Film Review Essay Example

How to Write the Perfect Essay: a Proofread Example 

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Film Critique

There are many powerful aspects to the film Psycho and Night of the Living Dead which focus on social issues of the time. There are social messages portrayed in this film which were breakthroughs at the time in the film industry. These include the idea that psychotic people were living among us, that anyone was vulnerable to becoming like them, and that the hero did not always win. The sexuality and violence the two films offered viewers accompanied these notions, breaking the traditional American values.

The film Psycho received a good portion of its criticism based upon the fact that it had openly portrayed sexuality and violence in a manner which was unheard of at the time (Milne). Prior to the 1960’s, America had immersed itself in “traditional family values” which upheld the American Dream, in an attempt to ward off the violent aftermath of the Second World War. Families clung to public religious values and as such, sought only wholesome films which did not start with a scene showing an unmarried couple in bed, partially clothed (Psycho).

The director was particular clever in his creation of the viewing process. People were allowed to watch the film from beginning to end only so that they would not become desensitized to the psychology behind the film. The main theme is multiple identities. This is portrayed through the main character, Norman Bates and his split personalities (Psycho). This was a shocking social message because it demonstrated that psychopathic killers could be living amongst us.

The film played off of the fear which had accompanied World War II propaganda: spies were living among us. Even more terrifying was the light shed on traditional roles. The characters encompassed multiple roles the same as the psychotic main character, bringing the reality that people portrayed in the film were the same as one of the audience members closer to home (Elshtain 7).

The film shows Marion Crane who appears to be a humble and wholesome secretary. However, she fulfills another role which opposes traditional religious and family values as she meets with her lover to have sex outside of marriage. Even more upsetting to standard social roles was the transition Marion played, as she eventually shows viewers that she has a double-sided relationship to her mother, and at the end, adopts a new identity when she trades in her car and signs the name Marie Samuels on the motel register (Psycho). This reflected upon the idea that even the most respectable men and women were capable of such drastic changes immediately. It was terrifying to many to see that American traditional values and morals could be so easily permeated.

This was a particularly shocking component of the film in that it played upon the fears that many had of secularism. It was thought after the Second World War that secularism would eventually replace religion and any upstanding morals. This theory was discussed in many forums through politically minded people, published in books, and now shown in this film. Bringing live tape of what could happen was shocking to viewers. Possibly one of the most terrifying aspects for audience members was learning that the film Psycho was adapted from the story of a real-life serial killer.

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Content of this article

  1. Movie review writing guide
  2. Forrest Gump analysis (example)
  3. Review structure
  4. Polishing
  5. More examples
  6. Movie related essay samples

1. Movie Review Writing

A lot of people like movies and films. These things add thrill and imaginations to our lives. This, therefore, makes us come to the conclusion that a movie is worth a review if it has been watched. Everyone has a different opinion on the movies they watch – the ratings can range from being great to good or even bad. Thought there are an increasing number of movie sites available on the Internet (some of which are authoritative, others less so (more below)), movie reviews and reviewers are still very much in demand for their own unique takes on a movie. The different types of reviewers can offer different types of writing, which is something that is good in a market which is rapidly becoming over-saturated. Everyone can review a movie, but there are still some differences between the reviewing done by experts, and reviewing done by amateurs – the amateurs are not usually focused on the minutiae of the film in the same way, and are instead focused more on the general ideas presented.

The primary purpose of movie review writing is to give the reader a rough idea of what the movie is about. The movie review greatly determines if an individual wants to watch the movie or not. This type of writing should, therefore, be detailed enough to assist the reader in making an honest decision. As much as the review is based on elaborating the movie review outline, it should not give away the plot of the movie or the surprises that make the movie enjoyable. Opinions on a movie need to be stated clearly, good or bad. If the review is to be brief, stars and scores can also be used to express the reviewer’s thoughts. A good writer should, therefore, have the basic knowledge of how to write a movie review.

Examples include:

  • Great movie: Almost Christmas is a movie that has balanced all its features to make a great movie. All the characters fit their roles and make the plot come to life. The costumes and the soundtracks are a plus as they enhance the emotions and feelings of every story line. Almost Christmas is, therefore, a movie worth watching.
  • Good movieLondon has Fallen is an okay movie. The graphics were on point as well as the sound effects. The cast, however, I felt weren’t up to the task, and did not bring out the feel of the movie. The actors, therefore, led to what was otherwise quite a good time-killing movie (if not a good movie overall) being let down. Additionally, the plot was difficult to comprehend.
  • Bad movieNo matter how much you watch Central Intelligence, you can’t get a hold of the movie. The stunts are overrated, and the storyline is off, making the movie boring. The movie is a definite no, and not even worth spending time watching when there is nothing else to watch on TV. Definitely a flop.

