For 391 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 65% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 34% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 8.8 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Stephanie Zacharek's Scores

  • Movies
Average review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 The Artist
Lowest review score: 10 Oldboy
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 20 out of 391
391 movie reviews
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Stephanie Zacharek
    In Something in the Air, that past—a version of Assayas's own—is rendered in visuals so specific and evocative, it's perpetually alive.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Stephanie Zacharek
    This wondrous, absorbing little picture covers a great deal of winding meta-territory, reflecting on the ways in which a single family's story can be told—or maybe, more accurately, examining the idea that there's no such thing as a "single story."
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Stephanie Zacharek
    Before Midnight—visually stunning, in a late-summer way—is more vital and cutting than another recent marriage picture, Michael Haneke's old-folks-together death march Amour; it has none of Amour's tasteful restraint, and in the end, it says more about the nature of long-term love.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Stephanie Zacharek
    Gravity is harrowing and comforting, intimate and glorious, the kind of movie that makes you feel more connected to the world rather than less.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Stephanie Zacharek
    Kechiche and his actresses explore the in-between—ecstasy, exploration, the comfort and eventual boredom of domesticity—and the aftermath, the painful shards of feeling we cling to after something has shattered. And they don't mess around when it comes to the ferocity of love, sex, or, God help us, the two combined.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Stephanie Zacharek
    What's remarkable about Dallas Buyers Club is its lack of sentimentality. The movie, like its star, is all angles and elbows, earning its emotion through sheer pragmatism.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Stephanie Zacharek
    Although the Coens are consummate craftsmen, they don't always show the lightness of touch or the depth of feeling they do here.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Missing Picture is so immediate, so vital, it practically breathes. Not all memoirs need to exist. But the gentle urgency of Panh's story is right there in the filmmaking. This is a story that had to be told. Even in its stillness, it moves.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Stephanie Zacharek
    Very little in Under the Skin is clear at all. Its secrets unspool in mysterious, supple ribbons, but that's part of its allure, and its great beauty.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Stephanie Zacharek
    Only Lovers Left Alive is silly and deeply serious at once, an elegy with a light touch and more than a dash of hope.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 100 Stephanie Zacharek
    Coppola is a filmmaker who fills up a big canvas with small moments: That's the opposite of working in miniature, even though she's attuned to the tiniest details.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's a picture that romances its audience into watching in a new way - by, paradoxically, asking us to watch in an old way. The Artist is perhaps the most modern movie imaginable right now.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 95 Stephanie Zacharek
    To hell with that childlike sense-of-wonder crap: Despicable Me, instead of trying to return adults to a false state of innocence, reminds us that we all started out as ill-mannered little savages.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 95 Stephanie Zacharek
    More universal than it is alternative, except in one sense: There's nothing else on the contemporary movie landscape like it.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 95 Stephanie Zacharek
    Fincher and his screenwriter, TV writer-god Aaron Sorkin, have made a seemingly modest picture that achieves something close to greatness the old-fashioned, slow-burning way: By telling a story with faces, dialogue and body language of all types, from awkward to swaggering.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 95 Stephanie Zacharek
    A direct and heartfelt piece of work. It's conventional, maybe, in its sense of filmmaking decorum, but extraordinary in the way it cuts to the core of human frustration and feelings of inadequacy, reminding us how universal those feelings are.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 95 Stephanie Zacharek
    An adaptation that wholly and faithfully captures the spirit and mood of the book it's based on, and an example of computer animation - the 2-D sort - that shows the human touch in every frame.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 95 Stephanie Zacharek
    If anything, Joe's sense of dream logic is more naturalistic than Lynch's, more grounded in the knowable world - as much, that is, as we can know about nature - and the luminous Uncle Boonmee is no exception.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 95 Stephanie Zacharek
    What Press comes up with in the end isn't just a portrait of individual eccentricity. Its larger subject is the way one man, just by being alive to what's around him, has created a vast, detailed anthropological record of how New Yorkers present, and feel, about themselves.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 95 Stephanie Zacharek
    Drive not only met my hopes; it charged way over the speed limit, partly because it's an unapologetically commercial picture that defies all the current trends in mainstream action filmmaking.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 95 Stephanie Zacharek
    The actresses' performances intertwine beautifully, like twin climbing vines vying for the attention of the sun.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 95 Stephanie Zacharek
    The movie's intricacy, and the way it finds its way into the emotional lives of its characters via (and not in spite of) that intricacy, is what makes it extraordinary. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy challenges audiences to believe in craftsmanship again.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    Frances Ha is a patchwork of details that constitute a sort of dating manual—not one that tells you how to meet hot guys, but one that fortifies you against all the crap you have to deal with as a young person in love with a city that doesn't always love you back.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    As Adenike, Gurira is wonderful: Her face is equally radiant whether she's channeling anguish or joy, and she captures the ways in which this woman, so old-country dutiful, also longs to join the modern world.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's both a perceptive dual character study and, that rarity of rarities, a large-scale action movie for grown-ups, one worth leaving the house for.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini are lovely together, though her character is the sharper-edged of the two. It's Gandolfini's Albert, soft-hearted and soft-bellied, who suffers more. Gandolfini takes the movie's small, offhand jokes and intensifies them.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    There may not be much behind the sparkling tinsel curtain of David O. Russell's extraordinarily entertaining American Hustle. But what a curtain!
