Writing A Film Criticism Essay

Content of this article

  1. How to write a critical essay
  2. Preparation process
  3. Research
  4. Structure
  5. Finalizing an essay
  6. How to choose topic for a critical writing
  7. Samples

1. How To Write A Critical Essay

A critical essay seeks to provide an analysis or interpretation of either a book, a piece of art or a film. A critical essay is not the same as a review because unlike a review, it encompasses an academic purpose or goal. Students should not just aim at reviewing a book or a film, but should have an argument and include scholarly observations within their essay. Contrary to popular belief by a significant portion of students, critical essay writing is not about criticizing or focusing on the negative aspect of analysis. It is possible to have a critical essay which supports an idea or an author’s or director’s view regarding a particular theme. A critical essay is thus an objective analysis of a particular subject whose aim is to analyze the strengths or weaknesses of text, art, or a film. The above is of great importance, especially to students who think that critical essays are supposed to focus on the negative aspects of a subject.

The goal or purpose of a critical essay is to provide readers with an explanation or an interpretation of a specific idea or concept that an author, a painter or director included in their work. Additionally, writers can be asked to situate a certain theme in a book or film within a broader context. Essentially, critical essay writing involves weighing up the consistency of an author or director in trying to convey a particular message to their audience. It is thus vital to be keen and observant and note the different feelings as well as emotions conjured within a text, a film, or a painting. Writing a critical paper or criticizing might seem easy at first, but it can also be challenging.

Some of the purposes of a critical essay writing are as shown below:

  • Provide an objective account of an author’s, director’s or painter’s work.
  • Analyze the consistency of an author’s work in presenting their ideas.
  • Assess the consistency of an author’s work in maintaining and supporting their main argument or idea.
  • Present the strengths as well as weaknesses of an article.
  • Criticize the work of an author or a painter.

2. Preparation For Writing

Step 1: Understand the requirements

Students are often at fault for starting their essays without clearly understanding the instructor’s requirements. Instead of starting an essay immediately after reading the requirements, it is wise to seek any clarification from the teacher.

Step 2: Familiarize yourself with the primary source

The primary source is the book, film, or painting a student has been asked to write a critical essay about. Here, students are always advised to be careful and note everything within the source for purposes of making their essay better. If asked to write a particular book, film, or painting, students should read the book more than once, watch the film more than once, or look at the painting from different perspectives to understand the underlying themes.

Step 3: Take notes when reading/watching/assessing the primary source

Note taking is also vital to identifying the different patterns and problems within a text, film, or painting. While reading the text, or watching the movie, it is important to note the important concepts and ideas that an author or director or painter decided to incorporate within their work. The important points or aspects can indeed be overwhelming, and it is thus essential to ensure none will skip or escape the writer’s mind.

Step 4: Identify the main problems or patterns within a text, movie or art

After reviewing a text, or watching a movie or keenly analyzing a piece of art and taking notes, the next step is to identify the main problems or patterns that emerge from the notes. While noting the important aspects, certain issues or points are bound to emerge and stand out. Students thus need to be keen and identify these patterns and problems.

Step 5: Find solutions to the identified problems and patterns

The next thing after this is to try and find solutions for the identified problems and patterns. At this point, the writer should be developing their thesis statement and have their perspective clearly outlined.

3. Performing Research

Critical Essay writing is heavily dependent on how much research an individual does. In some instances, students make the mistake of depending on their primary source to write their critical essay. Unless otherwise specified by the instructor, it is always advisable to find other sources to help expand and increase the essay’s depth in content. Secondary sources help to increase an essay’s credibility and thus if needed should always be included.

Finding the right sources can be a problem and students often find themselves at fault for using unreliable sources. It is important to find genuine sources which offer reliable and accurate information lest one’s essay is filled with lies and inaccurate information. Just like how one is advised to take notes while reading or watching the primary source, it is also essential to take notes while going through the secondary sources. The notes help to determine or find patterns and points of correlation between the primary and secondary source. Understanding the relationship or the connection between the primary and secondary source is key to writing a decent critical essay. Below are some criterions for choosing the right secondary source:

  • Assess the timeliness of the source, that is, how current is the material.
  • Accuracy of the information. How reliable is the information within the source.
  • Coverage or relevance to the topic under study. Assess whether the material is of any importance or adds any value to the topic.
  • Evaluate the source of the information, that is, the author, painter, or director’s credibility.
  • Examine the objectivity or purpose of the information presented within a source. Here one assesses the possible bias within a text.

4. Critical Essay Structure

All essays follow a particular standard or format which includes an introduction, body, and a conclusion. These parts must be included in an essay to be termed as complete. However, before tackling these sections, it is important first to develop an outline for a critical essay. Critical essay outlining is essential because it provides students with a step by step guide to developing their essay.

