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 99 Homes
Lowest review score: 0 Blended
Score distribution:
1752 movie reviews
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    In its time, this film represented the arrival of something new, and even now it can feel like a bulletin from the future.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Moonlight is both a disarmingly, at times almost unbearably personal film and an urgent social document, a hard look at American reality and a poem written in light, music and vivid human faces.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    One of the most purely enjoyable films ever made.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    A swift and accessible entertainment, blunt in its power and exquisite in its effects.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Affleck, in one of the most fiercely disciplined screen performances in recent memory, conveys both Lee’s inner avalanche of feeling and the numb decorum that holds it back.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    A nearly flawless piece of popular art, as well as one of the most persuasive portraits of an artist ever committed to film. It provides the kind of deep, transporting pleasure, at once simple and sophisticated, that movies at their best have always promised.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    For all of Mr. Cuarón’s formal wizardry and pictorial grandeur, he is a humanist at heart.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    At once ardent and analytical, cerebral and swooning, Carol is a study in human magnetism, in the physics and optics of eros. With sparse dialogue and restrained drama, the film is a symphony of angles and glances, of colors and shadows.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Though its principal figure, the novelist, playwright and essayist James Baldwin, is a man who has been dead for nearly 30 years, you would be hard-pressed to find a movie that speaks to the present moment with greater clarity and force, insisting on uncomfortable truths and drawing stark lessons from the shadows of history.
    • 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.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    The first 40 minutes or so of Wall-E -- in which barely any dialogue is spoken, and almost no human figures appear on screen -- is a cinematic poem of such wit and beauty that its darker implications may take a while to sink in.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Before Midnight is a wonderful paradox: a movie passionately committed to the ideal of imperfection that is itself very close to perfect.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    [A] sensitive and devastating portrait of a long, happy marriage in sudden crisis.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Turner is a mighty work of critical imagination, a loving, unsentimental portrait of a rare creative soul. But even as it celebrates a glorious painter and illuminates the sources of his pictures with startling clarity and insight, the movie patiently and thoroughly demolishes more than a century’s worth of mythology about what art is and how artists work.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    The best nondocumentary American feature made yet about the war in Iraq.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Inside Out is an absolute delight — funny and charming, fast-moving and full of surprises. It is also a defense of sorrow, an argument for the necessity of melancholy dressed in the bright colors of entertainment.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    It's been a long time since a commercially oriented film with the scale of "King" ended with such an enduring and heartbreaking coda.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The picture is more fun than it has a right to be.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Toni Erdmann, proceeding in a perfectly straightforward manner, from one awkward, heartfelt, hilarious scene to the next, wraps itself around some of the thorniest complexities of contemporary reality.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Spotlight is a gripping detective story and a superlative newsroom drama, a solid procedural that tries to confront evil without sensationalism.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    In exchange for three hours of your time, Yi Yi will give you more life.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    La La Land succeeds both as a fizzy fantasy and a hard-headed fable, a romantic comedy and a showbiz melodrama, a work of sublime artifice and touching authenticity.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    This is not a biopic, it’s a Coen brothers movie, which is to say a brilliant magpie’s nest of surrealism, period detail and pop-culture scholarship. To put it another way, it’s a folk tale.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    And the ingenuity of “Sita” — is dazzling. Not busy, or overwhelming, or eye-popping. Just affecting, surprising and a lot of fun.
    • 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.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    In its modest scope and mellow tone, 35 Shots of Rum resembles Olivier Assayas’s "Summer Hours," another recent film by a French director who has sometimes trafficked in provocation and extremity. Both movies embed extraordinary thematic richness within a simple, almost anecdotal narrative framework, and both achieve a rare eloquence about the state of the world by means of tact and reticence.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Timbuktu is an act of resistance and revenge because it asserts the power of secularism not as an ideology but rather as a stubborn fact of life.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    As sweet, as touching, as humane a movie as you are likely to see this summer.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    A painful, profoundly empathetic work of moral reckoning.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    That it is more -- a small masterpiece, perfect in design and execution -- almost goes without saying, but the film’s profundity and its charm go hand in hand.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Like Mr. Panahi’s cab, his film is equipped with both windows and mirrors. It’s reflective and revealing, intimate and wide-ranging, compact and moving.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    A memoir, a history lesson, a combat picture, a piece of investigative journalism and an altogether amazing film.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    No Country for Old Men is purgatory for the squeamish and the easily spooked. For formalists -- those moviegoers sent into raptures by tight editing, nimble camera work and faultless sound design -- it’s pure heaven.
