For 720 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 30% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 68% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 0.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Anthony Lane's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Mad Max: Fury Road
Lowest review score: 0 The Da Vinci Code
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 50 out of 720
720 movie reviews
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Its kitschy grabs at the surreal--the scene in a lunatic asylum, where German troops are billeted, manages to be at once implausible and offensive--that blocks any close engagement with the drama. That said, you must see this film for one unstoppable reason, and that is Lee Marvin.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Christopher Nolan, for all his visionary flair, wants to suck the comic out of comic books; Anne Hathaway wants to put it back in. Take your pick.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Mesrine was no more a movie star than John Dillinger was, but both men could dream, and Cassel catches the folly of such dreaming, with its blasts of thuggery and its rare flashes of style, as neatly as anyone since Warren Oates took the title role of "Dillinger," in 1973.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    There is no denying the boldness of Persepolis, both in design and in moral complaint, but there must surely be moments, in Marjane’s life as in ours, that cry out for cross-hatching and the grown-up grayness of doubt.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    To find a comic-book hero who doesn’t agonize over his supergifts, and would defend his constitutional right to get a kick out of them, is frankly a relief.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The result is at once a work of efficient charm and, to those of us who treasured Frears in his more acerbic phase, a mild disappointment.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    I gradually grew more interested in Curtis, who has his own solitude to cope with. This represents the first non-comic leading role for Robinson (moviegoers will know him from “Pineapple Express” and “Hot Tub Time Machine,” among other films), and he commands it with a gruff and amiable ease.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The Valet does not show Veber at his best. His palate for misunderstandings of every vintage is as refined as ever; what he has lost is his taste for human failing.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    No one is denying the energy and the dread that stalked the best B movies of the past, but, when the best director of the present revives such monsters, how can he hope to do better than a B-plus?
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    This Must Be the Place is dazzling to behold, not least when our hero leaves Ireland. [29 Oct. & 5 Nov. 2012, p.128]
    • The New Yorker
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    In short, The Last of the Unjust is every bit as quarrelsome as it should be. Murmelstein, recounting the circumstances in which he took mortally serious decisions, dares to ask us if we could have done any better.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Shyamalan often tries too hard, but nobody else can conjure such a sudden flood of worry, or summon so unmistakable a stink of evil, and you come out of Signs, as you did from "The Sixth Sense," in severe need of loud music, bad jokes, and drinks with cherries and umbrellas in them -- anything to waft away the fug of unease. [12 August 2002, p. 82]
    • The New Yorker
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    It is the most oppressive of the great tragedies, and "Macbeth" aside, the leanest, and the task that Fiennes has set himself is to liberate it from the theatrical while preserving the dramatic bite. In that, he succeeds with brio. [23 Jan. 2012, p.86]
    • The New Yorker
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Yet the film, directed by Laurent Tirard, has something. To be exact, it has Fabrice Luchini and Laura Morante, as M. and Mme. Jourdain.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Although Not Quite Hollywood was clearly put together with fanatical love, the suspicion remains, as often with genre cinema, that these trash-rich movies are a lot more fun to hear about, and to watch in snatches, than to sit through.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Why see this film? Partly because of the leading men, but mainly because of a girl. An Australian actress named Angourie Rice plays March’s daughter, Holly, who is thirteen.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The hitch with tales of endurance, onscreen, is their unfortunate habit of becoming endurance tests for the viewer, and, after a while, The Revenant turns into a slog. Make no mistake, it’s a very beautiful slog. Emmanuel Lubezki’s cinematography summons a wealth of wonders.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    One problem with Lawless, though, is that it feels chock-full of entrances that never quite lead anywhere. [3 Sept. 2012, p.78]
    • The New Yorker
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The deep drawback of Taking Sides is that it forgets to be interested in music. [8 September 2003, p. 100]
    • The New Yorker
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Noomi Rapace throws herself into the title role, but something about the conception of her character, and about the far-reaching urgency of the sociopathic shocks behind the killing, smacks of a filmmaker pushing too hard. That is why the movie finds it impossible to wind things up.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Maps to the Stars is at its most potent and beautiful by far when it becomes a ghost story — when the departed, not just Havana’s mother, return to quiz the living.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The director is John Lee Hancock, who does what he did with “The Blind Side,” where he commandeered a true and jagged tale, tidied up the trauma, and made sure that everyone lived sappily ever after. Sandra Bullock carried the day then, and now Emma Thompson repeats the process.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The movie is a daunting blend of head trip, cinéma vérité, music video, and auto-therapy.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The air of mystery here is appealing, because the secrets behind it seem to matter both a great deal and not at all--rather like love, which has been Lelouch’s subject ever since he made "A Man and a Woman."
