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Essays About Films: Top 5 Examples and 10 Prompts

Get ready to binge-watch some of the best films of all time and write essays about films with our essay examples and prompts. 

Films are an exciting part of the entertainment industry. From romance to science fiction, there is a film genre for everyone. Films are a welcome escape from reality, providing a few hours of immersive entertainment that anyone can enjoy. Not only are films masterful works of art , but they are also great sources of employment for many. As a work of intellectual property, films can promote job creation and drive economic growth while advancing a country’s cultural esteem. With such a vast library of films available to us, many topics of discussion are available for your next essay .


5 Intriguing Film Essays

1. scream therapy: the mental health benefits of horror movies by michael varrati, 2. reel truth: is film school worth it by jon gann, 3. why parasite’s success is forcing a reckoning in japan’s film industry by eric margolis, 4. streaming services want to fill the family movie void by nicole sperling, 5. church, critics say new movie on marcos family distorts philippine history by camille elemia, 10 engaging writing prompts on essays about films, 1. the best film that influenced me, 2. the evolution of animated films, 3. women in modern films, 4. creating short films, 5. diversity in films, 6. film critique of my favorite film, 7. how covid-19 changed the film industry, 8. promoting independent films , 9. importance of marketing strategies in films’ success, 10. how to combat film piracy.

“Galvanized by the genre’s ability to promote empathy and face down the ineffable monsters of our daily lives, Barkan’s exploration of how others use horror to heal and grow speaks to the wider impact of our engagement with these movies that are so often dismissed as having little moral value.”

Initially criticized for enabling sadistic tendencies, horror films are now proven to provide a relieving experience and psychological ease to their audience. Numerous theories about the mental health benefits of watching horror films have emerged. But beyond these profound reasons, horror films could be a great source of thrilling fun. You might also be interested in these essays about The Great Gatsby .

 “These programs are great at selling the dream of filmmaking, but rarely the realities of the business , so students graduate with few real-world skills , connections, or storytelling ability. Unable to get a job out of school, newly minted “filmmakers” go back into the system for a higher graduate degree… The cycle is self-perpetuating, and rarely benefits anyone, except the institution’s bottom line.”

One has to weigh several personal and external factors in determining whether a full degree would be worth the leap and their pockets. Directors spill the beans on their thoughts and experiences with film school to help the lost find their way. 

“Japanese cinema was trending on Japanese Twitter right after the Oscars, with cinephiles and film directors alike airing grievances about a film industry that is deeply flawed despite ample talent and a global appetite for Japanese goods.”

The Japanese lamented their lackluster film industry and waning cultural influence worldwide as the first Korean film took home the Oscars. Reminiscing its golden years of film in the mid-20th century, Japan is stricken with nostalgia. But for the industry to see a renaissance, Japan has to end exploitative labor conditions for creators and censorship.

“The decline today is due to a combination of factors: a hangover from the pandemic, efforts by studios like Disney and Paramount to bolster their own streaming services with fresh content and the risks of greenlighting family films that aren’t based on well-known intellectual property.”

The latest trend in the race to rule film streaming compensates for the lack of family movies in theaters. Giant video-on-demand platforms have started rolling their production and investments into the genre plans for animation and even expensive live-action.

“The film… has amplified existing online narratives that portray the elder Marcos’ presidency as the “golden era” of the Philippines rather than as the darkest chapter of the Southeast Asian country’s recent history, as critics allege.”

A film in the Philippines draws crowds and criticisms for revising facts in one of the country’s most painful periods. But, overall, the movie paints a positive image of the dictator’s family, whose two-decade reign was marked by murders and an economic crisis that was among the worst to hit the country.

Essays About Films: The best film that influenced me

Beyond being a source of entertainment, films have the power to shape how we lead our lives and view the world. In this essay , talk about the film that etched an indelible mark on you. First, provide a summary and specify what drew you to the story or its storytelling. Next, narrate the scenes that moved you the most. Finally, explain how you relate to this film and if you would have wanted a similar or different ending to your story and personal life. 

Animated films used to be a treat mainly for children. But now, their allure cuts across generations. For your essay , look into the history of animated films. Find out which countries are the biggest influencers in animated films and how they have fostered these intellectual properties to thrive in global markets. Research how the global direction of animation is heading, both in theatrical releases and streaming, and what animation fans can expect in the next few months.

Have the roles of women progressed in modern films? Or do they remain to be damsels in distress saved by a prince? Watch recent popular films, explain how they depict women, and answer these questions in your essay . Take note of apparent stereotypes and the depth of their character. Compare how they differ from the most popular films in the 90s. You can also compare original films and remakes and focus on the changes in women characters.  

Creating short films

Short films are great starting points for budding directors. They could require much less financing than those in theater releases and still deliver satisfactory quality content. For this essay , brief the readers through the stages of short film production — writing the script, choosing the cast, production, marketing, and so on. To go the extra mile in your essay , interview award-winning short filmmakers to gain tips on how they best optimize their limited budget and still bag an award.  

Has the film industry promoted diversity and inclusivity in its cast selection? Explore recent diverse films and analyze whether they have captured the true meaning of diversity. One example is when people from underrepresented backgrounds take on the leading roles, not just the story’s sidekicks. You can also build on this research by the Center for Scholars and Storytellers to show the revenue challenges non-diverse films face at the box office.

Watch your favorite film and write a critique by expressing opinions on various aspects of the film. For example, you can have comments on the plot, execution, effects, cinematography, actors, and dialogue. Take time to relay your observations and analysis, as these will be the foundations that will determine the strength or weakness of your comments. 

As it has impacted many of us, COVID-19 accelerated how we watch films. Explore the exodus to streaming during the pandemic and how theater operators cope with this shift. In addition, you can look into how the competition among content producers has shifted and intensified. 

Independent films can be a hidden treasure, but it could be difficult to sell them, given how niche their concepts can be. So, find out the best strategies that have worked wonders for now successful independent filmmakers. Specifically, learn how they marketed their content online and in film festivals. Then, find out what forms of support the government is extending to high-caliber independent filmmakers and what could be done to help them thrive.

The biggest mistake made by filmmakers and producers is not marketing their films when marketing is the best way to reach a bigger audience and gain profits to make more films. This essay should provide readers with the best practices filmmakers can adopt when marketing a film. For example, directors, producers, and actors should aggressively attend events for promotion. Developing viral movie campaigns also provide a big boost to exposure. 

As more films are released digitally, filmmakers must better protect their intellectual property. First, write about the needed measures before the film release, such as adopting a digital rights management strategy. Next, lay down what production companies need to do to deter piracy activities immediately. Some good responses include working closely with enforcement authorities.

Don’t forget to proofread your essay with Grammarly , the best grammar checker. 

For more related topic ideas, you can also check our guide for writing essays about cinema .

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Film Writing: Sample Analysis

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Introductory Note

The analysis below discusses the opening moments of the science fiction movie  Ex Machina  in order to make an argument about the film's underlying purpose. The text of the analysis is formatted normally. Editor's commentary, which will occasionally interrupt the piece to discuss the author's rhetorical strategies, is written in brackets in an italic font with a bold "Ed.:" identifier. See the examples below:

The text of the analysis looks like this.

[ Ed.:  The editor's commentary looks like this. ]

Frustrated Communication in Ex Machina ’s Opening Sequence

Alex Garland’s 2015 science fiction film Ex Machina follows a young programmer’s attempts to determine whether or not an android possesses a consciousness complicated enough to pass as human. The film is celebrated for its thought-provoking depiction of the anxiety over whether a nonhuman entity could mimic or exceed human abilities, but analyzing the early sections of the film, before artificial intelligence is even introduced, reveals a compelling examination of humans’ inability to articulate their thoughts and feelings. In its opening sequence, Ex Machina establishes that it’s not only about the difficulty of creating a machine that can effectively talk to humans, but about human beings who struggle to find ways to communicate with each other in an increasingly digital world.

