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Elements of a Film Review

Credits to

Elements of a Film Review

Overview: Reviews are evaluations, so all of them at some point state the author’s judgment about the value of the item being reviewed, usually discussing both strengths and weaknesses with support.

However, a review of a film, book, or other related artistic production is a flexible form with many options, as I hope you have noticed from the models we’ve been discussing. To give some sense of your options when writing your own review, below is a list of elements one might find in a review. 

Choose which of these elements will work best for your particular book or movie; then decide on a pattern of organization based on what will hook your audience’s interest and keep them reading, leaving them with a strong impression at the end. Your text gives you two possible organization patterns, but there are many more options.

Please resist the magnetic pull of the 5-paragraph essay format! Restricting yourself to simplistic formulas paralyzes the mind and bores the reader.

Elements of a Review:

Required elements

• A thesis: an arguable claim about the value of the work with reasons.

• Evaluative statements, usually a combination of overall evaluation and specific strengths and weaknesses of the work.

• Description of the work: How it looks, sounds, feels, tastes, smells (if relevant). Sometimes more esoteric elements are described, such as the tone, stance, or political orientation. Sometimes its effect on the viewer is described.

• Plot summary, sometimes a separate section, sometimes woven in with evaluation and analysis.

Elements usually or often included

• Discussion of relevant criteria, with maybe an explanation of why these are the most important. For films, consider which elements of a film get awards. Most often discussed are directing, acting, plot, and cinematography. More general criteria include depth of thinking, emotional impact, authenticity in relation to what is being depicted, wit or cleverness of the writing, and originality.

• Background information to provide context. This can be information about the historical setting, people, or events;the society depicted; other works produced by the filmmaker or writer; key ideas involved in the work (e.g. political, philosophical, or artistic ideas), and production history.

• Comparison/ Contrast with other similar works, with the source material, with sequels or prequels, etc.

• Classification/Division: a work can be placed in a class, such as a particular genre (e.g. sci-fi, historical drama, documentary, French New Wave) and then distinguished from other items in that category. 

• Reception: How the film was received by audiences and/or critics; awards it has won.

• Analysis: Discussion of how the film works, what makes the characters tick, what the film says about the society that produced it, why audiences responded as they did, etc.

• Narrative: Sometimes a story of the reviewer’s experience with the film or the issue it depicts is relevant and interesting. For example, a war movie reviewed by a soldier who fought in it or a refugee who fled from it has an added emotional heft if the reviewers discuss their experiences, particularly while evaluating the film’s authenticity.

Mini-review for Analysis: How many of the above elements can you find in Mark Kermode’s 1-paragraph review of Slumdog Millionaire, which he published when the DVD came out?

With its “feelgood film of the decade” status assured and a best film Oscar under its belt, it’s easy to forget just how grim Slumdog Millionaire (2008, 15, Pathe £19.56) really is. Yet despite a ludicrously misleading advertising campaign, Danny Boyle’s cross-cultural masterpiece is unflinching in its ground-level depiction of the streets of Mumbai in which homeless children are abused and exploited while TV screens spew forth win-a-million fantasias. It’s a credit to the film-makers that Slumdog is such an uplifting experience, with Boyle focusing on the vitality of the human spirit just as he did in Trainspotting, even as his characters are literally plunging down life’s lavatory. Anthony Dod Mantle’s vibrant camera races from gutters to rooftops, injecting life into the squalor – there’s nothing “abject” about this poverty – while AR Rahman’s score keeps the heart pumping and the pulse racing. Full Monty screenwriter Simon Beaufoy works wonders with Vikas Swarup’s source novel and the cast, led by Skins star Dev Patel, rise to the challenge with aplomb. Honestly, it’s hard to remember a better “best film.”

Reader’s Digest is waiting for your Story

One of the famous magazines like Time , GQ, Vogue and Vanity Fair , is waiting for our stories and jokes. Be paid and be popular via Reader’s Digest.

Guidelines taken from Reader’s Digest

My Story  $250USD

Tell us about a touching, inspiring or life-changing experience in your life. We’ll pay $250 for stories we publish in Reader’s Digest magazine.