    • 61 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    Adult World captures beautifully, and with a great deal of self-deprecating humor, what it's like to feel trapped in a place you think is too small to hold you.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    The story matters only in that it creates opportunities for heaps of ridiculousness, and writer-director James Bobin (who also directed The Muppets), along with co-writer Nicholas Stoller, mines them skillfully and breezily.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    A sequel made with care and integrity, Toy Story 3 is just moving enough: It winds its way gently toward its big themes instead of grabbing desperately at them, and because its plot is so beautifully worked out, getting there is almost all of the fun.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    I suspect nearly everyone who sees the picture will have a loud opinion about this ending, which is just one way Holofcener works her stealth magic as a filmmaker and storyteller: She doesn’t close up shop on her movie until she’s made each of us an honorary New Yorker — in other words, a person with a strong stance and something to say.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    Anton Corbijn's The American looks and feels like a movie made by a filmmaker who hasn't been to the movies since the '70s - and I mean that as the highest compliment.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    Ondine suggests that coincidence and magic are often the same thing.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's a tricky feat, channeling the glamour of a famous international terrorist without glamorizing him. But damned if French filmmaker Olivier Assayas doesn't pull it off with Carlos.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    If Elise and Frank are opaque to each other, they're opaque for a reason, as, sadly, lovers sometimes are. (Come to think of it, this picture has more in common with "The Lives of Others" than you might expect.)
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Company Men is infinitely more despairing and yet also, paradoxically, more hopeful. It suggests that work can actually mean something to people, beyond just giving them the means to afford a nice house or a fantastic car.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    Sex is threatening, as Brontë knew, and Wasikowska and Fassbender make this particular dance look exceedingly dangerous.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    Meek's Cutoff is an ambitious feat of visual storytelling that's alive to both its landscape and the actors who people it.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture does, in places, feel like an unspoken homage to Kurosawa, though it's certainly its own distinct creation. But I wonder if it more closely resembles another end-of-an-era picture, Sam Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch."
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    Cave of Forgotten Dreams is compelling, sometimes in a hypnotic, sleepy-bye way.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    I never would have believed it, but Branagh gets the balance between pageantry and silliness just right.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    The best Allen movie in 10 years, or maybe even close to 20 - is all about that idea: Reckoning with the past as a real place, but also worrying about the limits of nostalgia.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    The movie's final moments are the equivalent of the half-jubilant, half-mournful thrill you get when you close the cover of a book you've savored.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    Now that Pitt no longer has brash youth on his side, he's digging deeper and doing more with less. It's the kind of acting - understated but woven with golden threads of movie-star style - that gives us more to look at rather than less.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    Brewer, who spent most of his childhood in Memphis, is one of the few contemporary filmmakers I know of who can make movies about the South without sentimentalizing it, glorifying it or looking down on it.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    Le Havre proceeds from the usual Kaurismäkian premise: Things are only going to get worse, so why not just go with it?
