How to Write a Film Analysis Essay: Examples, Outline, & Movie Analysis Tips (2023)

A film analysis essay might be the most exciting assignment you have ever had! After all, who doesn’t love watching movies? You have your favorite movies, maybe something you watched years ago, perhaps a classic, or a documentary. Or your professor might assign a film for you to make a critical review. Regardless, you are totally up for watching a movie for a film analysis essay.

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However, once you have watched the movie, facing the act of writing might knock the wind out of your sails because you might be wondering how to write a film analysis essay. In summary, writing movie analysis is not as difficult as it might seem, and Custom-writing.org experts will prove this. This guide will help you choose a topic for your movie analysis, make an outline, and write the text.️ Film analysis examples are added as a bonus! Just keep reading our advice on how to get started.

Contents

  1. ❓ What Is a Film Analysis Essay?

  2. 🚦 Film Analysis Types

  3. ✍️ How to Write a Film Analysis

  4. 📄 Essay Examples

  5. ✏️ FAQ

  6. 🔗 References

❓ What Is a Film Analysis Essay?

To put it simply, film analysis implies watching a movie and then considering its characteristics: genre, structure, contextual context, etc. Film analysis is usually considered to be a form of rhetorical analysis. The key to success here is to formulate a clear and logical argument, supporting it with examples.

🚦 Film Analysis Essay Types

Since a film analysis essay resembles literature analysis, it makes sense that there are several ways to do it. Its types are not limited to the ones described here. Moreover, you are free to combine the approaches in your essay as well. Since your writing reflects your own opinion, there is no universal way to do it.

How to Write a Film Analysis Essay: Examples, Outline, & Movie Analysis Tips (1)
  1. Semiotic analysis. If you’re using this approach, you are expected to interpret the film’s symbolism. You should look for any signs that may have a hidden meaning. Often, they reveal some character’s features. To make the task more manageable, you can try to find the objects or concepts that appear on the screen multiple times. What is the context they appear in? It might lead you to the hidden meaning of the symbols.

  2. Narrative structure analysis. This type is quite similar to a typical literature guide. It includes looking into the film’s themes, plot, and motives. The analysis aims to identify three main elements: setup, confrontation, and resolution. You should find out whether the film follows this structure and what effect it creates. It will make the narrative structure analysis essay if you write about the theme and characters’ motivations as well.

  3. Contextual analysis. Here, you would need to expand your perspective. Instead of focusing on inner elements, the contextual analysis looks at the time and place of the film’s creation. Therefore, you should work on studying the cultural context a lot. It can also be a good idea to mention the main socio-political issues of the time. You can even relate the film’s success to the director or producer and their career.

  4. Mise-en-scene analysis. This type of analysis works with the most distinctive feature of the movies, audiovisual elements. However, don’t forget that your task is not only to identify them but also to explain their importance. There are so many interconnected pieces of this puzzle: the light to create the mood, the props to show off characters’ personalities, messages hidden in the song lyrics.

✍️ How to Write a Film Analysis

Even though film analysis is similar to the literary one, you might still feel confused with where to begin. No need to worry; there are only a few additional steps you need to consider during the writing process.

✔️Understand the instructionsReread the prompt twice! It’s crucial because your thesis statement and main arguments will be based on it. To help yourself at this stage, try an analytical thesis generator. It will make your efforts more productive.
✔️Begin the taskTake your time and watch the film as many times as you need so that you don’t miss anything. You might find it helpful to take notes or even use a screenplay if you can find one.
✔️Draft an outlineYou should write down a thesis statement and organize the main ideas. Don’t forget to support your arguments with evidence and make sure they align with the assignment requirements.
✔️Write and proofreadThe last step is writing the first draft of your essay. The text doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect since you still need to take some time to edit and to proofread it.In the next sections, there are more detailed descriptions of how to get every step done quickly. And remember that you can always ask your supervisor for help if you have any questions!
(Video) How To Analyse FILM In An Essay

Need more information? It can be found in the video below.

