For 1,089 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 51% higher than the average critic
  • 6% same as the average critic
  • 43% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 4.9 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Noel Murray's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 To Be and to Have
Lowest review score: 10 Martyrs
Score distribution:
1089 movie reviews
    • 100 Metascore
    • 90 Noel Murray
    If the movie is about any one idea in particular, it’s about how parents do their best to stay on top of how their children grow, by taking pictures and documenting the memorable occasions, only to learn too late that most of life happens between the posing.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    After two hours of dazzlingly fantastical images and stomach-turning gore, del Toro winds around, and finds his story's center.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 80 Noel Murray
    First Cousin Once Removed doesn’t come across as overly demeaning or exploitative, because Berliner himself is so kind to Honig in their meetings. But it’s hard to deny that Berliner is using Honig’s deteriorating condition as fodder for his art, just as it’s hard to deny that Berliner’s willingness to risk that criticism is what makes First Cousin Once Removed such a great film.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    Manchester by the Sea is the kind of movie that doesn’t seem to be headed anywhere in particular for long stretches. And then, almost unexpectedly, it arrives.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Noel Murray
    The film is best treated as a one-of-a-kind wonder: an ingenious contraption that dazzles, teases, attracts, and repels with all the mystery and sublimity of a miniature world.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    Without ever saying exactly what her heroine is thinking, Holmer captures a lot of what she’s feeling. And what Toni’s going through should be familiar to anyone who had an awkward puberty — which is to say, nearly everyone.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    It's also poetic and meditative in a way that never feels pretentious.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    Only Yesterday is animated, but rarely cartoony, in either its design or its storytelling.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Noel Murray
    The Elkabetzes don’t need the audience to have any firsthand experience of what Viviane and Elisha are actually like at home. Gett works better if the viewer has to puzzle out the truth from testimony, asides, and outbursts.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    My Perestroika is fairly foursquare as documentary filmmaking goes; it isn't stylistically snazzy, nor doggedly vérité. Its closest kin in the genre is Michael Apted's "Up" films, which are similarly focused on how people change over time.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    A Prophet has been compared to American TV series like "Oz" for its episodic plot and large cast, but it’s more like a Gallic "Goodfellas": thoroughly absorbing, exciting, even poetic. It’s a full evening’s entertainment.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    The two main points Persepolis makes are that strife is relative, and all politics are personal.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Noel Murray
    The Act Of Killing raises all kinds of provocative questions about the sins of nations in transition, and about how important it is for those in power to control the narrative.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 75 Noel Murray
    von Donnersmarck gives his debut feature, The Lives Of Others, no particular style, and the absence of visual risk-taking renders an exciting premise ponderous and stolid.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 67 Noel Murray
    It's a story worth telling, yes--but after 90 minutes, it's hard not to wonder if the storyteller can talk about anything else.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Noel Murray
    Throughout The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya, even when it gets bogged down in too much story, the animation is so gorgeous that any given frame could pass for a masterwork.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    It's a cogent, often infuriating explication of how the execution of the war went awry.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Whenever all the pieces are in place, though, Lee reverts to the kind of storytelling he does best.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    It's hard to explain exactly why Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima is so much better than its companion World War II film "Flags Of Our Fathers," except to say that Flags tries too hard to emphasize the ironies of selling a war, while Letters deals with the ins and outs of the war itself.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Noel Murray
    The digressiveness of Y Tu Mamá También is its masterstroke.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    A beautifully choreographed and photographed story about tradition and modernity in rural Asia.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 75 Noel Murray
    A Film Unfinished is affecting as a rare document of a terrible place and time, and those who lived there.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Noel Murray
    L'Enfant is intended as a pointed critique of pop culture's celebration of arrested adolescence. The title could refer to Renier's baby, Renier himself, or even the gang of schoolboy robbers that he's gathered around himself.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Noel Murray
