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NRSG 127 - Movie Analysis Paper

Academic Writing Resources

Film Studies Resources

What is an analytical essay?

An analytical essay means you present some kind of argument, or claim. It is not a summary. An analytical essay will concentrate on how the information was presented. 

To analyze something is to ask what it means. Your thesis statement should be answering a HOW or WHY question.  A strong thesis makes a claim that needs proving. It provides the writer (and reader) with a clearly focused lens to view the subject.  Be specific with your thesis statement. 

Writing a Film Analysis Paper: How to 'read' a film

We are used to watching films for entertainment. As students, though, we have to be more diligent in how we treat a film. A film is something we can read just as carefully and consciously as a book or article. Before getting started make sure you understand the assignment and keep in mind the questions you need to answer. 

  • The first step is to watch and take notes at the same time. 
  • Record the time stamp of any scenes you want to discuss in the paper. You will include this information in your in-text citation in the body of your paper. This is the number you get when you pause the movie, for example: 1:23:07. This would indicate that at 1 hour, 23 minutes and 7 seconds into the movie is when the scene begins. 
  • Pay attention to how the story and characters are presented. 
    • Where is the camera? What does the director want you to focus on? 
  • Consider the composition of the scenes you will write about. 
    • How are the actors, objects, sound, lighting used? What kind of emotions are being portrayed with all the aspects of the scene? 
    • How is music used the movie? 
  • After watching the movie consider: 
    • How does the film want you to think about the characters? What choices did the filmmaker use to effect your emotions? 
    • Do you need to do any additional research to understand the mental illness portrayed in the movie? 

See the APA template for this assignment