For 1,463 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 49% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 49% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

A.O. Scott's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 62
Highest review score: 100 Pépé le Moko (re-release)
Lowest review score: 0 Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000
Score distribution:
1,463 movie reviews
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Herzog’s film is a pulpy, glorious mess. Its maniacal unpredictability is such a blast that it reminds you just how tidy and dull most crime thrillers are these days.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The story is at once hilarious and horrific, its significance both self-evident and opaque. The same could be said of most of the Coen brothers’ movies, in which human existence and the attempt to find meaning in it are equally futile, if also sometimes a lot of fun. (For us, at least.)
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Broken Embraces leaves the viewer in a contradictory state, a mixture of devastation and euphoria, amusement and dismay that deserves its own clinical designation. Call it Almodóvaria, a syndrome from which some of us are more than happy to suffer.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    No movie can convey the truth of war to those of us who have not lived through it, but The Messenger, precisely by acknowledging just how hard it is to live with that truth, manages to bring it at least partway home.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    A sharply written, fast-talking, almost dementedly articulate satire on modern statecraft.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Art is a fairy tale we choose to believe in, and this movie, a fiction confected about real people, is too good not to be true.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Ms. Campion, with her restless camera movements and off-center close-ups, films history in the present tense, and her wild vitality makes this movie romantic in every possible sense of the word.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    It’s a sober, revelatory and absolutely vital film.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    In his memoir Mr. Bauby performed a heroic feat of alchemy, turning horror into wisdom, and Mr. Schnabel, following his example and paying tribute to his accomplishment, has turned pity into joy.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Coraline lingers in an atmosphere that is creepy, wonderfully strange and full of feeling.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    A memoir, a history lesson, a combat picture, a piece of investigative journalism and an altogether amazing film.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Thorough, understated and altogether enthralling documentary.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    It’s a small movie, and in some ways a very sad one, but it has an undeniable and authentic vitality, an exuberance of spirit, that feels welcome and rare.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Its low-key affect and decidedly human scale endow Once with an easy, lovable charm that a flashier production could never have achieved. The formula is simple: two people, a few instruments, 88 minutes and not a single false note.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Might be described as an epic landscape film, a sweetly comic coming-of-age story or a lyrical work of social realism. But the setting -- a windswept, sparely populated steppe in southern Kazakhstan -- gives the movie a mood that sometimes feels closer to that of science fiction.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    It is a heartbreaking film, and cruelty sometimes seems to be not only its subject but its method. Like the child on a high cliff that is one of its recurring images, the film walks up to the edge of hopelessness and pauses there, waiting to see what happens next.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Persepolis, austere as it may look, is full of warmth and surprise, alive with humor and a fierce independence of spirit.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Juno respects the idiosyncrasies of its characters rather than exaggerating them or holding them up for ridicule.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    By the end you know the characters in it so well that you can't believe you've seen the movie only once, yet on a second viewing it seems completely new. And that may be because the world they inhabit is immediately recognizable -- until we get to heaven, it's where we live -- and like no place you've been before.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Like its hero, the movie has a blunt, exuberant honesty, pulling off even its false moves with conviction and flair.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    28 Weeks Later is not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. It is brutal and almost exhaustingly terrifying, as any respectable zombie movie should be. It is also bracingly smart, both in its ideas and in its techniques.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Bronson invites you to admire its protagonist as a pure, muscular embodiment of anarchy. And perhaps you will, but you may also be glad that he’s still behind bars.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    I can't remember the last time the movies yielded up a love story so painful, so tender and so true.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The result is a movie that is challenging, accessible and hard to stop thinking about...But in too many recent movies intelligence is woefully undervalued, and it is this quality -- even more than its considerable beauty -- that distinguishes Little Children from its peers.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Neither sensationalistic nor sentimental, Ms. Berg’s film is clear-sighted, tough-minded and devastating, a portrait of individual criminality and institutional indifference, a study in the betrayal of trust and the irresponsibility of authority.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Less a parable of literary ethics than a showcase of literary personality, and it is in the end more touching than troubling.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    It is a relief to encounter such exuberant and infectious silliness.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Volver, full of surprises and reversals, unfolds with breathtaking ease and self-confidence. It is in some ways a smaller, simpler film than either "Talk to Her" or "Bad Education," choosing to tell its story without flashbacks or intricate parallel plots, but it is no less the work of a master.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The movie is at once a giddy mixture of farce, satire and opera buffa and a closely observed drama of social dislocation and cultural confusion.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Bamako is something different: a work of cool intelligence and profound anger, a long, dense, argument that is also a haunting visual poem.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    I hesitate, given the early date and the project's modesty, to call Into Great Silence one of the best films of the year. I prefer to think of it as the antidote to all of the others.