  • Your story must be true (no fiction, please).
  • It should be previously unpublished.
  • Aim for 800-1000 words in length.
  • Familiarise yourself with the kind of pieces we run. Often, they focus on a single incident or theme in the life of the writer – dramatic, moving or humorous – and the events described made the writer re-evaluate his or her life in some way. And remember that a well-told tale still has a beginning, a middle and an end!
  • Do not send us original or irreplaceable material. We cannot return submissions.
  • We cannot give feedback or acknowledge receipt.

Kindness of Strangers   Up to $150 USD

True accounts of good karma, inspiring acts of unexpected kindness and generosity, or just something someone did that made your day – or changed your life. Share your moments in 100-500 words. We pay up to $150 for examples of generous and open-hearted deeds.

Anecdotes and Jokes $50-$100 USD

What’s made you laugh recently? A funny sign? A colleague’s behaviour? Got a great joke? Just send us your contributions, and if we publish it in Reader’s Digest, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.
We pay $50-$100 for original jokes, cartoons, comics, fillers and anecdotes we print in the Reader’s Digest Magazine.

Original contributions, which should be less than 300 words, become our property (for both print and/or electronic media) upon payment. We may run your gem in Life’s Like That, All in a Day’s Work or As Kids See It, or as a short filler.

Your Deepest Wish Up to $200 USD

Wishes. We all have them. If only it was as simple as finding a willing genie in a bottle. Despite the absence of generous genies, some of us are fortunate enough to have our most-longed-for wish fulfilled. Here’s your chance to share the story of your heart’s deepest wish with Reader’s Digest magazine – and win $200 cash. We’re interested in compelling, enduring tales, so don’t hold back with the details and twists and turns.

Original contributions become our property (for both print and/or electronic media) upon payment.

Smart Animals   Up to $100 USD

Send us a tale about the antics of unique pets or wildlife in up to 300 words. We pay up to $100 for anecdotes about a remarkable animal.

Conditions: Include your name, address and phone number. All submissions become our property on payment and publication in the magazine. We reserve the right to edit and publish submissions online without payment, but will pay for any subsequently used in the magazine. We cannot return or acknowledge material not accepted for publication.


We cannot acknowledge or return unpublished or unsolicited article-length manuscripts.

We prefer electronic submissions. Fill out the form here or contact us as follows:

Write: Reader’s Digest (Australia) Pty Limited
PO Box 6458
Frenchs Forest NSW 2086

Write: Reader’s Digest Asia
Singapore Post Centre
PO BOX 272, Singapore
914 010

Have a Taste of Cinema and Get Paid!

Another way to earn by writing film reviews at Taste of Cinema if we have the luck to write, shine and earn eventually. So we better compose ourselves and give our best shots.

Excepts taken from Taste of Cinema Website

We are looking for new writers in 2022! If you’re good at making film lists and want a platform to share it with more than 600,000 movie fans, we want you to join Taste of Cinema as a contributor!

We’re gathering a team of passionate and skillful writers to join us in bringing high-quality content to the millions of monthly readers that visit Taste of Cinema.

In exchange for posting, contributors will have the opportunity to promote and link their organization, website, social media, books, or products in a prominent author byline that will be seen by thousands on each post they write.

If you don’t have anything to promote, we will PAY YOU for the list. The more clicks it gets, the more we will pay you. You can ask us about the details in the application.

You can write one or several lists for us, or you can choose to be a regular contributor. The number of lists you contribute to our site is totally flexible.

To apply for this, you can send an email to David (email address: Please let us know the following in your email:

1. Your age and occupation?

2. Can you tell us your favorite films/directors/actors/genres?

3. What’s your writing experience?

4. How long have you been following Taste of Cinema? (assuming you do…but it’s fine if you don’t — we might still like you).

5. If you were a TOC contributor, how often would you post?

6. If you were a TOC contributor, what ideas do you have for your first list? (this is important, so think carefully)

Last thing, don’t forget to check out your inbox after sending us the email, we will reply to your application within 3 weeks (if we think you are the right person to write for us).

