Film Critique

critique 1: In Matthew Henry’s article about the film Hedwig and the Angry Inch, he asserts that at the end “the film becomes a tale of self-acceptance, self-identification, and self-actualization.” In your critique, agree or disagree with this statement.

critique 2: A review of the documentary Whether You Like It or Not: The Story of Hedwig argues “the documentary does what the best documentaries do – it makes one appreciate the film much more.” Is this true for you? If so, how did the documentary contribute to your enhanced appreciation for the film? Please use specific examples.


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Read play Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Read article A One-Inch Mound of Flesh: Troubling Queer Identity in Hedwig and the Angry Inch” by Matthew Henry
Watch movie Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Watch documentary Whether You Like it or Not–qcs


Film Critique General Guidelines

You will write ten critical responses to film adaptations this semester. Your responses should be brief, 1-2 pages in length, but detailed and thorough.

Writing a successful critique means going beyond simply deciding whether the film adaptation was “good” or “bad”. Value judgments like “it was great” are impossible to support with any real evidence. Instead, carefully consider the effectiveness of the film adaptation, and how the creative choices made by the director, actors, and designers inform your understanding of the play. You may begin by simply asking yourself your general emotional response to the film (I loved it, I only liked certain aspects of it, I thought it would never end…) but that is merely scratching the surface. Your task is to determine critically and then articulate intellectually why you believe the film succeeds or fails in its adaptation of the play you read.

Justification of your opinions is key. There is no “right” or “wrong” response to a work of art. However, if your perspective lacks justification your opinions will lack validity. Stating “this film was effective because the acting was good” will not suffice. Why was the acting good, and what do you mean by “good”? Explain and use examples.



Among the cast, performance styles varied. Meryl Streep’s interpretation of Mother  Courage also appeared inordinately funny.


Among the cast, performance styles varied; rather than fragmenting the production, however, this collage of techniques complemented the evocative and eclectic setting and highlighted the way that Kushner’s script spoke across specific historical moments. Meryl Streep’s interpretation of Mother Courage also appeared inordinately funny, thereby turning preconceived notions of the tragic character on their head and allowing the contemporary audience to see the play with fresh eyes.

(Excerpt from Theatre Journal 2007).

The non-underlined portions merely state the author’s observations. The underlined portions explain and justify why these observations matter.

Use these general guidelines to inform your approach to writing your critiques. Each critique will have its own specific prompt.

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