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The history presented in The Wind That Shakes the Barley hardly feels like a closed book or a museum display. It is as alive and as troubling as anything on the evening news, though far more thoughtful and beautiful.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    This Lady Chatterley, winner of five César awards in France, feels bracingly fresh, vital and modern.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The Simpsons Movie, in the end, is as good as an average episode of "The Simpsons." In other words, I’d be willing to watch it only -- excuse me while I crunch some numbers here -- 20 or 30 more times.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The rigor of Mr. Cronenberg’s direction sometimes seems at odds with the humanism of Mr. Knight’s script, but more often the director’s ruthless formal command rescues the story from its maudlin impulses. Mr. Knight aims earnestly for your heartstrings, but Mr. Cronenberg insists on getting under your skin. The result is a movie whose images and implications are likely to stay in your head for a long time.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    You don’t have to know anything about Joy Division to grasp the mysterious sorrow at its heart.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The film is much more than a biography of the Clash’s guitarist and lead singer: It’s history, criticism, philosophy and politics, played fast and loud.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Among its many achievements, Todd Haynes’s I’m Not There hurls a Molotov cocktail through the facade of the Hollywood biopic factory.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    What is so remarkable about Mr. Langella is that he seems to hold Leonard’s intellectual cosmos inside him, to make it implicit in the man’s every gesture and pause.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    More of a hoot than any picture dealing with the bloody, protracted fight between the Soviet Army and the Afghan mujahedeen has any right to be.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The curious thing about The Visitor is that even as it goes more or less where you think it will, it still manages to surprise you along the way.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Mongol -- or, as I prefer to think of it, "Genghis Khan: The Early Years" -- is a big, ponderous epic, its beautifully composed landscape shots punctuated by thundering hooves and bloody, slow-motion battle sequences.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    It is to Mr. Gibney’s great credit that while he pays due attention to the outsize, cartoonish celebrity persona Thompson fell back on when his literary powers began to wane, this film concentrates on the bold, innovative journalism that secured Thompson’s reputation and assures his immortality.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    May not advance any grand new thesis about the South and its history, but it turns an old house into a rich and strange repository of local knowledge.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    This movie is crowded and sprawling, and if it rambles sometimes, that's just fine. Like those big, boxy Caddies (and like Howlin’ Wolf, if he did say so himself), it's built for comfort, not for speed. It hums, it purrs and it roars.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    What will happen to her? The strength of this short, simple, perfect story of a young woman and her dog is that this does not seem, by the end, to be an idle or trivial question. What happens to Wendy -- and to Lucy -- matters a lot, which is to say that Wendy and Lucy, for all its modesty, matters a lot too.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    It is a deeply personal piece of art that never descends into the confessional or the therapeutic, and a work of social and literary criticism that never lectures or hectors, but rather, with melancholy, tenderness and wit, manages to sing.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    There are no simple answers or obvious conclusions to be gleaned from this movie, which, like its soundtrack, is both sad and vibrant, meandering and formally sure-footed. It is an exciting debut, and a film that, without exaggeration or false modesty, finds interest and feeling in the world just as it is.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Toback's film, partly because it restricts itself to Mr. Tyson's point of view, offers a rare and vivid study in the complexity of a single suffering, raging soul. It is not an entirely trustworthy movie, but it does feel profoundly honest.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    A rich, thought-provoking film.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Soul Power, as aptly and succinctly titled a movie as I have ever seen, takes you to a place where the discipline that produces great popular art is indistinguishable from the ecstasy that art creates.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Lorna's Silence is engrossing and powerful, which may be just another way of saying it's a film by the Dardenne brothers. If it falls a bit short of the standards of their best work, that is only because it is not quite a masterpiece.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Beeswax, at first glance a modest, ragged slice of contemporary life, turns out to be a remarkably subtle, even elegant movie.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Ahead of us lie many more documentaries similar in tone and spirit to this one. We can hope that at least a few of them are as intelligently and artfully made.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    It is only fitting that a movie concerned with the power and beauty of drawing -- the almost sacred magic of color and line -- should be so gorgeously and intricately drawn.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    It is the funniest and saddest movie Mr. Baumbach has made so far, and also the riskiest.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    One of the funniest, and most telling, films of the year. The filmmakers call "Kid" a documentary, but the movie is one of the unusual kind that is firmly lodged inside the subject's perspective.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    A handmade dream, cobbled together from dirt, wood and more imagination than most of us can muster in our most fevered states. Because this Czech master refuses to work in the scrubbed, antiseptic manner of most animators, this fable comes to life as hilarious and creepy.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    So good because it is one of those rare documentaries that combine information with smashing entertainment.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The cumulative effect is that of watching misspent lives disintegrate before your eyes. Ms. Miller's canny accomplishment is a triumph, giving the material weight and heart. This is one of the finest pictures of the year.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Serves up its scattershot plots as if they were lined up on a menu, moving from appetizer to entree: there are more intrigues here than in the court of the Medicis.