Chase your Dream @Cineaste

I’m still taking my time to research info and analyze film reviews at Cineaste where you can also challenge yourself to mirror the style of writing that may bring in some cash. By chasing to have a taste of New York being one of your dream destination.

Excerpts taken from Cineaste Website

FILM REVIEWS: We prefer reviews that focus on one film in current theatrical release or due to be released shortly in North America. The review should relate what is of merit and what is not in the film under discussion. It should incorporate early in the review a very brief synopsis or description of the plot (avoiding or at least flagging plot “spoilers”) for those who haven’t seen the film. Your review should not, however, be in the guise of a lengthy plot outline, interpolated with your critical commentary. We are concerned with aesthetics as well as content, with how cinematic techniques affect a film’s impact. Preferred length is about 1,500 to 2,000 words for feature reviews. Please provide production credits and distribution source information with your review, following the format we use in the magazine.
            Please note that since we have space in each issue for only five to six “Film Reviews,” our editors engage in extensive discussions about which films we want to cover. For each issue, we try to select a mix of mainstream Hollywood films of particular political or cultural importance, quality foreign films, and American independent films, including both fiction films and documentaries. The principal reasons we decide not to make freelance Film Review assignments proposed to us, or to publish completed Film Reviews submitted to us, are 1) because our Editorial Board has decided to cover other films in a particular issue, 2) because our editors have not seen the film proposed for review, and we do not wish to assign coverage of films we have not seen for ourselves, or 3) because the film is not going to be exhibited or distributed in North America.

DVD and BLU-RAY REVIEWS: We publish in each issue five to six reviews of either new or recent films (in particular those not covered in previous issues) or vintage and classic films released on DVD and Blu-ray. Preferred length for DVD reviews of single titles is in the range of 1,500 to 2,000 words, or longer for reviews covering multiple titles or box sets. The critical approach should be the same as that recommended for Film Reviews, except that you should also include some commentary on any supplementary materials or “extras’ on the disc, and, when appropriate, some discussion of the technical quality of the transfer, especially if the title has previously been released in video format. Please provide brief production credits and distribution-source information with your review(s), following the format used in the magazine.

Submit your Content @Sunlight Press

I am looking for websites that can accept my blog articles to earn and develop my penchant in writing so maybe you would like join my conquest to conquer this kind of passion.

Guidelines taken from The Sunlight Press Website


If you’re interested in writing for The Sunlight Press, send a completed piece to Please see guidelines below.

What are we looking for?

The Sunlight Press considers submissions within the following categories:

  • Personal Essays (Nonfiction): 750-1,000 words
  • Fiction: Includes flash fiction (under 1,000 words) and short stories (under 2,000 words)
  • Poetry: Up to three poems in one submission (all attached in one document, please)
  • Reviews: Review of books (fiction & nonfiction), short story collections, and essay collections; 750-1,000 words (preference for newly published books); also will consider occasional film reviews (current films).
  • Artists on Craft Series: Interviews/Reflections by artists on their process of the art of choice (accompanying photos welcome); under 1,000 words
  • Photography: Up to three photographs in one submission (please note: only unfiltered images)

Please note: We close to all submissions on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022 (at midnight 12/4) until Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. Any work submitted during this period will not be read. Please re-submit when we reopen, and we look forward to reviewing then.


Contest News

Congratulations to Aria Dominguez for winning our spring 2022 essay contest. Her winning essay, “The Art of Negotiating,” appeared in June. We also are delighted to announce the two finalists: Skye Pratt Epperson and Diana Spechler. Essays by both writers appeared in July. For winning our contest, Aria received a $500 cash prize + $25 in regular payment; the finalists received $65. (We also accepted 15 additional essays submitted to the contest and will publish all during the coming weeks.) We are grateful to Windy Lynn Harris for judging our contest.

