Joe Morgenstern
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For 1,924 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 41% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 57% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 0.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Joe Morgenstern's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Ratatouille
Lowest review score: 0 Identity Thief
Score distribution:
1,924 movie reviews
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Awash in terrific performances.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Taken at face value, these two women are simply despicable. But the screenplay has a bracing tincture of Grand Guignol, and nothing is simple when the two women are played by a couple of superlative actresses who clearly delight in one another.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    [Sordi] lifts buffoonery to the level of high art.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie is serious, intelligent, intentionally claustrophobic and awfully somber -- you remember it in black and white, though it was shot (by the masterful Tak Fujimoto) in color. But you'll remember Mr. Cooper's performance for exactly what it is, an uncompromising study in the gradual decay of a soul.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    A surprisingly agile and delightfully warm romantic comedy.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    This immensely pleasurable film is anything but dry. It's a saga of the immigrant experience that captures the snap, crackle and pop of American life, along with the pounding pulse, emotional reticence, volcanic colors and cherished rituals of Indian culture.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Some of Mr. Loach's earlier feature films have been easier to admire than to enjoy. This one, which won the Palme d'Or at last year's Cannes Film Festival, fairly vibrates with dramatic energy.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    We saw what Mr. Gordon-Levitt could do in such diverse films as "Mysterious Skin" and "Brick," and in the TV sitcom "3rd Rock From the Sun." But this performance is something else. It's unforgettable.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Black Book is its own kind of thriller. The film is filled with the genre's conventions -- suspense, betrayal, melodrama, violence, music -- and it's hugely enjoyable from start to finish.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Value has been added as well -- the most thrilling car chase ever committed to film, a sequence that also shows, by cutting to the psychosexual chase, why fans embraced the tawdry genre in the first place.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    A feature film that's often astringent on the surface, yet deeply and memorably stirring.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    After countless films in which immigration plays a central role -- one of the earliest was Charlie Chaplin's 1917 silent classic "The Immigrant" while one of the best, Jan Troell's "The Emigrants," has never migrated to DVD -- you'd think the canon was essentially complete. Yet this visionary work adds to it by combining harsh realities with magic-realist fantasies.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Satoshi Kon, whose previous film was the remarkable "Tokyo Godfathers," uses the complex plot as a pretext for joyous psychedelia.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Sandra Goldbacher's gorgeous debut feature (shot by Ashley Rowe) stars Minnie Driver in a lovely performance as Rosina da Silva. [31 Jul 1998]
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    The film's point of view is inevitably that of an outsider, which Danny Pearl was, and menace is the essence of this shattering story, which has been told with skill and urgent conviction. A Mighty Heart makes the terms of the terrorist threat palpable.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    This fourth iteration of a series that first burst upon the world in 1988 turns out to be terrific entertainment, and startlingly shrewd in the bargain, a combination of minimalist performances -- interestingly minimalist -- and maximalist stunts that make you laugh, as you gape, at their thunderous extravagance.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    As Crowhurst's situation grows desperate, the scope of the film expands -- from a good yarn to a haunting, complex tale of self-promotion, media madness, self-delusion and, finally, self-destruction.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    From seductive start to shattering finish, the film is as stirring, entertaining and steadfastly thrilling as it is beautiful.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    This is not a drama of shadings, but of ever-increasing intensity.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    In the end, though, the success of American Gangster doesn't flow from the originality of its ideas, or its bid for epic status, as much as from its craftsmanship and confident professionalism. It's a great big gangster film, and a good one.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    I can't begin to count the ways in which The Savages pleased me, but the very best of them is the way Tamara Jenkins's comedy stays tough while sneakily turning tender.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    It's a comedy of crisp, mordant wit and quietly radiating warmth, as well as a coming-of-age story with a lovely twist -- you can't always spot the best candidates for maturity.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    It declines to take itself seriously, yet manages, sometimes simultaneously, to be exciting, instructive, cheerfully absurd and genuinely affecting.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    The heroes are two hit men, and the tone is often absurdist. But the film is also very funny and surprisingly affecting.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    As you watch Doc Paskowitz perform for Mr. Pray's camera, it's hard not to judge him harshly. His narcissism seems boundless, even when he cloaks it in self-deprecation.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    On screen it looks crazed, but the comic energy is huge, if indiscriminate, and Mr. Sandler's performance -- think Topol doing Charles Boyer -- can be as delicate as it is gleefully vulgar or grotesque.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    This autobiographical meditation is seductively funny, as well as deliciously strange, and hauntingly beautiful, as well as stream-of-consciousness cockeyed.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    A bright little screwball comedy that speaks for the vitality of new movies.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie's main appeal is its special comic flavor -- a zesty fusion of picaresque adventure, absurdist whimsy and Chaplinesque grace.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    This ostensibly simple film evokes whole lives in 96 minutes, and does so with sparse dialogue.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    The life that swirls around Kym before, during and after her sister's densely populated, wonderfully detailed wedding seems to have been caught on the fly in all its sweetness, sadness and joy. (In its free-form style the film constitutes an elaborate homage to Robert Altman.)
