Film Analysis Essay Prompt

Here is the assignment for the essay I use in my ENGL 111 class. I offer the option for the students to review an album, a movie or a piece of visual art, but as of yet, no student has reviewed any visual art. Mostly students have reviewed movies, with about 20% to 30% reviewing music.

The ability to support your views on a topic is essential to academic writing. Choose a creative work—a movie, a musical album, a piece of visual art—and write a review of this work. The work must be something new, released in the last three years. Offer your opinion on whether the work is good or bad and support that opinion.

The final essay must include these elements:

  • A strong, defensible thesis that could be right or wrong.
  • A structured approach, including an introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • The final draft must adhere to MLA style. It must be printed on 8½” by 11” paper with 1” margins, using 12-point, Times New Roman font, double-spaced, and should be at least 850 to 1000 words (about 3 to 4 pages).
  • Make sure to cite all the sources you reference for the paper, including the work you are reviewing, on the Works Cited page and in the paper, using MLA in-text citation methods.

The final essay and outline should include at least three of the following elements.

  • Biographical information about the artist/musical group/director/actors. (Please make sure to incorporate this into your essay. You should  NOT have a paragraph that is all biographical information unconnected to your thesis. Use this as evidence to support your thesis; do not use it as ‘background information.’)
  • A comparison to another work in the same genre.
  • A comparison to an earlier work by the artist.
  • A discussion of what other artists you think influenced this artist. For example, if you are reviewing an album by Oasis or Panic at the Disco, you should probably look at the similarities between their work and the work of The Beatles.
  • A discussion about any intentions that the artist may have had for the work. For example, if you are writing about Rage Against the Machine, you should probably bring up the political topics they bring up and implications of the work.



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What kid doesn’t love a good feature film? These writing prompts about movies will encourage students to take film to a new level. Whether they’re persuading a friend to see a favorite movie, reviewing a recent show, comparing books to their on-screen counterparts, or creating a memorable film character, your kids are sure to find a prompt that inspires!

1. Must See!

What is your all-time favorite movie? Write a paragraph persuading a friend to watch it.

2. A Fighting Chance

Luke Skywalker wields a lightsaber, and Katniss Everdeen is a whiz with a bow and arrow. Buzz Lightyear has a Space Ranger Blaster, while Ironman uses a wrist laser.

Plan a movie in which your hero has a special weapon. Who is your hero? What is his or her weapon of choice? How is it used?

3. Don’t Judge a Book by Its Movie

Make a list of books you’ve read that have also been made into movies you’ve seen, such as Charlotte’s Webor The Hobbit. Next to each title, note whether you preferred the book or the film version.

Challenge:Explain your reason(s) for preferring one over the other.

4. Two Thumbs Up

Write a review of a movie you’ve watched recently.

  • What is the film’s genre? Action? Science Fiction? Fantasy? Other?
  • Include a brief summary of the film and an explanation of why you liked (or hated) it. What was your favorite scene? Did you find any part of the movie disappointing? (Make sure to avoid spoilers, since others may not have seen the film yet.)
  • Give the movie a rating from one to five stars (one star meaning terrible and five stars meaning exceptional).

5. What a Character!

Have you ever wanted to write a movie screenplay? Write a paragraph describing your main character. Include the character’s appearance, character qualities, desires, and a surprising fact about their background. If you get stuck thinking of words, you can find some ideas here and here.

6. Pretty Powerful

What movie has made the greatest impact on you? Explain your reasons, using three different scenes from the film as examples.

Looking for more writing prompts? Check out our extensive collection on Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Photo credit: JD Hancock, courtesy of Creative Commons

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