What qualities, strengths and flaws does the main character possess that are unique, odd, frustrating, infuriating, hilarious, heartrending, touching, inspiring?

American Cinema: Review Sheet for Paper #1

Answer the following questions about the actor you’ve chosen for Paper #1.

 

Directions: Answer questions 1 through 7 with your actor in mind. In other words, if you are focusing on Marilyn Monroe’s persona for Paper #1, you would answer the 7 questions about her.

 

Think of 2 or 3 films featuring the actor/actress you chose as the subject for your first paper.  Ask yourself these questions about his/her character in each film.

 

  1. What qualities, strengths and flaws does the main character possess that are unique, odd, frustrating, infuriating, hilarious, heartrending, touching, inspiring? Name a few key qualities that make the character… accessible/sympathetic/compelling/endearing/revolting/memorable.
  2. Are these qualities visible in / linked to the character’s costume? His/her hair? His/her makeup? The way the actor playing him/her acts/walks? Is blocked/staged? Is lit? How do the props and setting enhance/highlight the main character’s key qualities? Does the cinematography highlight these qualities? How so? 2B. Give examples. Think of a scene in the beginning, middle and end of the film where the mise-en-scene highlights these qualities.
  3. Do these character qualities drive the plot and/or story in some ways?  If so, think of a scene in the beginning of the film where these qualities come into play – cause something to happen. Next, think of a scene in the middle of the film where these qualities come into play. Lastly, think of a scene in the end of the film.
  4. Do these qualities figure into the character’s personal history, his/her present occupation (or lack thereof)? His/her love life? His/her future plans?
  5. How does the genre(s) of the film lend itself/themselves to highlighting these qualities/strengths/weaknesses?
  6. Can you link these qualities, strengths and flaws to the themes of the film?
  7. Can you link these qualities, strengths and flaws to the culture/time period in which the film was made? How so? Do you believe that these qualities, strengths and flaws are meant to teach us something about what it means to be human? American?
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