    • 91 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    How could Frears and his cast rise above the sins of the miniseries? One answer is the force of that cast...The other thing that rescues and refines The Queen is one of the basic bonuses of moviegoing, more familiar of late from documentaries like "Touching the Void" and "Capturing the Friedmans": you come out arguing.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Nothing here is so well defined, and the tone of the film begins to suffer. I cannot imagine returning to it as one does to "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz," hungry for fresh minutiae. [2 Sept. 2013, p.80]
    • The New Yorker
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The great Bebe Neuwirth should apply for a patent on her slow and dirty smile. The scene in which she introduces her new conquest to her girlfriends over tea, and pretty well pimps him to any takers, is worth the price of a ticket. [29 July 2002, p. 92]
    • The New Yorker
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Cronenberg made a movie called “The Dead Zone,” and I sometimes wonder whether, for all his formal brilliance, he has ever torn himself away from that locked-in, airless state of mind. You walk out of Eastern Promises feeling spooked and sullied, as if waking from a noisome dream.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The best reason to watch Little Men is Michael Barbieri, who musters a blend of soulfulness and aggression that would be remarkable at any age.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Cedar Rapids is certainly a guys' movie, yet it leaves us with the unmistakable impression that men are simple engines. [28 Feb. 2011, p. 80]
    • The New Yorker
    • 58 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Quantum of Solace is too savage for family entertainment, but, as a study in headlong desperation, it's easier to believe in than many more ponderous films.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The film has a resigned bitterness, hard to shake off, that feels right for the experience of tough guys, from whatever period of history, who find themselves at the tattered edge of what they take to be civilization.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Nobody could leave The Life Aquatic without the impression of having nearly drowned in some secret and melancholy game.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Smart, saucy, and ingenious in the extreme. The trouble is that when a subtext is dragged to the fore, however splendidly, the poor old text gets lost.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    For all its scruffiness, the lurching strike-rate of its gags, and the unmistakable smell of amateur dramatics given off by its repertory of rotating players with their stick-on Ted Nugent beards, Life of Brian jitters with good will. [3 May 2004, p. 110]
    • The New Yorker
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    There is honor, boldness, and grip in the new movie, but other directors can deliver those. Werner Herzog is the last great hallucinator in cinema, so why break the spell?
    • 89 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The project gave me pause. Although Oppenheimer has called it “a documentary of the imagination,” whatever that means, would a measure of investigation have spoiled it? We hear that Congo personally exterminated a thousand people. Does that figure stand up, and does it not matter more than his dawning remorse? There is no disputing that we are right at the heart of darkness, but around it is a larger body of evidence, which awaits another explorer.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Lincoln, written by Tony Kushner, directed by Steven Spielberg, and derived in part from Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals," is a curious beast. The title suggests a monolith, as if going to this movie were tantamount to visiting Mt. Rushmore, and the running time, of two and a half hours, prepares you for an epic. Yet the film is a cramped and ornery affair, with Spielberg going into lockdown mode even more thoroughly than he did in "The Terminal."
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The movie has a hard forties snap to it -- lust is a weapon and love is a letdown.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The latest showpiece for computer animation, with all the contoured, suspiciously gleaming perfection that this entails.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The movie is over before you know it, and is not one to linger in the mind, or indeed pass through the mind at all; but it's a good-humored ride for the senses, never too sickly, and who can say no to that?
