For 1,727 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 1.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

A.O. Scott's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Secret Sunshine
Lowest review score: 0 Shoot 'Em Up
Score distribution:
1727 movie reviews
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    It is a truism that academic arguments are so passionate because the stakes are so small. Footnote, a wonderful new film from the American-born Israeli director Joseph Cedar, at once affirms this conventional wisdom and calls it into question.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    “Dawn” is more than a bunch of occasionally thrilling action sequences, emotional gut punches and throwaway jokes arranged in predictable sequence. It is technically impressive and viscerally exciting, for sure, but it also gives you a lot to think, and even to care, about.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Prisoners is the kind of movie that can quiet a room full of casual thrill-seekers. It absorbs and controls your attention with such assurance that you hold your breath for fear of distracting the people on screen, exhaling in relief or amazement at each new revelation
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    As the war in Afghanistan returns to the front pages and the national debate, we owe the men in Restrepo, at the very least, 90 minutes or so of our attention. If nothing else, this film, in showing how much they care about one another, demands the same of us.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    You may find yourself resisting this sentimental pageant of early-20th-century rural English life, replete with verdant fields, muddy tweeds and damp turnips, but my strong advice is to surrender.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    A rich, thought-provoking film.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Mr. Assayas’s method is observant and immersive. His camera moves among young bodies like an invisible friend, and his somewhat messy narrative is propelled by fidelity to feeling rather than by the machinery of plot.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    One of the reasons that Hereafter works as well as it does - it has the power to haunt the skeptical, to mystify the credulous and to fascinate everyone in between.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    There hasn't been a film in years to use creative energy as efficiently as Monsters, Inc.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    Equity pulls off a difficult balancing act with an elegance that should not be underestimated. It turns its unflappable gaze on a maddeningly complex reality and transforms it into a swift, clear and exciting story.
    • 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
    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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    This sense of intimacy makes And Everything Is Going Fine both vibrant - what amazing company this man was! - and terribly sad.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    The triumph of Results is that it pretends to be loose, lazy and lived-in when it’s actually disciplined, hard-working and in almost perfect shape.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    With solid bodywork, clever feints and tremendous heart, it scores at least a TKO, by which I mean both that it falls just short of overpowering greatness - I can't quite exclaim, "It's a knockout!" - and that the most impressive thing about it is technique.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 A.O. Scott
    While the plot may be predictable (and more than a little preposterous) in retrospect, Mr. Soderbergh handles it brilliantly, serving notice once again that he is a crackerjack genre technician.

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