For 1,752 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 50% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 48% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 1.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

A.O. Scott's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Mad Max: Fury Road
Lowest review score: 0 Seven Pounds
Score distribution:
1752 movie reviews
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    It is appropriately blunt, powerful and relentless, a study of male bodies in sweaty motion and masculine emotions in teary turmoil.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Full of ideas about sexuality - some quite provocative, even a century after their first articulation - but it also recognizes and communicates the erotic power of ideas.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Juno respects the idiosyncrasies of its characters rather than exaggerating them or holding them up for ridicule.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    What Winter on Fire lacks in journalistic detachment it more than makes up for in fidelity to the feelings and motives of the participants. It’s more than just a portrait of terror, anger, desperation and resolve; it communicates those emotions directly, into the bloodstream and nervous system of the audience.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Easily one of the finest pictures of 2003 or any other year.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Krokidas deftly shows how the ambition to write is entangled with other impulses.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Personal Shopper is sleek and spooky, seductive and suspenseful. It flirts with silliness, as ghost stories do. And also with heartbreak.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    [Mr. Audiard] makes popcorn movies disguised as art films, and vice versa. Dheepan is a bit like a Liam Neeson revenge-dad action thriller directed by the Dardenne brothers. I mean that in the best possible way.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    You leave with a vivid sense of the man’s living presence and a reasonably thorough account of his life, work and associations. Given the sheer volume and variety of the work in question, this is an impressive achievement.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    There is something startling, even shocking, about the angle of vision Mr. Frammartino imposes by juxtaposing apparently disparate elements and lingering on what seem at first to be insignificant details. You have never seen anything like this movie, even though what it shows you has been there all along.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    There is plenty of drama in a teenager’s everyday life — no need to sensationalize — and Morris From America feels true to both the pleasures and the frustrations of its title character.
    • 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.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    It’s not so much a work of art as a triumph of craft, and therefore a reminder of the deep pleasures of old-fashioned technique and long experience.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Extremely enjoyable, though a few degrees shy of perfection.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Almost magically, The Walk transforms itself into a beguiling caper movie, full of comic energy and nimble ingenuity.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Schadenfreude and disgust may be unavoidable, but to withhold all sympathy from the Siegels is to deny their humanity and shortchange your own. Marvel at the ornate frame, mock the vulgarity of the images if you want, but let's not kid ourselves. If this film is a portrait, it is also a mirror.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The contradictions of adolescence have rarely been conveyed with such authenticity and force.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    In some ways his (Anderson) most fully realized and satisfying film. Once you adjust to its stop-and-start rhythms and its scruffy looks, you can appreciate its wit, its beauty and the sly gravity of its emotional undercurrents.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Take This Waltz, Sarah Polley's honest, sure-footed, emotionally generous second feature. Ms. Williams, one of the bravest and smartest actresses working in movies today, portrays a young woman who is indecisive and confused, but never passive.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    People talk but don't say too much, and as curious and thorough as Ms. Paravel and Mr. Sniadecki are - Foreign Parts is the result of many months of patient filming - they are too polite to pry. But their tact adds to the richness of their film, which discovers a busy, complicated world within the space of few unlovely city blocks.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The accomplishment of this movie is that it allows you to sympathize with them, to acknowledge the reality of their predicament, without letting them off the hook or forgetting the damage they did.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    There is no denying that Amélie is, to paraphrase its title, fabulous.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Its images and scenes are suffused by an intensity that seems almost to be a quality of the light and air as they play across Ms. Chemla’s watchful, sometimes inscrutable features.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Marcello tells a simple, touching tale that seems to contain a whole cosmos of meaning.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Its scrupulous, humane sympathy gives this small, sorrowful film a glow of insight and a pulse of genuine, openhearted curiosity.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    If he is a self-revealing writer, it is not in the usual, confessional sense, but rather because he seems so strongly present in his books, with a personality that is both the source and aftereffect of the prose.
    • 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.
