Essay on How to Analyze a Movie

Analysis of a movie is important for distinctive reasons. Analysis can be done to enjoy the movie for entertainment purposes. It is helpful in writing a review about the movie or summarizing the main theme or just developing an understanding of the movie. Analysis of a movie is mostly dependent on the perception of a person. It is pertinent to mention that people have different perceptions about any aspect including a movie. Moreover, the context and environment in which the movie is being watched is also significant. For analyzing a movie, it is critical to understand the basic theme and ideas presented in it. The message being conveyed through movie can better be understood after a thorough analysis of movie has been made. A movie analysis, in fact, presents the reflections as well as interpretations of the person striving to form a conclusive opinion about the movie.

Dialogues and storylines are also critical to understand main theme of the movie. Importance of dialogues cannot be overruled as a good story can fail to attract audience if not supported by exciting and appealing dialogues. Another main element for making analysis of a movie is the Screenplay determining the pace of movie. Cinematography is also important to show the quality of lighting and motions.

There are specific steps that should be followed while analyzing a movie and forming a robust opinion about it. It is necessary to review entire movie, understanding different roles played by characters and their relationship with the main theme of the movie. After reviewing entire film, next step is to create awareness about the main theme of the movie. For the sake of analysis, the main points related to the theme of movie should be noted. It is better to write a synopsis in the first place that could be helpful in the later stage of making an in-depth analysis.

After understanding the theme of the movie, next step is to view movie repeatedly. This will enable the viewer in developing and exploring the ideas, messages, and concepts that may not have been noted in the initial preview of the movie. Research should be made to correlate the ideas presented in the movie with outside sources. After forming a general opinion about the movie and whether all events are presented in a sequences referring to the main theme, all arguments and every observation should be noted and different ideas explored to find a general relationship among them.

It is necessary that mind of the person analyzing a movie should be creative supported by logical reasoning. Well-written sentences and detailed arguments should be given while analyzing a movie supported by facts and evidence presented in the movie. It is pertinent to highlight that the image on movie poster should be noted and understanding developed to assess the message being conveyed. Color schemes should be observed to note whether harsh or light colors have been used in the movie. Element of comedy and romance should be carefully observed to correlate them with the main theme of the movie.

A thorough analysis of a movie can support in forming conclusive views abut it based on the meanings derived from it and efforts made to convey its theme. Moreover, deep analysis of a movie can sharpen the assessments and open entire new ways of awareness. Main features of the film, image, movement, sound, style, characters, and more importantly its theme can provide basis of analyzing a movie. (Kitchen, 2006)

While analyzing a move, attention should be given to the costumes and sets used in the movie as they add to the color of story. Style of one director is different from others. Style of every director is shown in his/her movie conveying ideas in a distinctive manner. A conclusive paragraph should be provided at the end of analysis summarizing the main elements of analysis and briefly repeating main theme of the movie.

How We Interpret Meaning in Movies

To interpret meaning in movies, first we have to examine the main characters and the role played by them in it. This pro-active approach and analysis will provide an insight what the movie will be. A major part of opinion is formed before the start of movie where people after studying the key roles get a better idea about the movie. For understanding better, it is imperative to break the movie into different parts. Every part has different significance and we should try to evaluate which is the most interesting and attractive segment.

Ideas and concepts conveyed in the movie should be analyzed to arrive at the conclusion whether movie is presenting a new idea or just repetition of old ones. We should also strive to understand the images and how they are presented in the movie. Movie should be examined closely, again and again. To derive meaning we should try to get into more details and explore every part separately. After examining every part of the movie we should then link all the parts together and from an opinion about continuity of events.

Title of the movie is equally important for it gives a fair idea about the main theme of movie prior to watching it. A good title attracts the attention of viewers giving a brief idea about the nature of movie. Furthermore, it also proves to be a starting point developing interest of the viewers. It is pertinent to highlight that while watching movie, we should take notes of every important event shown in the movie. These notes can be helpful in the later stages when we are linking different parts of movie together trying to form an opinion. Lastly, with the help of notes, a general opinion should be formed to understand the meaning of movie based on the story, nature of dialogues, images, cinematography, screen play, title, and the role played by main characters. (Iqlesias, 2001)

Personal Criteria for Evaluating Movie

For developing personal criteria which a movie should meet, we have to set a rating scale for evaluating the movie. We have to make a decision about importance of movie to us and what we have learnt after watching movie. A decision has to be made whether movie was successful in changing our behavior and attitude. The rating scale is developed to act as a critic and make realistic evaluation about the movie.