[ Ed.:  The piece's opening introduces the film with a plot summary that doesn't give away too much and a brief summary of the critical conversation that has centered around the film. Then, however, it deviates from this conversation by suggesting that Ex Machina has things to say about humanity before non-human characters even appear. Off to a great start. ]

The film’s first establishing shots set the action in a busy modern office. A woman sits at a computer, absorbed in her screen. The camera looks at her through a glass wall, one of many in the shot. The reflections of passersby reflected in the glass and the workspace’s dim blue light make it difficult to determine how many rooms are depicted. The camera cuts to a few different young men typing on their phones, their bodies partially concealed both by people walking between them and the camera and by the stylized modern furniture that surrounds them. The fourth shot peeks over a computer monitor at a blonde man working with headphones in. A slight zoom toward his face suggests that this is an important character, and the cut to a point-of-view shot looking at his computer screen confirms this. We later learn that this is Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a young programmer whose perspective the film follows.

The rest of the sequence cuts between shots from Caleb’s P.O.V. and reaction shots of his face, as he receives and processes the news that he has won first prize in a staff competition. Shocked, Caleb dives for his cellphone and texts several people the news. Several people immediately respond with congratulatory messages, and after a moment the woman from the opening shot runs in to give him a hug. At this point, the other people in the room look up, smile, and start clapping, while Caleb smiles disbelievingly—perhaps even anxiously—and the camera subtly zooms in a bit closer. Throughout the entire sequence, there is no sound other than ambient electronic music that gets slightly louder and more textured as the sequence progresses. A jump cut to an aerial view of a glacial landscape ends the sequence and indicates that Caleb is very quickly transported into a very unfamiliar setting, implying that he will have difficulty adjusting to this sudden change in circumstances.

[ Ed.:  These paragraphs are mostly descriptive. They give readers the information they will need to understand the argument the piece is about to offer. While passages like this can risk becoming boring if they dwell on unimportant details, the author wisely limits herself to two paragraphs and maintains a driving pace through her prose style choices (like an almost exclusive reliance on active verbs). ]

Without any audible dialogue or traditional expository setup of the main characters, this opening sequence sets viewers up to make sense of Ex Machina ’s visual style and its exploration of the ways that technology can both enhance and limit human communication. The choice to make the dialogue inaudible suggests that in-person conversations have no significance. Human-to-human conversations are most productive in this sequence when they are mediated by technology. Caleb’s first response when he hears his good news is to text his friends rather than tell the people sitting around him, and he makes no move to take his headphones out when the in-person celebration finally breaks out. Everyone in the building is on their phones, looking at screens, or has headphones in, and the camera is looking at screens through Caleb’s viewpoint for at least half of the sequence.  

Rather than simply muting the specific conversations that Caleb has with his coworkers, the ambient soundtrack replaces all the noise that a crowded building in the middle of a workday would ordinarily have. This silence sets the uneasy tone that characterizes the rest of the film, which is as much a horror-thriller as a piece of science fiction. Viewers get the sense that all the sounds that humans make as they walk around and talk to each other are being intentionally filtered out by some presence, replaced with a quiet electronic beat that marks the pacing of the sequence, slowly building to a faster tempo. Perhaps the sound of people is irrelevant: only the visual data matters here. Silence is frequently used in the rest of the film as a source of tension, with viewers acutely aware that it could be broken at any moment. Part of the horror of the research bunker, which will soon become the film’s primary setting, is its silence, particularly during sequences of Caleb sneaking into restricted areas and being startled by a sudden noise.

The visual style of this opening sequence reinforces the eeriness of the muted humans and electronic soundtrack. Prominent use of shallow focus to depict a workspace that is constructed out of glass doors and walls makes it difficult to discern how large the space really is. The viewer is thus spatially disoriented in each new setting. This layering of glass and mirrors, doubling some images and obscuring others, is used later in the film when Caleb meets the artificial being Ava (Alicia Vikander), who is not allowed to leave her glass-walled living quarters in the research bunker. The similarity of these spaces visually reinforces the film’s late revelation that Caleb has been manipulated by Nathan Bates (Oscar Isaac), the troubled genius who creates Ava.

[ Ed.:  In these paragraphs, the author cites the information about the scene she's provided to make her argument. Because she's already teased the argument in the introduction and provided an account of her evidence, it doesn't strike us as unreasonable or far-fetched here. Instead, it appears that we've naturally arrived at the same incisive, fascinating points that she has. ]

A few other shots in the opening sequence more explicitly hint that Caleb is already under Nathan’s control before he ever arrives at the bunker. Shortly after the P.O.V shot of Caleb reading the email notification that he won the prize, we cut to a few other P.O.V. shots, this time from the perspective of cameras in Caleb’s phone and desktop computer. These cameras are not just looking at Caleb, but appear to be scanning him, as the screen flashes in different color lenses and small points appear around Caleb’s mouth, eyes, and nostrils, tracking the smallest expressions that cross his face. These small details indicate that Caleb is more a part of this digital space than he realizes, and also foreshadow the later revelation that Nathan is actively using data collected by computers and webcams to manipulate Caleb and others. The shots from the cameras’ perspectives also make use of a subtle fisheye lens, suggesting both the wide scope of Nathan’s surveillance capacities and the slightly distorted worldview that motivates this unethical activity.

[ Ed.: This paragraph uses additional details to reinforce the piece's main argument. While this move may not be as essential as the one in the preceding paragraphs, it does help create the impression that the author is noticing deliberate patterns in the film's cinematography, rather than picking out isolated coincidences to make her points. ]

Taken together, the details of Ex Machina ’s stylized opening sequence lay the groundwork for the film’s long exploration of the relationship between human communication and technology. The sequence, and the film, ultimately suggests that we need to develop and use new technologies thoughtfully, or else the thing that makes us most human—our ability to connect through language—might be destroyed by our innovations. All of the aural and visual cues in the opening sequence establish a world in which humans are utterly reliant on technology and yet totally unaware of the nefarious uses to which a brilliant but unethical person could put it.

Author's Note:  Thanks to my literature students whose in-class contributions sharpened my thinking on this scene .

[ Ed.: The piece concludes by tying the main themes of the opening sequence to those of the entire film. In doing this, the conclusion makes an argument for the essay's own relevance: we need to pay attention to the essay's points so that we can achieve a rich understanding of the movie. The piece's final sentence makes a chilling final impression by alluding to the danger that might loom if we do not understand the movie. This is the only the place in the piece where the author explicitly references how badly we might be hurt by ignorance, and it's all the more powerful for this solitary quality. A pithy, charming note follows, acknowledging that the author's work was informed by others' input (as most good writing is). Beautifully done. ]

How to Write a Film Analysis Essay: Examples, Outline, & Tips

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.

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 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.

❓ What Is a Film Analysis Essay?

  • 🚦 Film Analysis Types

📽️ Movie Analysis Format

✍️ how to write a film analysis, 🎦 film analysis template, 🎬 film analysis essay topics.

  • 📄 Essay Examples

🔗 References

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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Film analysis types.

To write an effective film analysis essay, it is important to follow specific format requirements that include the following:

  • Standard essay structure. Just as with any essay, your analysis should consist of an introduction with a strong thesis statement, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The main body usually includes a summary and an analysis of the movie’s elements.
  • Present tense for events in the film. Use the present tense when describing everything that happens in the movie. This way, you can make smooth transitions between describing action and dialogue. It will also improve the overall narrative flow.
  • Proper formatting of the film’s title. Don’t enclose the movie’s title in quotation marks; instead, italicize it. In addition, use the title case : that is, capitalize all major words.
  • Proper use of the characters’ names. When you mention a film character for the first time, name the actor portraying them. After that, it is enough to write only the character’s name.
  • In-text citations. Use in-text citations when describing certain scenes or shots from the movie. Format them according to your chosen citation style. If you use direct quotes, include the time-stamp range instead of page numbers. Here’s how it looks in the MLA format: (Smith 0:11:24–0:12:35).

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.

✔️ Reread 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 . It will make your efforts more productive.
✔️ Take 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.
✔️ You 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.
✔️ The 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!

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

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.

  • 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 .
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 .

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:

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

KING: It’s for the best.

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.

Stuck writing a film analysis essay? Worry not! Use our template to structure your movie analysis properly.


