For 921 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 0.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Justin Chang's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 After the Storm
Lowest review score: 0 Some Kind Of Beautiful
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 95 out of 921
921 movie reviews
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    There is gargantuan excess here, to be sure — and no shortage of madness — but there is also an astonishing level of discipline.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Righteous, captivating and entirely successful as single-issue-focused documentaries go, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s film draws on startling video footage and testimonies from former orca trainers, building an authoritative argument on behalf of this majestic species.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Kore-eda is too scrupulous a filmmaker to prescribe Ryota an easy redemptive arc or happy ending. Nonetheless, the lingering optimism that suffuses After the Storm’s closing scenes is honestly achieved; nothing on the surface has changed, but on a deeper level something has.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Ade has an unusual gift for planting more than one idea in each frame; I don’t think there’s a single one of the movie’s 162 minutes that can be reduced to a single emotional beat or narrative function. That hefty running time isn’t a sign of indulgence, but integrity.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Result is pure-grade art cinema destined primarily for the delectation of Malick partisans and adventurous arthouse-goers.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Talky in the best sense, the film exhilarates with its lively, authentic classroom banter while its emotional undercurrents build steadily but almost imperceptibly over a swift 129 minutes. One of the most substantive and purely entertaining movies in competition at Cannes this year.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    The director’s long-overdue follow-up to “Children of Men” is at once a nervy experiment in blockbuster minimalism and a film of robust movie-movie thrills, restoring a sense of wonder, terror and possibility to the bigscreen.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    What’s magical about Paterson — and what may frustrate those seeking a tidier, prosier experience — is its refusal to settle for clear answers.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Eco-activist documentaries don't get much more compelling than The Cove, an impassioned piece of advocacy filmmaking that follows "Flipper" trainer-turned-marine crusader Richard O'Barry in his efforts to end dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    The stately rhythms of the dialogue — drawn out by the particulars of Davies’ blocking, framing and editing — become a kind of music. The effect is bewildering at first, then absorbing, then transfixing. Its purpose, in line with the loftiest ideals of poetry itself, is to clear the mind and stir the soul.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    In ways both subtle and overt, the movie continually draws our attention to the human consciousness guiding every shot, the hand that is gently yet unmistakably manipulating the image.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    A captivating 1930s-set caper whose innumerable surface pleasures might just seduce you into overlooking its sly intelligence and depth of feeling.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    A mesmerizing slow burn of a martial-arts movie that boldly merges stasis and kinesis, turns momentum into abstraction, and achieves breathtaking new heights of compositional elegance: Shot for shot, it’s perhaps the most ravishingly beautiful film Hou has ever made, and certainly one of his most deeply transporting.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Building implacable dread and tension from scene to scene, the story is as simple as its underlying ideas are endlessly complex.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    A mesmerizing companion piece to his 2008 debut, "Hunger," this more approachable but equally uncompromising drama likewise fixes its gaze on the uses and abuses of the human body, as Michael Fassbender again strips himself down, in every way an actor can, for McQueen's rigorous but humane interrogation.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Even high expectations don’t quite prepare you for the startling impact of Carol, an exquisitely drawn, deeply felt love story that teases out every shadow and nuance of its characters’ inner lives with supreme intelligence, breathtaking poise and filmmaking craft of the most sophisticated yet accessible order.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Surgically precise, grimly funny and entirely mesmerizing over the course of its swift 149-minute running time, this taut yet expansive psychological thriller represents an exceptional pairing of filmmaker and material.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Nuri Bilge Ceylan is at the peak of his powers with Winter Sleep, a richly engrossing and ravishingly beautiful magnum opus that surely qualifies as the least boring 196-minute movie ever made.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    If Inception is a metaphysical puzzle, it's also a metaphorical one: It's hard not to draw connections between Cobb's dream-weaving and Nolan's filmmaking -- an activity devoted to constructing a simulacrum of reality, intended to seduce us, mess with our heads and leave a lasting impression. Mission accomplished.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    While no film from the narrow perspective of Israeli intelligence could purport to offer a thorough view of the conflict, what makes The Gatekeepers ultimately so compelling is its pervasive sense of moral ambiguity.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Decidedly not revolutionary cinema, Something in the Air instead quietly demystifies its subject. The tone of the piece is wryly affectionate but never indulgent; the experiences depicted feel emotionally true and lived-in without ever catching the viewer up in a rush of intoxication or excitement.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Some might well accuse this stubbornly singular woman of living in the past, but to watch Aquarius is to see her surrendering again and again to the bliss of the present moment — never more so than in a final scene of thrilling, annihilating ferocity.