Stephen Holden

Select another critic »
For 2,193 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 50% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 47% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 3.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Stephen Holden's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Elena
Lowest review score: 0 Alone in the Dark
Score distribution:
2193 movie reviews
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Scrupulously apolitical, The Waiting Room is the opposite of a polemic like Michael Moore's "Sicko." But by removing any editorial screen, it confronts you head-on with human suffering that a more humane and equitable system might help alleviate.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    After Life becomes a quiet, extraordinarily moving and sometimes funny meditation on the meaning and value of life. It intimates that whatever happiness we may find in life comes from within and is self-created.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Post-Soviet Russia in Andrei Zvyagintsev's somber, gripping film Elena is a moral vacuum where money rules, the haves are contemptuous of the have-nots, and class resentment simmers. The movie, which shuttles between the center of Moscow and its outskirts, is grim enough to suggest that even if you were rich, you wouldn't want to live there.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    It is as intimate and honest a portrait of a rock artist’s creative roots as any film has attempted.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Neon Bull is a profound reflection on the intersection of the human and bestial.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    A documentary necessarily conveys a point of view, and although Mr. Wiseman, as is his wont, is neither seen nor heard in a film that proceeds without commentary or subtitles, his spirit is palpable. Without overtly editorializing, the film quietly and steadfastly champions state-funded public education available to all.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Every detail of What Richard Did rings true.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    An astonishing documentary of culture clash and the erasure of history amid China’s economic miracle.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Viewed largely through the aggrieved eyes of a shaman whose tribe is on the verge of extinction at the hands of Colombian rubber barons in the 19th and 20th centuries, Embrace of the Serpent, a fantastical mixture of myth and historical reality, shatters lingering illusions of first-world culture as more advanced than any other, except technologically.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    In Jacir Eid’s extraordinary performance, Theeb exhibits the composure, bravery and cunning of a little savage driven by animal instinct.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Sustains a documentary authenticity that is as astonishing as it is offhand. Even when you're on the edge of your seat, it never sacrifices a calm, clear-sighted humanity for the sake of melodrama or cheap moralizing.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    When a film as profoundly quiet as In the Bedroom comes along, it feels almost miraculous, as if a shimmering piece of art had slipped below the radar and through the minefield of commerce.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Mark Kendall’s quietly moving documentary, La Camioneta: The Journey of One American School Bus, is as modest and farsighted as its cast of Guatemalans who make a living resurrecting discarded American school buses.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Throughout We Were Here there is not a hint of mawkishness, self-pity or self-congratulation. The humility, wisdom and cumulative sorrow expressed lend the film a glow of spirituality and infuse it with grace.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    As Frankie, Mr. Marlowe delivers a quiet, moving performance of such subtlety and truthfulness that you almost feel that you are living his life.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    A film that has the sweep and esthetic power of a full-length ballet.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    A virtuoso ensemble piece to rival the director's "Nashville" and "Short Cuts" in its masterly interweaving of multiple characters and subplots.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Eloquent, meticulously structured documentary -- Sober political and legal analysis alternates with grim first-hand accounts of torture and murder in a film that has the structure of a choral symphony that swells to a bittersweet finale.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Brilliant, maddeningly enigmatic puzzle of a movie.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Alleluia is a fever dream of sex, jealousy and murder whose intensity leaves you spellbound.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Bad Education is a voluptuous experience that invites you to gorge on its beauty and vitality, although it has perhaps the darkest ending of any of the films by the Spanish writer and director.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    A small miracle of a film.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    This remarkably terse movie doesn’t waste a word or an image. It refuses to linger over each little crisis its characters endure. And its detachment lends a perspective that widens the film’s vision of people reacting to events beyond their control.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Was it all for naught? Only weeks after the 23 partisans were arrested (and all but two promptly executed), Paris was liberated. Army of Crime is a passionate act of remembrance.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Several times while watching the movie I laughed until the tears were running down my face.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Gideon’s Army is a bare film with no narrator and a minimal soundtrack. That’s all it needs to grab you by the throat.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    What makes this exquisitely observed slice of American screen realism transcend itself is finally its moral sensibility.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    My Perestroika gives you a privileged sense of learning the history of a place not from a book but from the people who lived it. Watching it is a little like attending a party in an unfamiliar city and discovering the place's secrets from the guests.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    A pictorial tone poem of astonishing visual intensity and emotional depth.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    It is a rich, beautifully organized and illustrated modern history of Eastern European Jewry examined through the life and work of the author, born Sholem Rabinovich in Pereyaslav (near Kiev) in 1859.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    A thorny masterpiece.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    A beautifully written, seamlessly directed film with award-worthy performances by Ms. Rampling and Ms. Young.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Lacking epic pretensions and modest in scale, running under 90 minutes, Anesthesia is really closer in spirit to Rodrigo García’s delicate 2005 gem, “Nine Lives.” And it doesn’t waste a word or an image.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    This lean character-driven movie has such an acutely observant screenplay that it is easy to empathize with people struggling to make a decent living by hook or crook. Its psychological precision elevates it to something more than a genre piece.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    About Elly is gorgeous to look at. The ever-changing sky and sea lend it a moodiness so palpable that the climate itself seems a major character dictating the course of events; the weather rules.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    If there's one movie that ought to be studied by military and civilian leaders around the world at this treacherous historical moment, it is The Fog of War, Errol Morris's sober, beautifully edited documentary portrait of the former United States defense secretary Robert S. McNamara.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    In what has been called the Year of the Documentary, "My Flesh and Blood" stands beside "Capturing the Friedmans" and "The Fog of War" as an unforgettable experience.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    The best movie of its kind since the French director Guillaume Canet's hit from 2006, "Tell No One."