  • The title of the film is… [title]
  • The director is… [director’s name] He/she is known for… [movies, style, etc.]
  • The movie was released on… [release date]
  • The themes of the movie are… [state the film’s central ideas]
  • The film was made because… [state the reasons]
  • The movie is… because… [your thesis statement].
  • The main characters are… [characters’ names]
  • The events take place in… [location]
  • The movie is set in… [time period]
  • The movie is about… [state what happens in the film and why]
  • The movie left a… [bad, unforgettable, lasting, etc.] impression in me.
  • The script has… [a logical sequence of events, interesting scenes, strong dialogues, character development, etc.]
  • The actors portray their characters… [convincingly, with intensity, with varying degree of success, in a manner that feels unnatural, etc.]
  • The soundtrack is [distracting, fitting, memorable, etc.]
  • Visual elements such as… [costumes, special effects, etc.] make the film [impressive, more authentic, atmospheric, etc.]
  • The film succeeds/doesn’t succeed in engaging the target audience because it… [tells a compelling story, features strong performances, is relevant, lacks focus, is unauthentic, etc.]
  • Cultural and societal aspects make the film… [thought-provoking, relevant, insightful, problematic, polarizing, etc.]
  • The director and writer achieved their goal because… [state the reasons]
  • Overall, the film is… [state your opinion]
  • I would/wouldn’t recommend watching the movie because… [state the reasons]
  • Analysis of the film Inception by Christopher Nolan .
  • Examine the rhetoric in the film The Red Balloon .
  • Analyze the visual effects of Zhang Yimou’s movie Hero .
  • Basic concepts of the film Interstellar by Christopher Nolan.
  • The characteristic features of Federico Fellini’s movies.  
  • Analysis of the movie The Joker .
  • The depiction of ethical issues in Damaged Care .  
  • Analyze the plot of the film Moneyball .
  • Explore the persuasive techniques used in Henry V .
  • Analyze the movie Killing Kennedy .
  • Discuss the themes of the film Secret Window .
  • Describe the role of audio and video effects in conveying the message of the documentary Life in Renaissance .  
  • Compare and analyze the films Midnight Cowboy and McCabe and Mrs. Miller .  
  • Analysis of the movie Rear Window . 
  • The message behind the film Split .
  • Analyze the techniques used by Tim Burton in his movie Sleepy Hollow .
  • The topic of children’s abuse and importance of trust in Joseph Sargent’s Sybil .
  • Examine the themes and motives of the film Return to Paradise by Joseph Ruben.
  • The issues of gender and traditions in the drama The Whale Rider.   
  • Analysis of the film Not Easily Broken by Duke Bill. 
  • The symbolism in R. Scott’s movie Thelma and Louise .
  • The meaning of audiovisual effects in Citizen Kane .  
  • Analyze the main characters of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo .  
  • Discuss the historical accuracy of the documentary The Civil War .  
  • Analysis of the movie Through a Glass Darkly . 
  • Explore the core idea of the comedy Get Out .
  • The problem of artificial intelligence and human nature in Ex Machina .  
  • Three principles of suspense used in the drama The Fugitive .
  • Examine the ideas Michael Bay promotes in Armageddon .
  • Analyze the visual techniques used in Tenet by Christopher Nolan.
  • Analysis of the movie The Green Mile .
  • Discrimination and exclusion in the film The Higher Learning .  
  • The hidden meaning of the scenes in Blade Runner .
  • Compare the social messages of the films West Side Story and Romeo + Juliet .
  • Highlighting the problem of children’s mental health in the documentary Kids in Crisis .
  • Discuss the ways Paul Haggis establishes the issue of racial biases in his movie Crash .
  • Analyze the problem of moral choice in the film Gone Baby Gone .
  • Analysis of the historical film Hacksaw Ridge .
  • Explore the main themes of the film Mean Girls by Mark Walters .
  • The importance of communication in the movie Juno .
  • Describe the techniques the authors use to highlight the problems of society in Queen and Slim .  
  • Examine the significance of visual scenes in My Family/ Mi Familia .  
  • Analysis of the thriller Salt by Phillip Noyce. 
  • Analyze the message of Greg Berlanti’s film Love, Simon .
  • Interpret the symbols of the film The Wizard of Oz (1939).
  • Discuss the modern issues depicted in the film The Corporation .
  • Moral lessons of Edward Zwick’s Blood Diamond . 
  • Analysis of the documentary Solitary Nation . 
  • Describe the audiovisual elements of the film Pride and Prejudice (2005) .
  • The problem of toxic relationships in Malcolm and Marie .

📄 Film Analysis Examples

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

Film Analysis Example #1: The Intouchables

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 Analysis Example #2: Parasite

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.

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

  • “Miss Representation” Documentary Film Analysis
  • “The Patriot”: Historical Film Analysis
  • “The Morning Guy” Film Analysis
  • 2012′ by Roland Emmerich Film Analysis
  • “The Crucible” (1996) Film Analysis
  • The Aviator’ by Martin Scorsese Film Analysis
  • The “Lions for Lambs” Film Analysis
  • Bill Monroe – Father of Bluegrass Music Film Analysis
  • Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Harry Potter’ Film Analysis
  • Red Tails by George Lucas Film Analysis

Film Analysis Essay FAQ

  • Watch the movie or read a detailed plot summary.
  • Read others’ film reviews paying attention to details like key characters, movie scenes, background facts.
  • Compose a list of ideas about what you’ve learned.
  • Organize the selected ideas to create a body of the essay.
  • Write an appropriate introduction and conclusion.

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.

Here is a possible step by step scenario:

  • Think about the general idea that the author probably wanted to convey.
  • Consider how the idea was put across: what characters, movie scenes, and details helped in it.
  • Study the broader context: the author’s other works, genre essentials, etc.

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.

  • Film Analysis – UNC Writing Center
  • Film Writing: Sample Analysis // Purdue Writing Lab
  • Yale Film Analysis – Yale University
  • Film Terms And Topics For Film Analysis And Writing
  • Questions for Film Analysis (Washington University)
  • Resources on Film Analysis – Cinema Studies (University of Toronto)
  • Does Film Analysis Take the Magic out of Movies?
  • Film Analysis Research Papers –
  • What’s In a Film Analysis Essay? Medium
  • Analysis of Film – SAGE Research Methods
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Have you ever read a review and asked yourself how the critic arrived at a different interpretation for the film? You are sure that you saw the same movie, but you interpreted it differently. Most moviegoers go to the cinema for pleasure and entertainment. There’s a reason why blockbuster movies attract moviegoers – cinema is a form of escape, a way to momentarily walk away from life’s troubles.


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Study Guide - Edward Scissorhands: How to write a Film Analysis Essay & Cinematic Techniques

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How to write a film analysis essay

How to Write a Film Analysis Essay

By Timothy Sexton

an essay about a movie

Writing a film analysis essay is an assignment that is less likely to terrorize those who fear the idea of writing an essay, because it allows them to write about something most people enjoy. Film analysis is not the same thing as writing a movie review, which involves passively watching a movie. An analysis means you must engage on a level beyond that of storytelling.

Watch the movie. Then watch it again. Take notes during the first viewing and, if you are analyzing a movie that is available on DVD, be ready with your remote control to pause and rewind.

Critically engage the movie so that you can effectively produce a strong essay. Focus on a single thematic concept related to the film. Ideas for essays taking this route could include an analysis of how the film is photographed, how the movie relates a historical event in a dramatic way without compromising the facts or how a single sequence within the film relates to larger cinematic concepts, like overlapping dialogue or the utilization of dramatic irony.

Introduce the film and its major participants, such as the actors and director. Include the name of another technician on the film if your analysis will be focusing on that aspect. For instance, cite the name of the cinematographer if you are going to be writing about the importance of shadows to film noir, or include the name of the composer of the movie’s score if you are writing about the importance of background music to the emotional tone of the film.

Provide a brief overview of the story, but avoid the temptation to pad your word count by writing what amounts to a synopsis of the story rather than analysis. Reveal plots twists or the ending of the film only if they relate directly to your analysis.