    This movie is a portal, leading to a living museum of childhood at its most poignant.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    It’s not easy to make a movie as beautiful as Brooklyn, where the stakes are low but the outcome really matters. This is an old-fashioned entertainment, but one so masterfully crafted and heartfelt that it’s hard not to love.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 70 Noel Murray
    As vibrant and ingratiating as We Are The Best! is, the movie lacks the more satisfying fullness of Moodysson’s Together and Lilya 4-Ever.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Noel Murray
    Director Sidney Lumet (working from a screenplay by Waldo Salt and Norman Wexler) chooses not to press the superheroic aspect of his protagonist. Serpico is more street-level, tracing a decade of NYPD change--and refusal to change--through an episodic, often elliptical structure.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    Fateless is a strangely beautiful film, enhanced by a typically lyrical Ennio Morricone score and by Koltai's hazy, grayed-out images.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Most likely, The Autobiography Of Nicolae Ceausescu will mean the most to actual Romanians, who will recognize the locations and fashions, and may even know what the government's documentarians left out of the picture. But the movie offers plenty to captivate even outsiders.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 75 Noel Murray
    Beckinsale’s performance is so funny in fact that it sucks a lot of the air out the room for her co-stars. Whenever she’s in a scene, she delivers so many pithy putdowns per second that it’s hard to pay attention to anyone else. And whenever she’s not around, the movie dims.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    In the propaganda-filled realms of politics, sports, and the military, that kind of no-bullsh-- -allowed truth feels cathartic. No wonder the Tillman family has spent much of the last 10 years fighting for it.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    On their own, each segment of Room is tense and emotional. But they’re even better placed back-to-back.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 70 Noel Murray
    Manakamana is both calming and imagination-sparking, forcing viewers to look at human faces for 10-minute stretches, whether those faces are talking excitedly or quietly looking around.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Noel Murray
    Part period piece and part coming-of-age story, King Of The Hill balances an incident-packed script with muted tones, painting a rich, absorbing picture of one boy’s struggle to live by his wits.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    The beauty of Little Men — and of the director’s work in general — is that it displays a rare understanding of how the world works.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    If The Beaches Of Agnès has no clear structure, that's only because neither does Varda’s life--except in retrospect.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Noel Murray
    While Drug War is ultimately more an exercise in craft than a movie with a lot on its mind, it’s a remarkably skillful exercise, and hardly devoid of ideas.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 67 Noel Murray
    The non-sensationalized "this is what really happens" approach makes Our Daily Bread extra-creepy at times.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    Taut, tense, and self-consciously stylish.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Sometimes the story is so much like a fiction feature-complete with explosive family arguments and pointed cross-cutting between the free-spirited Qin and her beaten-down folks-that it feels exploitative, as though Lixin were turning real people into characters.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    It's undoubtedly something extraordinary: like a live-action Miyazaki film, with Days Of Heaven narration, set in a dirt-poor community at an unspecified time of crisis.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Noel Murray
    Song Of The Sea is a triumph of design and animation, populating lavishly detailed, patterned backdrops with characters so simplified that they could’ve been cut-and-pasted from a newspaper comic strip.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Akin divides The Edge Of Heaven into thirds, and ends the first two sections with emotionally devastating scenes of violence, before easing into a third section that deals with the repercussions and lessons learned.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    A documentary that doubles as a comic thriller, and it’s as entertaining as it is thought-provoking.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    It's a sports film unlike any other, and a political film that makes the personal profound.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Noel Murray
    The sociological angle of Festival Express is a narrow one--perhaps too narrow--and doesn't overwhelm the film's real selling point, which is some of the best-looking and best-sounding footage of counterculture icons ever screened.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 70 Noel Murray
    It IS a little obvious, but that's the way it goes with spiritual enlightenment. The film's lessons are plain--spoken aloud, even--and deal with the close relationship between what can be shed in this life and what binds people to the world in spite of their best efforts to purify.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    This movie offers the kind of effortless Euro-adventure, full and fleet, that Steven Spielberg tried and mostly failed to deliver with his big-screen The Adventures Of Tintin.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Vincere starts to run dry of stunning visual gambits and become redundant in its second hour, as the madhouse sequences dominate, but Bellocchio’s central premise retains its power and poignancy throughout.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Writer-director Jeff Nichols re-teams with his "Shotgun Stories" star Michael Shannon for his second feature, Take Shelter, which has a similar setting, but a different mood. Nichols is still concerned with family legacies, and the ways people in smaller communities relate to each other, but Take Shelter is slower and smoother, deliberately developing a mood of creeping dread.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    Though Certain Women is difficult, it’s hardly obtuse. And for those willing to trust that Reichardt is in full command of this material, “Certain Women” is utterly enthralling.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 67 Noel Murray