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    A remarkably fine and genuinely frightening movie about a teenage vampire.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    More than acting, though, Penn's performance is a marvelous act of empathy in a movie that, for all its surprisingly conventional style, measures up to its stirring subject.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    In a minimalist film of muted emotions, Michelle Williams gives as lovely a performance as a moviegoer could ask for.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Doubt leaves none in one respect: John Patrick Shanley was the right person to direct this fascinating screen version of his celebrated play.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    It's a meditation, as affecting as it is entertaining, on the limits of violence and the power of unchained empathy.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Director, Darren Aronofsky, and the writer, Robert D. Siegel, have turned the story of this washed-up faux gladiator into a film of authentic beauty and commanding consequence.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    The malignity can be oppressive -- this is a far cry from Fellini finding poignant uplift in the slums -- but the dramatic structure is complex, the details are instructive, and the sense of tragedy is momentous.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Seldom has a film explored such exotica as Valentino's world -- the gowns, the galas, the villas, the private jets -- with such a sense of momentous drama behind the glitz.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Earth eloquently shows the struggle, life doing what it must to sustain life. The spectacle is stirring.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Wright and his colleagues have made a movie with a spaciousness of its own, a brave willingness to explore such mysteries of the mind and heart as the torture that madness can inflict, and the rapture that music can confer. Bravo to all concerned.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    What's so affecting about him in the film, though, is that he doesn't seem monstrous at all. To the contrary, Iron Mike, having meted out epic suffering in the ring and other venues, seems to be a man who has suffered genuinely, even terribly, in the course of a life that he never believed would last 40 years.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Spielmann's film is full of surprises and, in its distinctive way, full of life.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Cuarón directs with a hand that's as sure as it is deft. The music is terrific, though I can't say the same for the fusty subtitles, and Adam Kimmel's cinematography bathes the movie's cheerful absurdities in a beautiful glow.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    In a literal sense this delightful film, in Norwegian with English subtitles, is about retirement and the prospect of loss. But Mr. Hamer, a poet of the droll and askew, sends the aptly named Odd--it's also a common Norwegian name--on a cockeyed journey from regret through comic confusion to a lovely eagerness for new adventures.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Much of Summer Hours, which was shot by the excellent Eric Gautier, feels like a Chekhov play and resonates like a Schubert quartet; it’s a work of singular loveliness.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    For all its awkward structure, the film is heartfelt and deeply affecting.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Period pieces can be marvelous or musty, depending on the period, as well as the piece. Soul Power is marvelous.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Between the two performances there's not a false note. Between the father and son there's an unbreakable bond. Though civilization has ended, love and parental duty shape the course of this fable, which is otherwise as heartwarming as a Beckett play shorn of humor.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Like earlier Dardenne films, Lorna’s Silence is naturalistic, yet this one, beautifully shot in 35 mm film by Alain Marcoen, achieves a poetry of bereftness.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    A survey of the week wouldn't be complete without a left-handed salute--not to be confused with a backhanded compliment--to the gleeful rubbish of Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Coco is played by Audrey Tautou, and she's phenomenal--self-contained, tightly focused, sparing with her smiles, miserly with her joy, often guarded to the point of severity, yet giving off a grave radiance at every moment she's in front of the camera.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    The sparkle is what's been missing in the star's (Cage) recent performances. What's not to love in a movie that transmutes Terence's moral squalor, and the squalid state of post-Katrina New Orleans, into darkly comic gold?
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Almodóvar's love of movies informs every frame of this beautiful film.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    A win-win situation in which a mainstream feature works equally well as stirring entertainment and a history lesson about a remarkable convergence of sports and statesmanship.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    The entire film is a seduction, one that draws us into a vanished world where Count Leo Tolstoy and his wife of 48 years, Countess Sofya, come to joyous, tempestuous life in a matched pair of magnificent performances by Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    The carnival is loud, brash, brassy, sexy and sometimes tacky or silly, but always entertaining.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    A severe and eerily beautiful German-language drama.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    A stylish thriller with real complexity, people with interesting faces, a sensational actress cast as an ambisexual Goth hacker heroine--the news about The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is nothing but good.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    This faux-documentary is droll, aerosol-thin and ultrameta.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    A drama that transcends cleverness. This beautiful film, directed with subtlety and grace by Juan José Campanella, really is about moving from fear to love.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    A daring and unstable mélange of styles--working-class realism, deadpan fantasy, shameless buffoonery. At times it falls flat, or fails to rise. More often than not, though, it's a heartbreaker.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Living in Emergency is anything but bleeding-heart propaganda.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    What she thinks of herself, though, seems perfectly, if improbably, reasonable--a queen of comedy who won't and shouldn't abdicate.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Ms. Clarkson's performance as Juliette, the fashion-writer wife of a United Nations functionary, is the film's reason for being. She makes yearning palpable. She turns mysterious silences into a language of love.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Who knew this German-born Turkish filmmaker could perpetrate a delirious farce-in German and Greek with good English subtitles-that doesn't flag for a single one of its 99 minutes?
