The Final Film Analysis

You’ll analyze a film and use a Critical Perspective to determine the Director’s message or theme for the film. We’ve looked this year:

·       Cultural

·       Historical

·       Archetypal

·       Gender

·       Marxist

For this assignment:

·       You will be applying ANY 1 CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES. A document providing guiding questions for each critical perspective is linked in Canvas.

  • You can choose ANY movie—even if you have watched it before.  If you think about using “O” you must use another critical perspective other than used for the Othello Shakespeare Project.
  • You will create a Theme Statement using one of the Critical Perspectives as a lens through which to consider that message of the film. REMEMBER: Universal Idea+ Attitude or Belief regarding that Idea=Theme
  • You will use the elements of the Film to provide evidence supporting your Theme Statement
    • Literary: What do you hear in the script?
    • Dramatic: What do you see the actors do? Are there significance in the costumes, scenery, or props choices (look for symbolism)?
    • Cinematic:  What does the film do technically to inform you?  What choices did the director use make with Lighting, Camera action, Music, Special effects to establish the story and communicate the message?

The following page offers a reminder and/or assist with writing the Introduction to your essay.

Introducing the Essay

 Paragraph #1: Introduce the film and any interesting features

Include the director, producer, any significant technical workers, and cast members to introduce the existence of the film. Mention anything important to know—is it a biopic, is it based on a novel, is it part of a series? Did it win any awards?

Here are some examples tidbits found about these movies that could be used to hook you reader in in the first paragraph:

Gone With the Wind:  The original director, George Cukor (Links to an external site.), was fired shortly after filming began and was replaced by Fleming, who in turn was briefly replaced by Sam Wood (Links to an external site.) while Fleming took some time off due to exhaustion (Links to an external site.).

The Wizard of Oz: The original tin man—Buddy Ebsen—was hospitalized because his aluminum powder makeup had coated his lungs. He had to convalesce in an iron lung. A replacement for the Tin Man had to be found.

Apocalypse Now: Looking to make the Vietnamese landscape as real as possible, director Francis Ford Coppola shot the movie in the Philippines. Filming was supposed to take five months and ended up taking over a year. Typhoon Olga destroyed the set and ruined one month’s worth of shooting. Martin Sheen also suffered a heart attack.

Jaws” : Spielberg’s three mechanical sharks—all named Bruce—consistently malfunctioned. It took 14 people to operate them. Pneumatic hoses filled with salt water, internal frames fractured from water pressure, the skin corroded, and the sharks got tangled in seaweed. To make life easier, Spielberg revised the script so the shark made as few appearances as possible. The decision made the film more suspenseful. “The shark not working was a godsend,” Spielberg later said.


Mario Puzo’s , the Godfther is an absorbing, dark thriller that fascinates, horrifies, and entertains. The first films  Francis Ford Coppola  adapted from the novel elevate the sordid story into operatic triumphs that some consider to be two of the best films ever made. Both films won Oscars for Best Picture (Part II being the first sequel to do so) and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Paragraph #2: Summary

After presenting the main facts about the film, it’s time to summarize it.

The trick to making it more powerful is always to assume that your teacher hasn’t seen the movie (but NO SPOILERS!). In that way, you won’t leave out some important information. 

The best way to make sure you’ve covered everything in your summary is to answer the five W’s:

  • who
  •  what
  • when
  • where
  • why
  • and how

Likewise, you can discuss anything related to your opinion, structure or style. Just remember that you need to support anything you say with examples or quotes from the film itself. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a viable comment. 


Potential format:  In “________________________”(film name) when viewed through the __________________________(chosen critical perspective), the viewer can see that  _________________________(associated universal idea) is ____________________________________________________________________________________________(attitude towards the universal idea).

Example: In Netflix’s “Enola Holms” when viewed through the Gender perspective we recognize the historical issue of women’s right to independence and self-efficacy as women fought against patrimonial structures.


  • “Enola Holms”= film name
  • Gender perspective= chosen critical perspective
  • Women’s right =universal idea
  • Women fought against patrimonial structures= attitude towards the universal idea

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