    • 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.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Ida
    There is an implicit argument here between faith and materialism, one that is resolved with wit, conviction and generosity of spirit. Mr. Pawlikowski has made one of the finest European films (and one of most insightful films about Europe, past and present) in recent memory.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The film's realism is a point of entry rather than the whole point of the exercise. Its setting is finally subordinate to the main character, as memorable and vivid a heroine as you are likely to see on screen this season.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    This is not a lurid true-crime tale of jealousy and drug addiction, but a delicate human drama about love, ambition and the glories of music.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The level of accomplishment in the filmmaking is overwhelming.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    How did Mr. Panahi do this? I'm at a bit of a loss to explain, to tell you the truth, since my job is to review movies, and this, obviously, is something different: a masterpiece in a form that does not yet exist.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    There's as much at stake in the hilarious, moody and cantankerous film adaptation of "Splendor" as there was in this summer's other movies of comic-book antiheroes like "The Hulk" and "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen."
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    It is a crowded, complex crime story that is also a tale of sexual awakening and an understated exercise in kitchen-sink realism. In short - or rather at mesmerizing, necessary length - this film has everything, and is well worth a day of your life.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Even in the most chaotic fights and collisions, everything makes sense. This is not a matter of realism — come on, now — but of imaginative discipline. And Mr. Miller demonstrates that great action filmmaking is not only a matter of physics but of ethics as well. There is cause and effect; there are choices and consequences.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    The horror of The Act of Killing does not dissipate easily or yield to anything like clarity.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Here he (Murray) supplies the kind of performance that seems so fully realized and effortless that it can easily be mistaken for not acting at all.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    The easy, complacent distance that informs much historical filmmaking is almost entirely absent from this supremely intelligent, unfailingly honest movie.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Thorough, understated and altogether enthralling documentary.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    It’s a psychological thriller, a strangely dry-eyed melodrama, a kinky sex farce and, perhaps most provocatively, a savage comedy of bourgeois manners. Mostly, though — inarguably, I would say — it is a platform for the astonishing, almost terrifying talent of Isabelle Huppert.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 70 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Nemes orchestrates a tour de force of suspense, a swift symphony of collisions, coincidences and reversals that is almost unbearably exciting. His skill is undeniable, but also troubling. The movie offers less insight than sensation, an emotional experience that sits too comfortably within the norms of entertainment. This is not entirely the director’s fault. The Holocaust, once forbidden territory, is now safe and familiar ground.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Her shoulders slumped, her eyes weary, her gait heavy, Ms. Cotillard moves past naturalism into something impossible to doubt and hard to describe. Sandra is an ordinary person in mundane circumstances, but her story, plainly and deliberately told, is suspenseful, sobering and, in the original, fear-of-God sense of the word, tremendous.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    It’s a sober, revelatory and absolutely vital film.
    • 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.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Grace is also what defines Mr. Bahrani's filmmaking. I can't think of anything else to call the quality of exquisite attention, wry humor and wide-awake intelligence that informs every frame of this almost perfect film.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Even if you think you know what’s coming, Selma hums with suspense and surprise. Packed with incident and overflowing with fascinating characters, it is a triumph of efficient, emphatic cinematic storytelling. And much more than that, of course.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    This is not a work of film history but rather a generous, touching and slightly daffy expression of unbridled movie love.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    A few scenes serve as hinges joining this movie to "Flags of Our Fathers." While Letters From Iwo Jima seems to me the more accomplished of the two films -- by which I mean that it strikes me as close to perfect -- the two enrich each other, and together achieve an extraordinary completeness.