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    This is more than a respectful remake; Let Me In is quietly stylish and thoroughly chilling in its own right.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    The film is picture-book pretty and fairly conventional, except for the 3-D, which is emerging as a convention in its own right. Still, the prettiness comes with brains, and the whole production, like those newly eye-catching models of American-made cars, bespeaks resurgent confidence.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Pathos isn't Ms. Dunham's bag. What makes her film fascinating is the delicate mood it sustains.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Nicole Kidman places the bereaved heroine of Rabbit Hole in a nether land between life and not-quite-life. Her beautiful performance transcends the specifics of the script, which David Lindsay-Abaire adapted from his play of the same name.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Words of wisdom keep popping up in My Dog Tulip with gratifying regularity. They're more likely to gratify dog lovers than anyone else, but that's a large group to which I belong.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Ivan Reitman directed, with great verve and unflagging finesse, from a terrifically funny script by Elizabeth Meriwether.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    This lively little film, a comic take on Shakespeare's tragedy, is really entertaining.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    The main thing about Cedar Rapids is that it makes you laugh-often and out loud.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Delightful and insightful romantic comedy.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    I've made a good case for seeing Rango, and why not; an eye feast is still a feast in this lean multiplex season. Be advised, though, of the film's peculiar deficits. The narrative isn't really dramatic, despite several send-up face-offs. It's more like a succession of picturesque notions that might have flowed from DreamWorks or Pixar while their story departments were out to lunch.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Morgan Spurlock has come up with a terrific idea-a movie about product placements that depends completely on product placements for its financing.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    This prequel draws new energy from supersmart casting, plus the shrewd notion of setting the beginnings of the X-Men saga in the early 1960s.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    The film's special mixture of sadness, comedy and hope sneaks up on you and stays in your memory.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    The Trip is probably too long, but I have to say "probably" because I would have been happy with an additional half-hour of Steve and Rob doing more impressions.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    The results are startlingly original, if occasionally overambitious. This is "Tsotsi" without the feel-good glow, a tale of entrepreneurship's perils and boundless pleasures.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Stylistic debts abound: the Coen brothers, Roger Deakins, the bleak, gothic landscapes of Terrence Malick's "Badlands" and Richard Brooks's "In Cold Blood." Through it all, though, is the original and memorable spectacle of violence expressed and repressed by the desperate hero.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Part 2 of The Deathly Hallows, is the best possible end for the series that began a decade ago.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    If you lop off the closing credits of Fred Cavayé's preposterously exciting - and pleasingly preposterous - French-language thriller, the running time is a mere 80 minutes. Not since "Run Lola Run" has the term been used more aptly.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    The movie also fights for what it wants - to touch us in the course of entertaining us - and it succeeds, with its zinger-studded script that transcends clumsy mechanics and a spirited cast that includes Marisa Tomei as a nymphomaniacal middle-school teacher, and Jonah Bobo as a lovesick eighth-grader.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    A daring feature debut by Evan Glodell, Bellflower looks like it was shot with the digital equivalent of a Brownie box camera, and generates an almost palpable aura of anxiety.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    A work of fiction, Mr. Féret's film is ardent in its inventions, modest in scale, playful in its speculations about Nannerl's influence on her brother's music, and graced by the filmmaker's daughter, Marie Féret, in the title role.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    So much movie can be made with so little plot, given sufficient humanity and dramatic tension. That's the case with Andrew Haigh's eloquent chamber piece.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Le Havre stands on its own fragile but considerable merits.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    As such, it's chilling and enjoyable in unequal measure. Entertainment predominates, but entertainment with smarts, and a well-honed edge.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Like Crazy develops slowly, and threatens at first to be just another movie about beautiful young people in the Age of Fraught Relationships. It's much more than that, though. Without belaboring any issues, it speaks volumes about fear of commitment.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Silence makes the film interesting by enticing us to concentrate in ways we're not used to, while artistry carries the day. The Artist may have started as a daring stunt, but it elevates itself to an endearing - and probably enduring - delight.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Represents a big growth spurt in Mr. Cronenberg's career. Its measured pace, along with a style that is sometimes austere (though sometimes anything but) repays close attention with excellent acting and a wealth of absorbing information.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    His (Takeshi) sense of style is very much in evidence here, and so is his sense of humor.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    It's not fair to say that Ms. Davis steals scenes - one of the movie's strengths is its ensemble cast - but she supercharges every scene she's in.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    The images captured by the film - dancers in theatrical sets, dancers in surreal exterior settings - are deeply scary for their loneliness and pain, and crazily thrilling for the intensity of their joy.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Martius comes to a bad end, while Mr. Fiennes achieves a great beginning. As a director, his grasp exceeds his daring reach, and his performance stands as a chilling exemplar of psychomartial ferocity.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    No beauty contest has ever been more bizarre than the one in Gerardo Naranjo's shockingly powerful thriller.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    There's no deeper meaning to Steven Soderbergh's thriller than what meets the eye, yet its lustrous surfaces offer great and guilt-free pleasure.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Joe Morgenstern
    Quietly affecting and surprisingly dramatic, so long as you're willing to watch it unfold at its own deliberate pace.

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