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    One of the most subtle and inspired comedies you'll see this year.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Packed with revelations and withheld information that comes to life; it is like an old movie castle full of false fireplaces and trap doors.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Peck's gambit works, and the result is a great film and a great performance.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Fastidious and smart, and Ms. Swinton's fixated intensity isn't ever remote; we're always aware of how deeply she's feeling. Her work is magnificent.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Easily one of the finest pictures of 2003 or any other year.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The anomalous proliferation of scenic beauty gives Mr. Nolan irony to play with, and he uses it spectacularly. The director and his gifted cinematographer, Wally Pfister, are clearly turned on by all this wasted beauty.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    This film has a conquering spirit. The dankness is replaced by an optimistic blast of sunlight at the end, a contrast to the earlier lighting dimmed with human misery. Mr. Frears blasts away the blight, though he doesn't have to work to restore Okwe's dignity. It shines through from the start.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Marvelously quick-witted and gloriously goofy hand-drawn feature shows there's still more than 21 grams of life left in the form.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Has enough going on to make it a classic. You'll want to own it.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The level of accomplishment in the filmmaking is overwhelming.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Doesn't try to cram messages of uplift down its audience's gullet. It's a great eggscape from banality.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Delicate and altogether satisfying romantic comedy.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The movie's writer and director, Tom McCarthy, has such an appreciation for quiet that it occupies the same space as a character in this film, a delicate, thoughtful and often hilarious take on loneliness.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Even better on a second viewing because the film is such a pure expression of the director's love for the music, a love so infectious it should leave you elated.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Director Alfonso Cuarón works with a quicksilver fluidity, and the movie is fast, funny, unafraid of sexuality and finally devastating.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    It's undeniably a trifle, but rarely is something like this done with such skill and, well, savoir-faire.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Tsai not only gives the audience a chance to breathe but also lets us luxuriate in the mood of deadpan melancholy his movie evokes so beautifully.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The movie is full of juices that give it a healthy, pungent flow.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    There's more to everyone here than we're initially led to think. The Good Girl is like a neurotically charged post-millennial take on the trailer-park comedies that Jonathan Demme once claimed for himself.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Something not seen in movie theaters for a long time: an intelligent, modern screwball comedy, a minor classic on the order of competent, fast-talking curve balls about deception and greed like Mitchell Leisen's "Easy Living" and Billy Wilder's "Major and the Minor."
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Their comedy gives audiences that have never seen anything like it a hilarious window on a new world.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Deftly swings to a spartan, engrossing climax, and the final twists spell out what the murderers are made of and the setting responsible for creating them. It is a true piece of film magic.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    This dream of a movie is set in such a place; with its delicate shifts of tone, it could be a fairy tale by Faulkner
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Extremely enjoyable, though a few degrees shy of perfection.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    There hasn't been a film in years to use creative energy as efficiently as Monsters, Inc.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Hedges's intelligent and touching farce, Pieces of April, makes an important contribution to a small and insignificant subgenre: Thanksgiving Day failure. It does so by raising the bar.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    There is no denying that Amélie is, to paraphrase its title, fabulous.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Jarecki finds a way to show that denial and hope often grow from the same vine. Lives are built around the way they're harvested -- and this talented director has a feel for the soil.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The picture is more fun than it has a right to be.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The towering, lost dreaminess at the heart of the film is an unmistakable obsession of this director.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    This is historical filmmaking without the balm of right-thinking ideology, either liberal or conservative. Gangs of New York is nearly a great movie. I suspect that, over time, it will make up the distance.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Praise will stick with you. It's more than worthy of its title.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Be warned: it's a downer, and a knockout.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Sweet Sixteen shows that he's (Loach) as capable of anger as his protagonist and just as eager to draw attention to an unchanging problem: the blight of generational poverty.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Who would have expected Ms. Zellweger --- and Miramax -- to come through in a musical? And it's one of the few Christmas entertainments to run under two hours. Who couldn't love that?
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The playful spookiness of Mr. Jackson's direction provides a lively, light touch, a gesture that doesn't normally come to mind when Tolkien's name is mentioned.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Never has a film so strongly been a product of a director's respect for its source. Mr. Jackson uses all his talents in the service of that reverence, creating a rare perfect mating of filmmaker and material.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Patwardhan has located so much information and found so many willing interview subjects that his War and Peace has a riveting intelligence all its own and earns its epic title.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    A show not simply preserved by Mr. Lee’s camera, but brought, somehow, to its fullest, strangest, most electrifying realization.

Top Trailers