    The contrast of a warm maternal figure and a remote army outpost is undeniably affecting. But when Vishnevskaya opens her mouth, she spoils the mood.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    Restrepo can be tedious at times and nerve-racking at others, but why shouldn't it be? That's exactly what Junger and Hetherington saw on the front lines, so that's what they show, with very little filter.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    Lee doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel when it comes to filming live theater, but he moves the camera artfully and edits with an energy that matches the music.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Secret Sunshine is a frequently beautiful film with a cold, dark heart.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Revanche is, first and foremost, a good story, craftily told.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 67 Noel Murray
    Séraphine is far more powerful when it lingers on Louis at work.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    While all the "Up" films hold a fascination akin to a Christmas letter from an almost-forgotten friend, 42 Up didn't show much progress from "35 Up." Even fans of the series had to wonder whether the faces of England were going to remain permanently frozen.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Noel Murray
    Darwin's Nightmare would be just another "ain't it a shame" piece were it not for the way Sauper gradually reveals how all this human misery might play out.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    Maddin talks at length about Winnipeg's hidden layers, but what makes My Winnipeg perhaps his best film to date is that so much of it is right out in the open.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Its final scene is almost overpoweringly tender and beautiful, offering a hopeful rejoinder to all the prior scenes of family members shedding their shared legacy.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    Looper is a remarkable feat of imagination and execution, entertaining from start to finish, even as it asks the audience to contemplate how and why humanity keeps making the same rotten mistakes.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    An intoxicating performance piece in which skilled actors pinball off each other with such energy and nuance that the audience almost forgets about the dying man on the edge of the frame. The style alone makes the movie's point.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    A comedy of sorts, though to Jacobs' credit, he doesn't aim for cheap laughs.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 67 Noel Murray
    Hammer has a nice eye, and his premise develops engagingly in the final half hour, as he raises provocative questions about whether one man can truly step in for another.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Noel Murray
    The movie suffers from backstory-heavy voiceover narration in its first half, followed by an excess of quirky laugh lines down the stretch, just when it seems to be finding a stronger rhythm. There's a shameless crowd-pleasing element to The Descendants that keeps its harder truths about family relationships at bay.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Ultimately, the film is just a smart caper picture with some good performances, but at times it's VERY smart, and Hoffman's performance in particular is one of the most natural and unexpectedly affecting that he's given in years.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Typically, Leigh withholds his own judgment as to whether Hawkins is a delight or a terror. But he does create a noticeable tension between the audience's expectations and the way the story plays out.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    This film doesn’t lionize Weiner or justify anything he did. What it does is capture the frenzy of politics, the iron-clad egos of politicians, and the failure of the media to cover the parts of campaigning and government that actually matter.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    The first third of Iraq In Fragments is so intense--a masterpiece in miniature, really--that audiences may not have much emotion left for the rest.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 67 Noel Murray
    The Cove's ultimate message gets muddled, especially since Psihoyos limits all counter-arguments to a few inarticulate or thuggish boobs.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Viewers' interest in Boxing Gym will likely wax and wane, depending on their interest in martial arts.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Noel Murray
    Jeff Malmberg's documentary Marwencol is at its best when it focuses on Hogancamp's little world, and lets the artist walk the viewer through his town's increasingly dense mythology.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 67 Noel Murray
    It's also representative of Pina's major flaw: the inability of artists to get out of their own way.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Animal Kingdom joins in the tradition of brutally unsentimental Australian crime dramas like "The Boys," in which the stakes are low, except to the people staring down the barrel of a gun.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 67 Noel Murray
