Project 3: Short Film Review

Download a Google Docs version of this project here.

This project is broken down into several different components. Please save evidence of each part (below) to turn in on the deadline set by your instructor.

To prepare for this project, please read the following:

Review the following resources:

Reading Choices

Select one of the example reviews to read and annotate:

  1. “Underutilized Student Resource” by BJ Luna
  2. “On Top of Frijoles, All Covered in Red…” by Daniel A. Saindon-Montano

Part 1: Pre Reading (Typed)

  1. What can the title and first paragraph tell us about the piece we are reading? Based on the title and first paragraph, what do you predict that reading will explain? Why?
  2. How is the text structured or organized? Will this piece be easy or difficult to read? Why?
  3. Set a purpose for reading. Consider the following: How well do you need to understand the material? How does the assignment relate to course readings or course concepts? How might you use the text again in the future? What might you learn by reading this text?

Part 2: Active Reading (Handwritten or Typed)

Annotate the text as you read it. Select a method that will work for you in regard to marking key elements. Some students prefer multiple highlighters or pen colors while others may prefer to develop a symbol set which represents different elements.

  • Mark the thesis (main idea) and the main points of the piece.
  • Mark the criteria the author uses to evaluate the subject.
  • Identify the supporting details the author uses to support his main points. Identify the type of support that the author has used. Underline any sources that author has used, including interviews with experts.
  • Mark key terms and unfamiliar words (Example – key terms starred * and unfamiliar words marked with a question mark or circled).
  • Write your comments, questions, and notes in the margins of the piece.
  • Write your connections to your personal experiences related to the piece.
  • Mark any elements that need a reread or parts that you would need to come back to (Example – brackets or a different color highlighter).

Part 3: Post Reading (Typed)

Use your annotations for the sample evaluation and write a summary. Write a brief summary (one paragraph in length) that includes the author, title, thesis, and main points.

Then, write a response (at least two paragraphs in length). Use the following questions to help you create your response:

  1. How effective was the level of persuasion in convincing you to visit the restaurant? If you think the evaluation was very persuasive, explain why. If you think the evaluation was not very persuasive, explain why. Include examples from the text to support your response.
  2. What did the writer do well and what might the writer change?
  3. How will you ensure that your evaluation will fulfill its purpose (to persuade or dissuade your intended audience)?

Part 4: Short FilM Review (Typed)

For this assignment, you will be evaluating a short film using the criteria that we have developed in class. In class, we will view several short films, discuss them, and develop some ideas for criteria that can be used to evaluate a short film. Then, on your own, you will write your own evaluation of one of the films using the prompt and guidelines below. You may use the criteria we developed together in class, but your film review should be separate and distinct from your classmates.

As we discussed in class, evaluative arguments are similar to reviews that we read on a daily basis—of films, of books, of TV shows, of new products or services. When we evaluate a subject, we are making a recommendation to our readers about whether or not they should do something—for example, whether they should watch the film or TV show or buy the book or product. Similarly, this assignment asks you to write a review of a short film using the guidelines we discuss in class. Your thesis statement, or statement of the essay’s main idea, might follow this pattern:

X is/is not a “good” Y because it meets/fails to meet criteria A, B, and C.

In this case, “X” is the subject of your evaluation and “Y” is the category in which it belongs. The criteria you use to evaluate the subject are the “A, B, and C.”

Example: Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a must-see film because it features an all-star cast and cutting edge special effects.


Develop a four- to five-paragraph short film review of one of the films from the links below. In the introduction paragraph of your short film review, include the title of the short film, the name of the creator(s) of the film, background information about the film, and a specific evaluative thesis statement that includes at least two criteria that will be explored in your body paragraphs.

In your film review, include a brief summary of the film. Provide enough information about the story to make the reader understand the story, but don’t provide details about absolutely everything that happens. (Avoid spoilers.)

Evaluate the short film based on the criteria that you select for your film. (Include at least two criteria.) Make sure to include specific details and examples from the film you select. You may need to watch the film several times. Each body paragraph should describe one criterion. Focus on depth not breadth.

Finally, develop a unique conclusion that addresses your short film. Summarize the main points you made in your review and end your assignment in an interesting way.


  1. Well Done U 2015 Films
  2. Pong, Winner of the 2013 Well Done U Contest
  3. The Butterfly Circus
  4. What’s Life Got to Do with It?
  5.  Paradox (Note: This film has one swear/curse word.)

Part 5: Reflection (Typed)

To finish this assignment, write at least one paragraph that answers the following questions: What did you learn about evaluations and arguments? What will you do in the future to ensure that you write strong evaluations and arguments? (For instance, what will you do if you are required to evaluate films, music, art, restaurants, or essays in other courses?) What else would you like to learn about evaluation and argumentative writing? Set specific goals or things that you can do to continue to improve on these concepts.


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Integrated Reading and Writing Level 2 by Pamela Herrington Moriarty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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