    • 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
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    There are few concert movies that were filmed were such abiding feeling and respect. It's of a potent vintage that goes down deceptively smoother with age.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    It may get a few things wrong, but it aims at, and finally achieves, an authenticity at once more exalted and more primal than mere verisimilitude.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Ms. Hansen-Love surveys the territory with clear eyes, but also with an unmistakable shading of pity and with ideas, in particular about Nathalie’s sexuality and the political compromises of her generation, that seem more like assumptions than insights.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    The Grand Budapest Hotel, Mr. Anderson’s eighth feature, will delight his fans, but even those inclined to grumble that it’s just more of the same patented whimsy might want to look again. As a sometime grumbler and longtime fan, I found myself not only charmed and touched but also moved to a new level of respect.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Kechiche’s style is dizzy, obsessive, inspired and relentless, words that also describe Adèle and Emma and the fearless women who embody them. Many more words can — and will — be spent on “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” but for now I’ll settle for just one: glorious.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Cinema, even in the service of journalism, is always more than reporting, and focusing on what Ms. Poitras’s film is about risks ignoring what it is. It’s a tense and frightening thriller that blends the brisk globe-trotting of the “Bourne” movies with the spooky, atmospheric effects of a Japanese horror film. And it is also a primal political fable for the digital age, a real-time tableau of the confrontation between the individual and the state.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Inside Job, a sleek, briskly paced film whose title suggests a heist movie, is the story of a crime without punishment, of an outrage that has so far largely escaped legal sanction and societal stigma.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Aquarius is a marvelous and surprising act of portraiture, a long, unhurried encounter with a single, complicated person. And that is enough to make it a captivating film, an experience well worth seeking out. But there is also, as I’ve suggested, more going on than the everyday experiences of a modern matriarch.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Brooklyn endows its characters with desires and aspirations, but not with foresight, and it examines the past with open-minded curiosity rather than with sentimentality or easy judgment.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Fire at Sea occupies your consciousness like a nightmare, and yet somehow you don’t want it to end.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    Its themes are a bit nostalgic and some of its technology looks dated, but there is nothing else in theaters now that feels quite as new.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    There is hardly a shortage of movies about rock ’n’ roll, but there are few as perfect — which is to say as ragged, as silly, as touching or as true — as We Are the Best!.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    The ancient Greeks believed that character should be revealed through action. I can’t think of another film that has upheld this notion so thoroughly and thrillingly. There is certainly no other actor who can command our attention — our empathy, our loyalty, our love — with such efficiency.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Encountered in an appropriately exploratory frame of mind, it can produce something close to bliss.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Particle Fever is a fascinating movie about science, and an exciting, revealing and sometimes poignant movie about scientists.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 A.O. Scott
    In the end there is nothing especially campy about “The Duke of Burgundy,” which neither mocks its heroines nor the breathless, naughty screen tradition to which they belong. It’s a love story, and also a perversely sincere (and sincerely perverse) labor of love.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    At times, most often when Mr. Bennett is onscreen, Love & Friendship is howlingly funny, and as a whole it feels less like a romance than like a caper, an unabashedly contrived and effortlessly inventive heist movie with a pretty good payoff.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Go see this movie. Take your children, even though they may occasionally be confused or fidgety. Boredom and confusion are also part of democracy, after all. Lincoln is a rough and noble democratic masterpiece - an omen, perhaps, that movies for the people shall not perish from the earth.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Cameraperson isn’t a work of journalism or advocacy. It’s a scrapbook, a found poem assembled out of scraps and snippets of truth. And it is, above all, an act of showing rather than telling.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    The brilliance of The Babadook, beyond Ms. Kent’s skillful deployment of the tried-and-true visual and aural techniques of movie horror, lies in its interlocking ambiguities.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The story is full of emotion and danger, heroism and treachery, but it is told in a mood of rueful retrospect rather than simmering partisan rage.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    It’s a subtle movie, alert to the almost imperceptible currents of feeling that pass between its title characters.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    It is outrageously funny without ever exaggerating for comic effect, and heartbreaking with only minimal melodramatic embellishment.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 A.O. Scott
    The Red Turtle practices a minor, gentle magic. It wants you to smile and say, “Ahh,” rather than gasp and say, “Wow.” But somehow the understatement can feel a bit overdone, as if the film were hovering over you, awaiting an expression of admiration.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Of Gods and Men is supple and suspenseful, appropriately austere without being overly harsh, and without forgoing the customary pleasures of cinema. The performances are strong, the narrative gathers momentum as it progresses, and the camera is alive to the beauty of the Algerian countryside.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    When it's over, the realization of how much the movie means to you really sinks in; you can't get it out of your heart.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    It is a movie about the lure and folly of greatness that comes as close as anything I've seen recently to being a great movie. There will be skeptics, but the cult is already forming. Count me in.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Fan's documentary is informed by a melancholy humanism, and finds unexpected beauty in almost unbearably harsh circumstances. It tells the story of a family caught, and possibly crushed, between the past and the future - a story that, on its own, is moving, even heartbreaking. Multiplied by 130 million, it becomes a terrifying and sobering panorama of the present.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    This movie is a blast of sheer, improbable joy, a boisterous, thrilling action movie with a protagonist who can hold her own alongside Katniss Everdeen, Princess Merida and the other brave young heroines of 2012.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 A.O. Scott
    With exquisite patience and attention to detail, Asghar Farhadi, the writer and director, builds a solid and suspenseful plot out of ordinary incidents, and packs it with rich and resonant ideas.
    • 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.

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