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 The Wind That Shakes the Barley
Lowest review score: 0 Chaos
Score distribution:
1,276 movie reviews
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Of all the many documentaries that take you along on a movie shoot, one of my all-time favorites is this delightfully scrappy, sometimes poignant, often hilarious show.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A powerful film made with minimal means, it's a story of poor people on the fringes of society, done without sentimentality or condescension but with wicked humor.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Scene after scene in Calle 54 just knocks you out.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    If you haven't gotten hooked already on Michael Apted's series--collectively, one of the great documentaries in the history of the cinema--you should prepare yourself for the latest installment, 49 Up.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    In the remarkable, ferociously intelligent new film No Man's Land, Bosnian writer-director Danis Tanovic gives us a movie portrait of the Bosnian War, a conflict that has devastated his country, friends and neighbors -- and found in it both shocking humor and searing, relentless tragedy.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    There's an incongruous but ravishing beauty in Far From Heaven, and in its three excellent central performances, that counteracts the seeming kitschiness of the story.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A Chekhovian tale of major artistic power.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    The movie has a large theme, even if it's unspoken. Old Joy is about a particular friendship, but it's also about how American society changed in the '90s and the new century.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    This is a first-class muckraking melodrama: an admirable picture.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    An instant classic and a dramatic beauty, a film that gets us to the core of Greene's chilly, dark and romantic view of the post-war world.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Swooningly beautiful, furious and thrilling, Zhang Yimou's Hero is an action movie for the ages.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Thompson clearly loves this story, and, even though, she's playing the less spontaneous of the older Dashwood sisters, responsible Elinor, you can feel her spirit rising out to embrace the part. It makes her beautiful to watch. [13 December 1995]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Wilmington
    The film's mood and style are pitched somewhere between '60s American indie and French New Wave and, as you watch these people, they seem painfully, amusingly on-target. They may irritate you a little, but that's the right response.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Magnificently sensuous and macabre.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    There's only one proper Hollywood ending to this story. Next year, Charlie and the surreal "Donald" Kaufman (listed as co-writers in the playful credits) should win twin Oscars for best adapted screenplay. They've earned it -- really.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    A unique portrait of modern crime and punishment, gives us terror without filters, a tragic event captured in all its initial immediacy and anguished aftermath.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Of all the movies I've seen in the past several years, this is one of the ones I love the most.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A stunner: a fiercely brilliant film of such wrenching impact, nonstop drive and unpredictability that watching it becomes an exhilarating ride.
    • 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
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A shocker for devotees of stylish angst and psychological torment. You'll have to watch it with patience and great attention, but it richly rewards that patience.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    An old nightmare, made shiny new.
    • 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."
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    In this movie, Auteuil ("Jean de Florette") and Binoche ("Chocolat") are such marvelous actors, they can shift us in almost any emotional direction with a speech or a glance.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A fierce, brilliant film that breaks (and then mends) your heart.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Michael Wilmington
    Branagh's expertly cut and reshaped Henry V gives us the grimy face of war, yet he also gives us the guts - and the soul and poetry that animate them both. [8 Nov 1989]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 83 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    One of the year's best documentaries.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Heroin may be a downer, but Trainspotting definitely takes you up…a series of roaring, provocative, outrageous highs. [26 July 1996, Friday, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Should hold you spellbound.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    This is one of those films that encapsulate most of its maker's key thoughts and feelings while also connecting us vividly to a fascinating past. No one who loves French film (or movies in general) should miss it.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    I don't see how you can get away from calling Cage’s performance a great one. [10 November 1995, Friday, p.C]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A weird, funny, melancholy tribute to movies and movie-going, an opus for film geeks that rang my personal bell. A bizarre minimalist epic that will either transport or infuriate, it's defiantly, exquisitely eccentric.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Duma, at its best, reminded me exactly why we loved movies as children: because they told stories like this, with images just as rhapsodically colorful and exciting.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A beautiful film, harrowing, tough and rife with grief.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Re-released now in a digitally enhanced, sonically improved and slightly longer version, the movie is even better than it was in 1973.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    This French documentary gives us unprecedented intimacy and sweep.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Brims with intelligence, compassion and sensuous delight in the textures, sights and sounds of life--all the way from the Taj Mahal to Pearl Jam.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Downfall, whatever its shortcomings, bears strong witness to great evil. That is its triumph as a film.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    A genre movie with an agenda that's too packed. Inevitably, some of the many balls it's juggling get dropped -- (but it's) one of the most entertaining and original actioners in several years.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    This film--one of the best and most memorable documentaries of the year so far--brings that truth-teller to us once again.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A finely written, superbly acted offbeat thriller.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    What's remarkable as we watch Lilya's plunge (and the brief, false rays of light that illuminate it) is how real Moodysson makes her plight, how intensely he makes us empathize with Lilya.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    The film is truly special, truly different -- a wondrous talky roundelay about and for people who love life.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Sweeps us back into a terrifying and desperate string of events and makes us feel them - and, more crucially, understand them as well.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Twilight is a great samurai film in the way that "Unforgiven," "The Gunfighter" or "Will Penny"--all muted, somber films about aging gunfighters--are great westerns.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Zeta-Jones can belt out her numbers, Zellweger can purr hers, and Gere-a musician who played his own cornet solos in "The Cotton Club"-can sell his songs and even dance a spiffy little tap dance. They're better than you'd expect-and so is the movie.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    It is a movie about the gradual erosion of life's seeming certainties, and it's also about the destructive immorality that may lie beneath the most exquisitely composed veneer. As we watch "Chocolat," this great director and his great actress, Huppert, convince us: Evil is.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A picture about America with the blinders off, a film about heroism that makes you chuckle and feel sad - and a film about childhood that lets us reenter that lost world and see the grass, sky and sunlight the way they once looked, in the golden hours.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 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."
