Michael Wilmington
Select another critic »
For 1,276 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 Pianist
Lowest review score: 0 Chaos
Score distribution:
1,276 movie reviews
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    The ending is a stunner. Like those '30 classics it suggests, Gilles' Wife seduces us with true cinematic magic: rich characters, great acting and that rapturous old French blend of realism and theatricality.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Fast, funny, big-hearted.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    It's a very classy, finely made film, and, as one watches it -- particularly those last sweeping scenes of political turbulence and escape -- one feels both pain at their (Merchant-Ivory) parting and grateful for what, together, they achieved.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Hallstrom gives us a genial interpretation and a supremely good-humored film.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    It's a work that sears the heart and conscience. The events are annihilating, the way they're told both beautiful and terrifying.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Shot with a Peter Greenaway-like austere impudence and edited brilliantly (by Jed Parker), this is an entertaining movie, and a moving one--even if, like me, you're not especially fond of these paintings or that scene.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A contemporary Russian movie that you could honestly call revolutionary, more for its style than its politics.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A film that art-house audiences in 1959 loved madly. And who can blame them? A buoyant, searingly colorful retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth set in Rio de Janiero, writer-director's Marcel Camus' movie is a romance heightened by its backdrop.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Though it's not the great film "Grand Illusion" is, and though it may strike some as a little schmaltzy, it still has some of that earlier film's deep feeling and empathy for soldiers trapped in the jaws of war and for the joys of Christmas--for believers and non-believers alike.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    The power of art to redeem the pain and cruelty of life is demonstrated to enormous effect inShakespeare Behind Bars.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    An extraordinarily truthful and piercing drama.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A powerful symbolic drama.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    The writer-director doesn't raise her voice, even as she firmly condemns the injustice. Water seduces us with its beauty and sorrow.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    It's a terrific, kinetic experience, and it's also a brilliant showcase for a crackerjack ensemble of great actors.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A stark, lyrical and affecting portrait of war's aftermath.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    It's one of the most faithful movie adaptations of any Dick story to date, and it comes from the scariest of all his books, as well as the truest.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    This magnificent pair are the heart of Techine's film, and the sense of frayed, aging beauty and handsomeness they now carry helps project the picture's main theme: the imperishability of true love.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Mamet is a writer who turns off some audiences, and almost everything that might bother them is in Edmond: foul language, raging machismo, violence and seemingly bigoted tirades. But almost everything audiences like about him is there too: candor, suspense, ideas, crackling slang, vivid characters.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A classic of realistic terror, in which passion and murder can't lie buried.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    The new Lassie is faithful to Knight's story, capturing its sweep, Dickensian social contrasts and high emotion. All that is enhanced by a splendid cast.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    One of the year's finest documentaries, a remarkable example of the conjunction of a burningly topical and newsworthy subject with a brilliant filmmaker.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Children and animals, if they're handled right, can be among the great natural movie actors, and in The Cave of the Yellow Dog, writer-director Byambasuren Davaa handles her cast of youngsters and creatures (and a few adults) heartwarmingly well.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Darin is an actor who's really consummate at suggesting two simultaneous levels of character.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Works beautifully, both as a social and psychological drama and as a taut, tightly wired thriller.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A visually sumptuous, bullet-train-paced thriller with a really provocative theme.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Its social impact is part of what makes this movie memorable. But as with almost any exceptional, truthful war picture, Days of Glory moves us because we know the soldiers -- because we share their fear, triumph and pain.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Peter O'Toole, still a British cinematic lion at 74, performs another movie miracle in the Roger Michell-Hanif Kureishi film Venus.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    It's not often that you see the craft of cinema so perfectly executed--or a group of fancy scoundrels so ruthlessly caught and skewered. Comedy of Power, like all of Chabrol's Hitchcockian films, is dark, smart and delicious.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    You could say that Seraphim Falls, was no better than the typical Westerns of the 1950s and '60s--which I think underrates it. But those typical Westerns were pretty darn good, and so is Seraphim Falls.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Zbanic, who lived through the Bosnian war in Sarajevo, is an unusual talent. Here, she makes us feel the hell her characters once lived through as well as the leftover, stinging pain of today.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A film of great spiritual intensity and haunting minimalism that enlarges your concepts of movies and of life. Like the monks of the Carthusian order, it distills something intoxicating through a style that's pure and rigorous.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Mrs. Parker is a comedy even though it's sad, and a sort of tragedy even though it's funny, with such foggy borders between the two that pathos and humor seem to smear all over each other, like makeup running with tears. [23 Dec 1994, p.N]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    The movie scrambles our responses and covers so much ground, with such zest, that its two and a half hours race past like a firestorm.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Scott is able to make it fresh and lyrical, as well as give us rousingly exciting scenes of nature in eruption. [02 Feb 1996]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Yet the film, no more than the novel, shouldn't be described as depressing. Both of them shine with heightened vision and poetics. [01 Nov 1996]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 93 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    The splendid new documentary Crumb, a sympathetic yet woundingly candid portrait, catches the artist with much the same skill. [26 May 1995]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 53 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    In The Hudsucker Proxy, the filmmaking Coen brothers make dark, startling, wittily extravagant sport of the American Dream. The movie is opulent and wry, a bitingly intelligent fable about business and romance. [25 Mar 1994, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    With Maura delivering an explosive performance, Almodovar presents Pepa's tale with real gusto--with vibrant colors, gaudy personality, mad jokes and a sexiness that erupts off the screen.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Wyatt Earp is a fascinating ride to a West where darkness and heroism mingle, a triumph for Kasdan, Costner, Quaid and the company. It shows how, in this frontier crucible, love and death, honor and slaughter, friendship and a walk toward doom, are all linked together as well. [24 Jun 1994, p.F]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 57 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    The movie looks like far more than a million dollars and it offers the kind of smart, picaresque good time you get from books like "The Reivers" and "Huckleberry Finn" and movies like "Bronco Billy" and "Bonnie and Clyde."
