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How to Create an Effective Thesis Statement in 5 Easy Steps

Creating a thesis statement can be a daunting task. It’s one of the most important sentences in your paper, and it needs to be done right. But don’t worry — with these five easy steps, you’ll be able to create an effective thesis statement in no time.

Step 1: Brainstorm Ideas

The first step is to brainstorm ideas for your paper. Think about what you want to say and write down any ideas that come to mind. This will help you narrow down your focus and make it easier to create your thesis statement.

Step 2: Research Your Topic

Once you have some ideas, it’s time to do some research on your topic. Look for sources that support your ideas and provide evidence for the points you want to make. This will help you refine your argument and make it more convincing.

Step 3: Formulate Your Argument

Now that you have done some research, it’s time to formulate your argument. Take the points you want to make and put them into one or two sentences that clearly state what your paper is about. This will be the basis of your thesis statement.

Step 4: Refine Your Thesis Statement

Once you have formulated your argument, it’s time to refine your thesis statement. Make sure that it is clear, concise, and specific. It should also be arguable so that readers can disagree with it if they choose.

Step 5: Test Your Thesis Statement

The last step is to test your thesis statement. Does it accurately reflect the points you want to make? Is it clear and concise? Does it make an arguable point? If not, go back and refine it until it meets all of these criteria.

Creating an effective thesis statement doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With these five easy steps, you can create a strong thesis statement in no time at all.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


movies thesis statement

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A film review is more than just a summary of the film's plot. It should examine the film's deeper meaning as well as analyze its script, direction, photography and acting quality. The reviewer's essay should begin with a thesis statement which provides the reader with the main argument of the review. When determining this statement, make sure you establish the basis of your argument clearly and concisely.

Determine a feature of the movie that you would like to critically expand upon. Identify a filmmaking quality or a story aspect that is integral to the film and elaborate on it, using script, art direction, camera work or acting elements that communicate this idea.

Research the film and make notes of all the characters, situations, dialogue or stage direction elements that clearly support your thesis point. Make sure you have enough material to back up what you want to claim in your thesis statement.

Write an introduction for your movie review. Start your review by quoting the film's title, the writer and director's name, the production company and the names of the cast. Then go on to write your thesis statement. Subtly make the way you feel about the movie known to your reader and state the main idea on which you are going to expand.

Support your thesis statement in the body paragraphs of your movie review. Use all the supporting evidence and write the rest of your review, keeping your thesis statement in mind. Try to convince your reader by providing enough information that affirms your point of view.

A good example of a thesis statement of a movie review is: "Despite the strong performances and high-quality direction, the film's scripted characters lack depth and do not allow its talented cast to shine."

  • The Hunter College Writing System: Writing Across the Curriculum: Writing about Film

Angeliki Coconi started writing in 1999 with the theater comedy "Loop," produced in Athens. In 2001 she wrote and produced another comedy, "Modern Cinderella." In 2006 she was awarded a Master of Science in literature from the University of Edinburgh. In 2009 Coconi obtained the Postgraduate Certificate in Screenwriting from Napier University of Edinburgh.

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How to write a perfect thesis statement for your movie essay review

Samuel Edwards

Published on: June 22, 2021

perfect thesis statement for your movie essay review

Movie reviews are interesting assignments that allow students to expose their vision of the films and their plots. Getting assigned to create a movie review means developing a thesis statement representing the main idea of the author that would be described in the paper. Our article would present some working hacks on how to make your thesis statement perfect.

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To get working tips and hacks from a teacher’s point of view on writing a thesis statement for your movie essay, read the pieces of advice below. 

Start with watching a movie

Proceed with gathering the details on the movie you are going to review. An effective recommendation from a teacher would be to watch a film twice. The first time you need to watch it as a movie spectator, like if you do not have to write a review. You would get a correct first impression and opinion as a part of an audience. The second time you watch the same film, you would require taking notes. It will help if you prepare a checklist to analyze such points as: 

  • Cast and acting
  • Cinematography

Creating a checklist would let you know you did not lose any vital details and noted all the essential parts of the movie’s plot. Afterward, you would use this checklist to develop a thesis statement and proceed with writing a review.

Decide on the main argument

The function of a thesis statement is to present the central argument of the author. When a teacher reads the introduction of your movie review, the thesis statement will give a clear vision of the following content. That is why you first need to take time to think over the whole review content. Afterward, you would have to synthesize a statement that would combine all the vital ideas.