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Still, there is a time to stop quibbling, and to laud the fact that this movie was made at all. [24 June 2013, p.85]
    • The New Yorker
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The brilliance of Fin is that he reins in a lifetime of rage, and there is a determination in his eye, and in the line of his chin, that practiced moviegoers will, possibly to their surprise, identify as halfway to sexy--the world-weary smolder of the leading man. [6 October 2003, p. 138]
    • The New Yorker
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Craig has the courage to present a hollow man, flooding the empty rooms where his better nature should be with brutality and threat. His smile is more frightening than his straight face, and he doesn’t bother with the throwaway quips that were meant to endear us to the other Bonds.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    British director Michael Winterbottom has made his best and most driven picture to date. [22 September 2003, p. 202]
    • The New Yorker
    • 90 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Jacques Audiard’s film, which lasts two and a half hours, maintains an unflagging urgency, stalling only when the double-dealing grows too dense.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The sense of period, of ungainly English pride, is funny and acute, but the movie mislays its sense of wit as the girls grow up.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The weirdness of Truth — and, I fear, its involuntary comic value — arises from a disparity between the sparse and finicky minutiae of the narrative and the somewhat bouffant style of the presentation.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The result, though corny at times, treads close to madness and majesty alike, and nobody but Gibson could have made it.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The result is an unorthodox blend of courtroom drama and old-style weepie, and somehow it comes off. [23 Dec 1993]
    • The New Yorker
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Beauty and the Beast is delectably done; when it’s over, though, and when the spell is snapped, it melts away, like cotton candy on the tongue.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    A trim thriller with an enviable lack of grandeur. [21 Jan. 2013, p.79]
    • The New Yorker
    • 36 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    A short, meaningless blast of fun from Disney.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The result is a sad suburban pastoral, a strain of film you don't see much of, or not enough; it may feel somewhat stretched, and Rush's additions to Carver barely push it past ninety minutes, but anything hectic or hasty would have spoiled the mood. [16 May 2011, p. 132]
    • The New Yorker
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    What the novels leave us with, and what emerges more fitfully from this film, as if in shafts of sunlight, is the growing realization that, although our existence is indisputably safer, softer, cleaner, and more dependable than the lives led by Captain Aubrey and his men, theirs were in some immeasurable way better. [17 November 2003, p. 172]
    • The New Yorker
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Precisely thirty-six times more interesting than “The Girl on the Train.” Where the conceit of that movie feels timid, cooked up, and culturally thin, Anvari’s is nourished by a near-traumatic sense of history, and, in terms of feminist pluck, Rashidi’s presence, in the leading role, is both gutsier and more plausible than the combined efforts of all the main performers in Taylor’s film.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Even as this fine documentary unveils the "mystery woman," as she once described herself, it remains intent on the molding of her myth. [31 March 2014, p.80]
    • The New Yorker
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    This is not life imitating art. This is art going to bed with life and staying there for the rest of the afternoon. [31 March 2014, p.81]
    • The New Yorker
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    To my eyes, the whole thing past in a blur of fabulous collage. [2 September 2002, p. 152]
    • The New Yorker
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The Darjeeling Limited works best when the level of artifice is at its highest and most overt.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    There is no narrator; rather, we are invited to eavesdrop on--or to get an earful from--such figures as Hassan Ibrahim, a jovial reporter with Al Jazeera, and Samir Khader, one of the network’s senior producers. [24 May 2004, p. 97]
    • The New Yorker
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The drama is stuck with that ethical rigor, and we are left with a near-heretical irony: thanks to this admiring tribute, our hero gets top billing at last, but was he not more beguiling, somehow, as a legendary figure in the shadows?
