Katie McKinnon



Critical Studies

Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010) Narrative Structure

Scott Pilgrim.pngThe film has an interesting structure with how the narrative flows. The beginning starts with an equilibrium where Scott thinks he’s okay dating a young girl in high school and has a good job playing in a band, including his ex-girlfriend. The many character traits, goals, obstacles and actions change this steady start. As we’re introduced to Scott, we learn of his fickle and ever changing mind, how he doesn’t think rationally. This causes a change in the story, when he meets ‘the girl of his dreams’ Ramona Flowers. This action of seeing her changes the plot from equilibrium to disequilibrium, as it causes many obstacles and problems for him, using the cause and effect technique. This new girl has a lot of baggage, and he still has to sort out the problem with his current girlfriend. Through these chain of events, the disequilibrium takes over most of the film, even resorting to making the audience believe it won’t ever be resolved. The climax of the plot is the highest point of the disequilibrium, when we think everything was for nothing, as Scott’s plans fail badly. The falling action happens quickly after this, changing the plot completely as this movie is all based on video games, giving him an extra ‘life’ or chance. This action creates the new equilibrium, when he finally picks himself up and decides to believe in himself and the power of what he can do. This final action leads on to the resolution of film, leaving only a few  unimportant and minor loose ends.

Scott Pilgrim (2010) [Film] Director. EDGAR WRIGHT

STODDARD, M. (2016) The Subject of Film Studies (40.1)

(2013) The Narrative Structure [Online Slideshow] In Slide Share [Acsessed 04/12/2016].


Love Actually (2003) Cinematography

Love Actually.pngThe character in this scene is Karen. In this shot, the camera is at a high angle, to convey to the us that she’s talking to a child, who is significantly shorter than Karen. It also acts as though we are the child that she’s speaking to, making her come across as more powerful. She’s centered in the shot, showing to us that she’s the focus of the scene. The child’s head can be seen in this shot as well, which emphasises the high angle shot and physically shows us who she’s talking to. The lighting it quite low-key as everything is similarly lit and there’s no dark areas that stand out. The lighting acts as a natural light, coming in from the window that we can see in the background. This helps us to see that this scene is set inside a room. The character’s face is lit up very slightly so that we as viewers can see her facial expressions as she acts, in order to get the messages from her character across. The camera is at a medium close up to enable us to see her face better. It allows us to see the finer detail in her face without going too close that it covers up the scene itself. The shot uses shallow focus, to show to us that the background isn’t as important as the character. It tells us where to look, as the child’s head is also out of focus, meaning that we are drawn to the character Karen’s face and body motion.

Love Actually (2003) [Film] Director. RICHARD CURTIS

MILLER, H.K. (2016) Film studies before film studies: Derek Jarman at the Slade, Screen. Vol 57, no 3.

Clueless (1995)


The two characters in this scene are Cher (Right) and Dion (Left). The use of costume, with the matching patterns and similarities in outfits helps to convey how close they are as best friends. The red and black in Dion’s outfit suggests her promiscuity as she has a college boyfriend, whereas the contrast in Cher’s outfit suggests innocence and dignity. The small gap in Cher’s outfit where her stomach is leads us to believe she’s quite proud of her appearance as she’s body confident enough to show off her stomach. The choice in outfit shows their passion for fashion as everything is carefully thought out and it’s not a regular boring style like the rest of the background characters. Dion is wearing makeup, which further suggests her involvement with the opposite sex. Their positioning  in the frame draws our attention to them, along with the natural lighting that highlights them subtly around the edges. Dion’s hairstyle draws us into her ethnic background, giving us more information as viewers. This shot is set in the college they attend in America, as they are walking into the campus ground. In the background behind the main characters, we are able to see a range of other students, all wearing stereotypical clothing we’d see students wear. It creates these student stereotypes to further push the idea that we are looking at a campus. A basketball can be see in the back, suggesting that sports is an influence in this college. The trees and  path in the scene help to frame the characters, so that we know that they are who we should be looking at. Our attention is drawn to them as they have a conversation. The background has very muted colours,  which draws our attention to the bright colours of the characters.

Clueless (1995) [Film] Director. AMY HECKERLING

SCHMERTZ, J. (2016) Textual Intervention and Film Literacy (105.5)

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