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Bravura narrative filmmaking on a hugely ambitious scale, Carlos is a spectacular achievement.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Reichardt has never been one to reduce her characters to an easy emotional or dramatic equation, and here the everyday challenge of being female in a male-dominated profession is just one element on an extraordinarily fine-grained human canvas.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Terrence Malick’s Voyage of Time: The Imax Experience is a glorious cosmic reverie, a feast for the eyes and a balm for the soul in these angry, contentious times.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Grounded by a performance of monumental soul from Gleeson as a tough-minded Irish priest marked for death by one of his parishioners, the film offers a mordantly funny survey of small-town iniquity that morphs, almost imperceptibly, into a deeply felt lament for a fallen world.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Honoring all that was memorable about its forebears while taking the story to new depths of catharsis, Before Midnight stands as a unique and uniquely satisfying entry in what has shaped up to be an outstanding screen trilogy
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Sans dialogue or translation, each interaction effectively becomes a puzzle to be solved, and Slaboshpytskiy is brilliant at using ambiguity to heighten rather than dull the viewer’s perceptions. Even when the meaning of a particular exchange eludes us, a greater sense of narrative comprehension begins to take hold.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    It’s a simple, even predictable story, yet textured so exquisitely and acted so forcefully as to feel almost revelatory.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    This educational eye-popper should prove an excellent draw for science lovers of all ages.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Ratatouille is delicious. In this satisfying, souffle-light tale of a plucky French rodent with a passion for cooking, the master chefs at Pixar have blended all the right ingredients -- abundant verbal and visual wit, genius slapstick timing, a soupcon of Gallic sophistication -- to produce a warm and irresistible concoction that's sure to appeal to everyone's inner Julia Child.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Continues Fincher's fascinating transition from genre filmmaker extraordinaire to indelible chronicler of our times.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Wrenchingly acted, deftly manipulated and terrifyingly well made.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Elle is a gripping whodunit, a tour de force of psychological suspense and a wickedly droll comedy of manners.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    The persistence of grief and the hope of redemption are themes as timeless as dramaturgy itself, but rarely do they summon forth the kind of extraordinary swirl of love, anger, tenderness and brittle humor that is Manchester by the Sea.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Enthralling...An ambitious, full-bodied crime epic of gratifying scope and moral complexity, this is seriously brainy pop entertainment that satisfies every expectation raised by its hit predecessor and then some.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    Linklater indulges his characters’ antics with such wild, free-flowing affection that you might miss the thoughtful undertow of this delightful movie: Few filmmakers have so fully embraced the bittersweet joy of living in the moment — one that’s all the more glorious because it fades so soon.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Justin Chang
    If the screenplay, by Dan Futterman (“Capote”) and E. Max Frye, is relatively spare in terms of dialogue, it’s satisfyingly rich and thorny in its conception of the tightly wound triangle at its center, while Miller’s direction evinces the same sustained intensity and consummate control of his material that defined his first two features.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    An endearingly schizoid Frankenstein of a movie, by turns relentlessly high-spirited and darkly poignant.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    [Stillman] takes the inherent sophistication of Austen’s worldview and introduces just the right note of sly, self-deflating mockery.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Eschewing character arcs and talking heads in favor of a more poetic approach, this lyrical exercise in avant-garde entomology is the work of an intuitive filmmaker with an often hypnotic sense of composition.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The strength of The Witness lies in its recognition that the truth is often not just elusive but unattainable.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Working on a richer and more intricate canvas than she's previously attempted, Kelly Reichardt has pulled off a rare thing with Meek's Cutoff -- a low-budget period Western with a bracing feminist spin.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    A carefully constructed and beautifully acted tale of two very different sisters brought together when their aging father falls seriously ill.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Gibney’s film cuts across subjects and genres with its own fluid, quicksilver intelligence.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The movie’s spirit is by turns energetic and serene, impetuous and wise, its wild shifts from comedy to tragedy to romance revealing themselves not as tonal swings so much as variations in a larger cosmic pattern.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    It’s been a while since a film so powerfully evoked the thrilling possibilities and wasted pleasures of the open road.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    After undergoing some unfortunate mutations in recent years, a beleaguered Marvel movie property gets the smart, stylish prequel it deserves in X-Men: First Class.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    While Cemetery of Splendor is unabashedly a work of slow cinema, the oft-hurled pejorative of “difficult” seems a particularly poor fit for a film whose unforced lyricism could scarcely be more graceful or inviting.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    A fastidiously grim ghost story that rattles the bones of the haunted-house genre and finds plenty of fresh (but not too bloody) meat.