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    I am casting no aspersions on the director when I say that The Saddest Music in the World is a work of manic depression. The mania is there in the frenzied editing, the inability to concentrate on a detail for more than a few seconds; and the depression is there in the forcible lowering of spirits. [10 May 2004, p. 107]
    • The New Yorker
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    As “Eight Days a Week” springs from color to black-and-white, and as frenzied action is intercut with stills, we get a delicious sense of doubleness. The Beatles now belong to an honored past, stuck there like an obelisk, and yet here they are, alive—busting out all over, time and time again. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    The writer and director, Paul King, scatters the tale with handfuls of eccentric charm, first in the forest and then in the home of the Browns. At one point, borrowing freely from Wes Anderson, he frames it as a living doll’s house, with each member of the family hard at work or play in a different room.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    When I first saw the movie, at a festival, it wavered on the brink of the precious. That changed on a second viewing. Most of Francofonia now seems tender, stirring, and imperilled.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Along with Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson, Burton is one of the few magi who know what can be dredged up, even now, from the cauldron of special effects. [21 May 2012, p.80]
    • The New Yorker
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    By temperament, Abrams is more of a Spielbergian than he is a Lucasite. His visual wit may not be, as it is for Spielberg, a near-magical reflex, but nor is Abrams suckered into bombast by technological zeal, as Lucas has been, and the new movie, as an act of pure storytelling, streams by with fluency and zip. To sum up: “Star Wars” was broke, and it did need fixing. And here is the answer.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Against all expectations, you approach Rabbit Hole with a heavy heart and leave with a lighter one.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Meanwhile, everyone in the theatre is thinking: Given that I paid good money to learn about the world’s most frightening cocaine king, why am I watching a movie about the world’s most stupid Canadian?
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Screenwriter Richard LaGravenese and director Clint Eastwood have turned out something sombre and restrained -- almost, in fact, good (though it's too long).
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Anthony Lane
    Of the many heists and grabs that litter the movie, none is as blatant as the deft, irrepressible manner in which Ferguson, displaying a light smile and a brisk way with a knife, steals the show. Poor Tom Cruise. He can’t even steal a kiss.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    As for the title, well, it made me think of Thomas Carlyle's wife, who read Browning's long poem "Sordello," enjoyed it, but still couldn't work out whether Sordello was a man, a city, or a book. So it is with 2046. A place? A date? A hotel room? A bar tab? You tell me.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    Even when the male of the species tries to do better, he does his worst; and the most merciless verdict in Klown is delivered not by the law, or by fate, but by the eyes of women.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    Never has a blockbuster, I would guess, required so many soliloquies. What with the mournful Molina, the hazed-over Dunst, and the puffy uncertainties of Maguire, we in the audience are the only ones who still believe, without qualification, in thrill and spill.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    At best, I Love You Phillip Morris may be hailed as a necessary step in Hollywood's fearful crawl toward sexual evenhandedness; the film upholds the constitutional right of every gay man to be as much of a liar, a crook, and a creep as the rest of us. Makes you proud.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    There was always a dreaminess in his vision of the city, but now it feels as distant as the polished floors and the Deco furnishings of the Fred Astaire movies that Boris finds--of course--whenever he turns on the TV.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    The allure of San Andreas rests entirely on the calibre of its pandemonium, savored, ideally, with a brawling audience on a Friday night. Indeed, it is the kind of movie that makes me want to campaign for the serving of alcohol in leading cinema chains — mandatory beer, I propose, with shots of Jim Beam to toast the dialogue.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    Huggins is brash and brisk, of course, with Moretti cleaving to an old-fashioned myth of the American interloper. But Turturro is slightly too broad for the occasion, relishing the outbursts of the spoiled star.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    The ambition is laudable, but Tim Miller’s movie, far from seeming reckless and loose-limbed, comes across as pathologically calculated, measuring out its nastiness to the last drop.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    Hardy gave his heroine a symphonic range, and all an actress can do is pick out certain tones and strains — the fluted whimsy by which Bathsheba is occasionally stirred, or the brassiness of her anger. Julie Christie was the more accomplished flirt, and her beauty was composed of fire and air, whereas Mulligan relies more darkly on earth and water.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    There are treasures in Knight of Cups. It’s worth seeing just for the underwater shots of dogs as they plunge, mouths laughingly agape, into a pool to grab a tennis ball.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    Makes a suitable staging post in Witherspoon's headlong career. She may want to forget it by Christmas, yet its cushioned slackness allows her to sharpen her grasp of a steely American type: the girl next door who will kill to get out of town. [30 Sept 2002, p. 145]
    • The New Yorker
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    One imagined that a movie about the Crusades would be gallant and mad; one feared that it might stoke some antiquated prejudice. But who could have dreamed that it would produce this rambling, hollow show about a boy?
