FILM CRITICAL REVIEW : My Own Private Idaho, 1991; Directed By Gus Van Sant


1. Develop a thesis sentence pertaining to the assigned film text and whether or not it, the film, in your view has the power to transform one’s political sensibilities. Your argument should express your point of view regarding the politics of difference, political sensibilities, and political transformation(s) as related to the film. Remember, you’re writing (developing) an analytical essay. 

2. Develop three (3) topic sentences that articulate the major ideas that will comprise the body of your essay. Remember that your topic sentences should clearly state the argument or point to be made in the respective paragraphs and must map back to your thesis statement. 

3. Identify three (3) scenes from the film that support your thesis statement. Briefly explain your choices of scenes and how the scenes specifically support your thesis statement. Also, provide the exact time the scenes begin and end within the film text. 

4. Lastly, fully develop your introductory paragraph. Remember that the best possible thesis will answer some specific question about the text. In this case a question related to the film’s power to transform political sensibilities regarding difference. Your thesis sentence should appear parenthetically within the paragraph you present. 


Did I answer, directly, the professor’s question: “Does the film have the power to transform one’s political sensibilities?  Is it clear to the reader (the professor in this case) that I have taken a stand/made an argument pertaining to the assignment prompt? Again, “Does the film have the power to transform one’s political sensibilities?” Students should be sure to address: POWERPOLITICAL SENSIBILITES, and TRANSFORMATION in their thesis sentence/statements. Did I do this? Students who do not properly address this direct question will see a reduction in points for this assignment 25/50.

Did I provide the start and end times for each of the three scenes I chose in support of my thesis sentence/statement? And, did I explain explicitly why I chose those scenes?  It is not sufficient to list scenes only.  Did I explain clearly (and briefly) why I chose the scene that I did and how they specifically advance my argument/thesis? Is it clear to the reader (the professor in this case) why I chose the scene I did? For example, did I write something like: “I chose the scene because it advances my argument by ….” or “I chose the scene because it clearly makes my point that …” Students who did not provide start and end times and/or explain their scene choices will see a reduction in points for this assignment 25/50.

Did I fully develop an introduction paragraph? And, in that paragraph did I insert my thesis sentence/statement?  Did I use parentheses (to bracket my thesis statement/sentence) within the introduction paragraph? Students who did not fully develop this introduction paragraph and use parentheses (to bracket their thesis statement/sentence) will see a reduction in points for this assignment 25/50.

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