If, for example, the topic under study is “the use of ethnic music by mainstream musicians” the outline should be as shown below:

The Use of Ethnic Music by Mainstream Musicians

Introduction

–    Explain how music keeps changing.

–    Provide a brief description of the use of ethnic music in mainstream music.

–    Pick an artist and explain why their music is of interest in this paper.

Body

–    Assess the change in music production of the artist.

–    Provide an analysis of how the artist has managed to use ethnic music.

–    Include the reception of the music of the above artist and how fans find his music.

Conclusion

–   Restate the argument or thesis statement while also mentioning why the focus was narrowed to the specified artist and their music.

–    Provide a summary of the main points.

Writing a Critical Essay Introduction

An introduction provides a description of the topic under study. While some students like providing a lot of information in the introduction, it is advisable to be brief and direct. An introduction should be specific and short but usher in the readers into the topic under study. Readers should be able to determine the writer’s focus or perspective without much fuss or without the need of reading deep into a text.  Background information is indeed of the essence, and it is thus important to include some information which will help readers to understand the entire essay.

Writing a Thesis Statement for a Critical Essay

A thesis statement reveals the main focus of the essay. Readers need to know the writer’s focus and hence the importance of a thesis statement. On many occasions, students often have flat and simple thesis statements which even though is not against any rules only help to reveal the lack of imagination or research involved. A thesis statement should be argumentative and provide readers with an assurance that they will indeed enjoy what they are reading.

Below are some tips to writing a good thesis statement:

  • Always include it in the introduction. A thesis statement should be provided early in the essay.
  • Avoid ambiguity and be as clear as possible.
  • Cliché sentence structures should be avoided. For example, “The main point of this paper is…” or “The focus of this article will be…”
  • Be specific and narrow down the statement’s scope.
  • Be original.

Writing a Critical Essay Body

While writing an essay, each sentence in the body should communicate its point. The above is almost a cliché, but it is indeed crucial to being a good critical essay writer. Each paragraph should support the thesis statement by including a claim or an argument and following it up with supporting evidence or sentences. Unless otherwise stated, critical essays should have three to six paragraphs and each of these is supposed to have five to six sentences.

Writing a Critical Essay Conclusion

A critical essay conclusion is not any different to other essay conclusions. When writing a conclusion for a critical essay, one should reiterate their stance or main argument followed by the main supporting arguments or points. Only a summary is needed here, and hence writers are asked to be brief and only include what is necessary. Readers should feel directly linked or impacted by the topic under study. An essay should leave the readers with the need or urge of finding out more about a topic.

5. Finalizing Essay

Once the paper is complete, it is essential to revise, proofread, choose a captivating title, and make appropriate citations. Revising an assignment is important because it helps to clarify the main point as well as ensures the readers’ needs are met. Having a purpose is indeed essential to writing a decent critical essay and it is important to outline it clearly. Proofreading helps one to correct grammatical errors and maintain their stance throughout their essay.

A reader’s interest is always enticed from the title and developing one is indeed an important aspect of an essay. Citations are also of the essence and help to avoid issues of plagiarism. Paraphrasing, and in-text citations should hence be taken seriously, lest a student’s work graded poorly.

6. How to choose topic for a critical analysis

Choosing a topic can be a challenge. Writers are, however, often advised to select a topic that they are familiar with and that will gift them with enough information to write the entire essay.

Below are some examples of critical essay topics:

  • Examine the literary and cultural context of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.
  • Examine the use of satire in John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight Show.
  • How accurate is the assertion that satirical news shows offer people more credible news than some news channels?
  • How is the movie 21 Jump Street accurate in its depiction of high school life?
  • How does the recent Texas Chainsaw Massacre horror film use the aspect of suspense to create horror?
  • What makes/made comedy series such as The Big Bang Theory, Friends, and How I met Your Mother popular?
  • What unique features did the directors of The Big Bang Theory, Friends, and How I met Your Mother include that made their shows standout?
  • Video games contribute to a significant reduction in attention span of both children and adults.
  • Adoption of children by gay couples.
  • How does exposure to violent videos impact the temperament of young children?
  • How is fashion a central part of a person’s identity?
  • Analyze the role of women characters in the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne.
  • Examine the cultural and historical accuracy of the TV series Merlin.
  • How does the director and producer of Merlin make use humor throughout the TV series?
  • Examine how well the Game of Thrones books have been adapted into the TV series Game of Thrones.

