Jessica Kiang

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For 189 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 58% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 39% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 10.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Jessica Kiang's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 71
Highest review score: 100 Beasts of No Nation
Lowest review score: 25 The Captive
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 189
189 movie reviews
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Jessica Kiang
    Presenting a terrifying view of a hidden holocaust and a moral apocalypse in which the most basic humanities have become twisted beyond recognition, The Act of Killing is a towering achievement in filmmaking, documentary or otherwise.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Jessica Kiang
    Blue is the Warmest Color is a masterpiece of human warmth, empathy and generosity, because in a mere three hours, it gives you a whole new life to have lived.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Jessica Kiang
    With Foxcatcher, [Miller] has outdone himself, turning his uniquely meticulous eye to a tiny story in a totally rarefied, specific environment and through whatever alchemy he has perfected, created something so universal and resonant that it feels epic, sprawling, almost ancient in its mythic overtones. Foxcatcher is an enormous film.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Jessica Kiang
    There are ups and downs and soapish highs and lows, but what stops this from ever becoming a telenovela is the riveting wonder of the performances and the sheer brio of the filmmaking.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Jessica Kiang
    perhaps the greatest achievement is in how brilliantly the film balances the trademark Dardennes social conscience with a conceit that plays out almost like a ticking-clock thriller, as well as being a deeply felt character study.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Jessica Kiang
    The actions and events are naked to our eyes, not couched in reasons and justifications, not softened by explanations, by words.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Jessica Kiang
    It’s borderline miraculous.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Jessica Kiang
    The film does not stab as deeply in laying bare the schizoid moral hypocrisy of the perpetrators of the Indonesian genocide as its peerless predecessor, but instead offers an extraordinarily poignant, desperately upsetting meditation on the legacy of those killings, and on the bravery required to seek any kind of truth about them.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Jessica Kiang
    If it presents an accurate picture of this reality, then it feels like it’s a reality that is unstable, so far cut off from the mainstream of life that it has begun to fray into the surreal and the magic at the edges.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Jessica Kiang
    A movie so simple, so elegant, and yet so devouringly empathetic that you might not notice its full magic until a few hours later.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Jessica Kiang
    Made of crystal and suppressed tears, shot eternally through windows and mirrors and half-closed doors, Todd Haynes' Carol is a love story that starts at a trickle, swells gradually to a torrent, and finally bursts the banks of your heart. A beautiful film in every way, immaculately made, and featuring two pristine actresses glowing across rooms and tousled bedclothes at each other like beacons of tentative, unspoken hope.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Jessica Kiang
    It is so lived-in and authentic in its real-world detail, and so enigmatic and mysterious in its diversions and sidelong glances, that it's difficult not to see it as overridingly personal, not just to the director but to the viewer. It's a true act of the most optimistic communication and communion.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Jessica Kiang
    Matching Fukunaga's proven storytelling grace with a story truly worth the telling, the result is explosively authentic and yet lyrical, making an utterly inhumane and alien situation both completely real and completely abstract.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Jessica Kiang
    A bold, blunt, yet clinically intelligent film that provokes as much for its dark humor as for its righteous outrage, it's all at once a gripping thriller, an incendiary social critique and a mordant moral fable.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Jessica Kiang
    It's an absorbing, even thrilling head trip. It is a Heart-of-Darkness voyage of discovery. It is a lament for all the lost plants and peoples of the world.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    On both a political and a personal level, the film is pessimistic, yes, but it feels truthful, and never lapses into easy cynicism.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    With pitch-perfect performances across the board, and boasting crisp photography and editing, the film never ceases to twist, turn and surprise, taking wicked joy in constantly switching us back on ourselves and our expectations of the characters.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    For anyone with even a halfway developed sense of justice The Hunt may prove stressful, frustrating, even enraging, but it’s also an unbelievably effective watch, that, if nothing else signals an undeniable return to form for Vinterberg, and yet another blistering performance from Mikkelsen. See it, if only for the debates it will cause afterward.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    Gloria is an endlessly watchable creation—a wonderful example of an actress melting into a role, and a co-writer/director with almost superhuman levels of sensitivity and empathy for his characters.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    Director Pavich, his first time at bat, has crafted an unalloyed pleasure of a documentary, especially for those of us who care about "Dune," about sci-fi, and about the value and power of creative passion.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    This is a peculiarly beautiful film, with lingering sustain and the kind of hard-won optimism that feels truthful as well as hopeful.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    The supporting cast all do excellent work too, but this is Eric’s story, and so it’s O’Connell’s film. His performance is a revelation.