Jessica Kiang
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For 147 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 55% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 43% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 10.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Jessica Kiang's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 70
Highest review score: 100 The Postman's White Nights
Lowest review score: 25 A Long Way Down
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 147
147 movie reviews
    • 82 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.
    • 91 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.
    • 98 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    It’s borderline miraculous.
    • 90 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.
    • 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.
    • 87 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 61 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.
    • 85 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.
    • 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.
    • 81 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.
    • 71 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 90 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    "Pigeon" is a near-perfect cap to a near-perfect trilogy, a cavalcade of oddness, humor, banality and even horror.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    Force Majeure is a brutally smart and original film.
    • 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.
    • 76 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.
    • 91 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    All Is Lost is a taut, superbly crafted addition to the survival story genre.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    Amy
    It's a gripping and thoroughly effective, perhaps even brilliant piece of biographical documentary filmmaking.
    • 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.
    • 62 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    By turns moving, absorbing and downright rage-inducing.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 89 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    Guiraudie creates an ambiance of eerie atmospherics that is at once crisp and observant, and oddly dreamlike, or nightmarish.
    • 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.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 83 Jessica Kiang
    An insightful, enjoyable, absorbing ride that stands as a testament to its director's lively, ungovernable storytelling imagination.
    • 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
    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.
    • 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.”
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    Franco has finally delivered a side project that does at least some justice to his eclectic artistic ambitions.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Jessica Kiang
    Tale of Tales is magnificent, the way a performing bear can be magnificent.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    A hard film to hate, but an even harder one to defend, Joe Dante’s throwback zombie comedy Burying the Ex is a completely unreconstructed B-movie that is perfectly happy to breeze by on charm, nostalgia and the attractiveness of its leads.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    When it comes to capturing some of the gonzo, amoral, substance-fueled verve that Welsh’s novels can display, Filth can take the silver medal with its head held relatively high.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    Too transitory and too undemanding to be termed a mindfuck, for Reality minditch seems about right, and it's one you even occasionally get the pleasure of scratching.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    Kore-eda's trademark humility and humanism is here, and we do get glimpses, even stretches, that suggest the piercingly bittersweet vitality of his best work. But "Our Little Sister" feels like "Kore-eda lite."
    • 50 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    Maïwenn makes no apologies for liking her characters and being invested in their problems, even though in the scheme of things, they could well seem insignificant. And Cassel and Bercot reward her faith with a believable portrayal of a couple who are either the best or the worst things to ever have happened to each other, and very probably both.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    The Bastards feels like what happens when an undeniably great filmmaker stoops to sensationalism -- it’s a smarter, odder film than someone else would make with the same material, but it’s still smart, odd sensationalism.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    Gondry’s film is really a huge Rube Goldberg machine, full of lights and buzzers and levers that ping and whistle endearingly but are connected to nothing and serve no greater function in the larger apparatus.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    The film's own spin toward a liberal audience means it chokes into ineffectuality when it tries to take a less ironic and more active stance on society's biggest current white whale, because the persuasive sermon it preaches, it preaches exclusively to the choir.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    An enigmatic and perhaps occasionally overly deferential documentary about one of the all-time great character actors, Sophie Huber’s Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction, is slow out of the gate, but gently, ever so gently, builds to a thoughtful portrait of a thoughtful man.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    Niccol’s film takes a somber, nuanced and compelling look at the War on Terror as it is waged by U.S. drone pilots, right up until a final five minutes that, in a shower of pat resolutions and conclusions, delivers something of a surgical strike on the its credibility.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    While tears will be jerked, heartstrings plucked and throats enlumpened, it has to go down as a disappointment in the director’s catalogue.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    Overloaded with too many ideas, it does scant justice to the more interesting ones that crop up, while regularly diverting from any sort of central narrative to follow tenuous and ill-explained threads that end up in a foggy limbo. But just when it threatens to wholly frustrate, someone cracks an enjoyable inside-baseball meta movie-making joke and we're back on side for a bit.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    Jodorowsky throws everything and several kitchen sinks into the film, yet it all has its place, and the overall effect is not of the headachey mess it would be in anyone else’s hands, but of a kind of joyous, absurdist melange of highbrow concepts, personal memoir and potty humor.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    Marfa Girl is not going to convince Clark’s detractors, nor will it disappoint his fans, as most of what people consider his trademarks are in place.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    Nebraska is a small-scale quixotic adventure about the importance of dreams, no matter how pie-eyed, in which the outlined flaws could all be forgiven, if it just went somewhere a bit more surprising.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    This film feels like one you discover late at night and watch for ten minutes before remembering you've already seen it, and yet we still kinda loved it.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    They may inspire near-religious fervour in some parts, but when it works, Made of Stone doesn’t tell the story of The Stone Roses’ resurrection or Second Coming as much as of their second chance: to play together; to reward the faith of their doggedly loyal fanbase; to be adored.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    All of Wong's undeniable visual flair can't conceal the haphazard nature of the story.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    The odd rhythm of very fast and slick followed by very slow and arty is difficult to settle into, and the film ultimately frustrates, willfully obscuring the apparatus of what appears at first to be a promising film noir framework.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    Abel Ferrara’s Pasolini is a frustrating film, despite vast stretches of compelling storytelling.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    A film of surface pleasures, even joys, but those joys seem to be longing for a central idea around which to coalesce.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    It looks pretty, and is visually often a creditable recreation of times past, but it gives no substance to Stock and Dean's relationship, just circumstances. It lacks life.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    It’s a meticulous and tightly coiled cautionary tale, but it’s hard to imagine any of its characters having life outside the narrow confines of its stagy plot, or the edges of its carefully composed frames.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    As a director, Colangelo has a firm if cautious grasp on the material, but as a writer her grip is less sure.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    While the sexuality is pushed far too far for mainstream audiences, it's also true that Noe's conception of sentiment and romance pulls the film back from being truly transgressive about its gender or sexuality politics.

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