film
The entertainment value
The social value
Let’s look a little more closely at these criteria:I. MOTIVATION
main types of
: Does a given action or event constitute part of the film’s cause-and-
effect logic? Is it unmotivated by the story logic? Motivation is a very important part of
an evaluation of a film because motivation creates a sense of unity and coherence. To
argue that an element is unmotivated is to suggest that it is arbitrary, and detracts from
the film’s coherence.
: This doesn’t mean necessarily that the event, or character’s reaction (or any
other element) is true to life, but rather asks whether in the world of the film’s fiction,
the element in question is plausible. Is the element believable within the terms of the
film’s fictional world?
: This refers to the relation between a film and a given genre, between a film
and its source (e.g., a famous source). Genres follow conventions, and so whereas bar-
scenes constitute part of the conventions of a film noir, in an action film, to have the
characters lounging around in bars would be somewhat unmotivated, OR would
constitute a genre transformation in the works!
: This refers to the effects of specific techniques (camera movement, lighting,
editing techniques, combining of genre conventions) that the reviewer evaluates in
terms of the ways the aesthetic (i.e., artistic) effect of these techniques contributes to the
MOTIVATION or COHERENCE of the film.
What makes a film entertaining? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Does the film hold the spectator’s attention?
Does the film do this through the strength and interest of its narrative?
Does it do this through fostering identification with a character or set of characters?
Are the characters three-dimensional, with complex psychology?
OR, does the film hold the spectator’s attention through offering them a roller-coaster
ride, or a sensory overload that is thrilling? In this second approach to an entertaining
film, the emphasis is placed on spectacle and sound rather than complex psychology of
characters or narrative.
OR, does the film entertain through a more cerebral, or intellectual, appeal? Through its
clever allusions to other films, to other media, to other genres?
III. SOCIAL VALUE
Finally, in contrast to entertainment values, films may be evaluated and judge on the
criteria of the significance of the film’s approach on a social issue. Quite a number of
recent films that have come up in class discussions tackle social issues, e.g., Paul
Haggis’s 2004 film,
FINALLY, WHAT WILL MAKE A STRONG FILM REVIEW?
Remember that your argument comes through the descriptive language (the adjectives)
you select to describe your film. It is not only in statements about a film that the
argument emerges, but just as much through your choice of lively, art, and powerful
adjectives. THINK VERY CAREFULLY ABOUT CHOOSING YOUR ADJECTIVES.
(From Liz Constable)