Movie Criticism & Film Reviews

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Please write a 200-word essay and post it to this page. In your essay, please answer these questions: What is the role of the film critic? What is the purpose of a film review? What should be the job of a film critic?

Please use some information and ideas from the documentary (above) that we are watching. Also, you may reference one or more of the movies that we have seen this term: The Last of the Mohicans, The Butler; The Joy Luck Club; Fools Rush In; or The Descendants.

Click Here to Post Your Essay

The Joy Luck Club

At the beginning of the film, you will hear this fable: 

The old woman remembered a swan she had bought many years ago in Shanghai for a foolish sum. “This bird,” boasted the market vendor, “was once a duck that stretched its neck in hopes of becoming a goose, and now, look, it is too beautiful to eat.” 

Then the woman and the swan sailed across an ocean many thousands of li wide, stretching their necks toward America. On her journey, she cooed to the swan, “In America, I will have a daughter just like me, but over there nobody will say her worth is measured by the loudness of her husband’s belch. Over there, nobody will look down on her because I will make her speak perfect American English. And over there, she will always be too full to swallow any sorrow. She will know my meaning because I will give her this swan, a creature that became more than what was hoped for.” 

But when she arrived in the new country, the immigration officials pulled the swan away from her, leaving the woman fluttering her arms and with only one swan feather for a memory. For a long time now, the woman had wanted to give her daughter the single swan feather and tell her, “This feather may look worthless, but it comes from afar and carries with it all my good intentions.”

What does this mean? Why does the film begin with this fable?

Your Mother Is In Your Bones

From a review of The Joy Luck Club (the book) in the New York Times: 

“Born in Oakland, Calif., in 1952 to a father educated as an engineer in Beijing and a mother raised in a well-to-do Shanghai family, Amy Tan grew up in an American world that was utterly remote from the childhood world of her parents. In ”The Joy Luck Club,” her first novel, short-story-like vignettes alternate back and forth between the lives of four Chinese women in pre-1949 China and the lives of their American-born daughters in California. The book is a meditation on the divided nature of this emigrant life.”  – ORVILLE SCHELL