Film Critique Essay

Film Critique Essay:


The purpose of this assignment is to give you an opportunity to view a film centered on the target group of the social identity you are exploring as a person of privilege. This is the second assignment of the larger portfolio of assignments that you will complete as you explore your chosen position of privilege in your chosen social identify category to learning something about the lives of the target group members. You will write an essay of your observation and analysis synthesizing your experience and addressing the issues listed in the tasks below.


Use your knowledge of the elements of communication behavior, perception of difference, expressions of power, your critical listening skills and the rationalizing narratives of prejudice that you worked on last module to complete this assignment. As you watch, your chosen movie and explore the lives of the target and agent members use a critical lens to identify expressions of power in the communication behaviors of the characters and community. In chapter 7 of Hall’s book (the chapter is posted on Canvas), he writes that although most of us acknowledge that prejudice is both wrong and destructive, “we are still surrounded by it and very likely find ourselves guilty of perpetuating it in some form or another” (p. 206). He goes on to write that on way we and others do so is through “rationalizing narratives of prejudice.”


You will gain and practice these skills as you complete this agreement

  • Watch a film and examine how power and privilege manifest in communication in culture; identifying statements of prejudice and the rationalizations, we create to justify these statements.
  • Use writing and oral communication to explore, analyze, and evaluate ideas to interrogate dominant cultural narratives in film and connect them to other courses and communication interactions inside and outside of the course community
  • Use knowledge of cultural values and worldviews to analyze the expression of power in communication as you interpret communication patterns, styles, and behaviors of self and others.
  • Demonstrate one’s interpersonal skills of critical listening, and empathy, to analyze communication interactions including perceptions of difference, power, privilege, inequality, or equity.


  1. Watch your chosen movie (see list of approved movies for your category)
  2. Write a TYPED double spaced, 12pt font, 3 page critical essay after watching a movie and briefly describe/ summarize the movie (this shouldn’t be more than one paragraph–do NOT copy from the DVD jacket or a movie review site. This is your own brief synopsis. What were you hoping to challenge by choosing this film?
  3. Use the form posted on Canvas titled “Rationalizing Narratives of Prejudice” (we worked on this in class) and report the particular statement of prejudices and the “rationalizing narratives of prejudice” characters used that you were able to identify while you watched the movie (there may be more than one).
  4. Report feelings that you may have experienced while watching the movie. What were some of your thoughts about the characters and their communication behavior? Did you watch it alone or with someone else (like family)? How did this choice affect your experience?
  5. Refer to your “Surface assumptions” list and briefly comment on what your assumptions were about the target and agent group members before the movie and how your assumptions were challenged by the character’s life in the movie, may have changed as a result of seeing the movie, or were affirmed in this experience.
  6. What was your overall response to the movie? Did you see any places where oppression in one social category for a character was affected (either positively or negatively) by privilege in another category for that same character? What did that look like? What might the life of your target group members feel like after watching this movie? What course content did you think about while watching? Apply course terms to your analysis and respond to these questions noted here in your essay
  7. FILM: RAINMAN (Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman)


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