Write your film analysis with the movie at hand if this is possible. Write next to a television and DVD player if applicable. Stay inside the theatre for the second or third showing with your notepad ready if this is possible. Writing an effective film analysis is best accomplished if you don’t have to rely on your memory of events, dialogue or cinematic techniques.

Familiarize yourself with technical jargon related to the art of filmmaking. Learn the difference between a cut and a dissolve. Write about subjective camera work if the analysis is dealing with a part of the movie shot from the point of view of one of the characters. Properly utilizing filmmaking terms will strengthen the authority of your essay.


Cinematic Techniques

Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands Film Analysis

Help with writing a film essay - Linda Rubens

Film Techniques

Film techniques is the term used to describe the ways that meaning is created in film.

Camera Shots

A camera shot is the amount of space that is seen in one shot or frame. Camera shots are used to demonstrate different aspects of a film's setting, characters and themes. As a result, camera shots are very important in shaping meaning in a film. Reviewing the examples on the right hand side of this page should make the different camera shots clearer.

An extreme long shot ( animation on right ) contains a large amount of landscape. It is often used at the beginning of a scene or a film to establish general location (setting). This is also known as an establishing shot.

A long shot ( animation on right ) contains landscape but gives the viewer a more specific idea of setting. A long shot may show the viewers the building where the action will take place.

A full shot ( animation on right ) contains a complete view of the characters . From this shot, viewers can take in the costumes of characters and may also help to demonstrate the relationships between characters. For more information on costumes and acting refer to Chapter 4.

A mid shot ( animation on right ) contains the characters or a character from the waist up . From this shot, viewers can see the characters' faces more clearly as well as their interaction with other characters. This is also known as a social shot

A close-up ( animation on right ) contains just one character's face . This enables viewers to understand the actor's emotions and also allows them to feel empathy for the character. This is also known as a personal shot.

An extreme close-up ( animation on right ) contains one part of a character's face or other object. This technique is quite common in horror films, particularly the example above. This type of shot creates an intense mood and provides interaction between the audience and the viewer.

When analysing a film you should always think about the different camera shots and why they are being used. The next time that you are at the cinema or watching television see what camera shots are being used.

Important: These camera shots are used in all forms of visual texts including postcards, posters and print advertisements.

Camera angles

It is important that you do not confuse camera angles and camera shots. Camera shots are used to demonstrate different aspects of setting, themes and characters. Camera angles are used to position the viewer so that they can understand the relationships between the characters. These are very important for shaping meaning in film as well as in other visual texts.

The following examples will help you to understand the differences between the different camera angles

A bird's eye angle ( animation on right ) is an angle that looks directly down upon a scene . This angle is often used as an establishing angle, along with an extreme long shot, to establish setting.

A high angle ( animation on right ) is a camera angle that looks down upon a subject . A character shot with a high angle will look vulnerable or small. These angles are often used to demonstrate to the audience a perspective of a particular character. The example above demonstrates to us the perspective or point of view of a vampire. As a viewer we can understand that the vampire feels powerful.

An eye-level angle ( animation on right ) puts the audience on an equal footing with the character/s . This is the most commonly used angle in most films as it allows the viewers to feel comfortable with the characters.

A low angle ( animation on right ) is a camera angle that looks up at a character . This is the opposite of a high angle and makes a character look more powerful. This can make the audience feel vulnerable and small by looking up at the character. This can help the responder feel empathy if they are viewing the frame from another character's point of view.

As with camera shots, you will be able to see many examples of camera angles in any film or visual text that you view. The next time that you watch television or see a film, take note of the camera angles and think of how they affect your perception (idea) of different characters.

Another camera angle that you might come across is a Dutch angle.

A Dutch angle ( animation on right ) is used to demonstrate the confusion of a character. The example above should disorientate you.

Camera movement

Composers of films also use camera movement to shape meaning. The following are some examples of common camera movements and how they can be used to shape meaning in films.

A crane shot ( animation on right ) is often used by composers of films to signify the end of a film or scene. The effect is achieved by the camera being put on a crane that can move upwards

A tracking shot and a dolly shot ( animation on right ) have the same effect. A tracking shot moves on tracks and a dolly shot is mounted on a trolley to achieve the effect in the example above. This camera movement is used in a number of ways but is most commonly used to explore a room such as a restaurant. By using a tracking shot or a dolly shot the composer of a film gives the viewer a detailed tour of a situation. It can also be used to follow a character.

Panning ( animation on right ) is used to give the viewer a panoramic view of a set or setting. This can be used to establish a scene

An Evangelion shot ( animation on right ) is derived from the popular anime series 'Neon Genesis Evangelion'. This camera movement begins as an extreme close-up and zooms out abruptly, creating a blurring effect to emphasise the speed and size of the object

Lighting is a very important aspect for shaping meaning in films. What kind of atmosphere is created in a room lit by candles? Have you ever heard of mood lighting? A room that is brightly lit by neon lights might seem to be sterile or a shadowy room might be eerie or scary. The lighting technicians in a film crew have the task of creating lighting to suit the mood and atmosphere of each scene in a film.

Consider the animations Lighting example one, Lighting example two, Lighting example three and think about what type of atmosphere is created in each.

For each example, do you think the lighting suits the characters in the frames? For instance, in Example Three the two people are very happy and the scene is lit brightly. What would be the effect on the atmosphere if the lighting were dark and shadowy, similar to Example Two?

Remember that lighting is used in still image visual texts as well as in films.


Cinematography is the combination of the techniques described in this chapter. This includes camera shots, camera angles, camera movement and lighting. Use the term cinematography to group all of these together, for example, 'The cinematography in that film was exceptional.'

Mise en Scene

Mise en scene refers to all the objects and characters in a particular frame. More specifically, it refers to the composition of the frame. When you use the term mise en scene, you are discussing where the composer or director has placed all the elements of the scene within the frame.

Source : Information taken from educational website - www.skwirkcom

 NB: If you are a subscriber please use your log in for more information and resources

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How to write an essay about a movie?

Interpret a key message of the film before you start writing, see the movie one more time, go google what other people think about the movie, don't forget to create a movie analysis essay outline.

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How to Write an Essay on a Film: A Step-by-Step Guide to Analytical Writing

Indie Shorts Mag Team

Have you ever wondered what lies beyond the magic of the movies? How do you tailor your film experience into a thought-provoking piece of writing that outlines the core aspects of the genre? Whether you’re an eager student getting started with analytical writing or a film enthusiast itching to pen your thoughts, understanding how to write a good essay on a movie is key. Writing an essay on a film isn’t all about listing characters in a movie scene but providing a deep analysis of the representation of issues and how they relate to the real-world. In this regard, being able to articulate your thoughts can be a game-changer as you get to build a reputation as  a writer while at the same time gaining a deeper understanding of how film producers and writers mold their characters. Whether you’re getting started or a seasoned film analysis writer, this article will help you understand some tips that can help take your writing experience to another level. So, sit back and read along!

Tips to Write an Essay on a Film Correctly

Movies have an unparalleled ability to take us into the realms of imagination. As a student or a passionate moviegoer, you might find yourself inspired to write an essay on a film that had an impact on you. Whether it’s a thought-provoking analysis essay on a film or a personal reflection on a movie scene, it’s important that you display utmost creativity in your work. Here are tips to help you write correctly:

  • Immerse yourself in the film . To pen an insightful analysis essay on a film, immerse yourself in the movie you intend to explore. Watch the film attentively, allowing the scenes and dialogues to resonate with you deeply. Lastly, take notes as you watch to ensure you have all the captivating moments on paper.
  • Choose an area of focus . A successful film essay needs a clear and specific focus. Decide whether you want to analyze the movie as a whole, zoom in on a particular scene, or evaluate the effectiveness of the movie script. The choice of focus is very important as it gives your film analysis essay a sense of direction and purpose, presenting a better opportunity for success.
  • Write a captivating introduction . The introduction of your film analysis essay should be like an opening shot that captivates the reader’s attention from the very beginning. Start with a compelling hook that intrigues the audience, introduce the film’s title and director, and provide a brief overview of what your essay will explore. Don’t forget to include your thesis statement to ensure the readers can understand your arguments.
  • Embrace analytics evaluation . A film analysis essay isn’t complete without critical evaluation. Express your thoughts and opinions on the movie’s strengths and weaknesses. Be fair and objective in your assessment, backing your evaluations with solid reasoning and evidence from the film. Your unique perspective will make your essay stand out.
  • Showcase your writing skills . Remember that a well-written essay is a joy to read. Showcase your writing skills by crafting clear, concise, and eloquent sentences. Use appropriate vocabulary to convey your ideas effectively. Proofread your essay carefully to eliminate any grammatical errors or typos that might distract your readers from the essence of your analysis.
  • Seek feedback . Before finalizing your essay, seek feedback from peers, friends, or teachers. Constructive criticism can help you polish your work and identify areas for improvement. At this point, it might be helpful to contact custom essay writing service CustomWritings and have an expert from the company look at your essay and suggest any edits where necessary. This will help you align the essay to your target audience while at the same time honing your writing skills to meet the industry standards.

