How To Understand Any English Movie

By following this lesson, you will be able to truly understand any English movie. 


You have watched an English movie, but sometimes you asked yourself, who is that little boy? Which character is that? Why are they laughing? What are they talking about? Or, what is this movie even about? Well, don’t worry. Today I’m gonna teach you how to understand any and every English movie. I’m teacher Tiffani, let’s jump right in.

Alright, the first thing you need to do is understand the structure of an English movie. Now I do want to remind you to stay ’til the end, because I will connect all of the pieces. So don’t go, make sure you stay ’til the end of this video. Alright, so there are six stages to every English movie. That’s right, every English movie. That includes dramas, thrillers, horrors, suspense, romance, every single English movie has six different stages, and in between these stages are turning points.

But let’s look at stage number one, the setup. The setup gives the basic setting of the story. It connects the viewer, which is you, with the story and draws them into the setting. It gives details regarding the everyday life of the main character, and it also gives basic characteristics of the main character of the movie. So let’s look at a few examples. For example, iRobot. That was a popular movie with Will Smith. It was science fiction and action. Now, the setting for this movie was the city. Now, another movie is Belle. It was a drama or romance, and it was set kind of in the countryside, okay? And another example is Mamma Mia, a very popular movie. It was a romance/musical, and it was set in a foreign land. So it wasn’t in America, it was somewhere else.

Now moving on, we’re going to stage number two, the new situation. The new situation gives the character’s reaction to a new opportunity, shows the viewer how the main character reacts to that new opportunity or situation. It also displays how the main character adjusts to his or her surroundings and then reveals a plan made by the main character related to the situation he or she is in. So again, let’s see how this plays out in certain movies. For example, The Intern. It was a comedy/drama, and the situation for this one was trying to get a new job as an intern. Then we have another one where there’s a teacher coming into a new class environment. The movie was Freedom Writers, actually one of my favorite movies, so you can check it out, and it was a drama. And then we also have in a hospital, a hospital scene or scenario. For example, Patch Adams, okay? It was a comedy and a drama. Okay, alright.

Now moving onto stage number three, the progress. This stage gives the progression of the character’s plan. Okay, it shows the viewer, which is you again, how a main character’s plans seem to be going well. Also displays possible conflicts, but shows the character being able to overcome them, and then reveals the steps the character is taking to reach the goal he or she has in mind. So again, let’s see some examples of this. So one movie that was popular was Two Weeks Notice. It’s a romantic comedy. In this movie, the progress of her plan, she’s planning to leave her job by giving two weeks notice to her boss, okay? Then we have another movie, Sully, which is actually based on a true story, so check this movie out. It’s a drama, okay? And his plan to how he was gonna save the people that were on the plane, you see the progress. And then also we have Remember the Titans, another movie that was really good. It was a sports drama, and it talks about the plan the coach had to help the team, okay?

Alright, now we’re moving onto stage number four, the big complication, okay? This stage gives the major conflict facing the main character, okay? It shows the viewer the difficulties the main character must go through, alright? It displays the point where the main character actually fails in his or her attempt, very important. And then it reveals what seems to be the end and then shows the main character only has one last hope. So for example, one movie is The King’s Speech. Also based on a true story and a very excellent movie. It’s a drama about history, it’s very good, but he had a situation, a big complication where he had to give a big speech. Okay, that was the issue, alright? And then another movie 127 Hours, again, based on a true story. It’s a drama/thriller . He had a situation that he had to deal with, a big complication, okay? And finally, Jurassic World. Okay, this is part of the Jurassic Park series, science fiction/thriller. We’re talking about the complication from this movie, okay?

Alright, now moving on to stage number five, the final push. This gives the characters a last effort to reach the goal. It shows the viewer, again which is you, how the main character has to give all his or her effort and energy, displays how the process has affected the main character mentally and physically, and also reveals the climax of the movie and shows the biggest obstacle. So for example, Batman Begins. A very popular movie in the Batman series. It’s a drama/fantasy. So in this movie, it’s showing how Batman has to give a final push to actually accomplish his goal of saving the people, alright? Then we have Something the Lord Made, another movie based on a true story. It’s a drama, okay? And there’s a medical situation going on in the movie. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna give anything away. But there’s a medical emergency that they’re dealing with, okay? Alright, and also Everest. This is a movie about something that happened on Mount Everest. It’s a drama, but there’s a situation that occurs, and they have to give a final push to get through, okay?

Alright, stage number six, the aftermath. This is something very key and very unique to American or English movies. It gives the characters new life after the journey, kind of showing you the future. So it shows the viewer what the result was of the main character reaching his or her goal. It displays how the main character adjusts to the end of his or her journey, and also reveals a lesson to be learned from the main character’s journey. Alright, so some examples of this are The Blind Side. Okay, this is a drama, a sports drama. Again, based on a true story. I like giving movies that are based on true stories, so you all can learn a little bit more about American culture, okay? It’s talking about the end of the movie, the aftermath, how the family actually came together toward the end, okay? Then we have another movie, Seabiscuit. Also based on a true story. It’s a drama. This is another sports drama, but about horseracing, and it shows you what happens at the end of the movie with the family, okay? And then finally we have a movie called The Pursuit of Happyness. Also a movie based on a true story, and Will Smith is also the main actor in this movie. It’s a drama, okay? It shows you what happened at the end or after the situation, okay? So again, these are all great movies. So, we have six stages to the movies.

Now the second thing you need to do is connect the characters based on the stages. This is where you have to pay really close attention. So again, we know all six stages that are in each and every movie, and in between we have the turning points. What’s gonna happen is, each stage has characters, and you need to recognize which characters are important for each stage of the movie you are watching. Trust me, doing this is gonna help you understand really what is going on in the movie and also how to understand the conversations, which leads us right into the next phase.

Third thing you need to do is breakdown the conversations by characters and stages. Now I want to show this to you visually. This is how it’s gonna work. So, on the top you have your six stages, and on the bottom you have the characters that are specific for each of those stages. What you’re gonna do is look at each stage and the characters and the conversations happening in those stages, because the conversations are gonna be related to the actual stages. So, a few minutes ago I explained to you how to understand each stage of an English movie. So now when you’re looking and you’re listening to these conversations, you know how to connect them because you understand how they are related to the actual stages that they’re in. This is how you understand any English movie. First, get a really good understanding of the six stages. Then, understand the characters found in each stage, and finally, look at the conversations in connection with the stages and the characters. Now you can really master any English movie.

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5 years ago

Thank you very much. You explain very clear. Thanks again for your help us.

Rajesh Bhabor
Rajesh Bhabor
5 years ago

I am your new friend or student.i want to learn English in all aspects writing,speaking and deliver lecture actually i want to become a motivational speaker. I have been learning English last 5 years but till then I could not get confidence.i think i didn’t get any proper guidence or environment. Some time I think I didn’t give continuity to learn proper English . Now i am very disappointedWhen I watched your video on utube i agin get confidence and i want to learn English again. I hope you will help me .

7 months ago

Thank you very much for sharing, I learned a lot from your article. Very cool. Thanks. nimabi


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