In other recent contest news, the winner of our 2021 Flash Fiction Contest was “Collapse,” by Justine Gardner. Our judge Dan Crawley also chose two finalists, “Lunch in the Park,” by Kevin Sandefur, and “Compensations,” by Candace Hartsuyker, both appearing in November 2021. The winning writer received a $500 cash prize, as well as regular payment. Finalists received $50.

Find other contest winners on our Contests page.

How do you submit work?

Email submissions to with the subject line clearly indicating the genre — fiction, nonfiction, poetry, review, artist on craft, or photography. Submissions should be attached in a Word document (docx., doc.), without names and contact info on the document. Please note: Unusual formatting in poetry cannot always be replicated on our site.

Please submit written material in only one category at a time (in other words, do not submit written work in multiple categories at the same time. The only exception to this: You may submit a written piece and photography simultaneously). In written pieces, please use only one space after periods.

Do not send new work for consideration until hearing back from us on the status of a current submission. Also if a piece is not accepted, please wait three to six months before submitting new work. Writers whose work has been accepted, please wait three months after its publication to submit new work. Thank you.

Please note: We typically do not consider pieces beyond the word lengths above. We also do not publish how-to articles, or work that is religious or political in nature, nor about current social issues.

What should accompany your submission?

Please include a 3-4 sentence bio and any social media handles (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), as well as a current email address and contact information. We review simultaneoussubmissions; please inform us of this status upon submission.

Does The Sunlight Press pay writers upon publication?

Yes, The Sunlight Press pays for originalwork only, via PayPal. We occasionally accept previously published work (in print, on a personal blog, or another digital publication) but offer no payment.

Our payment rates as of July 1, 2022 are as follows:

$40 for essays (including book reviews and Artist on Craft pieces)
$40 for fiction (short stories and flash fiction)
$30 for the first poem accepted, and $10 for each additional accepted in the same submission
$15 for photos

When will you hear from us?

Every submission will receive an email acknowledging receipt of the submission from the editors. Writers will be informed of the status of their submission within two to three months of submission. Please query after that time period if you have received no update.

The content of The Sunlight Press is exclusively online. The Sunlight Press claims first publishing rights, which revert to the author upon publication; however, please acknowledge The Sunlight Press if your work appears later online or in print. Many thanks.

Final word: We strive to publish pieces within six months of acceptance and welcome your query if that time period has passed.

Still have questions?

Additional information is published in a June 2018 Q&A with editors at the “Six Questions For…” editors blog. Read more here. Further questions, email us at We welcome all questions and inquiries.

Many thanks for considering us for your work.

How to Treat HangOver

During fiesta and birthday celebrations, drinking sessions with karaoke on the side is a normal visage of lively households. The celebrant host will always toast a bottle to commemorate the occassion while the guests appreciate the hospitality.

They will drink till the wee hours of the morning if the house owners are kind enough to offer the liquors they keep in the bar or cellar or the friends and relatives who came over are gallant to buy their own supply of beer and brandy. In our case without promoting the brand I prefer, Emperador Light is always on the table.

During and after those events, we will always end up drunk naturally coz while the brandy tastes good during funtime , your head will contradict in the moning or right after you vomit like a baby when you have enough. Yet you still want to drink more as you enjoy the singing and dancing with your family and friends forever.

So while your head is spinning like an earthquake is happening but only in your head, you will collapse and sleep wherever you are. Lucky you if you dont’t fall in the stairs, drainage or in the comfort of the toilet without banging your head to die or have a concussion or hemorrhage as the worst thing you may look for as a sign to stop and get sober the sooner and forget about brandy,whiskey,rum,beer, gin , wine and vodka

So help me God, going back to our problem, how is to cure hangover? Why do I always ask the same question yet I dare to follow the habit that my father used to do when he’s still alive on earth years before he died at 59. I remember one time my friend gave me a paracetamol to counter the headache after cups of coffee. So I always think of taking one whenever I feel nauseous. Lately someone told me to boil Malunggay leaves then drink it to lessen my suffering. While I massage my diaphragm with a rubbing ointment. But before that, I resort to drinking coconut juice, water melon shakes and eating bananas and a loaf of bread as another drunkard referred to eat tasty bread while drinking to let it absorb the acid, though she drank a shot while a piece of bread was stuck at the roof of her mouth so you can imagine what happened next.

