“Class Divide,” a fascinating documentary by Marc Levin and Daphne Pinkerson, focuses on a macrocosm and a microcosm, both within the urban sprawl of New York City. The macrocosm is the slice of Manhattan known as West Chelsea, which in the last decade has seen a real estate boom spurred in part by the success of the innovative urban park known as the High Line.
The microcosm is the intersection of 10th Avenue and 26th Street, where one of the most elite and pricey K-12 schools in the city faces a housing project that contains some of Manhattan’s poorest families, whose kids attend public or parochial schools. While the film contains interviews with all sorts of adults involved with the locations it concerns, some of its most illuminating comments come from kids on the two sides of 10th Avenue, who reflect on their circumstances and the fortunes life has given them.
As its title indicates, the film is concerned with the issue of class in America and specifically New York City, but it embraces many subjects, appropriately for a city that contains multitudes. One of the most engrossing—and visually engaging—is the back story of the High Line and West Chelsea’s development. For much of the last century, the area was industrial, with elevated trains that would, for example, bring in turkeys to be slaughtered and exit with their meat. But over time the industries gradually departed and the train tracks became derelict structures that begged to be torn down.
In 1999, two Chelsea residents began a then-lonely crusade to turn the abandoned railway into an outdoor elevated park. It took years for them to win over other residents and New York power brokers, but by 2006 construction began and the first section of the High Line opened three years later (two more sections have opened since). The park was an instant smash. For anyone who hasn’t visited the popular tourist attraction, “Class Divide” amply documents its appeal as a wonderfully cinematic window onto the Hudson River on one side and the great panorama of downtown Manhattan on the other.
In what may be this story’s sharpest irony, the real estate industry, which had been the High Line’s fiercest opponent, became its primary beneficiary. Property values soared and a building boom ensued. Longtime residents were hustled out of their apartments, neighborhood character changed drastically as chic restaurants and designer shops replaced corner delis, and architects seemed swept up in a contest to see who could outdo the others in trendy ostentation. And there’s more to come. The development of Hudson Yards, one expert says, will result in a “Hong Kong on the Hudson [with] 13 residential buildings, some of which are 60 to 90 stories.”
The filmmakers very deftly interweave this tale of urban transformation with their portraits of the two very different communities that border 10th Avenue. “Avenues: The World School” is as sleek and hi-tech as its $47,000 annual tuition would suggest: but for the youth of its denizens, it could be a Google or Apple campus. The Elliot-Chelsea Houses, on the other hand, hearken back to an earlier era when “projects” and “ghetto” became depressingly synonymous.
Talking with the residents of these different worlds, and contrasting their different lives, is where the film’s heart and greatest insights reside. To the filmmakers’ credit, they seem to approach their subjects with no simplistic agenda but a genuine desire to engage and understand everyone they meet. Yet their inquiry suggests one consequence of the growing economic inequality that afflicts American society: the presence of the interviewers’ cameras notwithstanding, youngsters on both sides of the class divide seem beset with an ever-increasing sensitivity regarding their own status.
The mostly white, upper-class kids at Avenues (which, to give due credit, does have some scholarship students) are aware of the poverty that stares at them from across the street, and of their own privileged lives. Some also seem to feel like they’re caught in a trap. While they might like to change the world they’re inheriting, they’re also under tremendous pressure to succeed by those who are giving them their advantages.
The families in Elliott-Chelsea are also aware of the effects of wealth, but from the perspective of those who must suffer its lack. They are often just scraping by, trying to stay together, with the parents regretting the things they can’t give their kids and the kids worrying over both their parents’ hardships and their own prospects. Among the basketball-playing male adolescents, there’s an interesting dialectic between some who seem resigned to their dependent, lower-class status and others who are fiercely determined to break out of it.
There are remarkable youngsters on both sides of this divide. At Avenues, 17-year-old Yasemin Smallens creates a project called “115 Steps,” for the number of steps it takes to walk from the school to the housing project. It’s aimed at facilitating dialogue between people on the two sides of the street, and the examples we see in the film of these conversations are indeed thought-provoking and memorable.
Then there’s the little girl who pretty much steals the show. Her name is Rosie, and she’s an eight-year-old from the projects who has the brightest personality you may see on any screen this year. She’s feisty, smart (she wants to be a professor of geology at Columbia, or a surgeon), spunky, super-observant and opinionated, saying things like, “I hate money. I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate money … Money was made by the Devil, I think, because God didn’t say, ‘Oh, you have to pay for this.'”
