Michael Wilmington
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For 1,275 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 77% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 21% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 13.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Michael Wilmington's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 73
Highest review score: 100 The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc
Lowest review score: 0 Chaos
Score distribution:
1,275 movie reviews
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    The Russian film The Return is a stunning contemporary fable about a divided family in the wilderness - a simple, riveting film that almost achieves greatness.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    1966 French masterpiece -- the finest, most deeply personal work of a filmmaker who has been compared, justifiably, to both Dostoyevsky and Bach.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A wildly original movie with astonishingly varied moods and influences.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A watershed picture, for both Spielberg and war movies.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Bravo!
    • 67 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    25th Hour struck me as one of the best movies of 2002, but it's also a film that will strike some of its audience as ethically dubious or threatening.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    This is a superb film and one of Nicholson's great performances, tamped down but magnetic.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A hard-core movie with a soft, light-hearted center and an edge like a knife.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A Chekhovian tale of major artistic power.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A masterpiece that can still leave you dizzy with wonder. As much as any movie ever made, this visionary science-fiction tale of space travel and first contact with extraterrestrial life is a spellbinding experience.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A landmark movie that becomes a priceless entryway into a distant land and its people, few of whom will ever seem as foreign and far away again.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    It still soars, but now it seems richer, more expansive. Amadeus reminds us that movies can be lyrical as well as vulgar, ambitious as well as playful, brilliant as well as down and dirty -- just like Amadeus himself.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    The kind of brilliantly weirdo picture that, by all rights, shouldn't have gotten made at all but this time, miraculously, was.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A near-classic blend of mystery, personality, humor and terror, laced with one stunning shock after another. [18 August 1995, Friday, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A great, haunting film; it affects us in ways we're not used to...it is capable of both lifting our hearts and chilling us to the bone.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A beautiful picture with a great heart, a classic-to-be with a common touch.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    One of the most curious and perversely brilliant films ever made in the American studio system. It's a shining example of qualities we don't normally see in our big theatrical pictures: vast ambition, huge resources and technical genius mated to a unique and compelling vision of life.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    As magnificent as a high-masted 19th-century British warship, as explosive as a Napoleonic-era ocean battle seen above the cannon's mouth... probably the best movie of its kind ever made.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    If the uncut Fanny and Alexander is Bergman's greatest work, as I think, it's because it's his most inclusive. He shows almost everything: all his moods, conflicts, styles and many of his favorite actors.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Great filmmakers push their ideas and characters to the limit, unafraid of consequences - which is what Pedro Almodovar has done in Talk To Her, his latest film and, I think, his best.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A brilliant entertainment, full of bemused skepticism and reckless, prodigal love -- for these people and their vanishing era and lives.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    It's perhaps only because it can't be seen in its full glory on television that "Lawrence" isn't ranked more highly on some recent all-time "best film" lists. But it belongs near the very top. It's an astonishing, unrepeatable epic.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Moves us now because it's so playful and the players are so young - and because later, when Godard tried to play for keeps, in his self-consciously radical films of the late '60s and '70s, he began to lose his game.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Like most Godard, it can be watched repeatedly, always yielding new secrets and beauties. Most profound of all, perhaps, are those incredible black-and-white images of Paris.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Blends a love of semi-trashy pop entertainment with a love of poetry, art and high moral seriousness. It's a young person's movie (Godard was 34 and Karina 24 in 1964) that retains its mysterious pull even as the film and we get older.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    This is the Paris -- and the mad, beautiful young Parisienne -- we look for in dreams.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A beautiful and genuinely spirit-lifting film about poverty and education.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A great love story and a deeply moving celebration of simple lives.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 68 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A spellbinder: provocatively conceived, gorgeously shot and masterfully executed.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Pure magic, a three-act movie fantasy that transports us -- as the best films do -- to a world of its own, a place of ambiguous joy and delirious terror.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    May show both director and star working at their professional peaks, but I don't think it's as good as that underappreciated masterwork "A.I." It's not as resonant and daring, not as full of magic and marvel. Spielberg stretches himself technically here but not emotionally.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Pulp Fiction isn't just funny. It's outrageously funny. [14 Oct 1994]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A film that sweeps us away into a world of spectacle, beauty and excitement, a realm of fantasy unimaginable without the movies.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Delicately subversive, hypnotically sardonic, full of terror, banality and wafer-thin lyricism.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    I loved this movie madly, and so will many of you.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    You may not like Beau Travail - which is, after all, a quintessential "critic's film" - but I think you'll have to admit it's been almost perfectly executed.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Moore's best movie, and one of the most blisteringly effective polemics and documentaries ever.