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Starting Your Film Analysis Essay

There are several things you need to do before you start writing your film analysis paper. First and foremost, you have to watch the movie. Even if you have seen it a hundred times, you need to watch it again to make a good film analysis essay.

Note that you might be given an essay topic or have to think of it by yourself. If you are free to choose a topic for your film analysis essay, reading some critical reviews before you watch the film might be a good idea. By doing this in advance, you will already know what to look for when watching the movie.

In the process of watching, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Consider your impression of the movie

  • Enumerate memorable details

  • Try to interpret the movie message in your way

  • Search for the proof of your ideas (quotes from the film)

  • Make comments on the plot, settings, and characters

  • Draw parallels between the movie you are reviewing and some other movies

Making a Film Analysis Essay Outline

Once you have watched and possibly re-watched your assigned or chosen movie from an analytical point of view, you will need to create a movie analysis essay outline. The task is pretty straightforward: the outline can look just as if you were working on a literary analysis or an article analysis.

  1. Introduction: This includes the basics of the movie, including the title, director, and the date of release. You should also present the central theme or ideas in the movie and your thesis statement.

  2. Summary: This is where you take the time to present an overview of the primary concepts in the movie, including the five Ws (who, what, when, where, and why)—don’t forget how!—as well as anything you wish to discuss that relates to the point of view, style, and structure.

  3. Analysis: This is the body of the essay and includes your critical analysis of the movie, why you did or did not like it, and any supporting material from the film to support your views. It would help if you also discussed whether the director and writer of the movie achieved the goal they set out to achieve.

  4. Conclusion: This is where you can state your thesis again and provide a summary of the primary concepts in a new and more convincing manner, making a case for your analysis. You can also include a call-to-action that will invite the reader to watch the movie or avoid it entirely.

You can find a great critical analysis template at Thompson Rivers University website. In case you need more guidance on how to write an analytical paper, check out our article.

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Writing & Editing Your Film Analysis Essay

We have already mentioned that there are differences between literary analysis and film analysis. They become especially important when one starts writing their film analysis essay.

First of all, the evidence you include to support the arguments is not the same. Instead of quoting the text, you might need to describe the audiovisual elements.

However, the practice of describing the events is similar in both types. You should always introduce a particular sequence in the present tense. If you want to use a piece of a dialogue between more than two film characters, you can use block quotes. However, since there are different ways to do it, confirm with your supervisor.

For your convenience, you might as well use the format of the script, for which you don’t have to use quotation marks:

Example:

ELSA: But she won’t remember I have powers?

KING: It’s for the best.

(Video) Film analysis essay writing

Finally, to show off your proficiency in the subject, look at the big picture. Instead of just presenting the main elements in your analysis, point out their significance. Describe the effect they make on the overall impression form the film. Moreover, you can dig deeper and suggest the reasons why such elements were used in a particular scene to show your expertise.

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📄 Film Analysis Examples

Below you’ll find two film analysis essay examples. Note that the full versions are downloadable for free!

Example #1: The Intouchables

Example:

Raising acute social problems in modern cinema is a common approach to draw the public’s attention to the specific issues and challenges of people facing crucial obstacles. As a film for review, The Intouchables by Oliver Nakache and Éric Toledano will be analyzed, and one of the themes raised in this movie is the daily struggle of the person with severe disabilities. This movie is a biographical drama with comedy elements. The Intouchables describes the routine life of a French millionaire who is confined to a wheelchair and forced to receive help from his servants. The acquaintance of the disabled person with a young and daring man from Parisian slums changes the lives of both radically. The film shows that for a person with disabilities, recognition as a full member of society is more important than sympathy and compassion, and this message expressed comically raises an essential problem of human loneliness.

