For 221 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 54% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 44% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 0.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Mary Pols' Scores

  • Movies
Average review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Wreck-It Ralph
Lowest review score: 0 Jack and Jill
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 19 out of 221
221 movie reviews
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Mary Pols
    Bravely and with penetrating intelligence, Before Midnight elevates instead the practical, a partnership: frayed by disappointment, worn by time, but for the very luckiest—which we sincerely and selfishly hope includes Jesse and Celine—durable for the long day’s journey into night.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Mary Pols
    Beyond its craftiness and impeccable craft, the film sparks a warm connection with the viewer. Like a smiling cavalier swinging into view to rescue an imperiled maiden, The Artist brings salvation to melancholy movie lovers. For here is that rare film indeed that offers pleasure beyond words.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Mary Pols
    It's a deceptively small piece of onscreen art that resonates afterward with such insistence that I felt positively nagged by it.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    The scenes cut so close to the emotional bone that you can understand why they might cause a panic amongst MPAA boardmembers, although of course, it's nothing to be afraid of: just the realism of love in its varied forms.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Mary Pols
    Director Ursula Meier's Sister is a penetrating study of familial bonds, quietly devastating in parts, beautiful on whole and destined to make you fall in love with a practiced and entirely amoral preteen thief.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    The steady wink wink of Queen of Versailles is wearing. I'd say Greenfield is exploiting a narcissist's willingness to talk endlessly about herself, but I think it just as likely that Jackie is exploiting Greenfield's willingness to listen. And to keep that wonderful mechanical eye focused on her.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    Maybe they’re all right. Or wrong. It can’t be settled. What matters is that people are still crazy about the beauty of a beautiful movie about going crazy.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    Beyond the Hills may be the best movie no one will want to see in 2013.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Pariah should be a special, important film for gay teens and their parents.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    Remarkably, thanks to this documentary, we hope for the sake of this smart, vibrant, apparently good-hearted woman, that the invitations keep coming.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    The screenplay, credited to three writers, has that over-doctored feeling to it, and we're asked to take on a larger redemption tale that undermines the truth of Bale's wholly unsympathetic portrayal of a drug addict and a narcissist. The Fighter's desire to show us what that awful combination looks like is overwhelmed by its urge to show us a Hollywood-style triumph.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    A wry and moving look at a time in life that tends to get short shrift in U.S. cinema.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    Let Me In is not as fantastic as "Let the Right One In," which you should rent immediately. But it is undeniably powerful and made with obvious admiration and respect for the source material.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    It's beautifully photographed and explained at every stage from market to table, a foodie's dream night at the movies. The gentle shaping of the fish and sushi could lull you into a trance. A hungry trance.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Without Duvall's rich, supremely skilled performance, this slim period piece wouldn't amount to much.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    Buck has the air of a beautiful little mystery; even knowing the uplifting outcome, you wonder at the strength that brought him to this place.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Margin Call is smart, but too cool and solemn to raise anyone's temperature. Nonetheless, writer/director J. C. Chandor should count himself the luckiest man in show business this weekend. How many first-time feature filmmakers can truthfully claim that their movie collided right up against the zeitgeist?
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Mary Pols
    Mud
    Glorious vision of youth and truth, love and loss, your name is Mud.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    That Greenberg has merits is undeniable. Gerwig, a funny mix of Kate Winslet and the joyfully ditzy young Diane Keaton, should end up a star. Stiller dials back his own schtick and deserves to be taken seriously.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    I finished Larsson's novel with the uncomfortable sense it used a good mystery as an excuse to dwell on sadism and perversity -- an aspect only exacerbated on screen.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    The story wraps up with a tenderness that feels true but completely without mush. The irony of the title fades as Win Win wins you over.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Instead of exploring something bigger, like the origins of Bernie's need for the company of elderly ladies (which Hollandsworth touched on in Texas Monthly; Tiede lost his mother at age 3 and his father at 15), Linklater limits the story and mood to black comedy.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    This might be a turning point in feminism and comedy, provided that both sexes can embrace it.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    During the movie's best moments, I recalled exactly what my long-gone father's roars of laughter sounded like. Was it the joyous lunacy of "Mahnamahna" that used to set him off?