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A movie about the passions of simple people, and it's done with such extraordinary empathy and commitment that it all but pulls you under. [29 November 1996, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Splendid, soaringly ambitious Chinese period fantasy.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Sometimes cinema's highest achievements become clear only in retrospect. Days of Being Wild--now clearly revealed as one of the peaks of Hong Kong filmmaking and a masterwork of contemporary cinema giant Wong.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A great movie on a powerful, essential subject -- the Holocaust years in Poland -- directed with such artistry and skill that, as we watch, the barriers of the screen seem to melt away.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    The film is truly special, truly different -- a wondrous talky roundelay about and for people who love life.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Be forewarned: Dog Days, like many of Seidel's films, will drive some moviegoers to rage and walkouts with its unrelentingly depressing tone. But it also a remarkable, deeply disturbing work by a brilliant filmmaker.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    One of the most beautiful of all recent films on the problems of old age -- and on the interplay of theater and life.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Mystic River is classic Eastwood, classic noir. If there is still some doubt about whether this one-time macho star is actually a world-class moviemaker, Mystic River should end the argument for good. One of the best American movies of the year, crisply well-crafted and beautifully acted.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A masterpiece of wry violence and stylized mayhem, The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi turns loose one of Japan's most brilliant film auteurs, Takeshi Kitano, on one of its most enduring pop legends.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Whether Kundun is a perfect movie or not, it's an important and beautiful one. Scorsese's movie takes us into a world we've rarely seen with this kind of sympathy or detail: a magical-looking society built on Buddhism and centuries of art and tradition.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Great, bittersweet family drama.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    You can't praise highly enough the contributions of the ensemble--De Niro and Pesci especially--but it's Scorsese's triumph. [22 November 1995, Tempo, p.1]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A great, velvety, beautiful anachronism. It's a movie almost drunk on romance, literature and cinema, a splendid period picture that keeps rashly breaking rules and boundaries [17 Sept 1993, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Blazes up constantly with a stunning, off-kilter brilliance, an incandescent force that sometimes explodes the space between us and the screen.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A magnificent throwback to an almost vanished era of epic filmmaking by great filmmakers in thrall to their own passions, rather than to the studio bookkeepers.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    It put a smile on my face that never left for 117 minutes.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Though it's a sad, somber, deeply questioning work, it's done with a light, loving spirit.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    This movie, the subject of controversy, is a defiantly personal statement on what the war really is--laced with that now-familiar "Roger and Me" mix of homespun wit, pop culture playfulness, populist heart twisting and "gotcha" guerilla film-making tactics.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    This is a film precisely constructed, brilliantly imagined.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Swooningly beautiful, furious and thrilling, Zhang Yimou's Hero is an action movie for the ages.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    An improbable masterpiece -- a bizarre mixture of grandly operatic visuals, grim brutality and sordid violence that keeps wrenching you from one extreme to the other.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    This is a romance with minimal physical contact and sex--and that's part of what makes it work so well as a love story.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    It's tantalizing, delectable and randy, a movie of melting eroticism and toothsome humor.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    This landmark movie's madcap humor and terrifying suspense remain undiminished by time.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    The greatest rock concert movie ever made -- and maybe the best rock movie, period.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Like "Memento," Mulholland Drive is an amnesiac noir in the tradition that goes back to "Spellbound" and "Somewhere in the Night."
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    In Jan Campion's The Piano, the emotions are deep, fierce, primordial. Sexuality overwhelms the film's characters like ocean waves blasting against a cliffside. [19 Nov 1993]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Ray
    A fit tribute to an entertainer who, no matter what hate or hardship threw in his way or how many mistakes he made, we can't stop loving.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Loach is a super-realist, and Sweet Sixteen has the disarming feel of a documentary. It's a film that miraculously catches life on the fly, without apparent embellishment, cliche or melodrama.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    It's a magical film which manages to transport and rivet us in the same highly-imaginitive, breezily playful way "Amelie" did.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Astonishing, crazily delightful.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Clean up the language, and this little roach of a movie could play the bottom half of a double bill with Rowan and Martin's “The Maltese Bippy.” [26 March 1999, Life, p.9E]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Brando made Don Vito something we rarely see in movies: a tragicomic villain-hero, a vulnerable hood. The don is so close to a comic character -- the movie itself is so close to comedy -- that Brando's capacity to move us in the role is doubly impressive. At the end, it is the older Godfather's tenderness and sagacity we recall. [21 Mar 1997, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    An extraordinary work, grandly conceived, brilliantly executed and wildly entertaining. It's a hobbit's dream, a wizard's delight. And, of course, it's only the beginning.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Moviegoers should be almost as entranced by the teeming, glorious landscapes and dark, bloody battlegrounds of Two Towers: astonishing midpoint of an epic movie fantasy journey for the ages.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Some movies can lay claim to being the best thing around in a week, a month, a year. Robert Altman's Short Cuts is closer to being one of the all-time bests, among the finest American films since the advent of sound. [22 Oct 1993]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 56 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    In a league with Hollywood's top historical epics, ancient or otherwise. It's stunningly handsome film, with an equally stunning cast and engrossing story.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Among its many excellences, Vera Drake functions superbly as a pure thriller; the last half is reminiscent in structure and detail of Hitchcock's "The Wrong Man."