How to Write an Essay on a Film- A Step-by-Step Guide to Analytical Writing - Indie Shorts Mag

Benefits of Writing an Essay on a Movie

As students and film enthusiasts, we often find ourselves drawn to the magic of the screen. However, beyond the entertainment lies a hidden treasure waiting to be unlocked—writing an essay on a film. Whether it’s an in-depth analysis essay on a film or a personal reflection on a memorable movie scene, the process of putting our thoughts into words offers surprising benefits that go beyond mere writing exercises:

  • Writing enhances critical thinking : Crafting film reviews and analysis essays requires delving into the nuances of storytelling, character development, cinematography, and more. This process stimulates critical thinking skills, encouraging writers to analyze, interpret, and evaluate the various elements that make a movie memorable. As we unravel the layers of a film, we enhance our ability to think critically and express our insights coherently.
  • Opportunities for deeper film appreciation : Watching a film is an immersive experience, but writing about it takes our appreciation to new heights. When you write an essay about a film you have seen, you begin to notice the minor details you’ve often ignored when casually viewing. From the symbolism hidden in a movie scene to the underlying messages in a movie script, our writing journey unveils the craftsmanship of filmmakers and deepens our appreciation for their art.
  • It provides an avenue to express emotional appreciation : Movies have a unique power to evoke emotions, and writing about them allows us to articulate the impact they have on our hearts and minds. When we write an essay on a film we have seen, we can delve into our emotional connections with the characters, the plot, or a particular scene that resonated with us. Sharing our feelings through writing can be cathartic and adds a personal touch to our analysis.
  • Enhances personal writing skills : Writing essays on films nurtures our writing abilities, allowing us to experiment with language, style, and structure. We learn to convey complex ideas concisely, develop coherent arguments, and use appropriate vocabulary to articulate our thoughts effectively. These skills are not only valuable for academic pursuits but also serve us well in various aspects of life.
  • It empowers artistic expression : Writing an essay on a film unleashes our creativity and empowers us to share our unique interpretations of cinematic masterpieces. We can experiment with creative writing techniques, such as vivid imagery or descriptive language, to paint a vivid picture of our cinematic experience. Through our words, we become storytellers, encapsulating the essence of the films that have left an indelible mark on us.
  • Enhances academic growth : For students, writing film analysis essays is a gateway to academic growth. These essays encourage interdisciplinary exploration, connecting literature, history, sociology, and psychology to the world of cinema. Through such connections, students gain a holistic understanding of various subjects, enriching their academic journey.

Navigate Through the World of Writing

Writing an essay on a film can be a great skill to have. It helps you navigate the world of cinema while at the same time improving your analytical writing abilities. It gives you the opportunity to identify the essential elements in a story and convey your interpretations effectively. However, navigating through the domain of writing can be challenging if you’re just getting started. This article has outlined some of the tips to effective writing, presenting you with an opportunity to up your game when it comes to writing. So, brace yourself and explore the limitless opportunities that come with writing analytical film essays.

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How to write an essay on your favorite movie.

The question; how to write an essay on your favorite movie is one that film fans and cinephiles have asked for decades. But, is it even possible to create a well-written, meaningful essay about something as subjective as personal taste in cinema?

The answer to this question is, of course, a big yes. One thing you shouldn’t overlook, though, is that it can take a lot of time, plenty of effort, and lots of practice. And if you do not have all the time, your best bet could be to seek university assignment help .

Tips for Writing Essay on Favorite Movie

To help you get started on this all-important assignment, we’ve put together a few tips that really should make the process more manageable and fun. Here are six tips for writing the best essay on your favorite movie!

I. Choose a movie that you really enjoy and can talk about in detail

When it comes to choosing a movie to write about, it’s important to select a film that you’re truly passionate about. A film you’ve seen multiple times and can quote lines from is a great choice. You will find it easy writing about the film in detail and engage the reader in your essay. Keep in mind that it will be difficult to write a convincing and engaging essay if you’re not interested in the subject matter. So choose a movie that you really enjoy and can talk about at length for the best results.

II. Watch the movie again, taking note of the movie’s plot, the characters, and setting

Before writing anything, it’s important that you take a close look at the film you’ve chosen. This means watching it again, but this time with a critical eye. Pay attention to the story, the characters, and the film’s overall setting. Think about how these elements come together to create a cohesive whole. What themes are explored in the movie? What is it that the movie director was trying to communicate with their selections? By taking the time to analyze the film in this way, you’ll be able to develop a more nuanced understanding of it which will come in handy when you start writing your essay.

III. Write down your thoughts on the movie

After you’ve watched the movie a second time and taken some notes, it’s time to start brainstorming your thoughts on the film. Take note of the things liked about the movie? Also take note of the things you didn’t you like about the movie? Not to forget, ask yourself, what themes resonated with you? How did the cinematography and writing/directing choices affect your experience watching the movie? These will help you form a solid opinion of the film.

IV. Discuss the themes of the movie and how they resonate with you

We asked top assignment writers at Essay Geeks , what is their secret of writing top essays about their favorite movies. The answer was simple; you discuss the themes that the movie explores. What topics does the film tackle? How does it approach these topics? How do the themes resonate with you on a personal level? These are the sorts of questions that you’ll need to answer in your essay.

V. Analyze the cinematography and writing/directing choices made by the filmmakers

You want to be sure to not only discuss the themes of the film but also analyze how the filmmakers approached these themes. What decisions did filmmakers settle on in terms of cinematography and writing/directing? How did these choices affect your experience of watching the movie? Did they enhance or detract from your enjoyment of the film? These questions will help you to get at the bottom of what exactly the filmmakers were aiming at achieving with their choices.

VI. Offer your own interpretation of the film’s message or story

What did you make of the ending? Do you think the film was successful in conveying its intended message? What sort of emotions did the film evoke in you? Did it make you think about the world in a different way? By offering your own interpretation, you’ll be able to add your own unique voice to the essay.

2 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing About Your Favorite Movie

Writing about your favorite movie can be a fun and rewarding experience. However, there are a few mistakes that you’ll want to avoid if you want the essay to be as good as it can be. Here are two of them;

Regurgitating the plot

When you’re writing about your favorite movie, it’s important to resist the urge to simply regurgitate the plot. While it’s important to give a brief overview of what the film is about, your essay should go beyond just summarizing the story. Instead, focus on discussing the themes of the film and how these themes resonate with you.

Don’t forget to proofread

Once you’re done writing your essay, do not forget to take the time to go through it again. This can help you catch sloppy grammatical or spelling errors that could detract from your essay. In addition, proofreading will also allow you to catch any choppy sentences or awkward phrasing. By taking the time to proofread your essay, you’ll be able to make sure that it is as polished and well-written as possible.

Closing Thoughts

Writing an essay about your favorite movie really shouldn’t be too difficult. Just be sure to take your time to understand the film, brainstorm your thoughts, and proofread your essay before submitting it.

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Film Analysis

What this handout is about.

This handout introduces film analysis and and offers strategies and resources for approaching film analysis assignments.