After getting a tour of Avenues, Rosie applies for a scholarship, but the end of the film reveals she was turned down. Let’s hope that those who encounter Rosie’s delightful presence in “Class Divide”—including, perhaps, her idol Beyoncé—will begin a petition to get that regrettable decision reversed.Note: HBO will distribute "Class Divide" and it will premiere on the network in the Fall.
The first thing you do after watching a movie is to go online and write a comment about it. Comments about movies are usually posted on social media profiles or public pages, review sites, blogs, among other platforms. Writing a movie review is a common assignment that students have to do in high school and college. Even though it may seem simple, movie reviews require time and proper organization. It’s not just about writing what happens on the screen, the review goes deeper than that. You can make the process easier with tools available online.
Movie Review Purpose
The main purpose of a movie review is to inform the reader about the film and its ideas. Seems simple, right? Reporting all events that happen and stating one’s opinion about them is a common mistake that many students make. While movie review allows writers to express their opinions about some film or documentary, there is also the need for the unbiased and objective approach. An ideal review combines both.
The review determines whether someone will want to see the movie. Even if the professor (or teacher) assigned a specific title and film to review, one should act like this is the perfect opportunity to introduce the cinematography work to their lecturer. Always assume they haven’t seen it before. As a result, it becomes easier to analyze events that happened on the screen.
Film review should be detailed enough to provide assistance in making an honest decision i.e. whether the reader wants to see it or if they’d like it. Why is this type of paper a common school assignment? Lecturers want to get more insight into a student’s critical thinking skills and the ability to report event (one or more of them) in a manner that others understand easily.
In addition, they want to assess the way you analyze plot and characters. After all, movie reviews also involve the analysis of events that happened in a documentary or “regular” film. Reviews test writing and vocabulary skills, adapting to different genres and events they portray, and your capacity to sum up some major work and report it in a cohesive, logical, and interesting manner.
While reviews entail more responsibility than initially thought, students find them fun and with this guide, you will too.
How to write a Good Movie Review
You have to write a movie review for school and now what? Where to start, how to make it look more “academic”? Today, we have the opportunity to use numerous tools to make every part of our lives easier, and movie review writing isn’t the exception. Throughout this tutorial, you’ll learn how to compose a report about some film and what tools to use to simplify the process.
Step-by-Step Guide to How to Write a Movie Review
Beginnings are always the hardest. This is the point where you set the pace and determine how to approach this assignment in the most efficient manner. Here are some useful tips to kick-start the movie review writing process:
- Watch the movie or documentary twice and take notes of both major and minor events and characters. It’s a mistake to rely on the power of your memory only, there’s always something we overlook or forget
- Carry out a thorough research. Watching the movie isn’t enough, research is equally important. Look for details such as the name of filmmaker and his/her motivation to make that film or documentary work, locations, plot, characterization, historic events that served as an inspiration for the movie (if applicable). Basically, your research should serve to collect information that provides more depth to the review
- Analyze the movie after you watching it. Don’t start working on the review if you aren’t sure you understand the film. Evaluate the movie from beginning to an end. Re-watch it, if necessary, if you find some parts confusing. Only when you understand events that happened on the screen will you find it easier to create the review
- Draft an outline that you will follow to write the review in a concise and cohesive fashion
- Include examples for claims you make about the movie. If the plot has holes, then mention an example of a situation or scene when that was evident. Also, if the character(s) is poorly developed or bad casting affected the movie quality, name examples too. Provide examples when commenting dialogues, locations, plot, everything. If you want the reader to agree with you, it’s essential to back up your claims with evidence. You don’t want to make it seem like you’re praising or criticizing the movie without any reason whatsoever
- Consider and comment a movie’s originality and quality of scenes. Explain how the movie stands out or whether it just uses the same approach that worked for previous works in the industry
Quality of your paper depends on the level of organization you implement. Never underestimate the importance of well-structured outline, regardless of the type of paper you have to write. Outlines help you focus on the subject and contribute to a logical flow.