Movie Review: The Intouchables

Download the free sample

Example #2: Parasite

Example:

Parasite is a 2019 South Korean black comedy thriller movie directed by Bong Joon-ho and is the first film with a non-English script to win Best Picture at the Oscars in 2020. With its overwhelming plot and acting, this motion picture retains a long-lasting effect and some kind of shock. The class serves as a backbone and a primary objective of social commentary within the South Korean comedy/thriller (Kench, 2020). Every single element and detail in the movie, including the student’s stone, the contrasting architecture, family names, and characters’ behavior, contribute to the central topic of the universal problem of classism and wealth disparity. The 2020 Oscar-winning movie Parasite (2019) is a phenomenal cinematic portrayal and a critical message to modern society regarding the severe outcomes of the long-established inequalities within capitalism.

The Analysis of the Oscar – Winning Movie: Parasite

Download the free sample

Film Analysis Essay FAQ

❓ How to write an essay about a movie?

  1. Watch the movie or read a detailed plot summary.

  2. Read others’ film reviews paying attention to details like key characters, movie scenes, background facts.

  3. Compose a list of ideas about what you’ve learned.

  4. Organize the selected ideas to create a body of the essay.

  5. Write an appropriate introduction and conclusion.

❓ What can be gained through analyzing film?

(Video) Help with writing a film essay

The benefits of analyzing a movie are numerous. You get a deeper understanding of the plot and its subtle aspects. You can also get emotional and aesthetic satisfaction. Film analysis enables one to feel like a movie connoisseur.

❓ How to analyze a movie?

Here is a possible step by step scenario:

  1. Think about the general idea that the author probably wanted to convey.

  2. Consider how the idea was put across: what characters, movie scenes, and details helped in it.

  3. Study the broader context: the author’s other works, genre essentials, etc.

❓ What is film analysis?

The definition might be: the process of interpreting a movie’s aspects. The movie is reviewed in terms of details creating the artistic value. A film analysis essay is a paper presenting such a review in a logically structured way.

Want more examples? Check out this bonus list of 10 film analysis samples. They will help you gain even more inspiration.

  1. Bill Monroe – Father of Bluegrass Music Film Analysis

    (Video) Right tips for writing: Film review

🔗 References

FAQs

How do you write an introduction to a film analysis paper? ›

Introduction

The introductory part of a film analysis essay contains some fundamental information about the movie, like the film title, release date, and director's name. In other words, the reader should get familiar with some background information about the film.

What are the parts of movie analysis? ›

Reviews analyze the effectiveness of the plot, theme, acting, direction, special effects, musical effects, cinematography, and all other elements that created the movie.

How do you conduct a movie analysis? ›

Step 3: After You Watch the Movie
  1. Plot: What was the movie about? ...
  2. Themes and Tone: What was the central goal of the movie? ...
  3. Acting and Characters: Did you like how the characters were portrayed? ...
  4. Direction: Did you like how the director chose to tell the story? ...
  5. Score: Did the music support the mood of the movie?
22 Jul 2015

What is a film analysis outline? ›

It includes looking into the film's themes, plot, and motives. The analysis aims to identify three main elements: setup, confrontation, and resolution. You should find out whether the film follows this structure and what effect it creates.

How do you write an outline for a film review? ›

Introduction (with title, release date, background information) Summary of the story. Analysis of the plot elements (rising action, climax) Creative elements (dialogues, characters, use of colors, camera techniques, mood, tone, symbols, costumes or anything that contributes or takes away from the overall plot)

What are the 7 elements of film? ›

These are the basic building blocks of any good story – Setting, Conflict, Character, Dialogue, Theme, Plot, and Climax. Good novels and films have well-defined elements in each of these areas. All seven are necessary in order to create a successful and memorable story.

What are the 5 key elements of a movie? ›

The 5 Key Story Elements
  • Character.
  • Conflict.
  • Plot.
  • Setting.
  • Theme.
11 Aug 2022

What are the 8 core elements of film? ›

What are the key elements involved:
  • Film Type.
  • Shots.
  • Camera Angles.
  • Lighting.
  • Color.
  • Sound or Audio.
  • Editing.
  • Mise-en-Scene.
3 Mar 2021

What are the 5 keys to creating and analyzing a script? ›

Five keys to the screenwriting craft: Think concepts. Watch movies. Read scripts. Write pages.