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A film which should gratify any audience starved for intelligent dialogue, realistic portrayals of romance and lovely, non-cliched open-air photography.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A mad, resplendent peacock of a film, a cinematographic riot of color and sensuality that evokes its era -- the swinging mid-'60s -- as much as any movie made during those giddy years.
    • 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
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Movies today rarely touch chords that are spiritual or deeply emotional, but Nathaniel Kahn's remarkable documentary My Architect: A Son's Journey does both.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Sharp, funny, sad and daring as it may be, Happiness is missing something. Its points are often too obvious, its shocks too juvenile. It's impressive but not transcendent. [23 Oct 1998]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter just keeps growing up. So do the Potter movies, in size, in ambition and in visual splendor - and with increasingly stunning results.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    This is not an inspirational drama about finding yourself; it's a Hitchcockian comedy about adultery, murder and losing a corpse.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 81 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A stark, minimalist near-masterpiece about the creation of a murderer in modern Iran.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    With rich irony, The World juxtaposes the teasing, grand images of the outside world's wonders with the insular community and the mundane lives of the park employees.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    We've gotten perhaps too used to the computerized wizardry of our own cartoon features; Kon, like Miyazaki shows us some older ways that can still transfix us.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    One of the most intriguing prison dramas ever put on film.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 80 Metascore
    • 63 Michael Wilmington
    Sometimes one performance makes a film worthwhile, and Junebug has one: an astonishing, moving portrayal of down-home innocence and optimism by Amy Adams.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    It's a film objet d'art to contemplate and treasure.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Three Times is great cinema, pop romance that carries a special charge.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    It's a film for specialized tastes, quiet, delicate. But it suits those tastes beautifully.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    The simplicity and idealism of The Color of Paradise are part of what makes it so attractive to near-jaded palates here. There are no evil characters in the film.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    This is a movie with every facet shining in place, every word charged and resonant. [23 Sept 1994]
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Two suggestions as you watch it: Never take anything for granted, and keep your hand on your wallet as you leave the theater.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    It's a shining valentine to the movies--full of homages, collages and swooningly romantic Ennio Morricone music--and it gets right at the messy, impure, wondrous way they capture and enrapture us. [16 February 1990, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    If it's not an actual masterpiece, it's at least the next best thing, a fully characteristic, fully alive work by a master of his art.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A disturbingly frank look at people and relationships in contemporary Los Angeles and a thrilling dramatic showcase for a brilliant cast.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    You probably won't find two more fascinating camera subjects, two livelier conversationalists or two richer, more rewarding, more engaging and inspiring companions in any movie, fiction or non-fiction, this year.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    Perfect for anyone with a youthful heart and a rich imagination.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Michael Wilmington
    Shows us a filmmaker, unafraid of her emotions, unafraid to mine her past, someone clear-eyed, non-egoistic, full of life and warmth.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A noir with a smile, and after all these years, its deft mixture of darkness and light still makes us smile.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Not too many actors last year bettered or equaled Beatty and Schreiber here, separately or (better yet) together. It's a pleasure and a privilege to watch them work.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    Not a striking film visually. It's deliberately plain looking, focused on the appalling events with an almost documentary immediacy.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    A spectacular, engrossing, big-hearted film based on one of Korea's great national epics and made by that country's top filmmaker.
    • Chicago Tribune
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    A film that uses beautiful tableaux and convincingly raw actors to build to a climax of shatteringly understated poignancy and power.
    • 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
    • 79 Metascore
    • 88 Michael Wilmington
    This hip, highly partisan biography of Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey is a surprisingly entertaining movie about the perils of studying sexual behavior in a sexually uptight culture--our own.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Michael Wilmington
    If all this potent drama recalls Bergman, the beautifully articulated staging and setting suggest that master of operatic social-sexual drama, Luchino Visconti ("The Leopard").
    • 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?

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