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    Overall a triumphantly idiosyncratic film with smarts and visceral impact in equal measure.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    Girlhood is a fascinatingly layered, textured film that manages to be both a lament for sweetness lost and a celebration of wisdom and identity gained, often at the very same moment.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    Force Majeure is a brutally smart and original film.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    99 Homes is by no means a perfect film, but it can achieve something more precious, and rarer than glossy perfection: it can take you by the shoulders and shake the apathy and complacency away.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    "Pigeon" is a near-perfect cap to a near-perfect trilogy, a cavalcade of oddness, humor, banality and even horror.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    Without overly romanticizing it or suggesting that, ultimately, it is anything more than a business built around the talents of some very singular men, Sunada's film becomes a love letter of a most unusual kind, because it is addressed to a place that is unremarkable in every way except for the spirit that flowed through it.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    The current of informed anger, directed at those who stand by while injustice and bigotry flourish, is unmistakable and turns the whole film into a kind of clever folk fable-cum-protest song.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    '71
    ‘71 is more than just a performance showcase, delivering a gripping, at times almost unbearably tense, incredibly involving anti-war statement, made the stronger for being set against the less cinematically familiar backdrop of Belfast in the year 1971.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    Aided by intensely committed performances from a uniformly brilliant cast, all fielding Scottish accents, Kurzel's genius is to be able to find clean lines of dramatic connection and motivation within the existing text and then to interpret those imaginatively, without becoming simplistic and without compromise.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    It may be a hugely tacky, cartoony balloon pit of a film, but when every single element is dialled up to eleven and you can't go thirty seconds without another three-way face-off between OTT, OMG and WTF, it starts to achieve a maximalist artistry that almost feels avant-garde. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    It isn't really about the people as much as about the pictures, and for once that does not seem to be a trade off that compromises the power of the resulting film at all.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    Lindon's performance is so perfectly judged, so inspiring of an avalanche of sympathy and empathy without ever seeking it out, that we are on Thierry's side immediately, feeling every slight and every instance of condescension perhaps even more strongly than he does himself.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    A Hard Day is a film that sets itself fairly narrow ambitions, achieves all of them and then some and yet has no pretensions to importance, weightiness or artistic self-expression.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    It's the best film McCarthy has ever made: restrained, intelligent and grown-up, but unfolding with the pacing and rhythm of a thriller.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    The real war of A War is waged within Claus, with Lindholm's camera trained mercilessly on Asbæk as he delivers yet another faultlessly committed performance, within a large ensemble in which every performer feels note-perfect.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    Guzmán's essential thesis seems to be that, in turning its back on the ocean, modern Chile lost a crucial part of its identity. But he also puts forward the extraordinary idea that the water has a memory, and that if you listen closely enough, you can hear the voices of the disappeared.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    Aptly named and drolly executed, leading to a transcendently funny, endearing and unexpected finale, The Treasure confirms Corneliu Porumboiu as the joker in the Romanian New Wave pack.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    By turns moving, absorbing and downright rage-inducing.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    Challenging, complex and frequently ugly, Paradise: Love is a ruthless exploration of how unlike our everyday selves we can behave when we’re "on holiday," and how much that illuminates who we really are.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    All Is Lost is a taut, superbly crafted addition to the survival story genre.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    The Immigrant is contained, restrained, thoughtful filmmaking that satisfies on nearly every level, except for the desire for a little chaos.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    It’s an offbeat, fun, and frequently very funny film, lifted out of disposability by some wonderfully rich production design, music cuts and photography, and by the cherishable performances of the leads.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    The film is the most formally experimental, and probably the least approachable, of the director's titles to date. But it's further proof of Wheatley's singular sensibilities as a filmmaker.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    The Selfish Giant preaches compassion by showing us in its very closing moments, the fathomless goodness that can lie beneath even the spittingest, snarlingest exterior.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    While Felix von Groeningen's film, which centers around a couple whose child is diagnosed with cancer, could easily have strayed into maudlin territory, the deft, non-chronological structure and the constantly surprising, beautiful performances -- both acting and the musical -- elevate it well clear of any Movie of the Week associations.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    We Are What We Are is just a great yarn, well-acted, elegantly shot and put together cleverly so that even its more visceral delights feel well-earned.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    Guiraudie creates an ambiance of eerie atmospherics that is at once crisp and observant, and oddly dreamlike, or nightmarish.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    While it doesn't reinvent the wheel, or revolutionize the genre, it achieves its modest ambitions affectingly well, in no small part due to a clutch of cherishable performances, especially from leads Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    It’s kind of a blast, with fully enough plot to fill a two-hour feature crammed efficiently into less than half that time in a manner that demands nothing from you except that you enjoy the ride.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    As off-kilter affecting as we found its nostalgia for a world of charm and dash that really only ever existed in the movies, and as terrific as almost all of the performances are, as a whole package it fell just slightly short of the promise of its parts.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    Ida
