Michael Wilmington
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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 Gosford Park
Lowest review score: 0 Chaos
Score distribution:
1,276 movie reviews
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Sumptuous and beautiful, suffused with a serene melancholy and deeply ambivalent love for a long-vanished past, Luchino Visconti's 1963 The Leopard is one of the greatest of all historical costume epics.
    • 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.
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A film masterpiece, restored more than three decades after its French release, "Army" remains a superb, coolly accurate portrait of a living hell recalled by two men who knew it well and record it truly, Melville and novelist Joseph Kessel.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A timeless romantic thriller that steeps us in one of those great artificial movie worlds that become more overpowering than reality itself.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A brilliant work of the imagination capable of truly seizing and igniting our fantasies.
    • 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.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Trashy and glorious, the restored Metropolis is a pop epic for the ages.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    No matter how many heists you've seen, how many gangs you've watched fall apart or how many aging crooks you've seen walk up a mean street to a violent destiny, Rififi never loses its ruthless grace and force.
    • 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.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    This landmark movie's madcap humor and terrifying suspense remain undiminished by time.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    One of the most excitingly contemporary musicals ever made.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 94 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    It's a movie full of bewitching images and timeless fun and beauty.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Always a magical film. For its anniversary rerelease, though, it's been extensively restored and even partly reshot by Spielberg. It now looks better than it did back then.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Pulp Fiction isn't just funny. It's outrageously funny. [14 Oct 1994]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A boisterous, brilliant, heart-warming comedy--strikes me as just about perfect.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Like all great fantasies and epics, this one leaves you with the sense that its wonders are real, its dreams are palpable.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Splendid, soaringly ambitious Chinese period fantasy.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    One of the cinema's true classics.
    • 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.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Days of Heaven is the grand climax of the whole "Bonnie and Clyde"-"Badlands" tradition of outlaw-lovers-on-the-run movies. Shot by Nestor Almendros and the uncredited Haskell Wexler, it's a cinematographic masterpiece. [20 March 1998]
    • 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
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Great, bittersweet family drama.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A film that lets life flood into our souls.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    One of the quintessential '60s foreign art films, a bizarre melange of pop music, revolution, sex, movie allusions and poetry. It's a masterpiece of sorts by one of the most important European filmmakers of that era. But it's also a movie that can drive you crazy.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Beautifully remastered and containing Cocteau's long-unseen special prologue and credits -- is as much a feat of feverish delight as it was in the dark days of Vichy and WWII.
    • 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.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A beautiful picture with a great heart, a classic-to-be with a common touch.
    • 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.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Watching Le Cercle Rouge, we're caught up in a world that, however improbable some of its twists and turns seem, strikes us as a perfect, imaginative creation.
    • 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.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Leigh is an artist not at all blind to the world's darkness and pain. But the generosity and togetherness he and his company show in Secrets and Lies is something the movies -- and the world -- truly need. [25 October 1996, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 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.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A watershed picture, for both Spielberg and war movies.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A movie bull's-eye: noir with an attitude, a thriller packing punches. It gives up its evil secrets with a smile.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Magnificent to look at, thrilling, ingenious, spellbinding and superbly done on every level, this is not just one of the best films of the year or the decade, but of all time.
    • 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
    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]
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    An amazing celluloid poem by a filmmaker whom Ingmar Bergman called "the greatest." He very nearly was. He was also, perhaps, too pure a creator and reckless a citizen to survive unscathed.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Masterpiece is the right word for The Sweet Hereafter. It is extraordinary: a poem of familial pain, a song of broken embraces. [25 December 1997, Tempo, p.1]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 90 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    An incredibly silly film of great humor, brilliant design and epic insanity.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Some movies delight you. Some stimulate and provoke. Some enlighten and inform. And some simply hand you a rousing good time-- does all of that and more.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Weird to the max, smart, sneaky as a Wall Street pickpocket and revved up with cruel wit and brazen imagination, Being John Malkovich is a dark movie comedy that you couldn't forget if you tried.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 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.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    I loved this movie madly, and so will many of you.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    It's a scintillating comedy-drama and one of Altman's most richly moving and entertaining pictures.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Delicately subversive, hypnotically sardonic, full of terror, banality and wafer-thin lyricism.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Still packs a wallop. It's also a movie with no easy passage to its dark heart.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A major cinema event of the year, a masterpiece of Italian film traditions in social/political realism and historical family epic.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Works beautifully, both as a social and psychological drama and as a taut, tightly wired thriller.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    It's as thrilling and lushly beautiful a movie as has been released all year, matched only by Zhang's epic "Hero." And I think this film is the more powerful.