    • 69 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Even as she stops at familiar stations on the road to maturity — problems at home and school, new friendships and first love — Ms. Sciamma revels in the risky, reckless exuberance of adolescence and in the sheer joy of filming it.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    You don’t have to know anything about Joy Division to grasp the mysterious sorrow at its heart.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The level of accomplishment in the filmmaking is overwhelming.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Graduation is long and intense, a rigorously naturalistic film that at times feels as claustrophobic and suspenseful as a horror movie. Like Mr. Mungiu’s other work, it is a thriller of sorts, built around an excruciating ethical problem. He is unstinting in his sympathy and unsparing in his judgment.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    One of the pleasures of Ajami, a tough and in many ways unsparing movie, is its deep immersion in the beats and melodies of everyday life in Jaffa and beyond.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Beyond the Lights may be a fantasy — movies about love, like songs about love, tend to fall into that category — but it is an uncommonly smart and honest fantasy.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    A shockingly hilarious, stiletto-sharp satire directed by Chris Morris and written by a squad of British wits.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    At under 90 minutes, Around a Small Mountain is, by Mr. Rivette’s standards, a small vignette. It could have been —--and perhaps was -- part of something longer and more complex, but it stands as perfectly on its own as Pic St.-Loup, marvelous to contemplate and changing slightly every time you see it.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Coraline lingers in an atmosphere that is creepy, wonderfully strange and full of feeling.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The rounded-off corners of the almost-square frames evoke early movies and antique photographs, and there is wit and mischief in the way Mr. Alonso plays with the relationship between what we see, what we don’t see and what we expect to see.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    This is a comedy, with plenty of acutely funny lines, a handful of sharp sight gags and a few minutes of pure, perfect madcap. But a grim, unmistakable shadow falls across its wintry landscape.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    A sharply written, fast-talking, almost dementedly articulate satire on modern statecraft.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    CQ
    May not make the splash it should; films about moviemaking rarely do. And that would be a shame, because the contrasts the director sets in motion and keeps playing against each other make an entertaining wrestling match.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The film collects a cast of performers who know how to be funny. The success of this movie, following a formula upheld by just about any recent hit comedy you can name, lies as much with supporting players and plot-derailing set pieces as with the central story and characters.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Plympton rewrites the laws of physics at will, but within a rigorous and coherent logic. He conjures a world of absolute improbability that, somehow, makes perfect sense.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    When Mr. Greengrass made "United 93," his 2006 reconstruction of one of the Sept. 11 hijackings, some people fretted that it was too soon. My own response to Green Zone is almost exactly the opposite: it's about time.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    It’s both funny and serious without trying too hard to be either, and by trying above all to be honest.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Echoes its director's own deportment as a performer, alternating silky smoothness with burlap coarseness. Though Mr. Malkovich stays entirely behind the scenes, he creates a languorous but gripping story of people fighting to stay a step ahead of hopelessness.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    What keeps Bolt fresh is an unaffected exuberance, a genuine sense of fun, that is expressed above all through obsessive attention to craft.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The result is a film with a stately, deliberate quality that insulates it against sentimentality and makes it all the more devastating.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Its scenes, quiet and undramatic, are nonetheless suffused with an almost lyrical intensity, and its sympathy is as limitless as its curiosity.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Though the story sometimes wanders into hazy, corny sentiment, its protagonist (called Felix Bush, which was apparently a nickname or alias of Breazeale's) is vivid, enigmatic and unpredictable.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The ultimate caper, a work of brazen ebullience.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    There is nonetheless a lyricism at its heart, an unsentimental, soulful appreciation of the grace that resides in even the meanest struggle for survival.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Amusingly gamy, an anecdotal crime film that's an antidote to the pile of overly slick robbery pictures of the past few years.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    If you need reassurance or grounds for optimism about the Middle East, you will not find it here. What you will find is rare, welcome and almost unbearable clarity.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Magic Mike XXL boldly flouts pop-cultural conventional wisdom. It’s often said that an explanation of a joke can’t be funny, and that the analysis of pornography is never sexy. But here is a coherent and rigorous theory of pleasure that is also an absolute blast.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    It lays waste to linear narration, thematic coherence, psychological plausibility and just about everything else you might expect to encounter. It zigs, zags and trips over its own feet and on its own home-brewed hallucinogens. It's a ridiculous, preposterous, sometimes maddening experience, but also kind of a blast.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Altogether compelling.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    This movie...is a lovely example of the strong realist tendency in Japanese animation. Its visual magic lies in painterly compositions of foliage, clouds, architecture and water, and its emotional impact comes from the way everyday life is washed in the colors of memory.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    This captivating movie, like the blues itself, is at once a recognition of those somber truths and a gesture of protest against them.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    It manages, in the end, to be touching as well as hectic and whimsical, and to send a few interesting thematic bubbles into the air, having to do with lost fathers, obscure regrets and racial reconciliation.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    You could call Mr. Skolimowski, who is 77, an old dog, and while the multistranded, chronologically intricate narrative conceit of 11 Minutes isn’t exactly a new trick, it’s one he pulls off with devilish panache and startling impact.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The picture is about victims -- but it's also a great, sick rush with a kicker on the level of "The Vanishing."
