Format and Guidelines: click here for more information on this paper
- First and foremost, please refer to the course syllabus and the readings listed on the course website and class notes and discussions.
- The purpose of a Critical Review Essay is to evaluate the work/film and provide a critical commentary on its contents. A synopsis is not necessary.
Format of the Review.
- Introduction: Identify the film you are going to review. The director, title, date and place of production may be placed at the beginning of the essay in the form of a “bibliographic” citation. Then state what the director’s goal was in writing and or directing the film. For example, Why did the director choose this specific subject? What contribution to our understanding of history, culture and society did the director, and actors intend to make? How do we appreciate more Japanese culture? And …
2. Brief Summary: In the main body of the review, you should begin by briefly describing content and organization, along with the most important evidence used. Do not get bogged down in details here; this section is only intended to prepare the reader for the critical assessment to follow. Again, a detailed synopsis is not necessary.
3. Critical Assessment: Evaluate the work’s contribution to our understanding of history, culture and society. There are several things you should look for:
a) Identify a central argument, or thesis. The thesis is not the topic of the film but a specific argument that the author/director has expressed about the subject. Sometimes, it is stated in the introduction, sometimes in the conclusion. Feel free to review these sections first to determine the main argument. Knowing the main argument will help guide you through the rest of the film. The focus at certain points highlights the director’s intentions.
b) Identify perspective, point of view, or purpose. This can be approached in a number of different ways. Ask yourself whether there is a particular emphasis, such as economic, social or humanitarian. Is the film informed by a social, historical, or political ideology? If the film describes a conflict, does the director, either explicitly or subtly, favor one side over the other?
c) Look at the director’s evidence: what sources are used? Are those sources balanced, reliable, and legitimate?
4. Conclusion: Assess the overall quality of the film. Does the style or content of the film recommend it to a specific audience? Offer a final evaluation: How valuable is it? How important is it? Please do not “recommend” the film.
5. Final Evaluation: How does this work contribute to the field of study? Was the film successful in realizing the objective and targeted audience?