Writing Resources: How to Prepare a Critical Review of Cultural Cinema

Writing Resources: How to Prepare a Critical Review of Cultural Cinema

Writing Resources: How to Prepare a Critical Review of Cultural Cinema

Writing Resources: How to Prepare a Critical Review of Cultural Cinema


  • Make sure you know your material inside and out! Follow these guidelines:
  • Find a nice quiet place and time to view the film. Turn OFF your phone. No calls, texts, internet. Send the kids/roommates to another room. Remove ALL distractions from the viewing experience. Stopping a film in the middle will disrupt the flow of the narrative. For the first time through,watch the film beginning to end. Watching is studying!
  • View the film with no preconceptions or expectations. Just try and clear your mind of what you have heard/read in the past about the film. Sit back and soak it in in a “zen-like” fashion. Try not to like or dislike the film – rather focus on what you believe the film is trying to communicate. Find “messages” that you can grasp.
  • Then, watch the mini-lecture videos and read the assigned articles. Take notes on what is emphasized in the lecture. Also, take notes on the major arguments-points of view in each article, and begin the process of organizing your thoughts.


  • After studying all of the assigned readings, find or develop one major argument that you can discuss in greater detail in your paper. An “argument” can be defined as a major point of view, or an interpretation of the film that you can either agree or disagree with. Supporting or refuting with this argument will be the foundation of your writing. Remember that “liking” or “disliking” a film is irrelevant! “Liking” or “disliking” films doesn’t prove an argument, but only expresses an opinion. We’re not interested in likes or dislikes, we want meanings!
  • Develop a thesis statement. This is a statement that clearly and concisely expresses your point of view. This is the cornerstone of your argument, and you will use your readings/research to defend this statement.
  • Now, after developing your “thesis statement”, WATCH THE FILM AGAIN! This time, take notes! Take LOTS of notes. Start, stop, and rewind the film  STUDY IT! Unlike last time, you’re studying the film looking for examples that will support your thesis statement. Find the evidence that you need to drive home your point! Prove that you’re right!


  • After studying the film a second time, you should begin to gather all of your research and notes and mold it into a short writing. Follow this pattern to help organize your thoughts.
  • Introduction to the film. This should be VERY SHORT. Just a few sentences to explain the film that you will be discussing, year, director, major plot line. For this class, you are free to assume that I know the film very well – therefore you don’t need to tell me what it is about!
  • Introduce your thesis statement. Tell me if you have an original observation about the film, or are you agreeing or disagreeing with a reading/review. Tell me how you intend to defend this statement, how will you defend your point of view?
  • Prepare to write paragraphs for each point of evidence that supports your thesis statement. Tell us what it is, where the example comes from, CITE your source (in parentheses – MLA parenthetical citation would be nice) to show where this evidence is coming from, and then describe WHY this evidence supports your position. Evidence can come from the film, readings, articles, pictures, etc. This is the “meat” of your essay. The good stuff goes here!
  • Write a small conclusion that solidifies your viewpoint. Restating your thesis statement and how you fortified your argument.
  • At the end of your paper, CITE – IN MLA FORMAT – ALL SOURCES USED. Bibliography-style. Another page / document is not necessary, but please remember to cite all sources. Failure to cite sources used as evidence in your argument is plagiarism! Cite everything!


  • After you have successfully submitted your writing/speaking task, your instructor will review your arguments. He/she will give you feedback on improving your writing skills via ANGEL in the COMMENTS box in the gradebook.


Contact the WRITE PLACE at FLCC. These people are awesome and can help you improve your writing skills! Use them, they are your best resource for writing!

585-785-1601 / bakerba@flcc.edu

Writing Resources: How to Prepare a Critical Review of Cultural Cinema