What is the first step of analyzing a film? ›

The first step is to understand how the film is put together as a whole. Examine narrative films in terms of plot, story, causality, time, and space. Analyze the pattern of development.

What is a film analysis essay? ›

Analyzing film, like analyzing literature (fiction texts, etc.), is a form of rhetorical analysis—critically analyzing and evaluating discourse, including words, phrases, and images. Having a clear argument and supporting evidence is every bit as critical to film analysis as to other forms of academic writing.

How do you start an analysis essay? ›

Steps For How to Write an Analytical Essay
  1. Brainstorm different topic ideas.
  2. Research a few topics you like.
  3. Choose a topic you like that has enough information to back up your claims.
  4. Come up with a thesis statement to help direct your research.
  5. Make an outline.
17 Jan 2022

How do you start an essay? ›

Take a look at these common ways to start an essay:
  1. Share a shocking or amusing fact.
  2. Ask a question.
  3. Dramatize a scene.
  4. Kick it off with a quote.
  5. State your thesis directly.
  6. Pick the right tone for your essay.
  7. When you're stuck, work backwards.
2 Jun 2022

What are the four analytical questions in film? ›

- How does the piece begin? - How are the characters introduced? - What is the setting (time and place)? - What are the elements of mis-en-scene (or the physical elements of the production, such as costumes, props, sets)?

How long is a movie analysis? ›

Preparing to Write the Review

While film reviews tend to be fairly short (approximately 600 to 1200 words), they require a lot of preparation before you begin writing. Prior to viewing the film, you may want to get a sense of the bodies of work by the director, writer, or individual actor.

What is the goal of film analysis? ›

Film analysis involves analyzing film elements, the storyline and theme in order to develop a conclusion of the success of the movie.

What are the 7 steps to writing a movie review? ›

9 Tips for Writing a Film Review
  1. Watch the film at least once.
  2. Express your opinions and support your criticism.
  3. Consider your audience.
  4. Know the Actors' portfolios.
  5. Call out directors, cinematographers, special effects.
  6. No spoilers!
  7. Study the professionals.
  8. Reread, rewrite and edit.
2 Jun 2017

What is a 3 point outline? ›

The three-point outline is similar to the essays you wrote in high school or college—you introduce a topic, expound on three points relating to it, then conclude by recapping what you've discussed.

What is a 3 level outline? ›

A three level outline is made up of headings for sections, subsection, and paragraphs of a paper. Paragraph headings should provide the topic sentence (or phrase) that all sentences in the paragraph will. support.

What is the most important element of film? ›

But as filmmakers, our overriding concern should be movement. Movement also has a double meaning: 1) the physical movement of the camera or objects within the frame and 2) moving our audience emotionally.

What are the three most essential elements of film? ›

Acting (Characters & Performance) Dialogue (Storytelling & Context) Cinematography (Visual Language & Lighting, Setting, and Wardrobe)

What makes a film successful? ›

However, a few of the common factors that contribute to a successful film include: a compelling storyline; a well written script; great actors who have a reach to the audience; a visionary director alongside a director of photography and editor and….. the list just goes on and on.

What are key points in a movie? ›

They are: the Back Story, the Catalyst, the Big Event (we've mentioned that one), the Midpoint, the Crisis, the Climax, and the Realization. Let's start with the Back Story. The Back Story is an event that generally takes place before the movie begins.

What makes a movie good paragraph? ›

Good effective movies should include three important factors: good actors, a good director and an attractive story. a- star actors are trusted for not making pointless movies. b- audience enter movies when it has their favorite stars. c- movie with no star usually fail.

