Manohla Dargis

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For 1,779 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 45% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 52% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 0.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Manohla Dargis' Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Lowest review score: 0 Formula 51
Score distribution:
1779 movie reviews
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Filmmaker Kevin Rafferty makes the case for remembrance and for the art of the story in his preposterously entertaining documentary Harvard Beats Yale 29-29, preposterous at least for those of us who routinely shun that pagan sacrament.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    [Mr. Garland] plays with visual contrasts — Mr. Isaac’s compact, muscled body and Mr. Gleeson’s long, drooping one, picture windows that look out onto an expansively lush landscape and windowless rooms that register as upmarket prison cells — that dovetail with the narrative’s multiple, amusingly deployed dualities: confinement and liberation, agency and submission, mind and body.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Rarely has a film with so much blood on its hands seemed so insistently alive.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    It is undeniable in its poignancy, an ecstatic vision of what might have been, though as much for its story as for the fact that the whole thing dissolves like a paper fan in rain, an evanescent masterwork.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    The songs in Office aren’t especially memorable. But it’s hard to care too much when you have a director who knows how to create tension by moving the camera and characters even while he’s delivering a nimble political softshoe with filmmaking dazzle.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Rarely does pop come with such sizzle.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    What the studio does, brilliantly, is preserve a hand-drawn look and feel in its work, as in the exteriors in The Secret World, where the characters pop against a painterly meadow.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    A rebus, a romance, a gothic thriller and a woozy comedy, The Handmaiden is finally and most significantly a liberation story.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    A memory play and a sleight of hand, Eternal Sunshine is more than anything else deeply sincere. Like Spike Jonze, who directed "Adaptation" and "Being John Malkovich," Gondry succeeds principally by balancing Kaufman's churning skepticism with unflinching hope.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Conceived in the shadow of American pop rather than in its bright light, this tense, effective iteration of Bob Kane's original comic book owes its power and pleasures to a director who takes his material seriously and to a star who shoulders that seriousness with ease.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    The images are as delightful, unexpected and playfully uninhibited as Ms. Varda, perhaps the only filmmaker who has both won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and strolled around an art exhibition while costumed as a potato (not at the same time).
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    The world of My Joy is grim, though the experience of watching it and piecing together its fragmented story strands is anything but. It's suspenseful, mysterious, at times bitterly funny, consistently moving and filled with images of a Russia haunted both by ghosts and the living dead.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Like the convictions of some born into religious families, his (Carlos) Marxism seems more a matter of habit than faith. What seems to turn him on is power, which, the movie suggests, he nurtured alongside his luxe tastes.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    The film's strength and its entertainment lie in John Myhre's production design, its generally appealing cast...and, perhaps most importantly, a canny degree of self-parody.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Powerful, infuriating and at times overwhelming, Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13TH will get your blood boiling and tear ducts leaking.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    A gorgeous riot of future-shock ideas and brightly animated imagery, the doors of perception never close.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    What makes the material still feel personal — other than the yearslong investment and love that transform entertainments into fan communities — is the combination of Katniss and Ms. Lawrence, who have become a perfect fit.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Isn't just a pleasurable rethink of your geek uncle's favorite science-fiction series. It's also a testament to television's power as mythmaker, as a source for some of the fundamental stories we tell about ourselves, who we are and where we came from.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    A grave and beautiful work of art.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Because this is also a document of an actress actually at work, much of the movie's pleasure comes from watching another brilliant performance take shape as Ms. Streep tries out different line readings, gestures and poses in her search for Mother Courage.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    '71