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    Some moviegoers may opt for an easier cinematic pleasure than this carefully crafted, discomforting look at familial misery in hyper drive, but it is the most provocative movie about parenting I’ve seen since "The Kids Are All Right."
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    This Pooh, which takes its gossamer plotlines directly from A.A. Milne, will be a boon to parents of very small children everywhere.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    It's rare to see an ensemble movie like this, so loaded with talented actors, in which virtually all of them get an opportunity to make an impression. Affleck is the boss and the star, but he knows how to share.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    The scariest romantic comedy of the year.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    It is a tremendous downer when the second half of the movie shirks logic, defies its own established principles and raises more questions than it answers.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    Gere is being talked about as an Oscar contender - he's never been nominated. January is a long time off yet, but his name is certainly worth putting on the long list.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Mary Pols
    The Impossible is technologically a marvel - the tsunami experience is harrowingly believable - but also emotionally rich. I hesitate to use this term, since it is so often equated with hokey, but The Impossible is life-affirming.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Declaration of War is about being under siege from illness, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. This modern-day Juliette and Romeo find their own tragedy, but are not poisoned by it.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    A slam dunk in the genre, satisfying every period piece craving: torrid affair, mad king, bastard child, throngs at the palace gates and a history lesson that will be fresh to many.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    At the very least, it's awfully entertaining and for "Buffy" fans, reason to put down the boxed sets and run off to the cinema.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Touching, generous, sweet, this little slip of a movie puts you under some kind of spell.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Mary Pols
    The most inventive and entertaining family movie I've seen this year, packed with wickedly smart humor and joyful animation.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    First-time director Kargman triumphs by picking characters who largely defy expectations.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    There is a looseness to the dialogue that suits the mood of the story-each character gets his or her own bombshell (or two) to digest and has to figure out how to cope with it.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Undefeated is well-edited by director Daniel Lindsay and beautifully photographed by his co-director T.J. Martin - the shacks of North Memphis look poetically disheveled as shot from a moving car - but it is telling that the coach emerges as the "star" of this documentary.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Warrior's three principle characterizations are compelling - Nolte in particular gives a tempered performance as the shambling, sad-eyed wreck of a dad - but not enough to mask the film's lesser elements.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    Like Crazy is a cinematic love potion and you leave it feeling bewitched.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    You have no idea what's coming next, except that it will be wildly creative and beautiful. These two know how to mix up a very unusual and successful cinematic recipe.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    The mind may clamor for more, but the eye, traveling over this visual history of Diana Vreeland, is pleased.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    Arthur Christmas is not ultimately a cynical movie – it comes together sweetly and rather movingly at the end – but it springs forth from a place of cynicism.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Ginger & Rosa never matches the freshness of its young star.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    The movie's biggest surprise is the revelation of Gosling as cunning comedian.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    The movie is called A Place at the Table and it specifically addresses our country’s hunger crisis. But it also speaks to larger hungers. Hungers for independence, a dignified life, a better chance for ones children — in short, the American dream. See it and weep.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Mary Pols
    Ramsey's film has its own strengths. We Need To Talk About Kevin doesn't just bring you to the outskirts of a parent's worst nightmare; this fever dream of guilt and loss takes you straight inside.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    It is derivative and too deliberately zany, but still a heartfelt charmer.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    The Place Beyond the Pines can’t be said to be anyone’s movie but Cianfrance’s. Structured as a triptych, the movie is novelistic, earnest and somewhat exhausting — an ambitious effort that tries to be many things. And it is definitely something: a sprawling, engaging study in fathers, sons and sins.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    It is intensely raunchy and silly and joyous and tapped right into my inner teenager in a glorious way.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    The movie explores the basic debate over faith, the idea that we can feel a sense of relief in cynicism realized and turn around and face the horror of our lack of faith in the next moment.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    A Late Quartet serves as an acting showcase, particularly for Walken and Hoffman, and makes for an interesting study in artistic ego.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    It all sounds absurd and simplistic, but I dare you to watch the joyful delirium of the big dance number, set to an old Fred Astaire tune called "Things Are Looking Up," and not to feel an unexpected sense of rosiness. This movie may contain endorphins.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Mary Pols
    The looming presence of that planet and its possibilities turns Another Earth into a metaphysical treat, with influences that range from Krzysztof Kieslowski's "The Double Life of Veronique and Blue" to Andrei Tarkovsky's "Solaris." It's the most soulful art movie of the summer.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Mary Pols
    The movie is ridiculously over the top, inelegant and so defiantly ?crazy?that it works, reminding you how fun gore and creatures that go bump ?(and? grind) in the night can be. It's a sci-fi horror film, but no actual ?comedy?has made me laugh as much this year as Splice.?