    • 66 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    The masterpiece of the bunch is the last, wonderful piece by Alexander Payne ("14eme Arrondissement").
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    These girls can cook, and Yamashita captures them with an austere, unhurried visual style that has been rightly compared to rock aficionado/filmmakers Aki Kaurismaki ("Ariel") and Jim Jarmusch ("Mystery Train"). [8 Dec 2006, p.2]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 68 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Movies about literary lives don't always catch fire, but Henry Fool is a glorious exception: an austerely funny, brilliantly written and acted serio-comic tale of two writers. [17 Jul 1998]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 50 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    The most visually spectacular, action-packed and surreal of the adventures of Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp).
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Called "Nuovomondo" in its native Italy, it's bittersweet, neither as comic and sentimental as Charlie Chaplin's 1917 great silent comedy "The Immigrant," nor as cynical and epic as Elia Kazan's 1963 "America, America," but close to both.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Soderbergh pretty much failed in trying to evoke a noir-like nightmare world in the 1919 Prague of "Kafka," his 1991 terror film. But here, he dazzlingly hews out a noir landscape in more unlikely territory: modern-day Austin, Texas. [28 April 1995]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    So intense and warm are Leigh's feelings for his characters, that we may remember Hannah and Annie long afterward as old friends -- imperfect yet lovable, pals with whom we've suffered and laughed a lot.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Chungking Express is a breezy little Hong Kong movie that has more life, energy, humanity and sheer visual zing than most other shows you'll see in a month or so. And, an hour after watching it, you may indeed be hungry for more. Not necessarily because the show is shallow or unsatisfying, or doesn't leave a strong impression, but because the spontaneity and high energy of it is what's so much fun.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    The tone and feel of Wild Reeds keeps shifting between irony and sentimentality, violence and tenderness, rebellion and acceptance. And those oscillations fit the volatile nature of its subject: young love and friendship. Together with his attractive and excellent cast, Techine recalls and invokes the mood swings of youth, the intensity and bursts of near-delirious passion.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Watching this movie has an almost hypnotic effect, like being carried along on a river past terrains both familiar and inexplicably, maddeningly odd.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    The Crow imbues its comic brutalism with emotion and satire. Too raw and pulpy, it probably shouldn't be regarded as a memorial to Brandon Lee. But as an obsessive rock 'n' roll comic book movie shocker of loony intensity, it stands, or flies, by itself.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Sometimes, it's exciting to watch a movie formula jell on screen-and that's what you can see happening in The Client, the latest, and best, of three successive films adapted from legal thrillers by John Grisham.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Wilmington
    There isn't a single performance in Midnight Run that doesn't have a pulse, that doesn't show the actors at their best or near-best, especially De Niro. [20 July 1988]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 52 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Wilmington
    Has its share of underthought or overwrought moments. The tone keeps shifting radically. It has some silly lines, plot lapses and goofball action scenes. But you can forgive the movie everything because of the sheer nasty pizazz of its central concept. [4 Nov 1988]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 57 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Wilmington
    If the movie sometimes seems overwhelmed by its budget and its legendary third-act problems, it's still entertainingly raw and brutal, full of whiplash pace and juicy exaggeration. [1 June 1990, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Wilmington
    Commands respect and affection. [2 June 1989, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Wilmington
    In the years since he first played Drebin, Nielsen has deepened the role, made it more subtle, more universal, more paramount. He's brought out an almost preternatural mellowness in a character who began as a relatively uncomplicated dimwit. [2 Dec 1988]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Wilmington
    We don't make those kind of Lubitsch-Wilder-Capra movies anymore, because it's hard to kid about what goes on behind bedroom walls when the bedroom doors have long since been flung open. So Ephron invents strategies to keep us, teased, outside the boudoir. [25 Jun 1993 Pg.F1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Wilmington
    Despite a level of lurid violence that may offend many, this movie has a motor humming inside. It's been assembled with ferocious, gleeful expertise, crammed with humor, cynicism and jolts of energy. In many ways, it's the best action movie of the year. [17 Jul 1987]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Wilmington
    It's one hell of a ride and a real, roaring rock movie. [01 Mar 1991]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 53 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Wilmington
    Johnny Suede has an astonishingly consistent tone and a remarkably talented and cohesive cast. [21 Aug 1992]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Michael Wilmington