    Mr. Demange makes his feature directing debut with ’71, but he already knows how to move bodies through space and the complex choreography that he’s worked out in this movie is a thing of joy.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Eschewing voice-over or any obvious trace of an on-screen or off-screen presence, she (Brown) lets her images, a little text and other people do the talking for her. Her quiet has its own force.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Love, death, cinema — they’re all there in Mia Madre, bumping up against one another beautifully.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    This unassuming, insistently entertaining documentary has the virtue of a great subject.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Heart of a Dog is about telling and remembering and forgetting, and how we put together the fragments that make up our lives — their flotsam and jetsam, highs and lows, meaningful and slight details, shrieking and weeping headline news.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    In Auto Focus, the strangely wonderful and weirdly touching new film from Paul Schrader, the comedy and the tragedy keep getting mixed up.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Here, the message is the moviemaking and the unparalleled joy you get from a film that can carry you off so completely, making you forget about everything save for the beautiful lies in front of you.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    It is Mr. Soderbergh’s insistence on seeing the A.D.M. scandal as a collective tragedy rather than as another white-collar crime that gives the movie force, resonance, feeling.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    It's a modest film, if only in scale and apparent budget, about some of the greatest questions in life, like the existence of God, our capacity to see beyond our own vanity and the legacies of fathers, both blood and state.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    The film is unabashedly sexy, and its heady romanticism feels as right and as unaffected as Im's bold use of color and his equally bold decision to tell the story through traditional pansori narration.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    What’s explicit here is ravenous passion and the depiction of desire as a creating, destroying force that invades the very flesh. It's terribly French.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Part of what's bracing about Gomorrah, and makes it feel different from so many American crime movies, is both its deadly serious take on violence and its global understanding of how far and wide the mob's tentacles reach, from high fashion to the very dirt.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Mr. Natali, whose earlier films include “Cube,” hasn’t reinvented the horror genre. But with Splice he has done the next best thing with an intelligent movie that, in between its small boos and an occasional hair-raising jolt, explores chewy issues like bioethics, abortion, corporate-sponsored science, commitment problems between lovers and even Freudian-worthy family dynamics.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Moonrise Kingdom breezes along with a beautifully coordinated admixture of droll humor, deadpan and slapstick. Like all of Mr. Anderson's films, though, there's a deep, pervasive melancholia here too.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Working with cinematographer Harris Savides and serving as the film's editor, he (Van Sant) has fashioned a visual style and a narrative shape that has the quality of a waking dream, then a nightmare. Rarely do form and content add up with such harmonious grace and power.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Im recounts the painter's life in bold strokes rather than with the literalist's painstaking detail, and in the process tells us more about the mysteries of genius than a bushel full of quotidian fact.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    "Ocean's 23," oops, Ocean's Thirteen, is also a gas; it's lighter than air, prettier than life, a romp, a goof and an attentively oiled machine.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    The laughs in Spike Lee’s corrosive Chi-Raq burn like acid. Urgent, surreal, furious, funny and wildly messy, the movie sounds like an invitation to defeat, but it’s an improbable triumph that finds Mr. Lee doing his best work in years.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    What makes Half Nelson both an unusual and an exceptional American film, particularly at a time when even films about Sept. 11 are professed to have no politics, is its insistence on political consciousness as a moral imperative.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Mr. Jacobs has succeeded at one of the most difficult tasks given a director, which is to make a character come alive through the filmmaking, not exposition.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Mr. Abrams may be as worshipful as any Star Wars obsessive, but in The Force Awakens he’s made a movie that goes for old-fashioned escapism even as it presents a futuristic vision of a pluralistic world that his audience already lives in. He hasn’t made a film only for true believers; he has made a film for everyone (well, almost).
    • 50 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    As it turns out, Mr. Perry, while busily establishing his economic independence, has been finding his voice as a filmmaker. And here, working with fine performers like Ms. Elise, Anika Noni Rose, Phylicia Rashad and Kerry Washington, he sings the song the way he likes it - with force, feeling and tremendous sincerity.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    With no grand speeches or oversized gestures, Mr. Katz creates a specific world that gracefully enlarges with universal meaning.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Zwigoff pulls off something in Ghost World that seems a minor miracle -- he creates someone with a complex inner life.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    This sensitively directed film is one of those rarest of accomplishments: a graceful work of art about the very creation of art itself.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Enormously enjoyable, high-adrenaline documentary.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    In the end what elevates Mr. Hou’s films to the sublime -- and this one comes close at times -- are not the stories but their telling.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    A seamless model of form and content. (My only quibble is the poor quality of the digital video, which doesn't do justice to Johnson's work.)