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Though the narrative is spotty, and occasionally confounding, there is an epic warmth in the way it's rendered.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Ms. Fanning, who is younger than her character, shows a nearly Streepian mixture of poise, intensity and technical precision. It is frightening how good she is and hard to imagine anything she could not do.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Just know that you'll owe Master of the Flying Guillotine for the pleasure you'll get from viewing a venerable example of the kung fu genre.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Never less than intriguing, coolly intelligent and flawlessly paced, Phoenix often feels trapped in the logic of its conceit.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Stuffed with hard-working actors, sleek effects and stagy period details, The Prestige, directed by Christopher Nolan from a script he wrote with his brother Jonathan, is an intricate and elaborate machine designed for the simple purpose of diversion.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Silva’s accomplishment is not just in pulling off a jarring plot twist, but in handling a change of tone that turns the movie — and the audience’s assumptions about it — upside down.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    This terrifically smart and solid piece of filmmaking lets the former Weathermen, now in their 50's and older, speak into the camera and reveal a bit of their personal histories as well as what the peace movement meant to them.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Curiously exhilarating. Some of this comes from the simple thrill of witnessing something, or rather everything, done well.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Occasionally becomes pretentious and shrill -- sometimes Mr. Wright isn't aware that his material is so good that he doesn't need to comment on his characters.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    There is something remarkable - you might even say miraculous - about the way Higher Ground makes its gentle, thoughtful way across the burned-over terrain of the American culture wars.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Suffragette is an admirably modest movie. It does not quite have the grandeur and force of “Selma,” and the script has a few too many glowingly emotive speeches. The final turns of the tale are suspenseful, but also a bit frantic. But it is also stirring and cleareyed — the best kind of history lesson.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Chabrol's droll assault on petit-bourgeois security feels like a satire of "Ordinary People" directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Its earnest insouciance recalls the “Superman” movies of the ’70s and ’80s more than the mock-Wagnerian spectacles of our own day, and like those predigital Man of Steel adventures, it gestures knowingly but reverently back to the jaunty, truth-and-justice spirit of an even older Hollywood tradition.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    It is a chronicle of courage and sacrifice, of danger and solidarity, of heroism and futility, told with power, grace and feeling and brought alive by first-rate acting. A damn good war movie.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    So much in this meticulous and moving film is between the lines, and almost nothing is by the book.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Heartbreaking and thought-provoking, Mille Soleils traces connections between Senegal’s past and present, and reflects on a cinematic legacy that remains insufficiently appreciated, in the West and perhaps also in Africa.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The Time That Remains has the scope of a historical epic with none of the expected heaviness.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    A spool of arresting, beautifully composed shots without narration or dialogue, Samsara is an invitation to watch closely and to suspend interpretation (another notion Sontag might have approved).
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    A thoroughly modern confection, blending insouciance and sophistication, heartfelt longing and self-conscious posing with the guileless self-assurance of a great pop song. What to do for pleasure? Go see this movie, for starters.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Julieta is scrupulous, compassionate and surprising, even if it does not always quite communicate the full gravity and sweep of the feelings it engages.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    A loving, freewheeling new documentary by James D. Cooper, tells this origin story with panache and nostalgia.

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