How to read a movie

Reading Roger Ebert’s Reading Movies made me realize so much. I knew when I was going to learn a lot from the article, as Roger Ebert is one of the influential people in the movie critic industry. He was one of first movie critics. Many of the things he used to evaluate a movie with as a critic are still used for evaluating movies today. While there are many things that I could talk about from this article, there are a few things that stuck out to me.


One of the things that stuck out to me from the article, was Ebert talking about how the movement of the camera was a determinant of the mood the director was trying to portray. If the camera is moving to the left, then it is less favorable. However, of the camera is moving to the right it is more favorable. It was also interesting to hear Ebert say that the future would  be on the right, while the past would be on the left. At first that sounded weird to me, but after a while I was able to get my head around that concept. It makes sense because if you look at a timeline, the past is usually on the left side of the line, while the future is usually on the right side of the line.

Another part of the article that was interesting to me was his belief that intrinsic weighting meant so much when reading a movie. It was interesting that he discussed this theory and then mentioned how things such as the lighting, color, dialogue, portrayal of actors, etc. could have so many opinions. It made a lot of sense to me because film is an expression of art; which is meant to be interpreted in many ways. These interpretations can variate from being obvious to obscure.  I think that a good example of an scene that uses the intrinsic weighting principle is the flushing of the toilet in the Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho.   In the movie, one of the characters, Marion Crane, flushes paper down the toilet. She flushes the toilet as she has stolen money from her boss and puts a written documentation of what she stole down the toilet. However, not all of the paper goes down the toilet. This becomes important when her sister and boyfriend come looking for her (as she’s missing), part of the paper is found. It is concrete evidence that Marion was actually staying at the Bates Motel.

The lessons I learned from this article will truly help me now fully understand and appreciate the art in movies. I will now try to look at certain scenes, and see if I see anything different than I did the first time I saw the scene. Reading this article makes me truly appreciate the greatness of Roger Ebert, as he was one of a kind.