Review: “The King’s Speech” MAG

April 19, 2011
By karen_xo PLATINUM, West Chester, Pennsylvania
karen_xo PLATINUM, West Chester, Pennsylvania
48 articles 7 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working."
— Pablo Picasso


In the April issue, Amelia Brownstein’s ­review of “The King’s Speech” was an ­example of the common misconception that filmmaking involves only directors and actors. Amelia, like most people, forgot to ­acknowledge the screenwriter, film editor, and cinematographer (among many others), who, ­respectively, came up with the plot and all the dialogue; assembled the shots into a coherent piece with appropriate pacing and thematic connections; and created the lighting, angles, and overall look and feel of the film. No movie could be made without these crucial players. The director is far from the only person behind the camera.

Statements like “Director Tom Hooper made good decisions about the timing of the movie and what to emphasize” don’t recognize the input of others. Claiming that “The lengthy scene with the king’s brother was ­another fantastic director’s choice” is especially an affront to screenwriter David Seidler. It was he who wrote this scene and came up with the idea of putting Bertie’s life on screen; it was a labor of love stemming from his own experiences of stuttering as a child. He literally spent decades researching and writing the script, even through his fight with cancer.

Therefore, it is important to recognize and appreciate the efforts and talents of all those involved to bring a wonderful piece of entertainment and art to us all.


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on Aug. 21 2011 at 12:02 am
karen_xo PLATINUM, West Chester, Pennsylvania
48 articles 7 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working."
— Pablo Picasso

Wow, that was probably way more than what you were looking for, but hopefully this helps. :)

on Aug. 21 2011 at 12:00 am
karen_xo PLATINUM, West Chester, Pennsylvania
48 articles 7 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working."
— Pablo Picasso

(CONTINUED)

After you have compiled all of your ideas, evaluations, and analyses, it is time to organize and polish your review. There are many ways to organize a film review, depending on, for instance, what parts of the film you want to emphasize or how in-depth the review is. When you have more experience with writing film reviews, you may wish to experiment with your organization. However, beginners may choose to use the following general organizational pattern. Remember, this is a guideline, not a set of rules, and it may be modified to fit your purpose.

Introduce the background of the film first; this includes the information you researched before you watched the film. Mention the genre and tone of the film. Next are the summary and the analysis. There is not a specific way to organize the summary and analysis; in most cases, the analysis of the film depends on the story, so pertinent sections of the analysis may be included throughout the summary. Finally, discuss and analyze the themes and goals of the film.

After adding proper transitions between sections, you should now have a coherent and persuasive film review. Your opinion of the film should be clear and supported by details from the film and by your knowledge in film, yet the review should also leave room for the readers to come to their own conclusions about the film.

Knowing how to write an effective film review is an important skill because it helps the critic to become a better writer. The critic learns persuasive writing, a valuable skill, and learns how to express his or her ideas more clearly. The ability to write a film review also has significant cultural ramifications. According to Roger Ebert, film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967 and the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize, "Film criticism is important because films are important. […] Films are important because they are the art form of the 20th century. They are the most serious of the mass arts. […] They affect the way people think and feel and behave. […] they encourage empathy with people not like ourselves and encourage us to think about life and issues." Because films exert such a powerful influence over people’s thoughts and emotions, film reviews are needed as the intermediate factor between the art and the audience, to inform the audience and to enhance its understanding and appreciation of the film.

on Aug. 21 2011 at 12:00 am
karen_xo PLATINUM, West Chester, Pennsylvania
48 articles 7 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working."
— Pablo Picasso

A film review evaluates and critiques a film. It examines the film’s artistic and aesthetic value; it tries to understand the film’s purpose and whether it achieves that purpose. A film review should consider the various aspects of the film, including the acting, writing, music, and cinematography, and how well, in the critic’s opinion, those parts combine to form an effective composition. A film review is informative and persuasive, helping readers to understand the plot, themes, and purpose of the film and to decide whether it is worth their time.

Prerequisites for writing a film review include an understanding of film history as well as an appreciation of film as an art form. Without being familiar with the most iconic and influential films and filmmakers in cinematic history, a prospective film critic has a severely limited point of view. This critic has no basis on which to evaluate new films, which build upon the foundations set by the classics and often allude to or are inspired by these classic films. To further your film history learning, you can study such films as the winners of the Academy Award for Best Picture and the films selected by the American Film Institute (AFI) for their cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance. For instance, in 1998, AFI compiled a list of the 100 best American films from 1896 to 1996. Below are the top 20 films:

[there was a picture in my original essay but it wouldn't show up here]

This understanding of film history engenders an appreciation of film as an art form. Once you have seen what film can do at its best, you will appreciate the value of film and will be ready to evaluate new films.

Before you watch the film you plan to review, research the film. Find out the director, screenwriter, and major actors. This will prevent you from being surprised at discovering a person’s role in the film and thus from being distracted from the film. View or read about the previous work of the director and screenwriter to look for thematic or stylistic connections during your viewing of the film. Try to obtain a general understanding of the storyline without learning any spoilers or plot twists. This will help you spend less time figuring out what is going on in the film and more time noticing subtler, but no less significant, aspects, such as music and costume design.

It is optional to take notes during the film. If you can remember important points you want to discuss in your review, then you do not need to take notes. However, if you feel that you will not remember these things, and if you can take notes without disrupting your viewing, then feel free to do so.

Once you have seen the film and are ready to write your review, start by jotting down all of your thoughts, along with any notes you took during the film and notes from your research prior to viewing the film. At this stage, focus on your ideas, rather than the organization. Write about the film’s genre, tone, style, themes, and goals. Evaluate the script (is it original and well-written?) and characters (are they compelling and memorable, or cliché and unlikable?). Analyze how the cinematography (including lighting and angles), music, set design, and costume design contribute to the tone and overall effect of the film.

Remember that part of the review is fact, and part of it is your opinion. An effective film review blends the two parts so that the fact portion (including the plot summary and discussion of the filmmaker’s previous work) supports the critic’s opinion. Provide details when expressing your opinion; for instance, include a quote that demonstrates the dialogue or themes of the film, or describe specific moments in the film that are especially poignant or memorable.

Briefly summarize the film without giving away spoilers or plot twists. Most of the film review should not be the summary, as your readers can find this anywhere online or in newspapers or magazines. Instead, make your review appealing and unique by informing your readers with your own carefully considered and well supported and explained opinion.

You can make your opinion even more credible by researching what other critics have written. You may not have thought of something before, or you may find more evidence to support your own opinion. At any rate, it is good practice to consider other perspectives and expand your understanding of the film: "Rather than make a quick response that reflects an opinion based only on what you already know, you must research and read sources—what others have written. Then you can develop your own informed opinion, a measured response that considers multiple perspectives and possibilities" (Shea, Scanlon, Aufses 61).

on Aug. 20 2011 at 11:57 pm
karen_xo PLATINUM, West Chester, Pennsylvania
48 articles 7 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working."
— Pablo Picasso

Hi there, I actually wrote an essay on how to write a film review, but it's super long so I'll leave it in a separate comment.

Suhaima said...
on Aug. 20 2011 at 11:27 pm
Suhaima, Lol, Other
0 articles 0 photos 13 comments
Okay, so I've been reading your articles lately and I've noticed that many of your reviews are getting published in the MAG. I'm planning on writting a review soon on a movie. Can you suggest somethings? (: 




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