For 33 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 24% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 73% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 4.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Pauline Kael's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 55
Highest review score: 100 The Grifters
Lowest review score: 10 The Accidental Tourist
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 33
  2. Negative: 8 out of 33
33 movie reviews
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    The picture draws out the obvious and turns itself into a classic. [26 June 1989]
    • The New Yorker
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    A first-rate piece of work by a director who's daring and agile... It's heaven – alive in a way that movies rarely are. [9 Jan 1989]
    • The New Yorker
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    Huston's power as Lilly is astounding... She bites right through the film-noir pulp; the [climactic] scene is paralyzing, and it won't go away.
    • The New Yorker
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    It may be the most sophisticated political satire ever made in Hollywood. (As quoted by Roger Ebert)
    • The New Yorker
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Pauline Kael
    Moonstruck isn't heartfelt; it's an honest contrivance – the mockery is a giddy homage to our desire for grand passion. With its special lushness, it's a rose-tinted black comedy. [25 Jan 1988, p.99]
    • The New Yorker
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Pauline Kael
    John Cusack and Mahoney have to carry the unconvincing melodramatic portion of the plot, but they carry it stunningly. [15 May 1989]
    • The New Yorker
    • 31 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    The picture seems to crumble... because the writer and director don't distinguish Loew's fantasies from his actual life... But with Cage in the role we certainly see the delusions at work. This daring kid starts over the top and just keeps going. He's airily amazing. [12 June 1989]
    • The New Yorker
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    I was surprised at how not-bad it is. It may fall into the category of youth-exploitation movies, but it isn't assaultive, and it's certainly likable. [1 Nov 1982, p.146]
    • The New Yorker
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    Raising Arizona is no big deal, but it has a rambunctious charm. The sunsets look marvelously ultra-vivid, the pain doesn't seem to be dry – it's like opening day of a miniature golf course. [20 Apr 1987, p.81]
    • The New Yorker
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    It's enjoyably trivial – a piece of charming foolishness. [24 Mar 1986, p.112]
    • The New Yorker
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    It has so many unpredictable spins that what's missing doesn't seem to matter much. The images sing. [10 July 1989]
    • The New Yorker
    • 89 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    Is it a great movie? I don't think so. But it's a triumphant piece of filmmaking -- journalism presented with the brio of drama. [24 Sept 1990]
    • The New Yorker
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Pauline Kael
    The attraction of the movie is its friendly, light tone, its affectlessness, and its total lack of humanity. [6 Aug 1984, p.72]
    • The New Yorker
    • 93 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    Dershowitz's life-enhancing scenes are flatulent, and they're dishonest: the movie seems to be putting us down for enjoying the scandal satire it's dishing up. [19 Nov 1990]
    • The New Yorker
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Yes, it's a collection of barbs and sick jokes, but it's not fun, and it lacks a punch line...The young, inexperience director, Michael Lehmann, doesn't find the right mood for the gags. [17 Apr 1989]
    • The New Yorker
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    The action simply doesn't have the exhilarating, leaping precision that Spielberg gave us in the past... The joyous sureness is missing. [12 June 1989]
    • The New Yorker
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    When the picture stops being comic it turns into a different kind of kitsch... The material turns into cheesy plot-centered melodrama... Beetlejuice would have spit in this movie's eye. [17 Dec 1990]
    • The New Yorker
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    Starts smart and ends dumb. [24 Aug 1987, p.79]
    • The New Yorker
    • 77 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    The movie is ungainly – you can almost see the chalk marks it's not hitting. But it has a loose, likable shabbiness. [19 Oct 1987, p.110]
    • The New Yorker
    • 73 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    A romantic adolescent boy’s view of friendship.
    • The New Yorker
    • 45 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    Its emotional climate is too extreme to invite identification, and its characters are too single-minded in their revenge to evoke pity, terror or even much interest.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    When Beatty and Hoffman doe their (deliberately hopeless) singing numbers, jerking like mechanical men, phrasing unmusically, going off-key, they don't have the slapstick skills for it. That's when you long for Martin and Murray, or some other comics. [1 June 1987, p.102]
    • The New Yorker
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    Lightning didn't strike three times; the movie is lumbering... I don't think it's going to be a public humiliation, and it's too amorphous to damage our feelings about the first two. [1 Jan 1991]
    • The New Yorker
    • 62 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    But all that this encounter-session movie actually does is strip a group of high-school kids down to their most banal longings to be accepted and liked. Its real emblem is that dreary, retro ribbon. [8 Apr 1985, p.123]
    • The New Yorker
    • 42 Metascore
    • 40 Pauline Kael
    What's strange about the movie is that the best things in it aren't developed, and what Superman and the other characters do doesn't seem to have any weight. [11 July 1983, p.90]
    • The New Yorker
    • 73 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    Nichols must have a cummerbund around his head: the directing is constricted – there's no visual inventiveness or spontaneity. And in his hands the script has no conviction. [9 Jan 1989]
    • The New Yorker
    • 57 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    The movie is slight and vapid, with the consistency of watery jello...It isn't about teenagers – it's actually closer to being a pre-teen's idea of what it will be like to be a teenager. [7 Apr 1996, p.91]
    • The New Yorker
    • 72 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    The movie is childishly naïve... like a New Age social-studies lesson. It isn't really revisionist; it's the old stuff toned down and sensitized. [17 Dec 1990]
    • The New Yorker
    • 78 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    What happened to the Kubrick who used to slip in sly, subtle jokes and little editing tricks? This may be his worst movie. He probably believes he's numbing us by the power of his vision, but he's actually numbing us by its emptiness. [13 July 1987, p.75]
    • The New Yorker
    • 65 Metascore
    • 30 Pauline Kael
    Everything in this movie is fudged ever so humanistically, in a perfuctory, low-pressure way. And the picture has its effectiveness: people are crying at it. Of course they're crying at it - it's a piece of wet kitsch. [6 Feb 1989]
    • The New Yorker