According to Mayo Clinic via their website


Time is the only sure cure for a hangover. In the meantime, here are a few things you can do to help yourself feel better:

  • Fill your water bottle. Sip water or fruit juice to prevent dehydration. Resist any temptation to treat your hangover with more alcohol. It’ll only make you feel worse.
  • Have a snack. Bland foods, such as toast and crackers, may boost your blood sugar and settle your stomach. Bouillon soup can help replace lost salt and potassium.
  • Take a pain reliever. A standard dose of an over-the-counter pain reliever may ease your headache. But aspirin can irritate your stomach. And if you regularly drink alcohol to excess, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) can cause severe liver damage even in doses previously thought to be safe.
  • Go back to bed. If you sleep long enough, your hangover may be gone when you awaken.

Alternative medicine

Proposed alternative remedies for hangovers abound, but studies haven’t found any natural remedies that consistently improve hangover symptoms.

Talk with your doctor before trying any alternative medicine. Keep in mind that natural doesn’t always mean safe. Your doctor can help you understand possible risks and benefits before you try a treatment.

According to Harvard Medical School via their website

Dr. Robert Swift, a researcher at the Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Rhode Island, coauthored one of the few review papers on hangovers in 1998. It’s still one of the most frequently cited sources on the topic. The rundown on hangover remedies that follows is based on that review, an interview with Dr. Swift, and several other sources.

1. Hair of the dog. Drinking to ease the symptoms of a hangover is sometimes called taking the hair of the dog, or hair of the dog that bit you. The notion is that hangovers are a form of alcohol withdrawal, so a drink or two will ease the withdrawal.

There may be something to it, says Dr. Swift. Both alcohol and certain sedatives, such as benzodiazepines like diazepam (Valium), interact with GABA receptors on brain cells, he explains. And it’s well documented that some people have withdrawal symptoms from short-acting sedatives as they wear off. Perhaps the brain reacts similarly as blood alcohol levels begin to drop.

Even so, Dr. Swift advises against using alcohol as a hangover remedy. “The hair of the dog just perpetuates a cycle,” he says. “It doesn’t allow you to recover.”

2. Drink fluids. Alcohol promotes urination because it inhibits the release of vasopressin, a hormone that decreases the volume of urine made by the kidneys. If your hangover includes diarrhea, sweating, or vomiting, you may be even more dehydrated. Although nausea can make it difficult to get anything down, even just a few sips of water might help your hangover.

3. Get some carbohydrates into your system. Drinking may lower blood sugar levels, so theoretically some of the fatigue and headaches of a hangover may be from a brain working without enough of its main fuel. Moreover, many people forget to eat when they drink, further lowering their blood sugar. Toast and juice is a way to gently nudge levels back to normal.

4. Avoid darker-colored alcoholic beverages. Experiments have shown that clear liquors, such as vodka and gin, tend to cause hangovers less frequently than dark ones, such as whiskey, red wine, and tequila. The main form of alcohol in alcoholic beverages is ethanol, but the darker liquors contain chemically related compounds (congeners), including methanol. According to Dr. Swift’s review paper, the same enzymes process ethanol and methanol, but methanol metabolites are especially toxic, so they may cause a worse hangover.

5. Take a pain reliever, but not Tylenol. Aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, other brands), and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help with the headache and the overall achy feelings. NSAIDs, though, may irritate a stomach already irritated by alcohol. Don’t take acetaminophen (Tylenol). If alcohol is lingering in your system, it may accentuate acetaminophen’s toxic effects on the liver.

6. Drink coffee or tea. Caffeine may not have any special anti-hangover powers, but as a stimulant, it could help with the grogginess.

7. B vitamins and zinc. A study recently published in The Journal of Clinical Medicine evaluated the diets for 24 hours before and after excessive drinking occurred. It was a small study and results were based on the participants saying what they ate. However, they did find that people whose food and beverage consumption contained greater amounts of zinc and B vitamins had less severe hangovers.

