(go to main index of Writing and Rhetoric)
You will be writing 1,200 words -- approximately four pages -- on any movie except the ones for class discussion and the ones included as samples below. Your choice must be different from the movies you used for your Review and your Synopsis.
Please stay within the expected length (not more than 10% over or under), in order to use only the best material and to write efficiently.
Save this paper with the filename analysis_yourlastname, and put it into the shared folder before the start of the class when it is due.
Your analysis should arise from your own observations, thoughts, and insights, not the work of others. Please do not include quoted material or consult external sources. You will have an opportunity to work with sources in our next project, the Research Paper.
You should choose a movie that you find significant and which you have access to for close study. You can use the same film for the rest of the semester, or switch to another at any point.
A full description of an analysis can be found in The Analytical Essay by David Bordwell. You can also take another look at the excellent commentary about Juno in the first chapter we read in the film text.
Include a detailed look at a single significant scene or sequence, where the larger points you are making about the film can be seen at work. Specifics, especially if they show some of the film techniques we've been talking about, will make your analysis clear and effective.
Feedback on your first version will help you refine your analysis for the final version at the end of the course. However, if you need some idea of how to approach this, check out the sample analysis papers below. Take your own approach and invent your own solutions. Just do your best and we'll help make it better!
An Analysis of Cast Away
the Bible Can be Found on Video:
An Analysis of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
More important than formatting is the content and how you express it. In addition, the length is significant -- not a number of pages (since pages can vary considerably when working on a computer), but the word count. Writing less than the expected amount wastes an opportunity for development, while writing more shows that you haven't selected for the best material said in the most efficient way.
For other issues about formatting, here's what I recommend --
- single-spacing is best for documents written and read on a screen, since it minimizes the amount of scrolling needed. Add a blank line between paragraphs to help visibility.
- 12 point, any style
Titles within the text
- best identified by using italics (for example, talk about The Everyday Writer like this). Underlined titles can be confused with links, and should be avoided for documents read on-screen.
- always left-justified -- not full-justified. With full-justification, the lines of text are stretched to create a straight right edge. That looks nice, but as soon as feedback is inserted into the document, the formatting becomes complex and confusing.
Title for the paper
- always use a unique title that catches attention and orients the reader
- not needed for an on-screen document (forces unnecessary scrolling to reach the text)
is maintained by David G Sharpe
Please email comments or suggestions to