What are the five C's of cinematography explain? ›

The 5 Cs are Camera angles, Continuity, Cutting, Close-ups, and Composition.

What are the 3 fundamental principles of film form? ›

The three fundamental principles of film form are: Movies depend on light, provide an illusion of movement, and manipulate space and time in unique ways.

What makes a film interesting? ›

The key ingredients that make a movie “good” are when the acting, directing, writing, cinematography, and overall production value all come together to tell one cohesive, entertaining, and impactful story. In essence, a good movie uses all these tools of filmmaking to tell a compelling story that makes you feel.

What are the 3 types of film? ›

Alan Williams distinguishes three main genre categories: narrative, avant-garde, and documentary. With the proliferation of particular genres, film subgenres can also emerge: the legal drama, for example, is a sub-genre of drama that includes courtroom- and trial-focused films.

What are the 3 C's of writing a good script? ›

All good screenwriting incorporates the Three C's whenever possible: CLEAR, CONCISE, and CREATIVE. And it is important to apply the Three C's to all aspects of the screenplay, action, and dialogue.

How do you outline a movie script? ›

One popular method of outlining a screenplay is to list every scene in the movie and fill in as much detail as possible for each scene. Each scene is given a header just as it would appear in the final screenplay, followed by the scene details.

What are the 8 elements of script formatting? ›

The elements for a script are:
  • Scene Heading.
  • Action.
  • Character Name.
  • Dialogue.
  • Parenthetical.
  • Extensions.
  • Transition.
  • Shot.

What are the 5 stages of a movie? ›

Are you asking yourself, “What are the phases of film production?” There are five phases of film production and they include development, pre-production, production, post-production and distribution.

What are the 4 elements of film? ›

characters, and theme. These form.

How do you write a good analysis essay? ›

How to write an analytical essay in 6 steps
  1. 1 Choose your topic. This step may be optional if your topic has been given to you as an assignment. ...
  2. 2 Research your topic. ...
  3. 3 Create an outline. ...
  4. 4 Write your first draft. ...
  5. 5 Revise your draft. ...
  6. 6 Proofread your essay.
18 Jul 2022

What is an example of analysis? ›

An analysis is just the process of breaking something down and figuring out how it works. For example, examining the way a poem uses metaphor to evoke emotion in the reader would be a type of analysis.

How many paragraphs should an analysis essay have? ›

An analytical essay is basically an expanded five-paragraph essay containing an introduction, body, and conclusion, with specific components required for each section.

What are the 5 steps of analysis? ›

In this post we'll explain five steps to get you started with data analysis.
  • STEP 1: DEFINE QUESTIONS & GOALS.
  • STEP 2: COLLECT DATA.
  • STEP 3: DATA WRANGLING.
  • STEP 4: DETERMINE ANALYSIS.
  • STEP 5: INTERPRET RESULTS.

What are the 3 steps to analysis? ›

These steps and many others fall into three stages of the data analysis process: evaluate, clean, and summarize.

What makes a good analysis? ›

Answer Questions that Explain and Expand on the Evidence

Questions can take the form of explaining the evidence or expanding on evidence; in other words, questions can give context or add meaning. Asking both kinds of questions is crucial to creating strong analysis.

What is a good beginning sentence for an essay? ›

Think of your first sentence as a hook that draws your reader in. As you have researched your topic, you have probably discovered many interesting anecdotes, quotes, or trivial facts; these make great hooks to use for an engaging introduction.

What is a good sentence starter for an essay? ›

Below is a list of possible sentence starters, transitional and other words that may be useful. This essay discusses … … is explored … … is defined … The definition of … will be given … is briefly outlined … … is explored … The issue focused on …. … is demonstrated ... … is included …

› art_philosophy › humanities › ho... ›

The purpose of these analytical essay assignments is to teach students to examine a feature film, interpret its meaning, and develop an argument based on and su...
Before you begin writing an analytical essay, you must know what this type of essay is and what it includes. Analytical essays analyze something, often (but not...
For example, "Stanley Kubrick's The Shining uses a repeating motif of Native American culture and art to comment on America's history of colonizing...