    It has an irresistibly sure touch, an easy command of its audience. It hits the right buttons, strikes the right chords, plays with our expectations with the right blend of savvy, guile and imagination. [26 Nov. 1986]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 70 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    It's a moving tale of love and destruction in unexpected places, unexamined lives.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Maybe the problem with Analyze This is that it isn't enough of a Ramis movie. [5 Mar 1999]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    There's the script -- and that's the problem.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    A movie that celebrates and mourns heroism and friendship, while reminding us how seldom we truly see either on our big screens.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    The film has many strengths, but one of its major assets is its solid sight line. Though we might expect it to go sentimental - with its cute cat, torn families and sympathetic, pretty protagonists - it doesn't.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    One of the sharper, funnier, better-cast, better-written movies around right now. But there's something about it that, well, comes up short. [20 October 1995, Friday, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Jam-packed mishmash of wall-to-wall music, trenchant character study, slick sociology and sly witty-Brit comedy.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    There's a sass and bite to Winger's acting, a grinning intelligence, unabashed sexiness and total immersion that make her one of the movies' few hipster female stars.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    A rare thriller - and a rare American film - that centers on both dramatic and moral issues, crises of conscience. And thanks to a superb central performance by Nicholson as detective Black, it's a film that compels, thrills and ends up coming very close to tragedy.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Probably the best thing you can say about We Were Soldiers is that it does justice to an awful conflict.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    There's no denying that Undisputed delivers the action-movie goods, and so do Snipes and Rhames. It should have been more memorable, but at least it doesn't stumble in the ring.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    The images are lustrous, the cutting is brisk and the acting of the two leads is right on the money.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    The artifice may be ancient, but the thought and emotions -- and especially Sorvino -- are beautifully, refreshingly modern.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    One of the most gorgeous science-fiction movies ever - and probably also one of the most realistic in detail and scientific extrapolation
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    The film manages to crack all its codes, and even when it sags a bit, it's never lacking grace and some wit. Not enigmatically at all, it pleases and teases us -- in high style.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    The new movie, like its predecessor, is a crime thriller with a moral viewpoint, an eye and ear for street color and a taste for macho movie fantasy.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    The sort of movie that both rewards and tries your patience.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 46 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Opulence almost interferes with the movie, weighing it down when it should seem lighter than air, surrounding the inarguably brilliant Carrey with too much frosting and frou-frou.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 62 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    I liked The Claim -- as much for its stark visual beauty and impassioned performances as its intelligent script and willingness to probe the tragic side of life.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 33 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    (Matthau's) is a truly magical performance: hilarious, unguarded and deeply touching.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Finally, the film answers a question that obviously haunts Nachtwey: Is it immoral, callous or irresponsible to win fame and recognition from images of the terror, death and suffering of others?
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    The first hit movie western of the new century - wins us with a wink. It leaves you in a bright, happily cross-cultural mood. Adios, amigos. And vaya con Jackie Chan.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    It's good, but not great -- despite the heights to which Dench and Broadbent drive it. But those heights are lofty, the pain still stings.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    A physically gorgeous production with a strong, clear conflict at its center. It's grueling but also exhilarating. Perhaps its ambitiousness is the film's biggest problem. Trying for dramatic sensitivity, historical scope, touching romance and shocking violence and suspense, it gets stretched too thin.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    One of the most intriguing prison dramas ever put on film.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 44 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Elegant, scary fun.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Though not as good or as massively innovative as its predecessor, is still a mountainous undertaking.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Why should we keep seeing Austen fresh, through our own, modern eyes? Because she's a writer who has never really left our field of vision. And, as this new Mansfield Park proves again, she never will.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Shimmers and glows. But it also stings a little -- like the lovely flame that dies and the smoke that, in yet another Cole song, gets in your eyes.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    At once proudly conservative, passionately idealistic and beautifully assured.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Has great themes and great actors.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Brimming over with affection and humanity, this memory drama about the destruction of one family and the birth of another is nostalgic in a good sense: funny, bittersweet, poignant.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    One of the best and funniest things that Martin, as writer and actor, has ever done.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    A breezy, elegant charmer of a movie.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    This smart, hardscrabble, very likable film has a heart and spirit all its own: a rollicking, earthy flair and lusty intelligence.