    • 53 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    In Time has so much style and energy that it comes across as an act of boldness rather than just a liberal-minded tract, though of course, it's that too. If there were ever a movie made for the 99 percent, this is it.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    Hugo states, in its adamant, straightforward poetry, that old things do matter.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    What's remarkable about Pina is how democratic it is, how casual it is about opening up the world of modern dance to people who know, or perhaps care, little about it.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture is celebratory, in its own quiet way, as well as clear-eyed.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    This is the kind of sophisticated storytelling you rarely get even in live-action movies any more, full of unexpected turns and unruly human complications.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture sparkles, but in the nighttime way - its charms have a noirish gleam.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    Redgrave puts all she’s got into something other actors might just toss off or throw away. She’s present every moment; this is an actress who doesn’t have a second to waste.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    The low-key quality of the filmmaking in Restrepo only intensifies the reality of how much these kids are risking.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    Like its star, Salt is a spare and lean piece of work; it's everything a modern action movie should be, a picture made with confidence but not arrogance, one that believes so wholeheartedly in its outlandish plot twists that they come to make perfect alt-universe sense.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Extra Man is something of a love letter to the marvelous weirdos of New York.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    This is a picture whose dance steps are determined by any number of mishaps and misfortunes; like the dance floor of a great club on a good night, it's gorgeous, unruly and exhilarating all at once.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Tillman Story isn't designed to be a shockeroo exposé; it's more a slow, steady rumble of anger and dismay at what the U.S. military, and the government, can get away with in the name of public relations, as if PR - and not human lives - were the most important consideration during wartime.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    Let Me In is a chilly little story set in a very cold place. But Reeves still knows when to go for the burn.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    The thrill of Tony Scott's Unstoppable, in which a runaway freight train hurtles through rural - and toward not-so-rural - Pennsylvania, is that its setup asks us to believe only in human ineptitude.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    Mattie is a no-nonsense mite with a forthright manner and a mean head for figures; she wears her hair in two sturdy braids whose tips have never seen the inside of any inkwell, believe you me.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    The faces of these performers - particularly Williams' - are the key to Blue Valentine.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture is rambunctiously affectionate; Guiterrez may go for the broad joke, but never the cheap one.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    One of those big, extravagant-looking romances that you might automatically deem "conventional" - except for the fact that almost nobody makes big, extravagant-looking romances anymore.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    Beginners is all about beginnings that begin with endings - the point, Mills seems to be saying, is that sometimes you need to say good-bye to make room for hello.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    In the early moments of The Trip, you wonder if either actor will survive the enterprise.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    While the media desk isn't the whole of the New York Times, it does give Rossi a solid perch from which to survey the paper's recent and ongoing struggle for both relevancy and revenues.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    O'Brien describes a number of those basic human feelings that drop-kick all of us from time to time, like being resentful of anyone and everyone who still has a job when we don't.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    Bad Teacher is hardly a perfect picture, but in the context of every other comedy on the summer movie landscape - from the faux empowerment of "Bridesmaids" to the neurotic frat-guy heteromania of "The Hangover Part II" - it feels revolutionary.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    Breillat manages to give us a lush, quiet spectacle with The Sleeping Beauty.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    The "black maid" may be a cliché. But when was the last time we saw a story told from her point of view?
    • 75 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    I've seen Detective Dee twice now, and I still don't think I've taken the full measure of the visual nuttiness, and lushness, Tsui has packed in there.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    Olsen's performance is restrained but not tentative; you could say the same for the movie around it.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    Mulligan is terrific here, and restrained in a way that suggests an actorly generosity unusual for someone so young: Her scenes with Fassbender don't so much say "Look at me" as "Look at him."
    • 71 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    Craig has one clear advantage over Michael Nyqvist, the actor who played the same character in the Swedish Girl movies: He has erotic charisma to spare, as opposed to Nyqvist's perfunctory, doughy sexuality.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    For all its borrowing from old Hollywood, I don't think War Horse is particularly nostalgic. The word I'd use is wistful. It's the largest, most lavish handful of wistfulness money can buy, and sometimes it's too much. Yet it's nice to know that even Steven Spielberg can still wish for something.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    A Separation doesn't try to make easy sense of that world, or of this family's suffering. It's simply a quiet cry of anguish.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    That she makes it all look so effortless is part of the fun – as long as you're not unlucky enough to be the guy with his nut in the nutcracker.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    It's the kind of movie that makes the world feel like a smaller place, suggesting that the similarities connecting us across continents and cultures are more resonant than the things that divide us.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    A small but extremely significant message in a bottle. That metaphor is almost literal: The picture made its way to Cannes via a USB drive -- which was smuggled in a cake.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    At its simplest level, Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a portrait of a master. In its deeper layers, it explores what drives us to make things: Beautiful, jewel-like things, or things that delight our palate – or, in this case, both.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    There's action here, too, and a great deal of vitality that feels true both to the spirit of Collins' book and to the idea of movie entertainment as it exists.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    Mirror Mirror has a great deal of energy and wit and color, so much that it sometimes threatens to go right over the top. Somehow, though, it always stops short of being just too much.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    By the end you feel you've learned something about the man, yet his mystique emerges intact.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Dictator, for all its liberal leanings, doesn't let anyone off the hook, not even well-intentioned liberals. Cohen comes right out and says things that most of us, in polite conversation, wouldn't dare. He knows it's the impolite conversation that really gets things moving.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    My heart belongs to Bear Elinor, whose movements and mannerisms are a tender echo of Human Elinor's – her character is designed and drawn just that carefully.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 85 Stephanie Zacharek
    This is a straightforward family comedy-drama, a movie made for adults, and one that actually gives its actors – among them Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Pfeiffer and Philip Baker Hall – something to do. That's more of a rarity on today's landscape than it should be.