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Writer-director Sean Baker’s sun-scorched, street-level snapshot is a work of rueful, matter-of-fact insight and unapologetically wild humor that draws a motley collection of funny, sad and desperate individuals into its protagonists’ orbit.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Desplechin perfectly times the moment when drollery ends and anguish begins, and it’s that sense of vulnerability that lends the film an unexpected emotional force as it moves toward its return-home epilogue.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Saavedra is riveting as a servant whose unblinking focus on her routine masks a profound loneliness.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Shults’s approach craftily favors observation over exposition, and he proves as attentive to Krisha’s surroundings as he is to her inner life.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Although informed by the busy workings of history, politics and personal affairs, Neruda proceeds like a light-footed chase thriller filtered through an episode of “The Twilight Zone,” by the end of which the audience is lost in a crazily spiraling meta-narrative. Who exactly is the star and author of that narrative is one of the film’s more enticing mysteries.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    George A. Romero shows 'em how it's done in Land of the Dead, resurrecting his legendary franchise with top-flight visuals, terrific genre smarts and tantalizing layers of implication.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Bleak, naturalistic and flawlessly acted, Graduation distills the mood and moral decay of a place whose gray skies and nondescript housing blocks feel like permanent reminders of its dark history.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Perhaps it’s best to appreciate Demon not for what it implies but for what it simply and unmistakably is: A bravura testament to a talent silenced far too soon.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The beauty of Bening’s performance lies in those marvelously suggestive layers — all the delicate, tendril-like emotional possibilities that she manages to tuck into the margins of any given moment.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Writer-director Robert Eggers’ impressive debut feature walks a tricky line between disquieting ambiguity and full-bore supernatural horror, but leaves no doubt about the dangerously oppressive hold that Christianity exerted on some dark corners of the Puritan psyche.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Its title a sly reference to what distinguishes men from beasts, Staying Vertical hinges on the tension between primal instincts and socially proscribed behavior. Guiraudie isn’t just trying to decimate sexual taboos; he is also taking gently comic aim at the overly rigid roles into which people tend to lock themselves.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    If the film has a governing principle, it’s that love doesn’t take root in a vacuum, and its path is never perfectly straight.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    If the characters’ quandaries at times feel overly circumscribed, they’re also advanced with a bracing emotional directness, devoid of either cynicism or sentimentalism, that touches genuine chords of feeling over the course of the film’s fleet 130-minute running time.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The world of The Salesman isn’t quite as intricately imagined as some of its predecessors, and the story’s sleuthing element, while absorbing, often feels more narratively expedient than germane. But if the setup is creaky, the payoff, when it arrives, is a thing to behold.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    A wise and impeccably controlled drama that finds Russian helmer Andrei Zvyagintsev in outstanding form.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The tension is rooted in psychology rather than gimmickry, and evinces a command of craft that feels old-fashioned in the most refreshing possible sense.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Anchored by a fine and flinty performance from Mia Wasikowska, director John Curran’s gorgeously rendered adventure saga succeeds not only in capturing the harshness and wild beauty of Davidson’s journey, but also in mapping a delicate interior pathway into the heart of this most atypical explorer.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The writer-director's typically eccentric sixth feature is a sustained immersion in a series of hypnotic moods and longueurs, an imposing picture that thrillingly and sometimes maddeningly refuses to conform to expectations.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The result is as grim and unyielding a depiction of the Holocaust as has yet been made on that cinematically overworked subject — a masterful exercise in narrative deprivation and sensory overload that recasts familiar horrors in daringly existential terms.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The story floats along like an intoxicating cloud of vice — an effect that Wood achieves with a throbbing, surging soundtrack and an alternately propulsive and hypnotic sense of camera movement. By the time the sensory rush dissipates and the hangover sets in, only Wood’s sharply observant social critique remains.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The movie may, in the end, frustrate your desire for straight-up thrills and clear answers, but its irresolution is masterful — sincere, generous and entirely appropriate to the deeply searching story it has to tell.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    No filmmaker better understands the revelatory properties of small talk and soju, and few could make the art of repetition seem so rife with possibilities.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    From first frame to last, the filmmaking exudes intelligence and control, with none of the chilly emotional distance those qualities can imply. Form and content are in near-perfect balance.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    A sensationally entertaining old-school freakout and one of the smartest, most viscerally effective thrillers in recent memory.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Never one to shy away from unlikely sources of comedy, David O. Russell tackles mental illness, marital failure and the curative powers of football with bracingly sharp and satisfying results in Silver Linings Playbook.