Writing the film analysis essay

Writing a film analysis requires you to consider the composition of the film—the individual parts and choices made that come together to create the finished piece. Film analysis goes beyond the analysis of the film as literature to include camera angles, lighting, set design, sound elements, costume choices, editing, etc. in making an argument. The first step to analyzing the film is to watch it with a plan.

Watching the film

First it’s important to watch the film carefully with a critical eye. Consider why you’ve been assigned to watch a film and write an analysis. How does this activity fit into the course? Why have you been assigned this particular film? What are you looking for in connection to the course content? Let’s practice with this clip from Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958). Here are some tips on how to watch the clip critically, just as you would an entire film:

  • Give the clip your undivided attention at least once. Pay close attention to details and make observations that might start leading to bigger questions.
  • Watch the clip a second time. For this viewing, you will want to focus specifically on those elements of film analysis that your class has focused on, so review your course notes. For example, from whose perspective is this clip shot? What choices help convey that perspective? What is the overall tone, theme, or effect of this clip?
  • Take notes while you watch for the second time. Notes will help you keep track of what you noticed and when, if you include timestamps in your notes. Timestamps are vital for citing scenes from a film!

For more information on watching a film, check out the Learning Center’s handout on watching film analytically . For more resources on researching film, including glossaries of film terms, see UNC Library’s research guide on film & cinema .

Brainstorming ideas

Once you’ve watched the film twice, it’s time to brainstorm some ideas based on your notes. Brainstorming is a major step that helps develop and explore ideas. As you brainstorm, you may want to cluster your ideas around central topics or themes that emerge as you review your notes. Did you ask several questions about color? Were you curious about repeated images? Perhaps these are directions you can pursue.

If you’re writing an argumentative essay, you can use the connections that you develop while brainstorming to draft a thesis statement . Consider the assignment and prompt when formulating a thesis, as well as what kind of evidence you will present to support your claims. Your evidence could be dialogue, sound edits, cinematography decisions, etc. Much of how you make these decisions will depend on the type of film analysis you are conducting, an important decision covered in the next section.

After brainstorming, you can draft an outline of your film analysis using the same strategies that you would for other writing assignments. Here are a few more tips to keep in mind as you prepare for this stage of the assignment:

  • Make sure you understand the prompt and what you are being asked to do. Remember that this is ultimately an assignment, so your thesis should answer what the prompt asks. Check with your professor if you are unsure.
  • In most cases, the director’s name is used to talk about the film as a whole, for instance, “Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo .” However, some writers may want to include the names of other persons who helped to create the film, including the actors, the cinematographer, and the sound editor, among others.
  • When describing a sequence in a film, use the literary present. An example could be, “In Vertigo , Hitchcock employs techniques of observation to dramatize the act of detection.”
  • Finding a screenplay/script of the movie may be helpful and save you time when compiling citations. But keep in mind that there may be differences between the screenplay and the actual product (and these differences might be a topic of discussion!).
  • Go beyond describing basic film elements by articulating the significance of these elements in support of your particular position. For example, you may have an interpretation of the striking color green in Vertigo , but you would only mention this if it was relevant to your argument. For more help on using evidence effectively, see the section on “using evidence” in our evidence handout .

Also be sure to avoid confusing the terms shot, scene, and sequence. Remember, a shot ends every time the camera cuts; a scene can be composed of several related shots; and a sequence is a set of related scenes.

Different types of film analysis

As you consider your notes, outline, and general thesis about a film, the majority of your assignment will depend on what type of film analysis you are conducting. This section explores some of the different types of film analyses you may have been assigned to write.

Semiotic analysis

Semiotic analysis is the interpretation of signs and symbols, typically involving metaphors and analogies to both inanimate objects and characters within a film. Because symbols have several meanings, writers often need to determine what a particular symbol means in the film and in a broader cultural or historical context.

For instance, a writer could explore the symbolism of the flowers in Vertigo by connecting the images of them falling apart to the vulnerability of the heroine.

Here are a few other questions to consider for this type of analysis:

  • What objects or images are repeated throughout the film?
  • How does the director associate a character with small signs, such as certain colors, clothing, food, or language use?
  • How does a symbol or object relate to other symbols and objects, that is, what is the relationship between the film’s signs?

Many films are rich with symbolism, and it can be easy to get lost in the details. Remember to bring a semiotic analysis back around to answering the question “So what?” in your thesis.

Narrative analysis

Narrative analysis is an examination of the story elements, including narrative structure, character, and plot. This type of analysis considers the entirety of the film and the story it seeks to tell.

For example, you could take the same object from the previous example—the flowers—which meant one thing in a semiotic analysis, and ask instead about their narrative role. That is, you might analyze how Hitchcock introduces the flowers at the beginning of the film in order to return to them later to draw out the completion of the heroine’s character arc.

To create this type of analysis, you could consider questions like:

  • How does the film correspond to the Three-Act Structure: Act One: Setup; Act Two: Confrontation; and Act Three: Resolution?
  • What is the plot of the film? How does this plot differ from the narrative, that is, how the story is told? For example, are events presented out of order and to what effect?
  • Does the plot revolve around one character? Does the plot revolve around multiple characters? How do these characters develop across the film?

When writing a narrative analysis, take care not to spend too time on summarizing at the expense of your argument. See our handout on summarizing for more tips on making summary serve analysis.

Cultural/historical analysis

One of the most common types of analysis is the examination of a film’s relationship to its broader cultural, historical, or theoretical contexts. Whether films intentionally comment on their context or not, they are always a product of the culture or period in which they were created. By placing the film in a particular context, this type of analysis asks how the film models, challenges, or subverts different types of relations, whether historical, social, or even theoretical.

For example, the clip from Vertigo depicts a man observing a woman without her knowing it. You could examine how this aspect of the film addresses a midcentury social concern about observation, such as the sexual policing of women, or a political one, such as Cold War-era McCarthyism.

A few of the many questions you could ask in this vein include:

  • How does the film comment on, reinforce, or even critique social and political issues at the time it was released, including questions of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality?
  • How might a biographical understanding of the film’s creators and their historical moment affect the way you view the film?
  • How might a specific film theory, such as Queer Theory, Structuralist Theory, or Marxist Film Theory, provide a language or set of terms for articulating the attributes of the film?

Take advantage of class resources to explore possible approaches to cultural/historical film analyses, and find out whether you will be expected to do additional research into the film’s context.

Mise-en-scène analysis

A mise-en-scène analysis attends to how the filmmakers have arranged compositional elements in a film and specifically within a scene or even a single shot. This type of analysis organizes the individual elements of a scene to explore how they come together to produce meaning. You may focus on anything that adds meaning to the formal effect produced by a given scene, including: blocking, lighting, design, color, costume, as well as how these attributes work in conjunction with decisions related to sound, cinematography, and editing. For example, in the clip from Vertigo , a mise-en-scène analysis might ask how numerous elements, from lighting to camera angles, work together to present the viewer with the perspective of Jimmy Stewart’s character.

To conduct this type of analysis, you could ask:

  • What effects are created in a scene, and what is their purpose?
  • How does this scene represent the theme of the movie?
  • How does a scene work to express a broader point to the film’s plot?

This detailed approach to analyzing the formal elements of film can help you come up with concrete evidence for more general film analysis assignments.

Reviewing your draft

Once you have a draft, it’s helpful to get feedback on what you’ve written to see if your analysis holds together and you’ve conveyed your point. You may not necessarily need to find someone who has seen the film! Ask a writing coach, roommate, or family member to read over your draft and share key takeaways from what you have written so far.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Aumont, Jacques, and Michel Marie. 1988. L’analyse Des Films . Paris: Nathan.

Media & Design Center. n.d. “Film and Cinema Research.” UNC University Libraries. Last updated February 10, 2021. .

Oxford Royale Academy. n.d. “7 Ways to Watch Film.” Oxford Royale Academy. Accessed April 2021. .

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Film Essays: The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Film Essay

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By Essaywriter

Film Essays: The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Film Essay

If you’re a film buff or a student of film studies, you’ve probably encountered film essays at some point in your academic career.

Writing a film essay can be challenging, but with guidance, you can craft a compelling analysis of any cinematic masterpiece.

