For 1,691 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 49% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 48% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

A.O. Scott's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Elle
Lowest review score: 0 Blended
Score distribution:
1691 movie reviews
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Rithy Panh makes telling use of a survivor whose ability to communicate lends itself to the subject. The tragedy is that Mr. Vann Nath's powers are used to illuminate these horrors.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The thicket of relationships that the director, Hiner Saleem, has created and weaves his cast and camera through is so invitingly hotblooded and crowded with hilariously melodramatic incident that the snowbanks are not nearly as forbidding as they initially seem.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Yaguchi's film is so brazenly cheerful and charmingly engineered that even the sourballs in the cast are sucked in.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Director Sandi Simcha DuBowski latches on to a provocative subject and invests it with a compelling tenderness.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    A terrifically deft picture about the thick line that separates movie glamour from the real world, and the thin line between common sense and paranoia.
    • 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Elegant and exquisitely tailored.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    hough the picture is wrenching, at times devastating, it leaves you with that buoyant feeling of having encountered a raw, authentic work of art.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Suzy's marriage, Nick's divorce, Paul's work history: none of it is my or anyone else's business. But these things -- these people -- have become, through Mr. Apted's films, a vital part of modern life, which seems to grow richer every seven years, when the new "Up" movie comes out.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Block has put his parents’ life, and his own, into this film with such warmth and candor that it may take more than one viewing to recognize it as a work of art.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    In the end Babel, like that tower in the book of Genesis, is a grand wreck, an incomplete monument to its own limitless ambition. But it is there, on the landscape, a startling and imposing reality. It's a folly, and also, perversely, a wonder.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    From 300 hours of material, Mr. Longley has created a collage of images, sounds and characters, an intimate, partial portrait of an unraveling nation -- a portrait that gains power partly by virtue of its incompleteness.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    It's a mirror and a portrait, and a movie as necessary and nourishing as your next meal.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Bielinsky, in what would sadly be his last film, demonstrates a mastery of the form that is downright scary.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    May not be perfect, but it honors its source and captures the key elements -- the humor and good sense, as well as the sheer narrative exuberance -- that have made White’s book a classic.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Since the movie is about desire -- not so much for sex as for the vitality and surprise that sex can provide -- it is also about power. Few writers can match Mr. Kureishi's knowing wit on this subject, or his skill at dissecting the shifting dynamics of longing and domination.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    While the gist of Offside is the same (as "The Circle"), its tone is more insouciant, as it celebrates the guile and toughness of its heroines while casting a sympathetic glance at the ethical quandaries facing their jailers.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    It is for the most part a jumpy, suspenseful caper, full of narrow escapes, improbable reversals and complicated intrigue. But it has a sinister, shadowy undertow, an intimation of dread that lingers after Irving's game is up.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Part feminist fable, part romantic fairy tale, it is by turns tart and sweet, charming and tough, rather like its heroine and like Keri Russell, the plucky, pretty, nimble actress who plays her.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    By the end, Mr. To has proven himself to be a genre hack of uncommon intelligence and soul: a first-rate entertainer who can thrill you into thinking.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Tsai's films are held together internally, and connected one to another, by an elusive, insistent logic that is easier to recognize than to describe. But once you do start to recognize it, each new movie offers passage to an exotic place that feels, uncannily, like home.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Shrek the Third seems at once more energetic and more relaxed, less desperate to prove its cleverness and therefore to some extent smarter.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    What makes Mr. Crialese's telling unusual, apart from the gorgeousness of his wide-screen compositions, is that his emphasis is on departure and transition, rather than arrival.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Schlöndorff calls the film "a ballad inspired by true events," and its occasional bouts of clumsiness and sentimentality are inseparable from its power.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Sensitive, modest, thrillingly self-assured first feature by So Yong Kim, was one of the standouts of the 2006 Sundance Film Festival -- exactly the kind of thoughtful, independent work one hopes to find there and too rarely does.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The result is a movie that offers uplift without phoniness, history without undue didacticism and a fair number of funny, dirty jokes.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The overall mood of Hairspray is so joyful, so full of unforced enthusiasm, that only the most ferocious cynic could resist it.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Modest in scope, but it feels complete, fully inhabited, in a way that more overtly ambitious movies rarely do.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Though the film’s structure may be tragic, its spirit is anything but.