Formulate concisely

A working thesis statement is not only about determination and the idea. Note that it must be clear and concise when you formulate the central thesis for a movie review. By reading your statement, the audience must understand your opinion and see the exact direction of your thoughts. Your formulation must guide readers to the core points and entice them to read more. A good thesis statement represents your thoughts properly.

Take care of the introduction

You need to implement your thesis statement in the structure of the movie review correctly. When you create an introduction, quote the film’s title and mention the significant people who made the movie. Then you can proceed with the thesis statement. Expose the core idea that you are going to widen in the text.

Implement the thesis statement in the body

When you write the body paragraphs of your movie review, make sure to support the thesis statement with arguments and ideas. Please add examples from dialogues, scenes, characters’ arcs, etc. Your audience must follow your thoughts and understand how you chose the statement you defend.

We hope these pieces of advice were helpful enough to make your thesis statement for a movie review brilliant. We wish you good luck with your studies!

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English 101

Wednesday, october 26, 2011, sample thesis statements.

  • Topic: movies set in Los Angeles (or another city of your choice)
  • Topic: turning a novel into a movie (select a specific novel and film you know)
  • Topic: portrayal of African Americans (or Latinos, or Asian Americans, or Italian Americans, or any other ethnic group) in films
  • Topic: influences of international music on American musicians (select a specific example you are familiar with)
  • Topic: ethnic restaurants in your region

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Formulating a Thesis

  •   Andrea Scott

Creative Commons license type BY-NC-ND 4.0

You need a good thesis statement for your essay but are having trouble getting started. You may have heard that your thesis needs to be specific and arguable, but still wonder what this really means.

Let’s look at some examples. Imagine you’re writing about John Hughes’s film  Sixteen Candles  (1984).

You take a first pass at writing a thesis:

Sixteen Candles  is a romantic comedy about high school cliques.

Is this a strong thesis statement? Not yet, but it’s a good start. You’ve focused on a topic–high school cliques–which is a smart move because you’ve settled on one of many possible angles. But the claim is weak because it’s not yet arguable. Intelligent people would generally agree with this statement—so there’s no real “news” for your reader.  You want your thesis to say something surprising and debatable.   If your thesis doesn’t go beyond summarizing your source, it’s not arguable.

The key words in the thesis statement are “romantic comedy” and “high school cliques.” One way to sharpen the claim is to start asking questions .

For example, how does the film represent high school cliques in a surprising or complex way?  How does the film reinforce stereotypes about high school groups and how does it undermine them? Or why does the film challenge our expectations about romantic comedies by focusing on high school cliques? If you can answer one of those questions (or others of your own), you’ll have a strong thesis.

Tip : Asking “how” or “why” questions will help you refine your thesis, making it more arguable and interesting to your readers.

Take 2. You revise the thesis. Is it strong now?

Sixteen Candles is a romantic comedy criticizing the divisiveness created by high school cliques.

You’re getting closer. You’re starting to take a stance by arguing that the film identifies “divisiveness” as a problem and criticizes it, but your readers will want to know how this plays out and why it’s important. Right now, the thesis still sounds bland – not risky enough to be genuinely contentious.

Tip : Keep raising questions that test your ideas. And ask yourself the “so what” question. Why is your thesis interesting or important?

Take 3. Let’s try again. How about this version?

Although the film Sixteen Candles appears to reinforce stereotypes about high school cliques, it undermines them in important ways, questioning its viewers’ assumptions about what’s normal.

Bingo! This thesis statement is pretty strong. It challenges an obvious interpretation of the movie (that it just reinforces stereotypes), offering a new and more complex reading in its place. We also have a sense of why this argument is important. The film’s larger goal, we learn, is to question what we think we understand about normalcy.

What’s a Strong Thesis?

As we’ve just seen, a strong thesis statement crystallizes your paper’s argument and, most importantly, argues a debatable point .

This means two things. It goes beyond merely summarizing or describing to stake out an interpretation or position that’s not obvious, and others could challenge for good reasons. It’s also arguable in the literal sense that it can be argued , or supported through a thoughtful analysis of your sources. If your argument lacks evidence, readers will think your thesis statement is an opinion or belief as opposed to an argument.

Exercises for Drafting an Arguable Thesis

A good thesis will be focused on your object of study (as opposed to making a big claim about the world) and will introduce the key words guiding your analysis. To get started, you might experiment with some of these “mad libs.” They’re thinking exercises that will help propel you toward an arguable thesis.