In addition, getting things organized before you start writing is a great way to save time later on. Instead of trying to figure out what to include, you’ll have a well-structured plan to follow. It’s needless to mention you won’t be too stressed out. Here’s how to organize your movie review:
- Introduction (with title, release date, background information)
- Summary of the story
- Analysis of the plot elements (rising action, climax)
- Creative elements (dialogues, characters, use of colors, camera techniques, mood, tone, symbols, costumes or anything that contributes or takes away from the overall plot)
- Opinion (supported with examples and facts from the story)
- Conclusion (announcing whether the filmmaker was successful in his/her purpose, re-state your evidence, explain how the motion picture was helpful for providing a deeper understand of course topic)
Movie Review Elements
- The title of the film/documentary – just because your headline features the name of the movie or documentary it doesn’t mean should skip mentioning it in the text. Always name the feature you’ve watched in the introductory paragraph. This may seem like a stupid thing to point out, but it’s one of the most common mistakes that students make
- Summary – the whole point of the review is to summarize the documentary or movie for people who haven’t watched it yet. To make this as effective as possible, always assume that your professor hasn’t seen it either (as mentioned above). Why is this important? You won’t leave out some important details thinking he/she watched it already so they won’t bother. As a reviewer, your job is to explain what happened in the film and express whether the filmmaker failed or succeeded. Again, saying you liked or disliked it isn’t a viable comment. Your opinion has to be supported by specific reasons and examples from the feature itself
- Filmmaker – do a little research on the person who directed the piece. Is that person a controversial figure? Is he/she known for a political stance? Does the filmmaker have a significant background? Devote a paragraph or two to the person behind the movie and their other works in order to establish the significance of the film you are reviewing for the director’s career
- Significance to your class – How does the content of the documentary or film fit into your course topic? Is it important for historical accuracy? If you are watching the motion picture for history class, make note of over-dramatization. If the motion picture is based on the book you’ve analyzed in English class, you can mention similarities, differences, or some elements that film contains, but book doesn’t and so on
- Creative elements – filmmakers work hard to include creative elements into their motion pictures. How are these elements important to the plot and movie in general? For example, costumes can either enhance the movie or betray its intent. Colors can be vivid and lift the atmosphere or mood in the movie or they can be dull and make it seem depressing. Good sound effects enrich the viewing experience while bad ones only destroy everything. Moreover, camera movements and angles also add elements to the story. Take notes of symbols in the story, if any.
- Actors - let’s not forget the casting! Were the actors realistic? Did they portray the role of a specific character successfully? Did they have good acting skills? Do you believe that some particular actor was the right fit for the role?
Checklist / Outline for a Good Movie Review
- Introduction (title, topic, release date, background information)
- Accuracy of depiction
- Use of sources in the documentary
- Creative elements that enhance or tarnish the overall story (quality of script, visual design, performance, lighting, hair, and makeup, costume, set design, symbolism)
- Your opinion
Mistakes to Avoid
- Not focusing on the film – while connecting the plot to some specific historical event is a good idea (when applicable), strive to avoid writing about unnecessary details or introducing irrelevant information such as the history of cinematography or that particular genre, snacks, among other things
- Inserting yourself – you’re the one who’s writing the review. The paper reflects your understanding and opinion of the motion picture you’ve seen and there is no need to write in first person all the time: I noticed this, I saw that I liked this, I disliked that
- Failing to check facts about movie background and release date, director, casting etc.
- Giving out your opinion without mentioning any reason why you think that way
- Talking about irrelevancies
- Writing a review without a structure
- Writing generalities such as great acting, cool effects, a good movie, it was bad etc.
- Writing a review without substance or analysis of the feature
Movie Review Examples
- The Hunger Games and the idea of dystopia
- Mean Girls review: does it exploit stereotypes about high schools or it helps to undermine them?
