Whoever was the first to include film review writing into a study program, this person deserves really great respect! This educator provided many generations of students with an opportunity to apply their writing skills for completing an absolutely practical task. Nowadays some guys get money for reviewing (and criticizing) films.
Besides, the person, who came up with an idea of teaching youngsters to write such absolutely real-life things, certainly knew how important it is to develop students’ creativity and allow them to express their personal opinions.
To cut a long story short, a movie review is your great chance to reveal your talent and share your impressions.
However, there’s one tiny thing that might pose an obstacle to your success. It’s your teacher’s cinema taste. I’m not sure if that ingenious educator took into account the situation when a teacher doesn’t like a film chosen by a student. However, the difference between teacher’s and student’s tastes can be the decisive factor that will define a grade for a review.
So many men, so many minds, so many good movies… But there’s a time-tested recipe to reduce the probability that your teacher won’t check out your choice! You just need to select a film awarded several Oscars and follow your teacher’s recommendations for reviewing it.
Those guys at AMPAS (the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) know what pictures are worth distinguishing. That’s why I decided to take a look at the lists of their favorites and select five films that can be interesting for you to watch (probably for the second or third time) and review in your essay.
Together we’ll make out which facts about and moments of these films you should highlight. Also, we’ll meditate on the lessons each of these five pictures can teach us and on the ways to describe these lessons in the review.
Now make yourself a cup of coffee or grab some popcorn and cola. We’re going to start.
The Last Emperor, 1987
This film will impress even those folks who aren’t big fans of Chinese history and culture. But if we take into consideration that China has become a powerful country the modern world should reckon with, it can be quite compelling to know which road the Chinese had to take in the beginning of the 20th century, before they got to what they have today.
“The Last Emperor” is the true story of Aisin-Gioro Pu Yi, told through his memories in custody. He was the last ruler of the last Chinese Ching Dynasty and witnessed the overthrow of the once mighty empire. Captured by the Red Army in 1945, he has been imprisoned as a war criminal for five years.
He remembers that when he was a three-year-old boy, he was told to sit on the Emperor’s Throne and listen to those who didn’t care about anything but their own benefit. After four years he was forced to abdicate. Since his not very happy childhood Pu Yi couldn’t control his own life. He was just a chess piece in many cruel hands.
Powerless and homeless, with no friends or at least supporters, this man has to look for salvation in depravity. Finally, after the Chinese revolution, he becomes a mere gardener in Peking. But he seems to be happy with his new title.
This film is not only a historical biographical drama. It asserts universal values, and the greatest of them is human life. It doesn’t matter whom it belongs to – an emperor or a gardener.
Schindler’s List, 1993
By saving one life you can save the whole world. This is a Talmudic quotation engraved on the ring Oskar Schindler’s workers presented to him as a token of their gratitude for his rescuing them from certain death.
The film is based on a real story told in the novel “Schindler’s Ark” by Thomas Keneally. In general, it’s about the man who saved many innocent people. But if dig deeper into the details, we’ll see how terrifying, touching, and unique this story is.
Oskar Schindler was an ethnic German businessman who employed Polish-Jewish refugees in his own factories. But for the work for Schindler, more than one thousand people would have been in the Holocaust, or the Shoah, during World War II. Though a member of Nazi Party and a citizen of the country that was fighting for world domination, Oskar Schindler remained a human who didn’t forget about the value of human life.
When the war came to the end and Schindler decided to surrender to the American forces, there was only one thing he regretted – he could have saved more people.
Steven Spielberg, who directed the film, refused to take the well-deserved financial reward for his work. The money was spent to establish the Shoah Foundation in honor of the survivors and victims of the Holocaust.
Forrest Gump, 1994
The film is notably different from Winston Groom’s novel it is based on. But its popularity and high ranking speak for themselves. The only fact that the picture won six Academy Awards out of twelve, plus Golden Globus and several other awards encourages at least to start watching it.
And after 142 minutes you’ll find yourself amazed, impressed, and touched by Forrest’s story, which he recounts to you and strangers who sit beside him on a bench at a bus stop.
Forrest is born with a slight physical disability. His intelligence isn’t very significant. However, that doesn’t prevent him from becoming one of the best players in the local football team, or from getting the Medal of Honor for his heroism in Vietnam, or from marrying Jenny Curran, his childhood friend. Or from many other things he determines to do.
There’s actually nothing superficial in this story. But this is exactly what makes it so beautiful. The thing is that to some extent each of us is a Forrest Gump, who fails and succeeds. Yet “original” Forrest shows us that the only thing you can and must do after you fail is to brace yourself and go on.
A Beautiful Mind, 2001
There’s no need to be an anatomist or a doctor to notice that the brains of geniuses of all times are slightly different from the brains of common people. But it’s likely that those cerebral anomalies help scientists, artists, musicians, writers to come up with brand-new, revolutionary ideas and become creators of incredibly intelligent things.
“A Beautiful Mind” is the romanticized story of such a genius. John Forbes Nash, a prominent American mathematician and Nobel Laureate in Economics, suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. The most common and obvious symptom of this disease is temporary but recurrent loss of touch with reality.
So, his work for the Pentagon and crack of enemy telecommunication (probably, the Soviet one) appeared just a figment of his ill imagination. Fortunately, his wife Alicia discovered timely that Nash often saw hallucinations, which had a destructing impact not only on his own life but also in the family. She insisted on treatment. Eventually, the mathematician became capable of controlling himself.
Yet despite actors’ perfect performance and director’s large-scale work, the film deserves some healthy criticism. The main hero and his story are beautified for the sake of audience’s comfort.
The picture hushes up Nash’s real-life arrest and divorce, as well as some other facts from his biography that might throw a shadow on the protagonist’s image. Is it the right step of the creators?
It probably isn’t if they wanted to make a serious documentary. However, it’s fine for a drama film.
12 Years a Slave, 2013
Do you remember that wonderful joke by Ellen DeGeneres at the 86th Oscar’s Opening Ceremony in 2014? She said that there were many different possibilities: possibility #1 was that “12 Years a Slave” won “Best Picture”, possibility #2 was that everyone at the ceremony were racists.
Looks like worldwide known movie starts, who attended the ceremony, didn’t want to get a title of racist. So, they had no other choice but to put up with the triumph of “12 Years a Slave”.
The film recounts the story of Solomon Northup, a real free African-American who is kidnapped and sold to be a slave. The plot is based on his memoirs. The story starts in 1841 and comes to its end after twelve years of Solomon’s trials and tribulations. Finally, he is released, leaves behind the other slaves and comes back to his family.
Solomon Northup played a significant role in the slavery abolition movement. Besides, the film director Steve McQueen managed to represent enslavement in an incredibly accurate manner. That is confirmed by leading specialists in history. And in general, the picture got the most positive feedback from critics.
Although it brings us only to a certain historical period and shows us the life of one man, we somehow realize that this story appeals to each person’s better nature. This film reminds us about a great mistake humanity made and warns us not to repeat it.