For 88 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 44% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 11.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Jessica Kiang's Scores

  • Movies
Average review score: 70
Highest review score: 100 Blue Is the Warmest Color
Lowest review score: 25 Beauty and the Beast
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 62 out of 88
  2. Negative: 5 out of 88
88 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.
    • 91 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
    • 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.
    • 93 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.
    • 97 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.
    • 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.
    • 74 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    Overall a triumphantly idiosyncratic film with smarts and visceral impact in equal measure.
    • 91 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Jessica Kiang
    Force Majeure is a brutally smart and original film.
    • 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.
    • 76 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.
    • 77 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.
    • 70 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.
    • 89 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.
    • 84 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.
    • 83 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.
    • 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.”
    • 63 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.
    • 81 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 67 Jessica Kiang
    All of Wong's undeniable visual flair can't conceal the haphazard nature of the story.
    • 64 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 55 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 75 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.
    • 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.
    • 68 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.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 58 Jessica Kiang
    Though it's impressive in many technical and surface ways, The Croods lets us down on the essentials of character and story, and no amount of late-stage father/daughter bonding or vertiginous 3D cliffside tumbling can make up for that.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 58 Jessica Kiang
    The more dramatic moments feel unanchored to the more farcical, and the humor ranges erratically from scatological to tender/heartwarming and back to cheap shots at slightly uncomfortable stereotypes. "Uneven" would be the kind way of putting it, but "messy" is probably nearer to the truth.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 58 Jessica Kiang
    For every moment of comedy that lands or drama that touches a nerve, there are ten of “why the bloody hell should I bloody care?” or “cry me a river, you had to sell your Brueghel.”
    • 51 Metascore
    • 58 Jessica Kiang
    Despite Seyfried’s gameness, we come away a little deadened from the experience and knowing precious little more than before about the person who inhabited the body, the life and the throat of Linda Lovelace.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 58 Jessica Kiang
    A Single Shot does not add up to anywhere near the sum of its parts.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 58 Jessica Kiang
    The film makes distant what surely should be vital and alive.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 58 Jessica Kiang
    A film that, while often beautiful to look at, feels oddly bloodless in execution.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 58 Jessica Kiang
    It's a sterile affair, no ambiguity, no ambivalence, just people doing one thing and then another.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 58 Jessica Kiang
    A loving and in fact overly adulatory genre film which is not so much a take on the revenge Western as a deeply faithful recreation of it, at times so faithful as to veer dangerously close to pastiche.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Jessica Kiang
    Manages to be both overwrought and strangely lacking in drama, staggering under the deadening weight of an uninvolving central character. It is a shame, because many of the elements were in place for something much more compelling.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 50 Jessica Kiang
    The people of Jia’s film are mysterious, their reactions and motivations, outside of that first segment in which we get the best-drawn and therefore most anomalous character, are all but unknowable.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 50 Jessica Kiang
    With the themes of this play not exactly subtle or delicate, particularly at the climax, it all becomes a bit grating -- inescapable in its heavy-handedness.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 50 Jessica Kiang
    Bloodless, far too genteel, and perfectly content to continually tell where a little showing would be nice; Night Train to Lisbon ends up a deeply unadventurous adventure story.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Jessica Kiang
    It’s a competent, unobjectionable history lesson but Cesar Chavez’ legacy needs a more inspired and inspiring telling if it's to get the exposure this crusading figure deserves.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 50 Jessica Kiang
    The overwriting of every single discussion smacks less of realistic debate than of a writer/director in the throes of a fit of didacticism who simply never trusts his audience to get his meaning without it being iterated and reiterated to the point of white noise.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 50 Jessica Kiang
    At best a handful of transitory pleasures, Sils Maria threads through the peaks and valleys of weighty, interesting topics, but makes no lasting impression on them.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Jessica Kiang
    It’s a twee and tweedy period “Footloose,” into which Loach’s trademark left wing sympathies are not so much woven as photocopied and stapled onto alternate pages of the script.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Jessica Kiang
    It’s a heartfelt and undoubtedly well-meaning film, attempting a character study of a woman of an age and lifestyle that makes her an unusual and therefore unusually worthy subject. But Angelique’s overriding characteristic is that she is incapable of fundamental change which makes her at best a frustrating protagonist for this drama.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Jessica Kiang
    There is beauty here, and exquisite craft in both the pictures and the minutely designed soundscape, and there are some truly chewy ideas thrown up about the porosity of the boundary between public and private that would have lent terrific, atmospheric texture to a film... But there is little connection to the characters.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 42 Jessica Kiang
    It’s handsome, stately and deathly dull.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 42 Jessica Kiang
    Over the twenty-odd years the film covers, Saint Laurent is scene-by-scene depicted as a genius, a manic-depressive, a polyamorist, a drug taker, a mercurial friend, a partier and a terribly, terribly sensitive soul. He undoubtedly was all of these things and more, it's just a pity he doesn't also come across as a person.
    • 28 Metascore
    • 33 Jessica Kiang
    It only ever connects in the small moments that fall through the cracks of the supposed formal and thematic experimentation—when the fine actors are allowed to walk and talk like real human beings, rather than a collection of tropes.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 25 Jessica Kiang
    Strangely old-fashioned in its construction and requiring a Golden Gate-level feat of engineering to achieve the suspension of disbelief necessary to unironically enjoy it.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 25 Jessica Kiang
    The film is awful, but it is not unwatchable.
    • 24 Metascore
    • 25 Jessica Kiang
    The choking pictorialism of the sets and CG backgrounds, coupled with the barely-there performances, contribute to an inescapable sense of lifelessness and sterility.
    • 31 Metascore
    • 25 Jessica Kiang
    Retreading "Prisoners" territory to an extent that at times makes you wonder if they’re two parts of some sort of Canadian auteur experiment that no one else is in on, what is lost in the transfer, however, is any of the Villeneuve film’s subtlety or shading, and we are left only with its most lurid, credulity-stretching highlights, with all other textures blasted out to snowy blankness.