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Mr. Miller does his finest work with his three superb leads.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Crowe has made a hugely entertaining, nearly pitch-perfect film about rock & roll.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    An exuberant, exhilaratingly playful testament to being young and hungry -- for life and meaning and immortality, and for other young and restless bodies -- Reprise is a blast of unadulterated movie pleasure.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    The three women in Clouds of Sils Maria love, talk and move, move, move, sharing lives, trading roles and performing parts. The lives they lead are messy and indeterminate, but each woman’s life belongs to her.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    The bright sun that blasts through Starlet, a thrillingly, unexpectedly good American movie about love and a moral awakening, bathes everything in a radiant light, even the small houses with thirsty lawns and dusty cars.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Marks the emergence of one of the more original and promising new voices to hit the international cinema scene in recent years.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    One of the most harrowing and plausible visions of apocalypse since George A. Romero's 1968 zombie shocker, "Night of the Living Dead."
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    The dread gathers and surges while the blood scarcely trickles in The Conjuring, a fantastically effective haunted-house movie.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    A true rarity, Murderous Maids is an intelligent, moral shocker.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    If Flags of Our Fathers feels so unlike most war movies and sounds so contrary to the usual political rhetoric, it is not because it affirms that war is hell, which it does with unblinking, graphic brutality. It’s because Mr. Eastwood insists, with a moral certitude that is all too rare in our movies, that we extract an unspeakable cost when we ask men to kill other men. There is never any doubt in the film that the country needed to fight this war, that it was necessary; it is the horror at such necessity that defines Flags of Our Fathers, not exultation.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    This convulsively funny movie takes an up-close and sometimes queasy-personal approach to its motormouth subject, who, when she's not making you howl with laughter (or freeze up in horror), brandishes her deeply held hurts, fears, prejudices, poor judgment and bad taste as if they were stigmata.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Godard has always made films that are as thrilling for their ideas and ideals as for the sheer beauty of their images; the difference here is that for the first time in years he's more interested in turning us on than in turning us off.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Mostly, Ernest & Celestine is an ode to the happiness that comes from being with those different from us.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    The film has the requisite surface fidelity.... But it also has moments of lightness and strangeness, as well as kinks and sour notes, which strengthen the sense that these are people, not figurines in a dutiful, paint-by-numbers biopic.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    One reason filmmakers like Mr. Nolfi seem attracted to Philip K. Dick's work, beyond the brilliance of its ideas, is that his unembellished writing style leaves them room to make the stories visually their own.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Unguided by obvious story signposts, you slip from image to image, pulled along by their beauty (the digital cinematography is by Chris Dapkins) and by the dreamy, leisurely rhythms of the editing (by Seth Bomse).
    • 63 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Mr. Hong is not yet the equal of Mr. Antonioni, but it has become increasingly difficult to see intellectually stimulating, aesthetically bold films like this in American theaters.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    In both its intellectual reach and the elegant simplicity of its form, A Talking Picture bears resemblance to Andrei Sokurov's "Russian Ark."
    • 56 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Peter and Bobby Farrelly's thoroughly enjoyable paean to Moe, Larry and Curly and the art of the eye poke.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Pi
    A triumph of low-end production design, shot in sizzling, solarized black and white, and driven by a propulsive, insinuating score, Pi is a horror movie that makes you think and an indie film that makes you squirm.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Childhood ends, this time forever, with tears and howls, swirls of smoke, the shock of mortality and bittersweet smiles in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the grave, deeply satisfying final movie in the series.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    It's all terribly tortured, often laugh-out-loud, absurdly funny and, as with all of Maddin's movies, conveyed through images that are as lush and beautifully over the top as the story's emotions.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Again and again, as the story shifts between women, times and moods, Mr. Jordan adds a punctuating flourish...that exquisitely illustrates the once-upon-a-time mood.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Mr. Almereyda takes Milgram, his work and ideas seriously but doesn’t suffocate them: Despite the story’s freight, the laboratory shocks and Milgram’s insistent melancholia, Experimenter is a nimble, low-frequency high.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    It's sexy, brainy and slightly nuts.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    What tethers the movie and especially April and Teddy is how Ms. Coppola captures that exquisitely tender, moving moment between fragile, self-interested youth and tentatively more outwardly aware adulthood, a coming into consciousness that she expresses through their broken sentences, diverted glances and abrupt turns.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    The brilliance of Borat is that its comedy is as pitiless as its social satire, and as brainy.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    While the film’s desperately sad finale indicates that Philippe Garrel knows the truth of '68 better than most and might have suffered a crisis in faith in the years since, this magnificent film is itself proof that all was not lost.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    No