By examining __________________ [topic/approach], we can see _____________________[thesis—the claim that’s surprising], which is important because ___________________________.

“ By examining Sixteen Candles through the lens of Georg Simmel’s writings on fashion, we can see that the protagonist’s interest in fashion as an expression of her conflicted desire to be seen as both unique and accepted by the group. This is important because the film offers its viewers a glimpse into the ambivalent yearnings of middle class youth in the 1980s.

Although readers might assume _________________ [the commonplace idea you’re challenging], I argue that _________________________ [your surprising claim].

Although viewers might assume the romantic comedy Sixteen Candles is merely entertaining, I believe its message is political. The film uses the romance between Samantha, a middle-class sophomore, and Jake, an affluent senior, to reinforce the fantasy that anyone can become wealthy and successful with enough cunning and persistence.

Still Having Trouble? Let’s Back Up…

It helps to understand why readers value the arguable thesis. What larger purpose does it serve? Your readers will bring a set of expectations to your essay. The better you can anticipate the expectations of your readers, the better you’ll be able to persuade them to entertain seeing things your way.

Academic readers (and readers more generally) read to learn something new. They want to see the writer challenge commonplaces—either everyday assumptions about your object of study or truisms in the scholarly literature. In other words, academic readers want to be surprised so that their thinking shifts or at least becomes more complex by the time they finish reading your essay. Good essays problematize what we think we know and offer an alternative explanation in its place. They leave their reader with a fresh perspective on a problem.

We all bring important past experiences and beliefs to our interpretations of texts, objects, and problems. You can harness these observational powers to engage critically with what you are studying. The key is to be alert to what strikes you as strange, problematic, paradoxical, or puzzling about your object of study. If you can articulate this and a claim in response, you’re well on your way to formulating an arguable thesis in your introduction.

How do I set up a “problem” and an arguable thesis in response?

All good writing has a purpose or motive for existing. Your thesis is your surprising response to this problem or motive. This is why it seldom makes sense to start a writing project by articulating the thesis. The first step is to articulate the question or problem your paper addresses.

Here are some possible ways to introduce a conceptual problem in your paper’s introduction.

1. Challenge a commonplace interpretation (or your own first impressions).

How are readers likely to interpret this source or issue? What might intelligent readers think at first glance? (Or, if you’ve been given secondary sources or have been asked to conduct research to locate secondary sources, what do other writers or scholars assume is true or important about your primary source or issue?)

What does this commonplace interpretation leave out, overlook, or under-emphasize?

2. Help your reader see the complexity of your topic. 

Identify and describe for your reader a paradox, puzzle, or contradiction in your primary source(s).

What larger questions does this paradox or contradiction raise for you and your readers?

3. If your assignment asks you to do research, piggyback off another scholar’s reserach.

Summarize for your reader another scholar’s argument about your topic, primary source, or case study and tell your reader why this claim is interesting.

Now explain how you will extend this scholar’s argument to explore an issue or case study that the scholar doesn’t address fully.

4. If your assignment asks you to do research, identify a gap in another scholar’s or a group of scholars’ research.

Summarize for your reader another scholar’s argument about your topic, primary source, or case study and tell your reader why this claim is interesting. Or, summarize how scholars in the field tend to approach your topic.

Next, explain what important aspect this scholarly representation misses or distorts. Introduce your particular approach to your topic and its value.

5. If your assignment asks you to do research, bring in a new lens for investigating your case study or problem.

Summarize for your reader how a scholar or group of scholars has approached your topic.

Introduce a theoretical source (possibly from another discipline) and explain how it helps you address this issue from a new and productive angle.

Testing Your Thesis

You can test your thesis statement’s arguability by asking the following questions:

If so, try some of the exercises above to articulate your paper’s conceptual problem or question.

If not, return to your sources and practice the exercises above.

If it’s about the world, revise it so that it focuses on your primary source or case study. Remember you need solid evidence to support your thesis.

“Formulating a Thesis” was written by Andrea Scott, Princeton University


I’d like to thank my current and former colleagues in the Princeton Writing Program for helping me think through and test ways of teaching the arguable thesis. Special thanks go to Kerry Walk, Amanda Irwin Wilkins, Judy Swan, and Keith Shaw. A shout-out to Mark Gaipa as well, whose cartoons on teaching source use remain a program favorite .

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