- The Martian review and its connection to Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe
- The Last Jedi review: all the reasons it’s far from the original saga
- Manchester by the sea and ideas of forgiveness and grief
- Forrest Gump review
- I am Sam review
- Runaway Bride review and its role in modern understanding of marriage
Movie Review Help
Like other types of writing, movie reviews require patience and time. Being a student isn’t the easiest task in the world and you don’t have enough time to dedicate to one assignment only while neglecting others. There’s no need to despair; you can use the internet to get much-needed assistance with this assignment. Here’s how:
By Markers Expectations / Rubrics
- Clear Organization – as stated above, the clear organization is vital for a well-structured movie review. You can use the Edusson website as a guide through this process via numerous posts about writing, self-help resources, and Essay Examples that serves as an excellent platform to sharpen writing skills and compose your paper. RobotDon Essay Checker platform proves to be handy when you complete the writing process and want to make sure it’s unique, without fluff and wateriness, repetitive words and expressions. Let’s not fort that you can hire an essay writer who will write a perfect review for you
- Use of Sources – just because it’s movie review, it doesn’t mean you should avoid using sources to support your claims. Sources are particularly important for reviews of documentaries or when you’re trying to connect the review with some problem in society. Research requires more time than any other part of the process and you can easily hire a professional i.e. a helper who will do that for you
- Opinion – a movie review is about the equilibrium of unbiased report and personal opinion. While it’s okay to say what you think about the movie, you also have to approach certain aspects in an objective manner to help the reader get a better understanding of the motion picture. Finding the balance between subjective and objective writing can be frustrating, which is why professional service comes handy. All you have to do is to provide title, information, your opinion and a pro writer takes it from there
- Essay Writing Service – there is no need to be stressed out because you have a ton of work to do when professional writer service can write movie review easily. Services like Edusson are used by students who can’t keep up with constant demands in school or college, but they don’t want to jeopardize their grades. With over 1000 writers, Edusson is a perfect writing service for this assignment. You have the full control of the project through set deadlines, choosing the writer for this task etc.
- Essay Editing Service – sometimes students don’t need help with the writing process, but they need someone to edit it. Don’t ask your friends and family members to do it for you, hire professionals. Improve your paper. Raise your grades! Editors and proofreaders from Edusson correct grammar, spelling, syntax, punctuation mistakes, check the style, formatting, organization and other aspects of your work to boost its quality. You can also use RobotDon to edit an essay on your own.
Movie Review FAQ
Do I have to write a movie review in a certain formatting style?
Everything depends on the instructions your teacher gives you. It often happens that a movie review can be free of academic formatting. But don't exclude the possibility that you will have to complete this paper in MLA.
Can I copy an existing movie review?
Well, of course, it is important to look at examples of other movie reviews to get to know the structure and ways of ideas expressing better. But if you copy a film review directly from the other source, your curator will detect plagiarism in it.
My major is not moviemaking. Why am I assigned to write a film report?
Students are assigned movie report writing, first of all, to broaden their mind and evaluate the way they can analyze material and express their opinion. Don't feel confused if on the Psychology class your professor asks you to review a movie. It is a common practice for students who are completing their degree in various fields of study.
Will you just give me someone else’s review?
No, not at all! Edusson stands out as the writing service with full transparency. All essays and other papers are written from scratch by professional writers with strong work ethic and desire to help their clients get better grades. The movie review you receive is 100% original, which you can check with RobotDon’s plagiarism checker.
Will you send my review to someone else?
The answer is – no. Not only are the clients in control of the process, but author’s rights are transferred to them the moment the review is done. Once the writing process is over, the review is yours and can never be sent to someone else.
What if I need more edits?
If you need edits or want some specific info to be added, our writers will be happy to make necessary revisions.
I need more help with movie review service, how can I contact you?
Our customer service is always available through 24/7 live chat feature.
Job to Get Done
Do you like movies? Who doesn’t? Movie and documentary reviews give you a unique opportunity to improve your writing skills by combining school assignment with someone you really like. Although it’s not that difficult to compose a review of a motion picture or some educational/informative feature, feel free to use all the available resources to get the most out of your assignment. Use the advantage of the internet to work on your review for major benefits such as:
Improve your Paper
Practice makes everything better and the internet allows you to make it happen. For instance, Edusson acts as a perfect tutorial + professional writing service platform as it allows you to improve writing skills while getting assistance from professional writers and editors when necessary. The do-it-yourselfers benefit greatly from RobotDon, a cute little helper that analyzes the review and identifies mistakes you need to correct. The result of using these resources is a well-written movie review that meets or exceeds your lecturer’s expectations.
Raise your GPA (grade)
Using multiple resources and platforms to your advantage can only be a good thing for your GPA. When you’re a student, everything you do counts and contributes to GPA. It all comes down to learning how to make student life easier for you and one way to do that is to incorporate online tools into your assignments. Your professor will appreciate the effort and thanks to the improved writing skills, good grades are unavoidable.