    Frequently funny, for those who can stomach it.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    The Day He Arrives is a talky movie, full of long, boozy scenes and cosmic coincidences - and in that it echoes Allen, as well as Luis Buñuel, Jean-Luc Godard, Michelangelo Antonioni, and the best of British kitchen-sink drama.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Noel Murray
    The Selfish Giant is a harsh movie, but it isn’t devoid of hope, because Barnard understands that everything has value—even if it can’t be realized until after an object’s been tossed out.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    Like the best crime stories, this one isn't about how the bad guys live, it's about how WE live.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 70 Noel Murray
    If nothing else, this film makes the case that the Cold War—however Fetisov or Polsky respectively choose to define it—robbed American sports fans of the chance to watch and appreciate one of the greatest collections of athletes ever assembled.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Noel Murray
    Trouble The Water is infuriating in its depiction of helpless Americans getting left behind, and uplifting in the way it shows the Roberts putting their lives together, but it's also frustrating, because it lacks some focus.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    So James White’s title character is an entitled, self-centered a--hole. But the movie about him is still a marvel: an honest, moving, and occasionally even funny portrait of what happens when a cripplingly immature young man gets hit with one reality check after another.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    O'Toole is frail and probably won't make many more movies. So Venus is pitched partly as a fond farewell to a beloved artist, and his whole beautiful generation.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Copti and Shani show characters of different backgrounds interacting peacefully as individuals, then show how those characters subtly change when their affiliation with a group becomes an issue. And always the threat of violence looms.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Noel Murray
    The story starts at a low boil and quickly heats up, but the problem with Tell No One--a common problem with contemporary pulp literature--is that at some point, all the narrative's intriguing questions resolve with prosaic answers, delivered in long, convoluted speeches by people wielding guns.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    The result is one beautiful movie-and no less so for making a strong case that beauty is a lie.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Ultimately, this isn’t a film about goat balls at all, but the willingness of millions to believe that some slick-talking demagogue knows more about what’s good for them and their families than someone with actual qualifications.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 60 Noel Murray
    This is a small film about a society of castoffs, and while it’s beautifully acted and often moving, it’s also predictable, because it keeps wresting itself into familiar forms.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Noel Murray
    There's a kind of dry tastefulness about The Wind That Shakes The Barley's historical recreations, even when Loach is staging rapes and executions.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Hunger may be criticized for being willfully arty, or for reducing a complex political situation to a broadly allegorical vision of martyrdom, but it's never less than visually stunning.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 91 Noel Murray
    Yet in his despair, there's something Kudlow misses, and it's what makes Anvil! as moving as it is hilarious.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Noel Murray
    Make no mistake: The Trip is a fine, funny movie. But there's no reason why it couldn't have been even finer and funnier.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    What's most valuable about Side By Side is how comprehensive it is in documenting how the art form changed.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Mysteries Of Lisbon is an odd kind of epic: It's digressive and even trifling at times, and though a large cast wanders through the frame, the individual scenes tend to be focused on just two or three people, having winding conversations about political intrigue and affairs of the heart.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Berger also shows a dark wit and a faith in old-fashioned melodrama that puts Blancanieves more in the camp of Pedro Almodóvar than Guy Maddin’s golden-age pastiches. (And aside from being silent and a period piece, the movie has almost nothing in common with "The Artist.")
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Noel Murray
    The original musical holds up well, and Marshall and Condon’s adaption doesn’t wreck it.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Like a lot of folk tales, Ten Canoes peters out into something more prosaic than profound, but it flows like water, and has a deceptively gentle pull that proves hard to escape.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Noel Murray
    Even at its most upbeat, The Maid is something of a tragedy.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Arijon's choice to film the survivors returning to the Andes with their children pays huge dividends, leading to an ending that puts the real meaning of their ordeal in moving terms.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 83 Noel Murray
    Wajda makes the murders look horrific and jangled, like something out of "Hostel," then ends Katyn with extended darkness and silence, allowing the audience to mourn for the death of a nation.

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