Analyzing Essay Questions
This handout provides a brief definition of film analysis compared to literary analysis, provides an introduction to common types of film analysis, and offers strategies and resources for approaching assignments.
Film analysis is the process in which film is analyzed in terms of semiotics, narrative structure, cultural context, and mise-en-scene, among other approaches.
Having a clear argument and supporting evidence is every bit as critical to film analysis as to other forms of academic writing.
Unlike literature, film incorporates audiovisual elements and therefore introduces a new dimension to analysis.
What were/are the social and political concerns of the time period?
For example, Frozen is often linked to the LGBTQ social movement.
You might agree or disagree with this interpretation, and, using evidence from the film, support your argument.
Like the dramatic structure of literature (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution), film has what is known as the Three-Act Structure: “Act One: Setup, Act Two: Confrontation, and Act Three: Resolution.” Narrative structure analysis breaks the story of the film into these three elements and might consider questions like: Consider again the example of Frozen.
You can use symbolism and narrative structure in conjunction by placing the symbolic objects/events in the context of the narrative structure.