PURPOSE: 1. Choose a film that you've especially enjoyed / appreciated. Whatever film you choose, it should be one that is commercially available on video or D.V.D. so that you can watch it several times.

2. Locate a minimum of two reviews of the film using the resources suggested at the following link: LINKS TO MOVIE REVIEWS.

Ideally, these reviews should be able to interpret the film on a THEMATIC level. Note: These reviews do not have to agree with your understanding of the film (and, in general, it is a good idea if you choose reviews that allow for multiple points of view. Download (or photocopy) these reviews. They MUST be placed in your manila folder when your final draft is due.

3. Your job, in this essay, is to suggest a MAJOR or MINOR theme in the movie, supported by imagery, symbols, language, setting, plot, etc. Ultimately, your analysis should answer these two questions:

1. What is the theme (or subtheme) / important "moral" of this film?

2. How do specific elements in the text, such as imagery, setting, character, etc., help to foster that theme in the movie?

In your essay, you should incorporate reviewers' comments on the film, being sure to comment and respond to their opinions. The suggested length of this paper is 4-5 pages (~1000 words).

 AUDIENCE: Assume that your audience has not seen the same movie that you have. As such, you should include in your essay "some" elements of the plot. Try NOT to alienate your readers from your analysis by making your essay entirely into a plot summary; your job is to assess why SPECIFIC elements of the film promote a coherent theme. In other words, do not RETELL the story needlessly.


 The rough structure of this essay is as follows:

1. Introduction (One that sets up the thesis);

2. Thesis statement (What is this film's main theme? Why is it important?)

3. (OPTIONAL OUTLINE) In this essay, I will discuss A, B, and C . . .;


5. Body paragraphs: Specific elements from the film that support that theme, such as character, language, imagery, etc.;

6. Conclusion that wraps up the theme and suggests insights that you learned from the film.


On rentals: 1. If you do not have access to a V.C.R. or a D.V.D. player, please let me know right away. You can always make arrangements for you to view your film on campus. 2. Sinclair Library's Wong Audiovisual Center, on the UH Manoa campus, is available for the use of ALL students in the UH Manoa system. You can rent or borrow up to three videos/D.V.D.'s/C.D.'s a week, FOR FREE. 3. If you have a Hawaii Public Library Card, you may rent videos and D.V.D.'s from the library for a nominal fee of $1 each. The main branch (King and Punchbowl Streets) has a huge collection, but most branches should have a good selection. 4. If all else fails, or if you want to review a recent film, there are always Blockbuster Video and various other video companies that you can rent from.

While watching your film: A strong film analysis will include a lot of concrete detail from the film, so have a pen and paper handy. Be prepared to stop the film at critical segments so that you can jot down notes on these types of things:

A. any dialogue that you might quote in the essay;

B. any specific scenes that you might refer to in your essay;

(If you have a D.V.D. player, it is advisable that you turn SUBTITLES 'ON' and Pause on critical moments.

After watching your film: 1. Give yourself at least fifteen minutes right after you watch the movie to write down your initial reactions to it. Try to take notes about specific aspects of the film (e.g. the writing, characters, visuals, acting, thematic components, etc.) Try to do a freewrite entitled, "What is this movie about? (PLOT)" Later, try to write a freewrite that focuses on this question: "What is the theme of this film?"

2. Make sure that you write down key personnel's names--for example, the director, main actors (and the names of the characters in the film who they play), and any other people whose work you might comment on in your review (like the cinematographer, etc.)


 1. Procrastination. Not watching or choosing your film early on will have serious ramifications for your essay later;

2. Excessive plot summary/subjectivity: This essay is not a movie review or a summary. You are not telling the reader what this movie is about, nor are you telling me why you liked the film or not. You are trying to help the reader understand the "theme" of this film;

3. Choosing a different text/Constantly choosing something different: Try to get a feel for the movie which MOST appeals to you, then stick to it;

4. Not getting help, especially when you need it; This is probably the most difficult essay of the semester, so I'd encourage that you get assistance on it.