The Bicycle Thieves Poverty Sica DS Central Themes Film Analytical Review


Guidelines for Review Writing

A film review is a written reaction to something you have seen or read. In the case of a film review, this writing activity involves seeing a film, taking no more than one or two themes from the film, and expressing your own thoughts on the themes you have chosen. It is not a general statement of whether you agreed or disagreed with the ideas or themes expressed in the film. Instead, response writing engages with the theme(s) of the film and expands on them, showing that you can integrate your ideas with an original text or film.

Steps for film review writing:

  • Take notes on the film. List the main themes as these are suggested in the film. Take into consideration SOME film techniques discussed in class, such as:camera angle, lighting, character facial expressions and gestures as they relate to physical and emotional distance. Pay attention to things of symbolic value in the film and how the symbolism enhances a theme of a particular plot sequence
  • Focus your ideas. Determine your overall perspective on the relationship between the film and your own thoughts/experiences. Write a sentence or two that could be the focal point of your response essay.
  • EXAMPLE 1: The issue(s)/theme(s) discussed in this film is/are how in the immediate aftermath of the war in Italy unemployment was rampant. This is a theme the film portrays using a variety of cinematic techniques. I will focus on style and narrative….)
  • EXAMPLE 2: The issue(s)/theme(s) discussed in this film is/are how during the German occupation the citizen of Rome were undergoing …. This is a theme the film portrays using a variety of cinematic techniques. I will focus on style and narrative….)
  • Stay focused on and connected to the original text (FILM)
  • Provide your own, original comment on the topic (this is not a summary or a plot description)
  • Choose only one or two ideas or elements from the plot to respond to, not the entire sequence of events that constitute the plot. Such ideas or elements should be used to support and corroborate your points. Avoid random and “dangling” references to the storyline
  • Use transition words to connect ideas (moreover, one can argue that, on the other hand, additionally, conversely, on the whole, it can be argued that, given the…etc…)
  • You may use “I” (with moderation) when you express your original considerations.

Structure of a film review/response:

  • Reference to the film: What is the source of the information (title, director)
  • Summary: A brief (1-2 sentences, NOT MORE) of the main theme of the film. The gist of the film, in other words.
  • First Idea: What is the first idea from the film that you want to discuss?
  • Your response: What ideas does the film raise in your mind? Be sure to include examples/detail from the film to make your point clear, and to explain the significance of any direct references to plot.
  • Second idea and your response: Follow above patterns 3 & 4: You may review a second idea or theme in the film. Or you may explore an idea not raised, or not sufficiently developed.
  • Conclusion: This should sum up the focus of your review, referring back to the film’s original theme(s), and discuss any implications of what you have written.

Structuring body paragraphs:

There are two possible ways to structure your paragraphs:

  • Explore 2-3 THEMES from the film one by one, with at least one paragraph on each theme:
  • Explore ONE major idea or theme from the film:
  • Explain an idea/theme from the film and indicate your perspective on it.
  • Describe a significant reference to the plot or give an example to illustrate your perspective and corroborate your thoughts
  • Repeat the process for each idea you want to discuss. Paraphrase or quote directly from the film.
  • Explain the major idea/theme you are focusing on.
  • Describe a plot experience or give an example that supports this idea/theme
  • Repeat the process for each supporting point you want to make.
  • Include references to the film through paraphrasing or direct quotation to support your position so you do not lose focus on the connection between the film and your response.

Regardless of which organization structure you use, BE SURE TO:



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