One of the world’s most well-liked and regularly watched forms of entertainment is a film, whether blockbusters or indie movies. The film has become an essential part of culture and society worldwide.

A film is a powerful tool for social critique and cultural expression. Despite changes, movies have never lost their capacity to amuse, instruct, and inspire. This post offers knowledge, suggestions, and resources for writing film essays. An analysis of a particular film’s many elements is done in a film essay.

Understanding the Elements of Film Analysis

Film analysis comprises evaluating and comprehending the many components that make up a film. These include the movie’s cinematography, sound, editing, acting, and narrative. It is possible to gain a deeper understanding of the movie’s themes, messages, and overall relevance by analyzing these components.

Films comprise certain components, which directors and movie producers tend to tweak to recreate different cultures and historical points in time. For instance, a movie set in the 1980s will have very different scenery, costumes, and soundtrack than a movie set in the present.

There has been a major advancement in technology, music, fashion, and social conventions between the 1980s and now. Therefore, these film components need to be properly considered when writing a film essay.

Tips for Writing Film Essays

Researching and selecting a film to analyze.

To explore possible films, choose your areas of interest, such as a specific genre, era, or filmmaker. After that, you can use various tools to gather information and ideas for new films.

Thousands of films, reviews, and ratings are available through online databases such as IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes. Search engines such as Google and Bing can also be used to find articles, criticisms, and analyses of certain films or directors.”

Outlining and Organizing the Film Essays

Outlining and arranging a film essay can help ensure that your analysis is clear and succinct. Create an outline that breaks down the various parts of the film you will be analyzing, such as the narrative, characters, cinematography, and symbolism so that you can arrange your thoughts.

Maintain focus by avoiding needless details. Instead, concentrate on offering specific examples from the film to back up and connect your analysis. You should also employ transitions between paragraphs to make it easier for the reader to follow your train of thought.

Citing Sources and Formatting the Film Essays

Citation of sources and Proper formatting gives credit to the film’s creators, but it also demonstrates the credibility of your research and analysis. When citing a film, it’s important to follow the guidelines of the citation style you use, whether it be MLA, APA, or Chicago.

This includes the title of the film, the director, and the year of release. When citing sources such as articles or books, it’s important to include the author, title, publication date, and page number(s).

Tips for Incorporating Film Terminology and Analysis Techniques

It is critical to strike a balance between employing technical language and making it accessible to your audience when incorporating cinema vocabulary and analysis procedures in a film essay.

One technique is to start with a clear and short statement that defines your essay’s major argument or purpose. From there, you can support and deepen your thesis by employing specialized cinema terminology and analysis approaches. Use film examples to illustrate your views and make them more accessible to the reader.

Use a clear and simple writing style and be consistent in using technical language and analysis methodologies. This will help the reader follow your argument and understand your views.

Finally, to provide a full understanding of the film, employing a variety of analysis methodologies such as formalism or psychoanalysis. This will not only help you obtain a deeper understanding of many components of the film, but it will also allow you to provide a more sophisticated analysis.

Sample Film Essays Outline

Thesis statement: “Through its use of surreal imagery and unconventional narrative structure, ‘Mulholland Drive’ deconstructs the Hollywood dream and exposes the darkness at the heart of the film industry.”

Main point 1: The cinematography and mise-en-scène of ‘Mulholland Drive’

Main point 2: The themes and messages of ‘Mulholland Drive’

Main point 3: The cultural and historical context of ‘Mulholland Drive’

Conclusion: Recap of main points and analysis of the lasting impact of the film

Film elements are what make each film production distinct from every other. Therefore, understanding them empowers writers with the tools to analyze and write fitting essays adequately.

When writing a film essay, tips like researching and selecting a film to analyze, outlining and organizing the essay, citing sources and formatting the essay, and incorporating film terminology and analysis techniques help present your essay in the most logical, clear, clear, concise, and comprehensive way.

If you’re looking to write a film essay anytime soon, following this stepwise guide on writing film essays will get you critical acclaim when your work is peer-reviewed.

Perhaps you do not have the time to write a film essay or any other paper, or maybe you need professional help writing your paper.

Our website, , is a place you can visit to get your paper professionally written and delivered on time, irrespective of the type of essay you need to be written.

Try us now by calling 1-888-774-9994 and speak to an academic advisor today and get help with film essays!

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How to Write a Film Analysis Essay: Format & Examples

Movie analysis essays offer a unique opportunity to take a closer look at narrative techniques and artistic aspects of filmmaking. A paper on this subject lets you explore themes, characters, cinematography, and other elements that make movies stand out. Students can improve their movie analysis abilities by reading our comprehensive guide! It has enough information to make you a movie critic in your own right.

Our team has covered the main film analysis essay components to help you thoroughly analyze movies. By the end of this read, you’ll understand how to pick the right motion picture and craft a film review that best captures its essence. The guide covers all the crucial steps for students to make a film analysis essay captivating and thought-provoking for readers. Let’s dive into cinema analysis and discover the secret behind excellent papers!

  • 📽️ What Is a Film Analysis?
  • 🎞️ Types of Movie Analysis

🎬 Film Analysis Template

  • 🤩 11 Tips for Movie Analysis
  • 💡 Film Analysis Essay Topics

🔗 References

📽️ what is a film analysis essay.

In a film analysis paper, students should closely examine the various elements of the picture. These include directing , writing , cinematography , acting , and setting . As with any critical paper, the subject is evaluated based on specific standards. Sometimes, a film may be compared to other entries in its genre or series, for example, Star Wars vs. Star Trek.

🎞️ Types of Movie Analysis Essays

Before making a movie analysis outline, it’s essential to understand what kind of essay you want to create. There are several popular types with unique goals and aims. Understanding the difference between them helps you choose the right one for the paper you want to write.

4 Types of movie analysis essays.

The most common types of movie analysis essays include:

  • Semiotic Analysis. This type discusses the symbols and signs represented in a particular movie. With its help, you may uncover the meaning of objects or images repeated throughout the picture. It’s also possible to show connections between different examples of imagery in the film. For example, you may discuss the meaning of oranges in The Godfather .
  • Narrative Structure Analysis. This common type of analysis lets you look deeper into the various story elements, such as plot, narrative structure, and characters. For example, you may use it to explore the story and setting of Psycho.
  • Contextual Analysis. In a contextual analysis, you draw connections between the film and its cultural and historical context. This works well with documentary films or movies based on real events. For example, you can describe the atmosphere of the Cold War in Red Dawn and The Hunt for Red October .
  • Mise-En-Scene Analysis . If you want to go into deep detail about the beauty and meaning of scenes or single shots, mise-en-scene analysis is right for you. It lets you take a look at individual elements and interpret them. For example, you may try to explain how various details of the surroundings were depicted in Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. This analysis is as effective for short films as it is for feature-length ones.

Creating a high-quality, compelling essay isn’t just about being creative. It also needs structure and a systematic approach. You can’t write it right if you don’t know how to do it. So, we’ll take a closer look at each step of this process to make your journey more comfortable. Come with us and learn what makes a movie critique essay great.

Prepare for Writing the Film Analysis Paper

Before you begin your first draft, it’s vital to prepare for the film analysis. This process is divided into five stages. We’ve decided to provide some advice and ideas for each of them. Look closely at what should be done to better prepare for this task:

Personal assessment is everything. While reading what others think about a film is tempting, carefully watch it yourself first. You may spot things that other viewers didn’t highlight. It also gives you a better understanding of the pictures’ characters and plot.
While your film critique should be personal, it must be factually correct. Ensure that the title, character names, and people involved in the making of the film are written correctly. Also, make notes of important plot points, symbols, and devices.
After you watch the work several times, pick elements that should be covered in the paper. You may have to express your overall opinion about the feature or analyze its individual components.
Depending on the you get, it might be necessary to research the film thoroughly. You may consult professional reviews or academic articles when writing about the film’s connection to sociology, culture, history, or other subjects.
Lastly, you need an outline covering the essay’s main points. A will keep you on track with the context of each paragraph. Your mind will wander less, and you’ll get more done.