What is introduction to Film Studies? ›

Introduction to Film Studies is designed to provide students with an overview of film history and the skills necessary to analyze and critique film. Students will learn about film theory, aesthetics, genres, and basic film criticism.

What should be included in a movie introduction? ›

Movie opening credits usually list the production company, title of the movie, directors, and producers. In recent years this has changed to include many other things such as stars in key roles or who wrote and composed the music for it. What is this?

How do you write a film analysis paragraph? ›

Finally, as you write the analysis essay, complete the following:
  1. Cite the title of the movie.
  2. Provide background information and formulate the thesis in the introductory paragraph.
  3. Indicate the main ideas presented in the film. ...
  4. Use direct quotation of key words and phrases.

How do you write an introduction? ›

Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order: An opening hook to catch the reader's attention. Relevant background information that the reader needs to know. A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.

What are the 4 types of film? ›

10 types of film genres
  • Action. Action films traditionally contain dangerous situations and high-stake risks, and many require the use of physical stunts, fight choreography or disaster sequences. ...
  • Adventure. ...
  • Comedy. ...
  • Drama. ...
  • Horror. ...
  • Romance. ...
  • Science fiction. ...
  • Fantasy.
11 Mar 2022

What are the four basic approaches to studying film? ›

Film analysis is guided by various approaches, and the four traditional approaches to film history include: aesthetic, technological, economic, and social-historical.

What is the main purpose of film? ›

A film – also called a movie, motion picture, moving picture, picture or photoplay – is a work of visual art that simulates experiences and otherwise communicates ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or atmosphere through the use of moving images.

What are the 5 key elements of a movie? ›

The 5 Key Story Elements
  • Character.
  • Conflict.
  • Plot.
  • Setting.
  • Theme.
11 Aug 2022

How do you introduce a movie scene in an essay? ›

Use the name of the movie and the year of publication for all video sources. Place the reference in quotation marks at the end of the sentence where the information is referenced. Before citing the source, introduce the source in-text with the name of the video and director.

How do you introduce a movie title in an essay? ›

Italics are used for large works, names of vehicles, and movie and television show titles. Quotation marks are reserved for sections of works, like the titles of chapters, magazine articles, poems, and short stories. Let's look at these rules in detail, so you'll know how to do this in the future when writing.

How do you start an analysis essay? ›

Steps For How to Write an Analytical Essay
  1. Brainstorm different topic ideas.
  2. Research a few topics you like.
  3. Choose a topic you like that has enough information to back up your claims.
  4. Come up with a thesis statement to help direct your research.
  5. Make an outline.
17 Jan 2022

What is a film analysis essay? ›

Analyzing film, like analyzing literature (fiction texts, etc.), is a form of rhetorical analysis—critically analyzing and evaluating discourse, including words, phrases, and images. Having a clear argument and supporting evidence is every bit as critical to film analysis as to other forms of academic writing.

What is a good hook sentence for an essay? ›

A question hook is when you ask the reader something that they can visualize and try to think of in their own minds. Then, the writer answers the question. Example: Have you ever watched the high-flying, jump shooting, slam dunking, ankle breaking players that play in the NBA?

What is a good starting sentence for an introduction? ›

Think of your first sentence as a hook that draws your reader in. As you have researched your topic, you have probably discovered many interesting anecdotes, quotes, or trivial facts; these make great hooks to use for an engaging introduction.

What words can you use to start an essay? ›

17 academic words and phrases to use in your essay
  • Words to use in your introduction. ...
  • Firstly, secondly, thirdly. ...
  • In view of; in light of; considering. ...
  • According to X; X stated that; referring to the views of X. ...
  • Adding information and flow. ...
  • Moreover; furthermore; in addition; what's more. ...
  • In order to; to that end; to this end.
7 Jan 2019

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