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The Darjeeling Limited amounts finally to a high-end, high-toned tourist adventure. I don’t mean this dismissively; it would be hypocritical of me to deny the delights of luxury travel to faraway lands. And Mr. Anderson’s eye for local color — the red-orange-yellow end of the spectrum in particular — is meticulous and admiring.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Has an offbeat, absurdist charm that turns a potentially creepy conceit into an odd, touching adventure.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Curiously exhilarating. Some of this comes from the simple thrill of witnessing something, or rather everything, done well.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    It is one of the most engaging, morally unsettling political thrillers in quite some time, with the extra advantage of being true.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Frequently brilliant, finally baffling film.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    If recent American history is ever going to be discussed with the necessary clarity and ethical rigor, this film will be essential.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Jar City is chilly and cerebral but also morbidly and powerfully alive to grossness and physicality.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The brilliance of Stuff and Dough is that it wraps this powerful, disturbing drama in an anecdote from ordinary life. As is often the case in recent Romanian movies, the acting is so accomplished as to be invisible.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Has the advantage of being an unusually good superhero picture. Or at least -- since it certainly has its problems -- a superhero movie that's good in unusual ways.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    In the hands of a more literal-minded filmmaker The Tracey Fragments might well have been dreary and unbearable, a chronicle of florid self-pity justified by arbitrary cruelty. Instead it is fierce, enigmatic and affecting.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Maddin's real point -- and, for admirers of this brilliant and idiosyncratic artist, the true source of the movie’s interest -- is that Winnipeg explains him.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Gives a remarkably thorough and detailed account of the difficult conditions facing American soldiers in Iraq.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Nearly every melodramatic impulse has been suppressed in favor of a calm precision that serves both to intensify and delay the emotional impact of the film’s climactic disclosures.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    A revelation comes near the end that is both tremendously moving and a bit disappointing, in the way that the solutions to great mysteries frequently are. This turn does not diminish the accomplishment of Ms. Scott Thomas's deep, subtle and altogether stunning performance, but it does alter the scale of the movie, turning it into a more manageable, less existentially unsettling drama.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Above all, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a triumph of technique.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The result is an experience that, even as it feels a bit familiar, is nonetheless engrossing and satisfying.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Somehow the story of a young man's coming of age never gets old, at least when it is told with the kind of sweetness and intelligence Adventureland displays.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The premise of Every Little Step is no less inspired for seeming so simple and obvious, and it pays tribute to the durability and continued relevance of “A Chorus Line,” which first opened in New York in 1975, before many of the performers in the movie were born.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Julie & Julia proceeds with such ease and charm that its audacity -- is easy to miss.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    In the best B-movie tradition, the filmmakers embed their ideas in an ingenious, propulsive and suspenseful genre entertainment, one that respects your intelligence even as it makes your eyes pop (and, once in a while, your stomach turn).
    • 55 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Even at a distance from each other (Washington/Travolta), they conduct a tag-team master class in old-style movie star technique, barreling through every cliché and nugget of corn the script has to offer with verve and conviction. Even when you don't really believe them, they're always a lot of fun to watch.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The mystery of Séraphine de Senlis -- who died in a mental hospital in 1942 and whose work survives in some of the world’s leading museums -- is left intact at the end of Séraphine. Rather than trying to explain Séraphine, the film accepts her.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    For rock geeks of any age or taste, the lore in this documentary will be catnip.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    If in hindsight An Education might make you a little queasy, it is hard to resist, like David himself.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    It is an engrossing portrait all the same, a generous introduction to someone worth knowing, who knows an awful lot.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    He (Lenny) is completely appalling, and also completely himself, a kind of mad, disturbing integrity that is both matched and mitigated by the honesty of this lovely, hair-raising film.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The reason it deserves to be seen in a theater with special glasses on, rather than slapped on the DVD player when the children are acting up -- lies in those airborne sequences.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The extent of the need around the world is so enormous and overwhelming that the efforts of the doctors in this sobering film seem both vitally necessary and woefully inadequate.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    What makes Le Amiche so bracing -- so sad and, sometimes, so funny -- is that its heroines are fallible, flawed, vain and powerful, each in her own way. They often make one another miserable, but their company is always a pleasure.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    A tour de force of archival research and dogged interviewing, and the portrait it presents is remarkably complete.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The point of it is not, in the end, to explain him or solve the mystery of his life, but rather to spend time in his company and understand why he is someone to be missed.