    Marshall McLuhan called advertising the greatest art form of the 20th century. In No, Pablo Larraín’s sly, smart, fictionalized tale about the art of the sell during a fraught period in Chilean history, advertising isn’t only an art; it’s also a way of life.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    In some sense it was beauty that saved Mr. Brannaman, that of his conscience and that of horses, which, having been tied to humans long ago, became companions, workers and for some, as this lovely movie shows, saviors.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Benoît Jacquot's tense, absorbing, pleasurably original look at three days in the life and lies of a doomed monarch.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    Va Savoir doesn't so much flow as wander, trailing off into drama one minute, slapstick the next; it tries your patience, but ever so gently, masterfully.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Manohla Dargis
    An agonizingly familiar refrain, but one that the young Argentine director Alexis Dos Santos relates with such tenderness and with so much ethereal beauty that it feels like something fresh.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Manohla Dargis
    Kitano uses exaggerated acting, choreo-graphed violence and, most radically, the rhythms of everyday life -- farmers pounding the earth, the syncopated plop of falling rain -- to turn this genre story into a crypto-Kabuki play and one blissfully idiosyncratic diversion.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Manohla Dargis
    A whirlwind of talking heads, found footage, scary statistics and cartoonish graphics, the movie is a fast, coolly incensed investigation into why people are getting fatter.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Manohla Dargis
    Turning ordinary life into movie magic is one of the most difficult, least-heralded challenges for any filmmaker. What makes Freaky Friday a charmer isn't how far-out things get for this mother and daughter, but how sweet and distinctly un-freaky a kid, her mom and their love for each other can be.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Manohla Dargis
    Mr. Knight keeps a fairly steady distance from Ivan — underscoring certain tense passages with tighter close-ups — but moment by moment, with a twitch, a shudder, a look, it’s Mr. Hardy who movingly draws you in, turning a stranger’s face into a life.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Manohla Dargis
    Indeed, one of the nicest things about this jewel of a film is that there isn't much of a story at all -- just a handful of delicately drawn characters moving through life that is at once familiar and yet slightly elevated by a director who loves the good in people more than the bad.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Manohla Dargis
    Logan is a strong argument for bringing the comic-book movie down to earth. It solidly hits its marks as it moves the franchise furniture around, and features striking special-effects scenes in which the world shudders to a near standstill.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Manohla Dargis
    This is life as it’s lived, not dreamed. And this is a family bound not only by sorrow, but also by a shared history that emerges in 114 calibrated minutes and ends with a wallop.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Manohla Dargis
    A murder mystery, a call to arms and an effective inducement to rage, Who Killed the Electric Car? is the latest and one of the more successful additions to the growing ranks of issue-oriented documentaries.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Manohla Dargis
    One can never get enough of this prodigiously talented octogenarian artist and his bestiary.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 80 Manohla Dargis
    A thoroughly, sometimes gaggingly broad and sly conceptual laugh-in.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Manohla Dargis
    Mr. Jennings and Mr. Goldsmith have held onto a genuine sense of childlike wonder, which works as a nice corrective to what might otherwise come across as an overabundance of hip.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Manohla Dargis
    If the screenwriter and director had followed their cinematic instincts fully, they would have collaborated on one of the more satisfying political thrillers in years; instead, they've managed to create three-quarters of one.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Manohla Dargis
    There is something heartening about Mr. Burton's love for bones and rot here, if only because it suggests, despite some recent evidence, that he is not yet ready to abandon his own dark kingdom.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Manohla Dargis
    In this context Ferrell seems more than just comic relief. He's a reminder that the greatest, deepest laughter doesn't come at the expense of some other guy, but from the glints of self-recognition we get when the screen becomes our mirror.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Manohla Dargis
    A surprisingly affecting mood piece.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Manohla Dargis
    Effectively fashioned, as jolting as it is polished, as well as a surprising, insistently political work of commercial art.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Manohla Dargis
    Here, a pulse, wit, beauty and a real sensibility have been slipped into the fray, alongside the clockwork guffaws, kabooms and splats.

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