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Show and Tell: Jemima + Johnny (1966)
Introduction Primary Primary (2) Citizenship English  
image from  Jemima + Johnny (1966)
AuthorMark Crompton
ThemesReview writing

As well as a number of extracts from this touching observational film, Screenonline also has a Monthly Film Bulletin review, published when the film was initially shown in 1966. Jemima + Johnny is praised for its "unforced simplicity", but the reviewer also notes that the film walks "the tightrope of sentimentality all the way".

Why not begin by asking students if they think this contemporary review reflects their own reading of the film? Do they agree with the points made and can they think of any scenes that support or contradict the reviewer's remarks?

This sets the scene for a simple reviewing exercise. Ask students to deconstruct the review in terms of its structure and content. One way of doing this is to ask students what the 'template' for a new reviewer on Monthly Film Bulletin might look like - ie. word count, style etc. Alternatively, ask them to go through the review in pairs, outlining examples of factual information as well as examples of the author's opinion.

Students will most likely be used to a number of different types of review - those on television and the internet as well as in print. How important are reviews to them when going to the cinema or choosing a television programme? And, crucially, what do students think makes a good review? This discussion should draw out a number of criteria that will inform the written exercise.

Finally, ask students to write their own review of the film (based on the extracts), keeping in mind their previous discussion. Depending on the level of ability in the class, you may want to extend this activity by asking different students to write in different reviewing styles (ie. a review for a glossy magazine/review for the Sunday Times). Students can then compare and contrast their reviews in small groups and discuss their various approaches.