    If it does suffer slightly from an overall lack of urgency that will mean those looking for a more directly emotive experience may find it hard to engage with, the more patient viewer has rewards in store that are rich and rare indeed.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    Bleak, brutal and unrelentingly nihilist, and with only sporadic flashes of the blackest, most mordant humor to lighten the load, it feels parched, like the story has simply boiled away in the desert heat and all that’s left are its desiccated bones. In a good way.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    For all its value in bearing witness to the kind of atrocious acts that get but little attention on the world stage, this is not mere testimony, this is cleverly crafted and remarkably affecting storytelling.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    The film is a breath of fresh air — there is a lovely awkwardness to the coming-of-age tale that makes it feel almost like an enthusiastic early effort from a talented neophyte as opposed to the eighth feature from an established, albeit arthouse, director.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    This kind of vérité surrealism doesn’t come along very often, and the glorious oddness that Zurcher manages to infuse into even the most routinely domestic activities is really the gift the film keeps on giving.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    For filmmaker and actor, even on those occasions when Manglehorn’s risks do not pay off, we have to credit the courage and confidence it took to attempt them; but more often than not they pay dividends and the result gently dazzles.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    It is simply a great, traditional Western: the language and cultural details may be different, but the sparse elegance and moral conundrums are familiar and as resonant as ever.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    Whatever flaws it has are ones of over-enthusiasm and over-ambition and are therefore easy to forgive, especially because when it works, it really works.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    An insightful, enjoyable, absorbing ride that stands as a testament to its director's lively, ungovernable storytelling imagination.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    With no sheen of reflexivity, and no in-jokey admission of its hokiness to hide behind, can this non-ironic un-re-invention possibly work? Actually, yes it can, and does surprisingly well, by approaching the story with a sincerity and sweetness that defy cynicism, and by casting Cate Blanchett.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    This first section is so charming and well-observed, and creates such real chemistry between the two terrific leads, that it's almost a shame that it's there to invest us in them just so the fast-paced genre flick to come has an anchor.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    Amy
    It's a gripping and thoroughly effective, perhaps even brilliant piece of biographical documentary filmmaking.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    Inside Out is not just fun and breezy, it's also truly weird and wicked smart in its thoroughly heartfelt conclusions.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    Mr. Holmes is not so much the story of Holmes' last case, as the story of his last choice: whether to go gentle, or whether to rage against the dying of the light.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    Right up until the film’s very closing moments, in which the carefully maintained tension and tone snaps under the ratchet of one melodramatic turn too many, it is not just an absorbing performance piece, but a film of real directorial confidence and flair.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    De Palma is a joy: a hit of garrulous cinephile cocaine so pure you want to do a Tony Montana, fall face-first into it and inhale it all in one go.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    In Jackson Heights serves to remind us that our worlds are full of living things, and that, being the social creatures we are, we need each other.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    Gitai rightly trusts in the fascination of material that needs no sensationalism or gimmickry to command our whole attention.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    A highly polished film that belies the soap opera melodrama of its plotline by having the twists and turns spring directly from well-observed human behavior, Stone's The Daughter is a quiet, immensely affecting triumph.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    Seidl uses the peculiar relationship of Austrians to their basements as a way to pick away at the cracks between our public and our most private selves. But it's an idea that is elevated further by his rigorous eye for composition and cinematographic portraiture that makes the even the most bizarre images beautiful, and fashions the film, which could feel very fragmented in that it jumps from subject to subject and back again, into a deeply engrossing whole.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    Lovely to look at, charmingly played throughout, and with a sense of fun that is more playful than subversive, The Brand New Testament is a bouncy treat: not so much heresy as whimsy, with a smooth matte finish and a mischievous grin.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    The film is undeniably moving at times, and there are moments of metatextual elegance that feel as though they tremble on the brink of genuine insight.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    It’s not like “The Artist” was gritty, but Populaire is so cotton-candy breezy it makes the Best Picture-winner look like “The Panic in Needle Park.”