The main idea or theme of the movie should be probed, analyzed and an assessment should be made about its linking to the events presented in the movie. The linkage of main ideas with events can be made by probing details, exploring illustrations and examples given in the movie. Creating link means developing relevancy and finding out those events and areas in a movie that are not relevant to the main theme. We should also make a decision about the most important part of the movie and which is the most significant scene leaving a memorable impression on the viewer.

As an evaluator of the movie, we have to be fair, our opinion unbiased, and based on a thorough analysis of the movie. We should watch the movie for more than one time and should try not to ignore any event or detail in the movie. It will be helpful in avoiding any bias or misconception about the main theme. Biasness is also related to the fact that if we are evaluating a movie by one of our favorite directors then a mindset will be developed prior to watching the movie based on the previous movies by the same directors or stars. This will make it difficult to avoid biasness and critically analyze this particular movie. (King, 1993)

As already discussed a personal rating system should be developed for evaluating the movie. In this context criteria are important for making evaluations as they are regarded personal standards that a movie should meet. For making unbiased and independent evaluation, the main theme should be analyzed and decision should be made whether it is as per our taste or not and also attractive enough to devote our time watching movie. (Yanno, 2006)

Purpose of the movie should be established and understood. For example a movie with the purpose of providing information about certain events or area should not be considered as giving entertainment as purpose of the movie is specific- to provide info and not entertain. It means that movie should be analyzed and evaluated based on its purpose and then deciding whether it meets the set criteria.

For making fair evaluation of a movie it is imperative to watch the movie repeatedly trying to find out the most interesting and persuasive scene of the movie. The purpose of deciding about the most interesting scene is to present a conclusive evaluation about the worthiness of the theme. Moreover, main features and characteristics of the movie should be noted for example the movie is romantic, a suspense thriller, adventure-oriented, comedy, or addresses a social issue. As discussed above a fair evaluation is always unbiased meaning a movie with favorite stars and director may not meet the expectation or criteria set for evaluating a particular movie. Every movie should be evaluated exclusively based on its distinctive features. It means that a person evaluating movie should be open-minded and ready to criticize the performance of even favorite starts in the movie under evaluation. (Chitlik, 2008)

How One Finds Meaning in a Movie

A thorough, unbiased, and fair evaluation of a movie based on personal criteria set for meeting standards makes it easy to rate a movie deciding whether it has accomplished the objective of satisfying audience. Exploring details of the movie trying to find meaning being conveyed in it not only depends on the capability of directors, stars, story, dialogues etc but also the ability of viewer to understand the fundamental themes presented in the movie. To derive meaning from a movie, it is imperative to appreciate what is offered by the movie to its viewers.

After viewing movie for the first time, details should be noted on a paper highlighting the main points, important features, and different roles played by characters. At this stage, no analysis should be performed rather important points are noted with intentions to find the main theme presented in the movie. The title of the movie can also be helpful in finding theme of the movie. Every incident should be noted that can be supportive in finding meaning of the movie.

Evaluation should be done based on personal criteria, creatively and imaginatively, so that ideas by other people or scholars should not be used as it creates biasness to form an opinion. The creativity aspect can be shown only when the movie is watched for more than one time and the purpose understood correctly. After forming own opinion and watching movie for almost three times, only then outside sources could be helpful to test whether we have understood the real theme presented in the movie. In case, articles reviewing the movie differ in finding other meaning in that movie, a comparative analysis should be done to assess the reasons in difference of opinion. However, the sources should be credible and articles peer reviewed. This comparative analysis will help us finding exact meaning conveyed in the movie.


Efforts have been made in the paper to demonstrate how we find and interpret meaning in movies. For this purpose, significance of setting own personal criteria to evaluate movie has been presented. Concluding, the paper has presented my thoughts of how to analyze an entire movie.


Chitlik, P (2008) Rewrite: A Step-by-Step Guide to Strengthen Structure, Characters, and Drama in your Screenplay, Michael Wiese Productions

Iqlesias, K (2001) The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters: Insider's Secrets from Hollywood's Top Writers, Adams Media

Kitchen, J (2006) Writing a Great Movie: Key Tools for Successful Screenwriting, Billboard Books

King, V (1993) How to Write a Movie in 21 Days, Harper Paperbacks

Yanno, D (2006) The 3rd Act: Writing a Great Ending to Your Screenplay, Continuum