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Not quite a biopic, not really a documentary and only loosely an adaptation, Howl does something that sounds simple until you consider how rarely it occurs in films of any kind. It takes a familiar, celebrated piece of writing and makes it come alive.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The ease and professionalism that distinguished this prolific director's later work is very much in evidence, as is an insouciant attitude, at once resigned and dismissive, toward mortality.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Ms. Hamilton tells a modest, complex story with admirable clarity and nuance. That her film is so quiet, so evidently invested in contemplation rather than confrontation, gives it power as well as insight.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The point of this thoughtful, moving film is that the motives and actions that define human ethics are never simple and that the Communist regime was especially adept at exploiting this complexity for its own ends.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Splendidly rich and wise.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The Time That Remains has the scope of a historical epic with none of the expected heaviness.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The achievement of this film is to forestall and complicate easy judgment. You emerge shaken and bothered, which may sound like a reason not to see the movie. It is actually the opposite.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Villeneuve tells Nawal's story in a way that is both subtle and emphatic, and Ms. Azabal, portraying Nawal from hopeful youth to despairing middle age, gives a performance that is all the more powerful for the restrained, unshakeable sense of dignity she brings to it.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Shindo's world is sad and inspiring in familiar ways, but what makes it so memorable is that it is also gorgeous and strange.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    This is the kind of story, as Oliver himself would admit, that we have already seen dozens of times. But Mr. Ayoade's keen visual wit and clever, knowing touches keep it surprising and nimble, especially in the quick, lurching early scenes, which are startlingly funny.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    While Passione praises the spirit of its subjects, it also attends to the discipline and tenacity that makes them worth noticing.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    What lifts Terri above its peers is not the plight of its protagonist or the film's sympathy for him, but rather the care and craft that the director, Azazel Jacobs, has brought to fairly conventional material.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The sheer heterogeneity of human experience is one of his (Morris) enduring preoccupations, and he has found, once again, an impossible and perfect embodiment of just how curious our species can be.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    It is comfortable with itself and confident in its ability to amuse and beguile young viewers.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    What Mr. Mitchell gets splendidly right in this quiet, observant film, is the unsteady mixture of sophistication and naïveté that is central to the modern American teenage way of being in the world.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    The magical, metaphorical strain in The Future is what makes it powerful, unsettling and strange, as well as charming. The everyday fears and frustrations that shadow us on our awkward trip through the life cycle often feel enormous, even cosmic, and Ms. July has the audacity to find images and situations that give form to those metaphysical inklings.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Amigo is a well-carpentered narrative, fast-moving and emphatic, stepping nimbly from gravity to good humor.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    A startlingly beautiful documentary by Bong-Nam Park that is also devastatingly sad.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Witty but not campy, grand without being unduly somber, it is a crazy, almost-coherent riot of intrigue, color and kineticism anchored by the charisma of its cast.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Bobby Fischer Against the World does not traffic in easy explanations or medical diagnoses, but it leaves the strong impression of a continuity between the oddness Fischer displayed in early interviews and the mania so jarringly evident toward the end.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    It is a quiet, relentless exploration of the latent (and not so latent) terrors that bedevil contemporary American life, a horror movie that will trouble your sleep not with visions of monsters but with a more familiar dread.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    A stylized and sentimental fairy tale about the way the world might be, grounded in a frank recognition of the way it is.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Into the Abyss superficially resembles the kind of titillating, moralizing true-crime shockumentary that is a staple of off-hours cable television. But the grim ordinariness of the narrative makes its Dostoyevskian dimensions all the more arresting.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Ms. Ramsay, with ruthless ingenuity, creates a deeper dread and a more acute feeling of anticipation by allowing us to think we know what is coming and then shocking us with the extent of our ignorance.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    It is a rigorously honest movie about the difficulties of being honest, a film that tries to be truthful about the slipperiness of truth.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Sexy, sweet and laced with a sadness at once specific to its place and time and accessible to anyone with a breakable heart, Chico & Rita is an animated valentine to Cuba and its music.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    This means that the violations chronicled in The Invisible War are compounded by a deep and terrible betrayal, which ripples outward from the various branches of the service into the society as a whole. This is not a movie that can be ignored.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    More moving than shocking, it proceeds slowly and gracefully, and the few scenes of bloodshed are emotionally intense rather than showily sensational.

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