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Sumptuously exciting, glowing with expertise, seething with life, gorgeously designed and thrillingly articulated.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    The movie holds up far better than its detractors guessed - splendidly, in fact - not only thanks to Scott's spellbinding acting, but to the epic imagery, Coppola's (and Edmund North's) highly intelligent script and Schaffner's lucid, perfectly controlled direction.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    This is a picture that may sound sappy but probably will enrapture audiences lucky enough to catch it. [19 May 1995, p.L]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 65 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    It's a movie that's so personal, naked and vulnerable that you can understand why some of its humor seems rough, some of its visuals excessive. But Crooklyn has a quality not as obvious in any Lee film since "Do the Right Thing": the sense of a whole world opening, rich and real, before your eyes. [13 May 1994, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    This remarkable movie is really one-of-a-kind. [15 Dec 1995]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Georgia, written with rare honesty and economy by Leigh's mother, Barbara Turner, and very sensitively directed by Ulu Grosbard, is a tough-minded look at show business and families. [10 Jan 1996]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    The cast is tremendous; these actors work with Resnais like a well-oiled stock company that knows every trick and can communicate almost telepathically.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Badlands is about a landscape as much as the couple fleeing across it. Watching it, you sense that Malick finds his outlaw lovers beautiful and terrible, pathetic and monstrous, funny and overwhelmingly sad. [27 March 1998]
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Both sides of the story -- the larger context and the intense and intimate drama -- are painted with an absolutely unswerving sense of truth. And, as we watch this movie, full of violence, injustice and compassion, there is barely a moment that seems calculated or contrived.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    even in the notable ranks of Leigh's movie, TV and theater work-an oeuvre embracing high comedy, biting comment and shivering pathos-Naked is extraordinary. In the hands of Leigh and his magnificently gifted, gutsy cast, these days and nights on London's streets burn themselves on our minds.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    It's a spree of a movie, one of the most impishly entertaining of Altman's career. Smart, sparkling, almost sinfully amusing.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Kansas City is a wonderful film, done with all Altman's offbeat virtuosity, maverick humor and creative daring -- plus the acid nip that runs through all his recent works.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Hoop Dreams has the movie equivalent of all-court vision. It picks up everything happening in the gym, in the stands and even outside. It gives us the thrill of the game, but it doesn't cheat on either the vibrant social context or the deep human story.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Wilmington
    Though definitely one of the best American movies of the year--a work of high ensemble talent and intelligence, gorgeously mounted and crafted, artistically audacious in ways that most American movies don't even attempt--it's still a disappointment… It's not the capstone we might have wanted Coppola to make. [23 Dec 1990, Calendar, p.9]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Wilmington
    There's a muscular sincerity to this movie, a power and spread to its imagery that triumphs over the occasional candied purple patches or strained plot twists. [16 Jul 1993 Pg. F1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Michael Wilmington
    A lot of this horrific Little Shop is not only sweet, melodic, funny and oddly idealistic, it's even, well, tasty. [19 Dec 1986, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Like Robert Altman's "Short Cuts," it is an all-star fresco, but the stars--none of whom carries the movie--get to play the kind of morally ambivalent, sometimes unlikable parts that big-name actors usually avoid.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Works beautifully, both as a social and psychological drama and as a taut, tightly wired thriller.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A beautiful, intensely moving film.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A visually sumptuous, bullet-train-paced thriller with a really provocative theme.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    It's sensuality with a stinger, and Fat Girl is an adolescent sex drama that takes no prisoners.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Funny Games is an intellectual's suspense film, which ultimately tries to critique and demystify violence. But, since our responses are never all cerebral, that's not entirely possible.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    It's a powerhouse, demanding film that sometimes stretches the limits of credibility. But it's done with such consistent technical brilliance--and with such a first-rate cast and company.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Has the kind of super-cinematic qualities and bravura acting that make up for almost anything.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A fine, exciting film that makes a bloody historical event live all over again by showing it through the eyes of children on the edges of the conflict.