Film Essay

Teachers words:

4. Final Paper: For your final paper assignment, I want you to analyze a movie that critically examines a social problem (any aspect of difference and inequality to understand social structures, processes, and contradictions in modern society). First, using the Macionis textbook as a foundation to choose the topic of any social problem or a form of inequality you wish to write about (race/ethnicity, class, economic, gender, and sexuality). Using the Macionis textbook as a foundation, explain the events that occurred in the film, the inter-relationships between difference, inequality, social institutions, individuals within those institutions and the impact on citizens living in a democratic society. Remember, you must show an understanding of the major theoretical frameworks, concepts and terms used in the textbook course to explain patterns in society by describing, evaluating and synthesizing the social problem as it relates to what the film is portraying.

I am looking for a cohesive analytical essay that addresses the following questions. Use this list to guide you as you construct your argument in an integrated fashion (don’t just answer the questions one after another).

What is the film trying to say about a social problem, difference & inequality: race/ethnicity, class, economic inequality, gender, and/or sexuality?

View one of the following films-Stand and Deliver (1988), Dangerous Minds (1995), Crash (2005), The Pursuit of Happyness (2007), North Country (2007), Freedom Writers (2007), Milk (2008), Inside Job (2010), The Big Short (2015), or Hidden Figures (2017). These films can be rented from your local library, and if you actually have to purchase one, most are available for under $5 on Amazon and other online sources. I would assume they are available on Netflix. Plan ahead! If you have watched one of these before I insist you re-watch it with a sociological frame of mind geared to this class. You should watch this movie with the frame of mind that reflects what we have read and discussed in this class this term. Describe the arguments your movie makes (remember, everything is an argument) and how the film makes those arguments. Write confidently and declaratively and make sure you state, don’t speculate. Explicitly describe how the authors and his/her concepts from the course readings apply to the movie—explaining how the readings support or contradict the movie, and vice versa.Avoid summarizing. I’ve seen all these movies and you can assume I have a working knowledge of the scenes and story. Cite the work, information, arguments, and evidence you get from the text and/or course readings and especially if you want to use other outside sources (although this is not necessary). Avoid using many lengthy quotes from the text or readings but enough to give context to your argument. I want you to enjoy this assignment while at the same time critically think about the issues at hand. Try to interpret the perception and reality of the social problem by applying what you have learned already and support your claims. You will not be wrong and I will not grade you according to right or wrong answers, rather by how well you support your assertions. Have intellectual fun—while still taking the essay seriously. We can have fun while still treating the assignment and the movie with respect. Enjoy your movie!

A good paper, more than anything else is the ability to show a link between what we have been reading and discussing this quarter so far and the content of the movie. How does your movie add to or detract from the arguments made this term? This is not a research assignment, it is an assignment intended for you to show YOUR ability to find connections to our readings and to build arguments.


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