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How to Critique a Movie like an Absolute Maven

Angelica Mae D. Gomez | Feature Writer

A maven is an authority and becoming a movie maven is your shortcut to being a critical celebrity. For film buffs out there, considering that there are a plethora of films being produced today, have you ever wondered what it takes to be a movie critique?

Here’s how it works: as the clock starts running after the movie fades to black and the end credits come up, contemplate about the film in its entire entirety – the feel, the essence, the significance and such then give yourself ten minutes to inspect every possible aspect of the film as the minute ticks by.

Minute 1:

Just think. As the credits roll, try to remember three things:

  • What was the director’s name?
  • What was the single best scene in the film?
  • Who gave the best performance?

Don’t analyze. Try and come up with your own answers to those three basic questions.

Minute 2:

Answer the next three questions and contemplate:

  • Was this the most perfect movie you’ve seen in your life?
  • Was it absolutely the worst film you’ve ever seen?
  • On a line between perfection and disgraceful, where would you put this film?

You have to put your rate somewhere. Is it near the bottom? Close to the top or in the middle? You can think of a scale from 1 to 100 and just pick a number. You decide.

Minute 3:

This is a good time to suggest going someplace for dessert or drink. When you companion says, “So, what did you think?” You might say, “Just give me a second; I’m trying to remember something.” Nobody interrupts anybody who’s trying to remember something and what you’re trying to remember is whether or not you ever saw any other films by this director. If you’re just drawing a blank, you ask your companion “What other films did this director make?” If neither of you can remember or if it turns out that this is the director’s first film, then skip to Minute 5. Otherwise, answer these questions:

  • Is this the best film you’ve seen by Mr./Ms. __________ ?
  • Is it the worst?
  • Where on the scale would you put it?

Minute 4:

Now, we’ll start setting this film in context. Answer these questions:

  • How is it similar to the director’s other films?
  • How is it different from others?

Don’t think that you have to dream up huge amounts of information and opinion here. Don’t bother going deep in research and commentary.

Just say whether it’s in the same genre, or if it’s a new departure from the director’s other films.

Minute 5:

Spend this minute thinking about the script. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • How many interesting characters did the writer create?
  • Did the dialogue ring true? Would real people talk like that?
  • Could you predict events or twists in the plot before the writer wanted you to do it?
  • Would real people act the way the characters did?
  • If it’s a drama, do the conflicts grow out of the nature of each character, or are they just contrived and artificial?

Minute 6:

This is your 1-minute acting analysis. If you know the actors, and have seen them before, here are your questions:

  • Did the stars act exactly as you’ve seen them act in other films, so that they’re just doing what you might call a star turn?
  • Were they extending their range to try something different?
  • Did you respond to the characters on the screen or to the stars themselves?

Minute 7:

For this minute, you think about power. What kind of dramatic power did this film have over you? So answer these questions:

  • Were you absorbed in the film?
  • Did the film force you to think about implications in your own life?
  • Was there a sense of truth that you could feel about the people whose lives you saw on the screen?

Minute 8:

Hit the high points. If the film wasn’t unendurably dull from beginning to end, it must have had some moments or characters or scenes that you liked and maybe, even loved.

  • Was there any part of the film that you would enjoy reminiscing with a friend?
  • Did you get any sense that the film had a rhythm to it, some purposeful plan that governed how the sequence of scenes was laid out, with highs and lows figured in?

Minute 9:

Let’s wrap it up here. Summarize Minutes 1 through 8 in your own mind. Pick and choose what appealed to you and what should be discarded and come to a conclusion.

Minute 10:

Deliver the verdict.

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