Movie Analysis Assignment
Like the song analysis assignment earlier in the semester, for this assignment you’re analyzing representation of gender/women in pop culture. The purpose is to demonstrate, this time at the end of the semester, how women’s history has influenced how we think about women’s place in society. You need to choose a movie based on a story, real or imagined, concerning an event, theme, or person in U.S. women’s history. (See the list of movies below for choices).
This movie analysis assignment is worth 60 points (6%) and, like the song analysis, includes a peer review element. In order to receive full credit, you must complete your peer review.
The movie analysis is due November 11 by 11:59 pm. The peer review is due one week later on November 18 by 11:59 pm.
Elements of the Assignment:
1. Trailer. Embed the trailer of the movie in your post. If you cannot find the trailer, it’s okay to analyze that movie, but you need to indicate that you couldn’t find a trailer in your post. For the most part, you should be able to find trailers on YouTube. Instructions below.
2. Analysis. Write up a short analysis, minimum of 250 words. Rather than focusing on the film’s historical accuracy, you should examine the possible meanings generated by the film through its themes, characters, and perspectives as they relate to women’s history. You may use the questions below to help you think through your analysis. You don’t have to answer every question, but rather use these questions to guide your analysis.
3. Peer review. Comment on and suggest a grade for another student’s movie analysis by one week after the initial due date. Instructions below about how to complete the peer review.
Questions to consider for the analysis:
- What issues does the event or person represented in the film raise about the place of women, gender and sexuality in U.S. history?
- How are these issues represented in the film?
- What are key scenes from the film where these issues are most apparent?
- How does the film address race, class, and sexuality as well as gender?
- How does the film challenge, limit or transform your thinking about the historical events themes, and/or person(s) raised in the film?
- When was the movie released, and how does the movie relate to its specific historical context?
- Try to assess the intent of the movie: do you think it was successful?
- Who directed and/or write the movie, and what’s their social identity (gender, race, etc.)? Do you think this impacts its message?
- Does the movie feel empowering? Why or why not?
- Last, but certainly not least, what criticisms do you have of the way the movie portrays women?
How to embed a video from YouTube:
- First copy the embed code from YouTube by clicking “share,” then “embed.”
- Back on Canvas, click “reply” in the Song Activity discussion topic.
- Then click “insert,” then “embed” and paste the embed code.
How to peer review:
You will be randomly assigned one other student’s movie analysis to grade, which will be available the day after the deadline for the movie analysis.You have one week to complete the peer review. To receive credit on this assignment, you must do the peer review.
To find who you are peer reviewing, scroll to the top of the discussion forum and click on the peer review hyperlink. If it doesn’t seem to exist, or you cannot find it, email the professor.
To adequately do the peer review, you must do two things: 1) Watch the trailer and read the analysis; 2) Click the grade rubric to assign points for each criteria; 3) Provide written feedback in the comment box that consists of more than “good job!” Put some thought into your feedback, writing a minimum of 50 words. And that’s it!
IMPORTANT NOTE: your peer review is not a discussion reply in the forum itself. You must click on the discussion forum, then click on your peer review link at the top of the page.
How to choose your movie:
This is the list of movies you can choose from for your analysis. If you would rather choose a movie not on this list, you need to run it by the professor first.
Selena, about the chicana singer
Erin Brockavich (2000) about a white woman who fights environmental injustices
The Emigrants (1971), about Swedish immigrants
Saving Face (2004) about the relationship between two Chinese American lesbians and their families
The Awakening Land(1978), about frontierswoman, 1978, miniseries
Heaven and Earth (1993), about relationship between Vietnamese woman and white soldier in Vietnam during war.
Real Women Have Curves (2002), about a young chicana woman in East L.A.
Journey from the Fall(2006) about a Vietnamese immigrant family who comes to the US after the war
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman(1974), about formerly enslaved black woman who talks to a journalist in the 1960s about her life
Tangerine (2015), about a black transgender sex worker
Mosquita y Mari (2012), about two chicana high schoolers who form a special bond, queer themes
Watermelon Woman(1996) about an aspiring black lesbian filmmaker who researches a black actress, who is also gay, from the 1940s.