    • 40 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    You may feel safe in your bed, but be warned: even as you sleep, Earth is under threat from a vast, overheated surplus of character actors.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    Indeed, the whole film is oddly poised between the pensive and the peevish, with a topdressing of high jinks.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    For all the lunacies bared within this film, it has the tick and thrum of a solid studio machine, occasionally shocking but never surprising; it will be watched by everybody, but it feels as if it were made by nobody. [14 & 21 October 2002, p. 226]
    • The New Yorker
    • 34 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    Comes in well under the ninety-minute mark, leaving no room for bombast or overkill.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    The one, transfixing virtue of Marie Antoinette is its unembarrassed devotion to the superficial. There is no morality at play here, no agony other than boredom, and, until the last half hour, not a shred of political sense. The fun dies out of the film--in fact, the film itself expires--when Coppola suddenly starts dragging in discussions of the American Revolution.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    If you fancy a modern "Marty," with the old warmth muffled by unfriendly snow, go right ahead. [20 Sept. 2010, p.121]
    • The New Yorker
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    The Fighter, for all the dedication of its players, takes a heavy swing at us, and misses.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    In Insomnia, the crunch comes as the hero and his opposite number hook up on a ferry, to discuss what each of them knows about the other. This should be Nolan's big moment, his answer to that quiet, magnificent interlude in Michael Mann's "Heat," when Pacino met De Niro in a coffee shop. -- But Williams and Pacino just don't mesh. [27 May 2002, p.124]
    • The New Yorker
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    Much of Sutcliff's most charged material - the chariot scene, a wolf cub that Marcus rears - is omitted from the movie, and once he and Esca embark on their quest the sense of action grows listless, and our heroes start to seem anxious, wet, and bored. [14 & 21 Feb. 2011, p. 138]
    • The New Yorker
    • 83 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    Why, then, do we not feel bullied by the result? Partly because the camera, as I say, tells a subtler tale than the dialogue does, and lures us into a grudging respect for the bravado of Muse and his men; but mainly because of Tom Hanks. This most likable of actors deliberately presents us with a character who makes no effort to be liked.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    Most important, given that Onkalo will hide and bury just some of Finland's waste, what about everyone else's? [14 & 21 Feb. 2011, p. 139]
    • The New Yorker
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    The joke is that Wiener-Dog is about as non-epic as can be, but there’s also a sleight of hand, with the dazzle of the images distracting us from the fact that the movie has run out of plot. Meanwhile, the depths of doghood remain unplumbed.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    As nonsense goes, this has a certain gusto and glee, and what dismayed me was that Bekmambetov felt the need to spice it with the addition of coarsely chopped violence.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    The sticking point of the movie is its exorbitant length: two and three-quarter hours does seem like an awful long time to patch up a horse, and a movie that goes straight for your heart should not be allowed to fester.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    It treads enjoyably over old ground, and it has a surprisingly foul mouth, though rather than cruising along with the ease of Allen's best work it tends to hobble, and it closes in a flurry of undecided endings.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Anthony Lane
    "All good stories deserve embellishment," Gandalf says to Bilbo before they set off, and one has to ask whether the weight of embellishment, on this occasion, makes the journey drag, and why it leaves us more astounded than moved. And yet, on balance, honor has been done to Tolkien, not least in the famous riddle game between Bilbo and Gollum.

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