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Teacher Lesson Return to "Movie Review: The Social Network"
Movie Review: The Social Network
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Media/News Literacy Lesson: Movie Reviews and Critical Analysis

Objective: Students will be able to write a review of a book, film, play, or other artistic work that includes both a summary and a critical analysis.

Have teens read the review of "The Social Network" then tell them they will be reviewing a film, as well. (You can either give them a list of approved films, or have the class watch a film together.)

Writing Assignment: Create a handout with the following guidelines:

For any review, you should do some research about the author or filmmaker before reading the book or watching the movie. After you’ve done that and watched the film or read the book, do this quick pre-writing exercise. Finish each sentence:

The book/film is about...

The purpose of this book/film is...

The book/film was good/bad because...

This breaks it down into the three things you want a review to do:
• Tell your readers what happens in the book or film
• Tell your readers about the author or filmmaker and the motivation behind the book or film
• Tell your readers if the authors or filmmakers did a good, bad, or mediocre job with both the storyline (plot) and the purpose (theme)

Once you have those three main ideas clear, start a first draft of your review. Here’s how you can structure it:

1. Write a 3-paragraph summary of the book/film. What is it about? What happens to the characters? What style or genre is it written in or filmed in (for example, is it a documentary film or a thriller? Is it a non-fiction autobiography or a sci-fi book?) Remember that a summary doesn’t have to provide a blow-by-blow account of everything that happened; it should tell us what the film or book is generally about and provide a few specific details or scenes that stood out for you.

2. Write a paragraph about the authors/filmmakers. Who created this? What was their motivation to create it? What is the creator’s expertise in this subject? (For example, is it a book about war written by a veteran, or by a refugee?) Also, what makes this book or film relevant to our teen audience?

3. Now it’s time to bring your critical eye to the work. Did you think the book was well written or the film well made? Why or why not? What was your reaction to the story line – was it believable or not? Did you like the plot and the characters? Why or why not? Do you think it achieved what the authors’ or filmmakers wanted it to achieve? For example, if a documentary was made to educate the public about pollution, you should evaluate how much you actually learned after watching it. You might want to end your review with a recommendation to your readers. Should they buy this book or watch this movie?
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