    • 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
    • 89 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    German emigre Dupont directs all this with the style, flair and tension he brought to his 1925 Emil Jannings classic, "Variety." But it is Wong, shimmering with charisma, who gives Piccadilly its unforgettable center.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    The greatest rock concert movie ever made -- and maybe the best rock movie, period.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    What I did like unreservedly was the acting. Enid, as enacted by the sometimes astonishing Birch, is one of the more convincing, no-nonsense teens in recent movies.
    • 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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    One of the most remarkable and moving love stories the movies have recently given us.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Of all the movies that try to take us into the mind and viewpoint of a child, Carol Reed's 1948 The Fallen Idol, adapted by Graham Greene from his short story, is one of the most ingenious.
    • 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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A bizarre, thrilling, warmly funny spoof of the WWII Steve McQueen prison camp thriller, "The Great Escape" remade for a near all-chicken cast.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Nobody Knows, by the often excellent Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda, is one of those special movies that can give us a new way of seeing.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Some scholars may scowl, some lowbrows may scoff. But, like wordwise Will, these filmmakers know how to win a crowd -- from the queen down to the groundlings, from the sky above to the stage below. Bravo! [5 December 1998, Friday, p.A]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A deceptively simple French film about teaching that keeps enlarging as you watch it, becoming beautiful and inspiring in a way most films never touch.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    One of the screen's great portrayals of the hell-raising and malaise of young men in their 20s, hit Italy like a comic thunderbolt when it was released there in 1953 -- and it struck the American art-house audience in much the same way when it premiered here in 1956. Now it returns, and unlike its five aging-boy protagonists, this movie hasn't lost its first youth.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Probing... haunting.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Watching Jonathan Caouette's amazing autobiographical documentary Tarnation is like descending into a pop-music, underground-movie hell and heaven, the shattered and shattering landscape of a living body and mind.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    All but sweeps you away with its dazzling technique and shattering emotion. [27 November 1996, Tempo, p.1]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Extraordinary film, one that, like the museum itself, captures and shows three centuries of Russian culture and history in all its beauty, confusion, terror and majesty.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A film poem of sometimes humbling beauty: a movie that opens up a new world to us - in the mountains of Iranian Kurdistan - with an enchanting freshness and austerity of vision.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Kidman crafts a characterization of breathtakingly controlled artifice, dead-on timing, dizzyingly precise humor. Her part is a knockout--in every sense of the word. [6 Oct 1995]
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A true original: a film that stands apart from the crowd, goes its own way and all but dares you not to like it.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Achieves a mellowness and melancholy that recalls the jazzy dissonance of director (and here, composer) Eastwood's best work: "The Outlaw Josey Wales," "Bird," "Unforgiven" and "Mystic River."
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    It sneaks up on you and shakes you: a tale of the cold hell surging up beneath that windy, sensuous Wyeth landscape.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Ten
    A film made by a master, with a simplicity that is really revolutionary. It's a work capable of changing the ways you look at the movies - and at life.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    It stays in your memory, will not leave you in peace.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    It's a thriller that really thrills, a drama that really engages, a portrait of a world and system out of joint that is painfully convincing and totally engrossing from the first simmering minute to the last explosive second.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    It's a movie imbued with a fierce intimacy -- a tone and style similar to cinema verite documentary -- but it's not a banal realism, even if the characters and settings in contemporary working-class Liege initially seem mundane.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    I've got to admit it's a stunner.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Honest, poignant and very funny, full of memorable, moving moments.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A hard-core movie with a soft, light-hearted center and an edge like a knife.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 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
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Jafar Panahi of Iran is one of his country's great filmmakers, and Offside is his best movie to date.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A beautiful, intensely moving film.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    An exquisitely realized film; a little gem, it keeps its conflicting or varying themes of tranquility and violence, sacred and profane love, recklessness and wisdom, in almost perfect balance.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    The results are spine-tingling. There's only one thing to say about this movie and its rescuers, recovered from the dead--and the Dead: Rock on.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Be forewarned: The movie lasts three hours and 16 minutes, and nearly all of it deals with subjects that polite society (and even rude society) tends to ignore or evade.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    This is a superb film and one of Nicholson's great performances, tamped down but magnetic.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Jam-packed mishmash of wall-to-wall music, trenchant character study, slick sociology and sly witty-Brit comedy.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    It's a nice mix, an elegantly smoky and dangerous cocktail -- just like the old noirs, but in a more modern, shinier glass. And since the basic brew is Elmore Leonard's, it tickles as it goes down. [26 June 1998]
    • 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.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Panahi's simplicity accentuates the movie's power: its sense of life caught unobserved.

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