Joe Morgenstern

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For 2,218 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 42% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 56% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Joe Morgenstern's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Manchester by the Sea
Lowest review score: 0 John Q
Score distribution:
2218 movie reviews
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    The Past plays out within narrower bounds than "A Separation," and often at lower velocity — a few moments feel almost Chekhovian. Yet the film is commanding in its own right, another exploration of a volatile situation — an estranged husband returning from Iran when his wife requests a divorce — in which flashes of insight or understanding lead to new mysteries.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Watching Ahlo mix his explosives is like watching a Cordon Bleu chef whipping up a stupendous soufflé.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    The new film may not qualify for masterpiece status, but it's an enthralling portrait of a man — an exceptionally brilliant and articulate man — who personified the courage, complexity and moral ambiguity of his tortured time.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Real life is not the movie's concern. Mr. Anderson's lovely confection — that's a pastry metaphor — keeps us smiling, and sometimes laughing out loud. Yet acid lurks in the cake's lowest layers.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    These miniatures magnify their subjects, and ennoble them. The picture is anguishing to see, but it isn't missing anymore.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    The most striking thing about X-Men: Days of Future Past is its generosity. Huge franchise installments are rarely as enjoyable as this one. They aren't as inventive, richly detailed, surprisingly varied, elegantly crafted or improbably stirring.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    It's gleefully bold, visually adventurous, often funny, strikingly concise — the whole heart-pounding tale is over in 90 minutes — and 100% entertaining.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    This is only the second feature for the director: the first was "True Adolescents." But Mr. Johnson's work with his actors is impeccable, and his style is freewheeling.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Mr. Hardy's Brooklyn accent is not only flawless — a Londoner by birth, he's a vocal chameleon who played a Welshman in "Locke" — but tinged, I do believe, with a blithe, spot-on tribute to a blue-collar guy from another borough, Ernest Borgnine's immortal Marty. Here's a far-from-minor performance by a major star in the making.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    The film feels freshly minted because the man who made it has such a lively mind and fearless style. At a time when all too many movies are selling bleakness and dysfunction, it also feels like a revenant from Hollywood’s golden age, when an entertainment’s highest function was to entertain.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Finding words for the starring performance is easy. After breaking through as a brilliant comic actor in “The Hangover,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle,” Mr. Cooper turns out to be just as brilliant at intensely dramatic inwardness. In his extraordinarily austere portrayal, Kyle’s silences are eloquent, his impassivity interesting, his inner conflicts implied without a trace of sentimentality.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Song of the Sea was made primarily, though not exclusively, for young children. Its unhurried pace will serve as an antidote to, or even an inoculation against, the mad rush of most contemporary animation. This is a film made by the other crowd, people who care about helping children to care about the medium of film for the rest of their lives.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    This comic chronicle of a Peruvian bear’s adventures in London turns out to be a total charmer, made with panache, élan and generous dollops of marmalade.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    In what I think may be the filmmaker’s plan, all that stuff — that maddeningly cacophonous Stuff — is what we’re meant to cut through and get past in order to become as alert and alive as the star of Mr. Godard’s movie. In this interpretation, it’s the pooch who points the way toward perceiving beauty by learning to live in the vibrant, fragrant present.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    I’ve long been a fan of IMAX nature documentaries, but Humpback Whales, directed by Greg MacGillivray, is something special.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    '71
    Yann Demange’s ’71, with an astonishing performance by Jack O’Connell, is big-screen storytelling stripped to its dramatic and visual essentials, and the result is nothing less than shattering.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Never lacks for extravagance — the film looks as striking as it sounds — and some of the tales certainly seem outlandish. Yet they’re part of a truly remarkable origin story that the film and its subjects explore with uncommon thoughtfulness and depth of feeling.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    This remarkable piece of antiwar cinema honors its theme, and the movie medium.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Thanks to this new film, though, any questions about her potential have been dispelled. Alicia Vikander has fully and memorably arrived, a luminous presence with a gift for tenderness, an instinct for understatement and formidable reserves of passion—she not only rises to the challenge of Vera’s climactic speech, but elevates the pacifist rhetoric into furious poetry.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    This brilliantly funny, casually profound and deeply affecting coming-of-age chronicle, directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon from a screenplay by Jesse Andrews, even manages to be life-enlightening—it’s a fresh take on contemporary adolescence as a journey from ironic detachment to openhearted feeling.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    The Tribe is one of the most disturbing films I’ve ever seen. It may also be among the most memorable — not only for its pitch-black view of human nature, but for the devilishly instructive way in which it turns the tables on us. As we watch in anxious confusion, it’s as if we are profoundly deaf, trying to understand what’s going on and striving to break out of isolation.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Although movies about celebrities are often fatuous and superfluous, that’s anything but the case with Stevan Riley’s Listen to Me Marlon. This feature documentary about Marlon Brando needed to be made, and Mr. Riley made it extremely well.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    You may know Mr. Edgerton as the actor who played the cocksure SEAL squadron commander in “Zero Dark Thirty,” and Tom Buchanan in “The Great Gatsby.” Who knew, though, that his debut feature would be so stylishly crafted, intricately psychological and genuinely thrilling?
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Ms. Gerwig’s performance is a comic diamond, and not in the rough. Her timing is flawless, her delivery is droll. The character she has created — from a remarkably smart and supple script, plus her own unerring instincts — may have spiritual connections with Cate Blanchett’s delusional Jasmine or Diane Keaton’s blissed-out Annie Hall (Brooke solemnly and absurdly consults a spirit medium).
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    The other remarkable aspect of Mr. Schipper’s film centers on the title character, who is played by an extraordinary Spanish actress named Laia Costa. She’s full of energy, and effortless grace.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    This is a harrowing film to watch. In spite of the vibrant jungle greens and the searing sun, it’s as bleak a vision of modern warfare as has ever been put on screen.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    I also know The Assassin to be so ravishingly lovely that tracking the plot is far less important than luxuriating in the images.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    It’s film as a fugue state, a Buddhist flow, a collection of memory fragments that drift together into a haunting evocation of Lola’s and Laurie’s intertwined lives.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    Brooklyn grabs us, holds us and moves us on its own. Emotionally it’s a killer.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Joe Morgenstern
    You’d never know Theeb was a debut feature from Mr. Nowar’s confident technique, and I found it astonishing, given the perfection of the performances, that all but one of the actors were Bedouin villagers who had never acted before.

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