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    The overall metaphor Weir was aiming for - this idea of enemies so powerful and a war so menacing and confusingly big that no place seems safe except a place absurdly far away - comes through clearly and stays with you.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    None of this is new to us, but Garfield and Webb make it feel convincingly fresh and exciting.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    A spirited, irreverent and hugely fun comedy.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    I don't want to scare anyone away, but Hope Springs, better than I expected, is a movie for grown ups that seems just the tiniest bit French.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Director Rodrigo Cortes intends us to feel trapped, twitchy and unhappy and at the same time, wildly grateful we're not actually in the box like Paul. I could do without that kind of guilt trip from a film.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    The director and his splendid cast assure that this tale about a strong little girl fighting to keep her family alive and together has both high art and a big heart, audience appeal and gut impact.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Williams locates a central truth, the contradictory allure of this utterly impossible woman - mercurial, vain, foolish, but also intelligent in some very primal way and achingly vulnerable.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Ferrell fits uncannily well into Carver country, and in this small but sturdy film, he challenges any assumption that he might be limited to comedy. Certainly this is the first time he's moved me to tears that weren't produced by hard laughter.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Engrossing and inspiring, despite being the kind of movie in which one of the first words you hear is cheeky.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    It's a feast for the eyes, but we're still hungry.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Farrell's work as Syracuse is understated to the point that some may find it unremarkable -- but it's a beautifully confident performance, an irony given that he constructs his portrayal of Syracuse around the concept of humility.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    The movie unfolds with novelistic pacing for a leisurely but engaging two hours.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    It doesn't look particularly special - despite the visual potential of underwater scenes - but kids are going to eat this up.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    I wanted very much for West's new movie to evoke films like "The Others" or "The Orphanage," which made me, in the moment at least, a believer in ghosts. The Innkeeper's payoff lacked that kind of oomph, and weirdly, the pairing of Luke and Claire brought movies about work relationships, like "Clerks" and "Office Space," more to mind than ghost stories.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    The screenplay, with credits shared by Gluck, Keith Merryman and David A. Newman, is predictable, plotwise. But it is elevated by energetic dialogue, the sexual chemistry between the leads and the fact that the miscommunication that keeps bliss at bay - there's always one in a rom-com, and usually it is annoyingly unbelievable - is plausible.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Cotton is that rarity in the horror genre: a genuinely intriguing character.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    It's worth considering precisely whom the movie is meant for. It's not labeled as such, but It's Kind of a Funny Story is squarely aimed at young adults.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    The movie made me laugh as much as anything since "The Hangover" or the love scenes in "Avatar."