Beloved (1998), based on Toni Morrison’s novel, about post-slavery lives of black women
Pariah (2011), a coming of age story about a black lesbian teenager in New York
The Crucible (1996), about Salem Witch Hunts
Their Eyes Were Watching God (2005), about a young black woman in the South in the 1920s who challenges mainstream social mores
Far and Away (1992), about Irish immigrants
Mi Vida Loca (1993) about young chicana women involved in gang life in Los Angeles
Follow the River (1995) about a white woman held captive by Native Americans
Bessie (2015) about legendary blues singer Bessie Smith, explores race, gender, and sexuality in the 1920s-1930s and earlier
The New World (2005) about Pocahontas and John Smith
The Wife (2017) about an older white woman married to an older white man who receives the Nobel Prize, about the sacrifices she made for him
The Scarlett Letter(1995) about a Puritan woman who refuses to name the father of her child
Hidden Figures (2016) about African American female mathematicians working at NASA
Salt of the Earth (1954) about the wives of Mexican American miners on strike
Loving (2016) about black woman who marries white man, which is against the law, and the Supreme Court which finally makes anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.
The Long Walk Home (1990), about Montgomery Bus Boycott/Civil Rights
The Hours (about three different white women, Virginia Woolf, a woman dissatisfied with her life as a homemaker in the 1950s, and a white woman taking care of her gay friend dying of AIDS in the 1980s/90s.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1979), about a young black girl dealing with racism, poverty, and sexual violence, based on Maya Angalou’s autobiography
Confirmation (2016), about Anita Hill’s exposure of the sexual harassment she experienced by Clarence Thomas, incoming Supreme Court Justice in early 1990s
Norma Rae (1979), about a white woman at a textile mill who tries to form a union
On the Basis of Sex(2018), about white Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her efforts to advance women’s rights in the law
Silkwood (1983), about a woman factory worker exposed to dangerous levels of radiation who advocates for her rights and the rights of other workers
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2017), about a black woman whose cells were used for medical research with her knowledge or her family’s knowledge
Brooklin (2015), about an Irish immigrant in New York City in the 1950s
Battle of the Sexes (2017) about the match between tennis player Billie Jean King, who was gay, and Bobby Riggs, former tennis champion who was very sexist
North Country (2005), about a white woman who is among first women to work at a mine in Minnesota and their experiences with sexism
Coal Miner’s Daughter(1980), about iconic country western singer Loretta Lynn
9 to 5 (1980), a satire about women clerical workers who are sick of sexism and take their boss hostage
Imprint (2007) about a female Native American lawyer returning to her culture, among other things.
The Rose (1979) about a 1960s rockstar who succumbs to addiction
Thunderheart (1992), centers on a murder investigation on a Native American reservation, considers Native American activism through Maggie Eagle Bear’s character (who is based on Anna Mae Aquash of the American Indian Movement)
A League of Their Own(1992) about women softball players during WWII
Carol (2015), a love story between two white women in the 1950s
Mississippi Masala (1991), about interracial romance between an Indian woman and a black man in Mississippi.
Boys Don’t Cry (1999), about a transgender teen, Brandon Teena, who is murdered
The Color Purple (1985), based on novel by Alice Walker, follows life of black woman in the South
Farewell (2019), starring Akwafina, is about a comedy-drama about a Chinese American woman who visits her sick grandmother in China.
Hawaii (1966), follows a white woman and man in the 1820s as they try to convert native Hawaiians to Christianity
Bombshell (2019) is about Megyn Kelly, a white woman, who fought the sexual harassment she experienced while working as a Fox news anchor.
Pocahontas (1995), cartoon about John Smith and Pocahontas, set in early 1600s
Wild Nights with Emily(2018), a comedy-drama about poet Emily Dickinson’s love affair with another woman.
Iron Jawed Angels(2004) about struggle for voting rights for women in early 20th century, focusing on white women
On the Basis of Sex (2018) about former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, known for advocating for women’s rights.
The Miracle Worker(1962) about disability, follows the young Helen Keller, who is blind and deaf
Bombshell (2019) about #MeToo movement as it affected Fox News.
Far from Heaven (2002), an interracial love story between a white woman and a black man
Hidden Figures (2016) about African American women who were mathematicians for NASA in the early years of the space program, breaking down both racial and gender barriers.
The Joy Luck Club (1993) about a group of Chinese American women in San Francisco
Harriet (2019) about famous African American abolitionist, Harriet Tubman.
Mona Lisa Smile (2003) about a white woman hired to teach art at the prestigious Wellesley College in 1953, she confronts traditional gender expectations
Jackie (2016) is about the life of Jackie Kennedy, who was married to President John F. Kennedy.
The Help (2011), set in 1960s Mississippi, about a young white woman who interviews black women domestic workers
Little Women (2019) is an adaptation of the 1868 novel by Luisa May Alcott. It follows the lives a family of girls/women trying to make their way during the Civil War.
The United States v. Billie Holiday (2021) about the life of blues/jazz singer Billie Holiday.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020) about Blues Singer Ma Rainey.