Movie Analysis Format & Structure

A well-organized film essay structure will help you properly present your ideas and arguments. That is why we have provided some advice on how you should format your essay.

Create a draft for your essay.

There are several parts you should include when writing your film critique:

  • Introduction . Any good piece of writing starts with a catchy introduction. It must give readers a small taste of what the paper will be about with unique insights and analysis. One look at it should be enough to hook your readers.
  • Body . After writing the perfect intro, summarize the work you’ll analyze and focus on the crucial plot points. Then, provide an analysis of the motion picture at length. Check your outline to ensure you only talk about relevant aspects. When organizing each of your paragraphs , you should remember its purpose and try not to stray off topic.
  • Conclusion . The last part of your paper should summarize the main points and present your final thoughts. Don’t haste and write the first thing that comes to mind. Ensure that the conclusion is as impactful as the introductory part.

Sometimes, students get too engrossed when watching a movie and leave out essential details. To make sure that doesn’t happen, follow this movie analysis template. It will help you retain information and avoid making mistakes.

Write down the year of the film’s release and its title.
State the film’s director and the company (or companies) responsible for its release.
List the main and side characters related to the . There’s no need to include all the extras and cameo roles you might come across. Stay focused on the relevant cast.
It’s vital to summarize the general plot in your paper. List the key events the characters go through, their consequences, and how and why they play out. If a specific scene doesn’t have a significant impact, you can skip it.
Some film essays analyze the importance of the opening credits. For example, think about the visuals and the style of this portion in the movie by Martin Scorsese.
A movie analysis may also be an evaluation of different actors. You can tell your readers about people you’ve found particularly compelling or unconvincing.
In this section, you may describe sets, decor, props, costumes, and lighting that made a movie scene shine. For example, analyze how these elements are used in .
You should also discuss the quality of the cinematography, camera shots, movements, and focus. To illustrate, the 1990 Goodfellas masterfully used track shots and different camera angles.

🤩 11 Tips to Follow While Writing a Movie Analysis

A movie analysis essay writing requires exceptional attention to detail. We’ve come up with several terrific pieces of advice that will improve your writing skills regarding these assignments. They will work for you whether you’re analyzing a Tim Burton animated film or the legendary Titanic movie.

  • Even if you’ve seen the work before, rewatch it. It will refresh your memories of it.
  • Don’t rush things, and see the movie at least twice. Arrange your time to have the opportunity to refresh your memories of the plot details.
  • Sometimes, it helps to work on the body of the paper before adding an introduction.
  • Develop a clear thesis statement . It helps better organize the paper’s arguments.
  • Closely investigate the audio and visual elements. They often help bring more nuance to the story and the film’s atmosphere.
  • Don’t make the paper all about the plot. It should be an analysis and not a retelling of the entire story.
  • To make the paper more professional, incorporate some technical jargon. For example, you may explain the techniques used by the camera crew or the editors.
  • Do your best to remain objective. Your paper should analyze the movie elements and your opinions should be evidence-based.
  • Compare the film to other genre entries. Try to tell how other works tackle the same subjects and utilize similar cinema elements .
  • Check the structural integrity of the work. Comb the paper for any inconsistencies or sentences that seem to dangle in the air. Your text should be easy to follow.
  • Finally, remember to edit. It’s important to polish the paper until you have all the facts, grammar, stylistics, and spelling in order.

9 Essential questions to help you analyze a movie.

💡 Interesting Topics for Film Analysis Essays

  • Pandora’s Unobtanium: Analyzing James Cameron’s “Avatar”
  • Truth and Its Consequences in “Liar Liar” Directed by Tom Shadyac
  • The Feminist Revolution in “Mona Lisa Smile” by Mike Newell
  • Blade Runner’s Cyberpunk Aesthetic: A Scene Analysis
  • Society and Class Distinctions in “Pride and Prejudice” Movie
  • Power, Loyalty, and Betrayal in “The Godfather” by Francis Ford Coppola
  • The Heroine’s Journey into “The Wizard of Oz” by Victor Fleming
  • Generational Saga “Mi Familia” by Gregory Nava
  • Life Is Like a Box of Chocolates: A Cinematic Journey in ‘Forrest Gump’
  • Transformation in “Dances with Wolves” by Kevin Costner
  • Spirit of Nature and Childhood Innocence in “My Neighbor Totoro”
  • Subversive Masculinity in “Fight Club” by David Fincher
  • Intercultural Communication in “Lost in Translation” by Sofia Coppola
  • Ethical Dilemmas and Family Bonds in “My Sister’s Keeper” by Nick Cassavetes
  • Shakespearean Romance and Identity in “Shakespeare in Love”

Three Brilliant Movie Analysis Examples

Theoretical knowledge will only take you so far. We suggest taking a look at several scene analysis essay examples. Check out these three creative samples with different analytical approaches:

  • “Remember the Titans” Movie by Jerry Bruckheimer. Outstanding achievement can only be won through hardship. It doesn’t matter whether you’re fighting for equality or striving to win a football game. Each small event resonates in history. Jerry Bruckheimer’s Remember the Titans is a testament to the sacrifice and struggle people endure to make a difference. This essay analyzes the work using several scenes that capture its central message.
  • The Analysis of Film “Wilby Wonderful.” Interpersonal relationships remain a big issue from a psychological point of view for many despite the perceived ease of their maintenance. It causes many misunderstandings and conflicts people may inadvertently find themselves in. Daniel Maclvor’s Wilby Wonderful demonstrates these inadequacies in full view on the streets of the Canadian island town of Wilby. This essay analyzes the themes of self-denial and the consequences it brings.
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: 1994 Movie Analysis Essay. 1994’s Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, directed by Kenneth Branagh, is one of the many adaptations of the classic horror novel. Like the original story, it explores the consequences of man playing god. But, despite its star-ridden cast led by Robert DeNiro, the film doesn’t quite live up to its literary counterpart. This paper analyzes why the adaptation didn’t capture the spirit of the original.

We did our best to address all questions you might have had about film review writing. Feel free to use our guide and review essay examples to write excellent papers and share our articles with your friends.

  • Resources – How to Write a Film Analysis. – Northwestern University
  • Film Analysis. – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Film Writing: Sample Analysis. – Purdue University
  • How to Write a Movie Review: 9 Essential Tips. – New York Film Academy
  • Step by Step Guide to Writing an Essay on Film. – Film Threat
  • How To Write a Critical Analysis in 5 Steps (With Tips). – Indeed
  • Film Review. – Writing Studio, Duke University
  • How to Write About Film: The Movie Review, The Theoretical Essay, and The Critical Essay. – University of Colorado Denver
  • Film & Media Studies Resources: Researching a Film. – Bowling Green State University
  • Questions for Film Analysis. – University of Washington

Home / Essay Samples / Entertainment / Movies

Essays on Movies

Essays about movies play a significant role in exploring the world of cinema, its impact on culture, society, and the art of storytelling. The purpose of such essays is to analyze the visual, narrative, and thematic elements of films, as well as to discuss the influence of movies on our perceptions, emotions, and perspectives. By delving into the magic of cinema, these essays contribute to a deeper appreciation of film as an art form, a reflection of society, and a source of entertainment and thought-provoking content.

Short Essays on Movies: Quick Insights

If you’re pressed for time but still yearn for knowledge, our short essays on movies are tailored to provide concise yet insightful explorations of film-related subjects. From dissecting the symbolism in a single scene to discussing the evolution of special effects, these short essays offer a quick way to expand your cinematic horizons.

In need of inspiration for your own writing? Our examples of essays about movies offer a wealth of ideas. Whether you’re composing an essay about movies that shaped a generation, the evolution of film genres, or the impact of digital technology on cinema, our collection provides a rich source of inspiration.

Explore essays that delve into the narrative techniques of your favorite films or analyze how filmmakers use visual storytelling to convey complex emotions. From the classics to contemporary blockbusters, our essays cover a wide spectrum of movies, ensuring that there’s something for everyone.

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"Do the Right Thing": Exploring Themes of Race and Social Injustice

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"The Hunger Games": Katniss and Peeta Relationship

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"The Social Dilemma": Unpacking the Impact of Social Media

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