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    Whereas Italian fashion icon Valentino was larger than life in "The Last Emperor," Matt Tyrnauer's jazzy 2009 documentary, Saint Laurent in L'Amour Fou is mostly a rather sweet and anguished ghost.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    Uneven but occasionally quite funny.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Suspense isn't Burns' thing though, and it may be foolish to even ask for it this far into his career. Burns has made it crystal clear what his style is: lots of chatty, mostly amiable folks, working out their not so troubling differences in the greater New York metropolitan area.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    42
    Boseman is not a hugely close physical match to Robinson, except for perhaps in the power he conveys, but he’s a great choice to play the ball player, unfamiliar enough, despite a decade of small credits here and there, to feel like an athlete, not a movie star playing one.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    This cutesy film is overwhelmed by a sense of forced farce.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    As for the yellow handkerchief of the title, I'd have dismissed it as a cheesy device if it weren't for the fact that I'm still cherishing the eloquence of Hurt's silent marvel when he finally sees it, fluttering across the gray Southern sky.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Despicable Me 2 is far more entertaining than the disappointingly bland "Monsters University" and as a sequel stands level with the first film, and may have the edge on it.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    Ted
    This is no-holds-barred humor of the finest, grossest kind, centered around the theme of arrested development.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Mary Pols
    Five-Year has comic bloat. Virtually every character gets their own moment of stand up, but in most cases, the bits aren't funny enough to warrant the screen time.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Mary Pols
    For every obvious turn The Help takes, there is Davis, the ideal counterweight.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    When a mild-mannered peasant unsheathes the powers he has long kept hidden, the results can be spectacular. The same can be said for Peter Chan Ho-sun's Dragon, a martial-arts morality play as lithe as it is forceful.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    The dreariest thriller of the year.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    What takes Conviction out of the "Erin Brockovich" inspirational orbit - and gives it fresh interest - is the fact that Betty Anne is never portrayed as a fish suddenly taking brilliantly to judicial waters. Instead of being a legal savant, she's a persistent lunatic tilting at windmills for the sake of a familial love no one else can quite understand.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Lonergan didn't bite off more than he could chew with Margaret - this is his personal moral gymnasium - but he did bite off more than others might want to chew.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    This isn't a passionate, showy part, but it's a finely drawn performance, worthy of a veteran actress (Lane) who started her career as Secretariat did in the 1970s (in A Little Romance) and has since earned a champion status of her own.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    The slight but captivating indie-comedy The Kings of Summer has the ragtag look and feel of a movie made in some teenager’s basement
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Our Idiot Brother is both daffier and more amiable than a Woody Allen film, but the sibling filmmakers (Jesse Peretz directed and his sister Evgenia Peretz co-wrote the screenplay) have concocted sort of a "Ned and His Sisters."
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    Could women stop war through the sedation of sex and drugs and a plot to bury every weapon in their community? Labaki has said she knows Where Do We Go Now? is a fantasy. But it's a good one, and this lovely film seems pertinent far beyond the landscape of the Middle East.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    It's pointed, a piece of domestic comedy that starts with the unappealing sight of an overgrown slacker hunched on a faux leather couch in a dingy basement and subtly winds its way into a tender, wise and completely delightful film about family.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    It may be minimalist, but it isn't minor.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    The Beaver is serious about portraying mental illness. And whatever your opinion about Gibson the man, so is Gibson the actor.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    There is no denying that Schwimmer knows something about getting a performance out of an actor. Liberato, who is 15 now, is flat-out terrific. Shifting fluidly from demure to sullen and damaged, she is tremendously compelling.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    It ends up being surprisingly touching, despite the fact that you start rooting for the cloyingly cute Celeste and Jesse to break up almost from the first frame.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Mary Pols
    Twice as funny as I thought it would be but not half as funny as it could have been.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Mary Pols
    When Seeking took hold of me, completely and without warning, I was digging for tissues. It's a lovely surprise for the official start of summer.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Mary Pols
    Warm Bodies is the first movie worth paying to see in theaters this year. It’s an inventive charmer that visits all the typical movie scenarios of young love amid chaos and disaster, but with a new dimension: one of the romantic leads is a zombie.