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Evaluating a Film

Evaluating a Film

Giving pupils a chance to air their opinions about a film is important for several reasons: it shows them that there are multiple possible answers to some questions; knowing there are no wrong answers gives young people confidence in speaking up; and pupils will come from different personal backgrounds so sharing their different responses encourages understanding and empathy for others’ experiences.

The process of evaluating or assessing a response to a film and the film's worth is one aspect of reading which rarely has to be encouraged; however, it can be the least considered or developed. Viewers of any age will happily tell you what they think of a film, but will often struggle to explain why they think that, beyond the stock responses of “it was boring” or “it was exciting”.

It is the quality of the discussion and the use of open questions which will determine the quality of the outcome. It is also important to share the criteria for success, and these will usually be related to audience and purpose. An appropriate vocabulary needs to be developed over time.

Questions to ask

  • How could you have made the film better?
  • What did you think about this character?
  • Who did you think was the most important character in the film?
  • Did everything happen that you expected to happen?
  • What do you think was the most important moment in the film?
  • Was the ending credible? Satisfying? True to the rest of the story? Why?
  • Where would you have set the film?
  • Did the film remind you of your life at all?
  • What would you have changed to make the film better?
  • Who do you think this film was made for? Why?
  • What was the filmmaker’s purpose here and to what extent did he/she achieve it?
  • What is the writer’s or filmmaker’s point of view?
  • Was this more or less successful than similar films with the same purpose?