Essay planning template Question: Analyse how an idea was explored in the film and which techniques the director used to do this



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Essay planning template

Question: Analyse how an idea was explored in the film and which techniques the director used to do this.

Overall thesis statement:

Anthony Minghella uses symbolism, dialogue, literary allusions (and potentially costume, camera angles, music) to explore the concept of living a lie and its consequences.

Introduction:

Title: The Talented Mr Ripley


Director: Anthony Minghella
Awards: BAFTA Award and Oscar nominated
Plot: (you come up with this)
Techniques: Symbolism, dialogue, literary allusions
Theme: the psychological and social consequences of living a lie

Paragraph 1: Symbolism - mirrors

Statement

Examples

Explanation

Your opinion

Minghella employs the use of symbolism to show audiences about the dangers and consequences of living a lie. The symbol I will focus on is mirrors and reflections

Can use others including The basement, clothing.

We first see this symbol when…

You can chose from any number of examples including:

  • The broken shards in the opening sequence

  • The dress up scene where Tom hides behind the mirror and Dickie’s reflection doubles over Tom




This example is effective in showing us the theme of living a lie because…

Here you explain why this example is effective.

This could be anything from (make sure your example matches what you are saying in the explanation):

In this section you say what you thought of this duality/duplicity etc.

DO NOT SAY YOU THOUGHT THE USE OF THIS SYMBOL WAS GOOD. Try to comment on what it shows us about Tom – the psychological insights, damaged person etc etc.

A further example of mirrors and reflection is….

  • The train mirror scene where Tom makes his and Dickie’s face meld in together

  • The scene at the piano where their faces separate

  • The scooter scene where Tom falls off after seeing Dickie in the reflection




This example is effective in showing us the idea of living a lie because…

  • Tom trying to recover his own identity

  • Tom suffering the consequences of Dickie’s murder. If you pick the scooter scene you can mention that this scene also references Macbeth and how he saw ghosts and apparitions after killing the king and becoming someone he wasn’t.

Paragraph 2: Literary allusions

Statement

Examples

Explanation

Your opinion

Minghella further develops the idea of living a lie with his use of literary allusions. The literary allusion I will focus on is Macbeth.

(Maybe explain a tiny bit about the plot of Macbeth here.)



Minghella introduces the Macbeth allusion when …

You’ve got a bit to choose from. Choose your options to make sure you don’t double up with your symbol.



Borrowed robes - the dancing scene where Tom tries on Dickie’s clothes (borrowed robes)(don’t use it if you’ve used it for the mirror scene)

  • The scene where Tom goes out to get a new suit as soon as he kills Dickie

  • “It all started with a jacket”




This example is effective in showing us the idea of living a lie because…

When explaining clothing and borrowed robes as an example you need to talk about how Tom uses it as a tool to become Dickie, but also how he views it, he sees in a way where “the clothes make the man” as if he could become a man of wealth etc just by dressing that way.


This part allows you to talk about how clothing is still a status symbol etc etc. Or – you can talk about the idea that someone can be two people – what you think of that. What kind of person could pull that off etc.

The second example of Macbeth as a literary allusion….

  • The postcard where Tom gets Dickie to write – “Stars hide your fires”



  • The shared consequences of living a lie – guilt, nightmares etc eg the scooter scene




This example is effective in showing us the idea of living a lie because…

With the postcard you are talking about the meaning of that phrase, how Macbeth is like Tom – is about his duplicity, saying one thing and doing another.

The shared consequences you bring up the nightmares and guilt in Macbeth and how we see Tom going through this as well. What is means - etc

Paragraph 3: Dialogue

Statement

Examples

Explanation

Your opinion

Minghella also uses dialogue to further elucidate the idea of living a lie.

  • We see an example of this dialogue when….



I would recommend using this quote examples:




This example is effective in showing us the idea of living a lie because…

This quote can be linked to the basement which gives you an opportunity to bring up another symbol as well as plato’s cave.

This could be an opportunity to bring in ideas about the basement being potentially linked to child abuse – where did Tom become like the way he is, etc. You could use this Y section to explore his past and question whether he may have had something bad happen to him in a basement etc etc


The second example of the dialogue is…

  • “Good things about Mr. Ripley? Could take some time. Tom is talented. Tom is tender... Tom is beautiful... Tom is a mystery. Tom is not a nobody.”

  • “You wanna play the sax, you wanna play the drums. What is it, Dickie? What do you actually play?”




This example is effective in showing us the idea of living a lie because…

Both these quotes get at identity and duality. The first looks at how Tom is fractured by his life of lieing. He has no one clear identity.

The second one alludes to duality in both Tom and Dickie and allows you to bring in music also.

Conclusion:

Link to society –



You will want to try and link the theme of living a lie with modern society. Ideas around this could be identity theft, social media and how we pretend to be something we’re not, internet dating etc. Maybe show how even though Tom seems like he’s really over the top, many people pretend to be something they aren’t without any serious consequences.

OR link it to Lance Armstrong, a real life example of someone living a lie and caught in it and the consequences he faced.


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