An evaluative essay is a way of taking a thing or idea and explaining why it is of value. In 1-2 pages, provide a criticism of a film, television show, album, work of art, or piece of literature. Provide valid arguments for why you believe the work is, or is not, worth experiencing.
The purpose of this evaluation is to determine the quality (good or bad) of a movie and analyze how and why based on a specific set of criteria.
Criteria One of the most important parts of an evaluative essay is to develop criteria from which to evaluate the topic. Criteria means establishing what the ideal or expectation for the movie should be. The criteria may change based on the topic. For example, it is likely that an evaluation of a book would have different criteria than an evaluation of its film counterpart (Harry Potter). Additionally, topics within the same genre might also carry different criteria for evaluation. For example, one would likely not establish the same criteria for a horror film and a romantic comedy. Once you have established the criteria, the next step is to apply it to the film you have chosen and develop support claims (or judgments) with strong evidence.
Typically criteria can be developed by looking at the expectations and characteristics of the item being evaluated. For the purposes of this essay, characteristics and expectations of film are most appropriate. Movies are often rated on the strength of the acting, directing, cinematography, costumes, editing, and the list goes on. These are just a few examples of criteria with which you could use to evaluate a film. You may also consider more abstract concepts such as the themes portrayed in the film or the use of visual elements to depict themes.
Claims (judgments) about the film based on the criteria would reflect whether or not the film meets that particular criteria. For example, if the criteria for evaluation is acting, the writing would reflect a claim about whether or not the acting was good or bad. Once the claim has been developed, the next step is to support the claim with concrete evidence (the how and why) for how a film meets the criteria.
While the evaluative essay will definitely reflect the writer's opinion, it should be integrated in a way such that it should seem reasoned and unbiased. Avoid using I statements or first person voice in a formal evaluation as it undermines the argument making it more like an opinion. Instead stick to clear claims about the subject and support with evidence.
One of the most common errors in student evaluative essays happens when the writer falls into summary of the movie plot as opposed to an evaluation of the movie. A summary repeats what happens in the movie while an evaluation seeks to tell whether the storyline is effective and then explain how/why using concrete, specific examples.
Typically, each paragraph of the essay will focus on one criterion. The claim will be made as the topic sentence and the evidence will act as the supporting sentences for each paragraph. Additionally, the essay should reflect typical format in that it demonstrates a clear introduction with thesis (the overall evaluation), and an overview transition sentence of the main points to come. The essay should reflect at least three clear body paragraphs and a conclusion. Finally, remember to format the essay correctly with ethical citations for borrowed information, a properly formatted reference page, and a cover page (APA).
Try to avoid using cliché lines such as "This is the best movie of all time" and similar statements. Avoid repeating the plot summary and descriptions of characters that a reader could find in any database for movies. Instead focus on your perspective of the film.
The paper is the movie The Titanic (1997), with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. The 3 criteria to evaluate would be acting, costumes, and cinematography. It needs to contain a thesis Introduction, the body with 3 points and conclusion. APA format