2. Complete analysis (Forrest Gump)

  • Plot analysis: the movie falls in the genre of modern fiction (modern history is generally considered to stretch from the fifteenth century up, although this category is further divided into early modern (1500s to 1700s) and late modern (1700s to present), with Tom Hanks playing the role of Forrest Gump. His character moves through history and survives all the hardships with decency and honesty.
  • Soundtrack analysis: the soundtrack reflects the mood that was popular at the time, which, in turn, creates urgency. The songs are great hits and are appropriate for children to listen to as well. The soundtrack helps to illustrate the transitions of the film’s locations – from warm and safe territory to a more hostile borders. For instance, the song by Fleetwood (Go Your Way) is used to illustrate how Forrest is joined by his friends in his journey. The soundtrack is an integral part of the movie experience, as it brings an emotional centre-point to the move by helping people to better understand just how high the stakes are in certain scenes. The soundtrack is also to convey the terrifying nature of the war scenes, thus helping the movie to pack even more of an emotional punch.
  • Atmosphere: later on in the movie, the atmosphere changes – the troops go out on patrol and are far away from their bases which are safe. The atmosphere becomes tense, and at the same time captivating. Having the atmosphere change throughout a movie emphasises that what is happening is actually serious and will have consequences, and the movie Forrest Gump is no different. If the atmosphere is incorrect, then, the movie will not feel so real to the people who are watching it. the movie starts with the atmosphere of the beach party. Music is playing in the background, and people are enjoying barbecue and playing cards. The troops are not left behind as they are seen loading crates of beers in their trucks.
  • The main idea of the film: The main idea portrayed in Forrest Gump is that life is filled with unknown surprises. This is substantially illustrated by Forrest Gump himself, who is just a country boy with learning difficulties. Forrest, however, does not let this obstacle define him, and goes to great lengths to be a relevant person in history. The film, while containing some darkness and violence due to the war and its aftermath, is therefore an uplifting and invigorating film, as it shows how people can prevail against all odds, and even thrive. A film needs to have one (or possibly two, though more is of course harder to maintain) main idea if it is to remain coherent throughout.
  • Actors play analysis: Tom Hanks fits the role perfectly as he manages to express the love for the country. He portrays the feelings of sadness and comedy at the same time. Forrest, therefore, makes the movie interesting. Tom Hanks is a strong actor, and it is mainly due to his efforts as the lead which make the film as powerful and memorable as it is.

3. Review structure

The structure of a movie review follows the basic steps of the introduction, the body (analysis), the recommendation and the movie review conclusion. A movie review writing guide gives the writer instructions on how to write a movie review. The movie review structure is as follows.

3.1 The introduction

A movie review should open up with an introduction. The introduction is the most appealing way of how to start a movie review, and contains the summary of the movie and opinion that will be stated. Movie review writing hooks give the readers a general feel of what will be illustrated in the review. The introduction for a movie review has to be appealing, so that the reader can get the feel of wanting to read more.

Give a brief illustration of what will be discussed in the review and then proceed to the thesis. Ensure that the thesis is original and at the same time based on the analysis. The thesis for a movie review should be compelling and reflect on a contemporary issue, while the argument should go beyond the plot and straight to the film criticism. Illustrate both the message of the movie and how the film connects to an individual.  The thesis paragraph can be followed up with a short summary plot. The section will also give an overview of what will be contained in the body.

3.2 Body paragraphs (analysis)

The analysis covers the fails and accomplishments within the movie, and also gives the writer a chance to express their feelings towards it. The cinematography, acting, the setting, and soundtrack can also be discussed in this section. Ensure that the writing is smooth and easy to comprehend. For the review to seem realistic and professional, present facts and opinions in the same page, and try to use examples that are descriptive in order to bring the plot to life. Dialogue snippets can and should be quoted to give the review snappiness. You can add a few movie review tips such as giving the language used some personality, in order to create a style which will reflect a unique perspective to entertain the reader.

3.3 Recommendation

A movie review structure can also have a recommendation. The recommendation gives the writers a chance to commend the film and decide if it’s worth the money.

3.4 Conclusion

The conclusion for a movie review should be in a position to be tied up with the thesis. The conclusion should also offer guidance of whether to watch the film or not. There are a number of ways of how to end a movie review. However, the most effective style is to make it compelling and at the same time entertaining.

4. Polishing the review

The review is polished through editing. The final content should go hand in hand with the movie review draft. Fine tune the review to ensure it is in line with the thesis. Ensure that the content has enough examples to back up the claims. You should also proofread the review to eliminate any spelling mistakes and errors that can be avoided – movie review writing needs to be precise and free of errors. Finally, share the review with friends and family and see if it has an impact on their opinions of the movie.

5. More examples

5.1 Martian review

5.2 The Shawshank Redemption review

5.3 Star Trek review

5.4 Man of Steel review

More movie related essay samples

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