RESPONSE #3: DREAMGIRLS
STORY AND NARRATIVE
This fourth response paper is on the film musical DREAMGIRLS. The film is based on the 1982 Broadway musical, a fictionalized work of the rise of Motown and The Supremes.
For this response paper you will be examining the role of story and narrative in the telling of Dreamgirls. By story, I am referring to the Plot of the film or what happens. This is part of Aristotle’s six key points for the creation of a play, and by extension a film. One way of helping to define/analyze the plot is to decide what the film is about (thought/theme) and how the characters (who are they and their personalities and traits) then illustrate that through the plot.
The other template to look at the plot (story)/narrative is through the Classical Paradigm. The pyramid construction of the plot of a play/film has an: 1) inciting incident; 2) exposition; 3) scenes which follow logical one from the other (rising action); 4) a climax and then 5) a falling action (denouement) followed by 6) the resolution (message). There is also a protagonist and an antagonist (it is possible there may be more than one of each in a film, or that they may change over the course of the film).
As part of your discussion of the story and plot, please reference the “sound” in the film. Please examine the musical numbers and discuss in general how they help to move the action of the film forward. Please reference one of the song numbers in particular as an important part of the story/action of the film.
Lastly, the three act screenplay structure. Act I – the set up. Act II the confrontation and Act III – the resolution. There are also two major plot points just before the end of Act I and just before the start of Act III.
For this response paper you will include the following:
What style of film is Dreamgirls primarily? Why? Please provide your reasoning. Also are there any other styles represented however briefly in the film? Please provide a description of where they are represented in the film.
Please provide your overall impression of the film. This should include your own personal response to the film, with a brief discussion of the acting, setting and cinematography.
For the major part of your response, please analyze and discuss the plot/story/narrative of Dreamgirls. Please utilize and include in your discussion, references to Aristotle’s Poetics, the Classical Paradigm and the Screenplay structure which are discussed above.
Please remember, writing a synopsis of the film is not what this response is about. It is about analyzing the plot, to show what happens in the film based on the thoughts/themes of the film and how the characters inhabit and illuminate those thoughts/themes.
As with the previous responses, the paper is to be 2 full pages, not one and one-half pages. It is better to give me three pages than less than two. The narrative essay should be double spaced, 12 point (size of the letters) and New Times Roman. Also, please remember to provide a Works Cited page if you provide any information beyond what is known from the film itself, the classroom lecture or notes.
RESPONSE #3: DREAMGIRLS