7. Samples

7.1 First sample

7.2 Second sample

7.3 Third sample

Writing an evaluation essay on a movie is way more enjoyable experience than a regular essay, because everyone likes watching movies. Moreover, it is easy to write about something you like. You can choose to write a favorite movie essay or a classification essay about movies, if you are a real devotee of cinematographic art. However, when you write a movie analysis essay you should remember that it is more than just a review of the film. While a review expresses only your opinion and summarizes the plot of the movie, a movie evaluation essay involves deeper analysis of different layers of the film, such as symbolism, settings, theme, and so on. If you are not a stranger to these cinematic devices and can identify them when watching a movie, then such paper shouldn’t be a problem for you. However, if you are not sure you can dig deeper than just a basic story line, you can order a custom written movie critique essay from Star-Writers. You can be sure to receive an original unique paper from a professional author and for a very moderate price.

Writing Movie Essay Step by Step

Writing an essay many seem like an overwhelming task. But it is only so when you work without a precise plan. After you learn these steps to writing a perfect movie analysis essay, you will be able to compose your paper with no effort. It will take even less of your time and energy, if you use our professional rewriting services after composing a first draft of your essay.

Step 1: Watch the movie. Obviously, to analyze a movie, you must watch it beforehand. Moreover, you have to watch it actively, not like an ordinary viewer. Have a notebook with you, so you could pause at some moments and take notes. Write down everything that catches your attention. There is no ultimate rule about what you must write about, it is your essay and it reflects the way you perceive things. So be confident, and note everything you like or dislike, any piece of dialog that got your attention or the way some character is dressed.

Step 2: Define the main elements. It is crucial for the success of your essay to identify the theme of the movie as soon as possible. Theme is so important, because it is like prism through which events of the story are perceived. For example the film may revolve around such theme, as unrequited love, revenge, survival, loneliness. Ultimately, there is no limit to the theme, it can be anything. Also it is important to define the genre of the movie, figure out the setting and the point of view. Analyzing a movie is very similar to analyzing a book. You will be able to read about writing a book critique essay if you visit our blog.

Step 3: Look at the characters. While watching a movie, jot down in your notebook some notes about characters. Try to understand the purpose of each character in the story. Define the protagonist, antagonist and the supporting cast; what aspect of human nature each character represents. You should also consider the settings as an important element. Sometimes, for example in movies, such as man vs. wild nature, the setting can be represented as a leading character, too. If all this seems confusing, you can read some of the movie essay samples on our blog to get an idea, how to write one.

Step 4: The role of actors and director. When analyzing a movie, you must certainly take into account the people who created it. These are not only actors, directors and producers, but also music orchestra, camera-men, engineers, visual artists, etc. You don’t need to write about all of them, you just need to choose one angle to look at. Your focus would depend on the type of the movie and the elements you want to emphasize. For example, you can write how music gave a rich emotional tone to the movie. If it is a film with fantastic creatures, you can write about the amazing job make-up artists did in creating the greasepaint.

Step 5: Story short outline. Briefly write about the main story line. Don’t go too deep into all nuances and twists of the plot. The purpose of the movie critique essay is not to summarize the whole story, but to analyze it. So don’t spend much time on this step. All you need is to give your readers a close enough idea what the movie is about. Read this article if you want to learn more about writing short, but concise story outlines.

Step 6: Write your essay.  After you have analyzed all the above elements of the movie and took short notes of them, it is finally time for you to start writing your essay. It will be easier and faster if you outline your essay beforehand. Just make a list of things you are going to mention in each paragraph. You can follow this classic five paragraph essay template, which would make the process of outlining clearer and more visual.  Otherwise, remember that you can always rely on Star-Writers to compose an exceptional movie critique essay for you. Here is the template you can use:

  • Paragraph 1: State the movie title, director, the main idea of the movie, your thesis statement;
  • Paragraph 2: Brief outline of the story.
  • Paragraph 3: Settings, structure, style and point of view;
  • Paragraph 4: Analysis of deeper meaning, symbolism and cinematic devices;
  • Paragraph 5: Conclusion, restate your thesis and summarize.

Step 7: Edit. You cannot submit your essay without making sure it is free of structural, grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes. If you have strong grammar skills and good attention to details, you can try to edit your essay by yourself. There are many online guides that would teach you how to do it. However, written language is such a tricky thing and there are many aspects that you can overlook. Thus, it is better to trust this important task to professionals. Star-Writers can help you with your movie analysis essay in any way you like — to revise, rewrite, edit or proofread it.

Writing Perfect Movie Analysis Essay

Writing about movies can be a lot of fun, especially if you know what you must focus on. If you use these 7 steps, you can be sure to compose a winning movie analysis essay. And Star-Writers are always available online to help you out at any moment of that writing journey. In addition, if you submit your email address right now, you will be able to receive a generous 20% discount on your first order. Contact Star-Writers and don’t lose your chance to get a perfect movie analysis essay. 

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