5/22-26 – Movie Review

Monday – You’ll get your Task 6 assignment, which will be to write a movie review of The Princess Bride, a campy romantic comedy from the 1980s. This is a “one-and-done” assignment, meaning you get no revisions, no drafts, no comments–just two days to write the best paper you humanly can.

We’ll take time today to talk about the elements I expect to see in your review:

  • A dramatization of at least one scene, like the opening paragraph of this review or the Hotel Rwanda samples in your packet. This must be SHOWING not TELLING.
  • Reference to the plot; there has to be enough of this to ground your reader, who “hasn’t seen the film” and also to make the essay stand up as an essay without the prop of the film behind it. But you also don’t want to give EVERYTHING away. You can deal with the plot in succinct paragraph or two (as you see in the Moana review synopsis) OR you can build your review like an explication giving a little bit of story as you go through, analyzing each of the key elements (as you see in the La La Land review, linked below).
  • A paragraph or two dealing with the quality of the actors’ performances.
  • A paragraph of two dealing with cinematic elements in the film (camera angles, music/sound, costumes, sets, props, etc).
  • A paragraph or two dealing with literary elements of the film (symbols, archetypes, genre/pattern/comparison to other films or texts or franchises, plot/pacing).
  • At least one paragraph in which you assess the purpose of the film: essentially using your “reading” of the film to explore whether the film is PARODY or SATIRE.

For each of these elements, we’re going to look to the sample reviews as mentor texts. We’ll find a specific example or two of what that element “sounds like” when it’s in a quality review. Here are the samples I offered in class, each a simple word document version of the NYT review for that film:

Tuesday & Wednesday: We will watch the film. You’ll take Notes on your graphic organizer to help you keep track of the things you may want to write about in your review. In fact, think of this organizer as a rough version of a proposal–or at least notes on each of the sections you’ll end up writing.

Thursday & Friday: You’ll write Task 6 One and Done in class on these two days.


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