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Amusingly predicated on the romantic possibilities of phone sex, Easier With Practice pushes past its titillating premise to become a quietly provocative love story about emotionally stunted manhood and the risks some guys will take to connect.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    What’s remarkable about Scott’s genuinely imposing Old Testament psychodrama is the degree to which he succeeds in conjuring a mighty and momentous spectacle — one that, for sheer astonishment, rivals any of the lavish visions of ancient times the director has given us — while turning his own skepticism into a potent source of moral and dramatic conflict.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    This latest film from Roger Ross Williams (“God Loves Uganda”) teems with insights into how children’s fantasy can and can’t bridge a developmental gap, but works on an even more basic, emotional level as a warm testament to a family’s love and resilience.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    This exquisitely beautiful adaptation of Yann Martel's castaway saga has a sui generis quality that's never less than beguiling, even if its fable-like construction and impeccable artistry come up a bit short in terms of truly gripping, elemental drama.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Conventional but rousingly effective picture.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Filtering the world's oldest paintings through the latest in cinematic technology, Werner Herzog delivers a one-of-a-kind art-history lesson in Cave of Forgotten Dreams.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    This delectable entertainment is as surprising for its continually evolving (and involving) dynamics of desire as for its slow-building emotional power.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Precision-honed performances and a nonsensationalistic approach distinguish this impressive first feature from French helmer Alexandre Moors, which avoids pat explanations as it offers a speculative glimpse into murderous minds.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    At once questioning and reaffirming the pleasures of cinematic espionage, this is the rare sequel that leaves its franchise feeling not exhausted but surprisingly resurgent at 19 years and counting.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    It’s a rich, glorious mess, and its underlying craftsmanship is apparent in the characters’ beautifully delineated relationships, each with its own jangly rhythm and distinct feel.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Like so many films consumed with the minutiae of daily journalism, Spotlight is a magnificently nerdy process movie — a tour de force of filing-cabinet cinema, made with absolute assurance that we’ll be held by scene after scene of people talking, taking notes, following tips, hounding sources, poring over records, filling out spreadsheets, and having one door after another slammed in their faces.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Without sacrificing his taste for psychosexual perversity or his flair for violent grace notes, Park has given us a teasingly witty and elegant puzzle-box of a thriller whose pleasures are rooted not in visceral shock but in narrative surprise, and which wisely opts to seduce rather than pulverize its audience.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Animism, apparitions, out-of-body experiences, sex with a catfish -- there's all that and more in Apichatpong Weerasethakul's wonderfully nutty Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    For all the mysteries it chooses to leave off screen and on dry land, Chevalier speaks for itself: Scene by scene, it builds a vision of group dynamics as calm, violent and finally unyielding as the sea.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Written and directed by the gifted first-timer Kelly Fremon Craig, and graced by a superb star turn from Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen is the rare coming-of-age picture that feels less like a retread than a renewal. It’s a disarmingly smart, funny and thoughtful piece of work, from end to beginning to end.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The riveting interplay between Dench and Cate Blanchett draws blood with every scene, thanks to a precision-honed script and Eyre's equally incisive direction.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    A mesmerizing portrait of the director as acclaimed artist and tortured human being.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Director Alex Gibney delivers not just a detailed, full-access account of his subject, in all his defiance, hubris and tentative self-reckoning, but also a layered inquiry into the culture of competitiveness, celebrity, moral relativism and hypocrisy that helped enable and sustain his deception.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Writer Aaron Sorkin, director Danny Boyle and star Michael Fassbender have given their subject the brilliant, maddening, ingeniously designed and monstrously self-aggrandizing movie he deserves.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Spy
    An uproarious blast of globe-trotting action-comedy delirium that doesn’t spoof the espionage-thriller genre so much as drop a series of banana peels in its path.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Showing an unobtrusive mastery of camera movement, Bi lends concrete form and rich dramatic life to the Buddhist notion that past, present and future are all equally untenable.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    The rare sequel that not only improves on but retroactively justifies its predecessor, this lightning-paced caper-comedy shifts the franchise into high gear with international intrigue, spy-movie spoofery and more automotive puns than you can shake a stickshift at, handling even its broader stretches with sophistication, speed and effortless panache.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    This boardroom tuner charmingly mines humor, romance and no shortage of eccentric lyrics from the world of spreadsheets and stock portfolios, but its real achievement is a formal and conceptual one, conjuring a tongue-in-cheek vision of modern capitalism in splendidly Brechtian terms (and in widescreen 3D, to boot).
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Justin Chang
    Even as it moves from tender ethnographic portraiture into a realm of hushed, intimate tragedy, Ixcanul quivers with a fierce if understated feminine energy.

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