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    There is little more to Kon-Tiki than a fun, handsomely-mounted, old-style adventure story. And as impressive a feat as that is to achieve, especially outside of Hollywood, which kind of specialises in this sort of thing, those looking for something with more depth from this category may come away a little disappointed.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    Fruitvale Station is impressive for a debut, and displays the unimpeachable intent to involve us all in the human story behind a headline. And it certainly displays great promise from its director and accomplished performances from its cast.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    Refn has consistently delivered films that have subverted our expectations, and has proven himself a master at stylistic self-reinvention, but this feels like the first time he’s gone back to any particular well.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    The last quarter of Child's Pose is so remarkably strong that it makes a sometimes grim journey worth sticking with to its destination.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    The low-key nature of what's come before simply serves to render all the more effective the final shootout, when the film careens completely, and bloodily, off the rails.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    There are occasional laugh-out-loud moments, for sure, and the winningness of the leads makes the inevitable climactic clinch actually rather affecting, but Grabbers could have been so much more than the derivative me-too it turns out to be.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    Some occasionally awkward performance moments aside, though, the film is very compassionate towards its characters and finds just about enough original insight within the well-worn family drama genre to keep things from feeling too familiar—it’s a just a shame there couldn’t have been a little more vitality injected early on.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    We can't help but feel that by comparison with the meaty and compelling issues he takes on so fearlessly, so scabrously in the other entries, Paradise: Hope ends up somewhat toothless.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    Franco has finally delivered a side project that does at least some justice to his eclectic artistic ambitions.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    It’s a sequel that, over a tighter running time, kicks against the law of diminishing returns, and only succumbs to it after a fight.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    If some elements are more successful than others in achieving a balance between the public and the private, between the story of a nation’s ruination and that of a family’s annihilation, it remains a shocking, poignant and soulful tribute to lives ended and to innocence lost in the country’s notorious Killing Fields.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    It Follows worked like gangbusters as an exercise in atmosphere and allusion, but a little less so as an out-and-out supernatural horror, and only at certain times did it achieve a perfect synthesis of the two.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    Formally, it is even more abstract than previous Malick efforts, with on-camera dialogue kept to the barest minimum and the cast instead contributing poetic, banal or philosophical voiceover to the soundtrack, lines which overlap, fade up and fade down into music and silence, contributing to the sense of the film as a philosophical fugue state.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    Erlingsson has delivered an attractive slice of Icelandic oddness that confirms many of the cliches about that country’s offbeat outlook, but in a good way.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    Tale of Tales is magnificent, the way a performing bear can be magnificent.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    Really a two-hander overall, Disorder is part home-invasion film, part bodyguard romance and part PTSD drama that delivers solidly on the first two fronts and and partially on the third.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    Amazing to look at, amazing to listen to, yet just a bit underwhelming to really think about, Sicario Denis Villeneuve's Mexican drug cartel drama is superlatively strong in every conceivable way except story.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    It is slow and it is ambiguous but it is supremely sure of itself, as it moves, with singleminded grace from chilly to all-out chilling.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    It's a resonant, atmospheric horror film that treats its genre and its audience with unusual respect, before escalating in its last moments to a brilliantly uncompromised finale.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    When it reveals its true colors late on, as less of an examination of a rarefied lifestyle and more of an ancient story of brotherhood broken and remade, the cumulative power of all those observed moments comes through.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    There's a kind of helpless humility to the presentation of these urban impressions, almost a kind of democracy, that allows you to engage as much or as little as you like with them.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    Its very wonkiness is one of the things that makes A Bigger Splash a good time — the sense of a filmmaker, perhaps aware that the story he's telling is not terribly deep or philosophically provocative, allowing himself to go off the rails every now and then in how he's telling it.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    It's Arquimedes who emerges as the film's most indelible character, aided by Francella's fabulously icy performance. Lacking even the warmth of a Don Vito, Arquimedes comes across not as a man who does everything for his family, but as a man who expects his family to do everything, even damn themselves, for him and his twisted, heartless, self-centered worldview.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    Vigas' grip is so tight that even if you do get to the heart of his meaning, there's a chance it will have had the life squeezed out of it.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    The respect that the film mostly has for Aria’s personhood, even at such a young age, gives it a keener edge than many other entries in the rather overpopulated coming-of-age genre.

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