Cats on the Hot Tin Roof

A white cat and a tiger cat started to be our pets since they frequented our garage or frontyard after lunch and dinner to eat our lefovers, or simply the bones, fats, parts and skins we couldn’t digest till my nephew took them as his pets to the point that he asked us to buy them food and gave them names based on the characters of a soap opera so we keep them loitering around the open air lanai especially in the tiled backyard where they sleep and eat near the plants in the soil. He just stopped caring for them when the white cat scratched him but that’s after the kittens came coz each of them got pregnant and bore kittens though the white cat was not able to keep hers, she ended up as the feeding mother to the kittens of the tiger cat.

Not a cat person, or just not keen to share the room with any animal though they come inside when the door is open so I have to chase them away in fear of having allergy, germs or asthma , aside from having a toddler and a kid in the house , but there was one time when I slept with a cat, which died years ago when I was alone, getting old but still afraid of the dark. I must say my penchant for them is so casual that I only give them time when I am feeding them in the backyard. We have at least 5 cats consisted of 2 stray cats plus their white and brown striped kittens now big as they are, and an old dog in his cage. To my surprise that I had to initially name my blog after them as worthy as what influenced Edgar Allan Poe to write about ravens perching and croaking above his chamber door and windows. So thanks to our cats which always hang out and run around our hot tin roof. Most of the time, they annoy me coz they make sounds at night while I am trying to sleep, it turns out that there are male black and gray cats taunting them to mate as they also want to procreate like humans so I try to ignore them. I wonder why they don’t like to chew rice, vegetables, crackers and bread unless they are so hungry. Have to check for scientific reasons soon.

Credits to the owners of the cats and their pictures here.

Coming up Next: Alchemy Of Souls Season 2

Photo by Netflix

After the teaser released on Nov. 9, 2022 as the first glimpse to Alchemy of Soul: Light and Shadow proving the resurrection of Jang Uk, came the second teaser annoucing the return of the Korean series for another set of episodes featuring the mages of Songrim, Sejukwon and Cheonbugwan dealing with heaven and earth , released on Nov. 19, 2022 by tvN, a South Korean nationwide pay television network.

Season 1 presented the flourishing battle of affection between Mu-deok and three characters in the series. Who must be the one to win her heart is still at large coz she has her own plans to accomplish before she would be able to put herself in the chaos that she is already full of. Yet the romance with Jang Uk is the most favored one to excel, not with other admirers who just stay in the sidelines of the story arcs. No matter how flagrant that they look better for her. But in Season 2 there must be an incoming factor from within that will change the texture of the story. Hoping that they can resolve the issue about these blue-eyed lovers.

Photo By Netflix

Back from his apparent death, Jang Uk (Lee Jae-wook) sprang in the air in the finale of Season 1 to continue his path proving himself in the epic setting based on Joseon era in the fictional kingdom of Daeho after he tried to save Mu-deok (Jung So-min). Together with Nak-su (Go Yoon-jung) , Jin Cho-yeon (Arin), Seo Yul (Hwang Min-hyun) and Park Dang-gu (Yoo In-soo) , they are back for good in Season 2 to have another parade of their traditional costumes on their quest for romance, fantasy , period drama and action.

As announced, the series will commence on Dec. 10, 2022 via tvN at 9:20 PM KST, to be simulcasted via Netflix Korea. With the same director-Park Joon-hwa and of course the writers – the famous Hong sisters, Jung-eun and Mi-ran, backing up this Korean fantasy series from the drawing board while burning the midnight oil till the wee hours of the morning as they prepared successfully to continue the saga about love and magic. This time though, Mu-deok (Jung So-min) as the love interest of Jang Uk , is not part of the teasers and posters affirming her absence in Season 2 yet her character is a vital part of the story. While Yoo Jun-sang as Park Jin and Oh Na-ra as Maidservant Kim are figured to reprise their respective roles from the previous season. Yet it must be a technique to cause intrigue and rumor so the fans will swarm to check if their lovestory continues to confirm whose hands are shown in the photo to tickle their fancy.