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    The profound pleasures they offer derive not only from their deft metaphysical playfulness but also from their storytelling genius.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Extraordinary labor of love.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    By surrendering any semblance of rationality to create a post-Freudian, pulp-fiction fever dream of a movie, Mr. Lynch ends up shooting the moon with Mulholland Drive.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    One of the most insightful and wrenching portraits of the joys and tribulations of being a classical musician ever filmed.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Ms. Kidman, in a performance of astounding bravery, evokes the savage inner war waged by a brilliant mind against a system of faulty wiring that transmits a searing, crazy static into her brain.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Belongs to a school of Central European surrealism that marries nightmarish horror with formal beauty.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    A lean and mean horror comedy classic.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    This brilliant, viciously amusing takedown of bourgeois complacency, gender stereotypes and assumptions and the illusion of security rubs your face in human frailty as relentlessly as any Michael Haneke movie.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Its abrasive portrait of contemporary New York as a place of noise and nerve-rattling turmoil captures the mood of the city more accurately than any recent film I can think of. And the jagged camera work exacerbates the film’s jarring sense of immediacy.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Clever, funny, wildly innovative film.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Mr. Ledger magically and mysteriously disappears beneath the skin of his lean, sinewy character. It is a great screen performance, as good as the best of Marlon Brando and Sean Penn.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    Creates a cinematic mosaic of American lives unprecedented in its range, balance, subtlety and even-handedness.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    A truly majestic visual tone poem.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 100 Stephen Holden
    This consistently gripping, visually intoxicating film stands as a landmark of contemporary Turkish cinema.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The movie is not really about deciding whether you’re gay or straight — those terms are never spoken. It’s about the chemistry of two people at a moment in time.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami's delicious brain tickler, Certified Copy, is an endless hall of mirrors whose reflections multiply as its story of a middle-aged couple driving through Tuscany carries them into a metaphysical labyrinth.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Galiana's quietly monumental performance is one for the ages.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    That Borgman restrains itself from turning into a full-scale horror movie makes it all the more unsettling, although it has its bumpy moments.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Chronic ends with a sudden, terrible slap in the face that is a final blow to your equilibrium. It is left up to the viewer to decide whether it is a cheap stunt or an ultimate moment of truth. I vote for the latter.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    A sardonic, smart screwball comedy.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Frozen, for all its innovations, is not fundamentally revolutionary. Its animated characters are the same familiar, blank-faced, big-eyed storybook figures. But they are a little more psychologically complex than their Disney forerunners.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    A Jim Carrey movie all the way: a good one, I might add. With his manic glare, ferociously eager smile, hyperkinetic body language and talent for instant self-transformation, Mr. Carrey has rarely been more charismatic on the screen.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Melancholy little gem of a movie.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    On a deeper level, Shoot Me is an unflinchingly honest examination of a woman who is aware that the end is approaching.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The most remarkable achievement of the film is its presentation of Lilya's story as both an archetypal case study and a personal drama whose spunky central character you come to care about so deeply that you want to cry out a warning at each step toward her ruination.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Touched With Fire is an actor’s field day, and both Mr. Kirby and Ms. Holmes boldly meet the challenge of playing bright, high-strung artists struggling with depression.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Powerful and very bitter comedy.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Like its gyrating, spasmodic staccato beats, Get On Up refuses to stand still. It whirls and does splits and jumps, with leaps around in time and changes in tempo that are jarring and abrupt and that usually feel just right.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    It succeeds at showing how one man's psychic wounds contributed to an art that transmutes personal pain into garish visual satire.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The dialogue and the ensemble acting maintain a near-perfect pitch.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    A wrenching, richly layered feminist allegory as well as a geopolitical one.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The film is a contemplation of the loneliness, tension and anxiety of outsiders pursuing a piece of the American dream.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Underneath it all, The Gift is a merciless critique of an amoral corporate culture in which the ends justify the means, and lying and cheating are O.K., as long as they’re not found out.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The kidnapping and ensuing complications make for a harrowing spectacle of cruelty and bumbling from which the camera doesn’t shrink.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    May be the first Hollywood movie since Robert Altman's "Nashville" to infuse epic cinematic form with jittery new rhythms and a fresh, acid- washed palette.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Louisiana's delta country has never looked more darkly, lusciously sensual than it does in Eve's Bayou, a Southern gothic soap opera, written and directed by Kasi Lemmons, that transcends the genre through the sheer rumbling force of its characters' passions.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Marley is a detailed, finely edited character study whose theme - Marley's bid to reconcile his divided racial legacy - defined his music and his life.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    What lifts the film above many other high-minded documentaries dealing with poverty and the welfare cycle is this filmmaker's astounding empathy for both Diane and Love.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    It is the film’s cosmic dimension that makes it so special.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The film ominously conveys a world of too much information but too little communication, where people have become slaves to glowing hand-held devices that were designed to make life easier but have made it busier and more complicated.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Ms. Chaplin, in one of her most touching screen performances, imbues Anne with a world-weary melancholy that makes your heart sink.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    In its unassuming way, this tiny, low-budget film is a universal reflection on issues of personal identity and choice for which there are no easy answers.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Mr. Scott's is something that must be seen. It is, in a word, compelling.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Offers the clearest analysis of globalization and its negative effects that I've ever seen on a movie or television screen.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The film's depiction of the raw fear lurking below the brothers' braggadocio is the most pronounced emotion in a movie whose focus on the personalities of its criminals suggests an Australian answer to "Goodfellas," minus the wise-guy humor.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    If Hadewijch is Mr. Dumont's most overtly religious film, it is not pro-faith in any specific way, although the director clearly respects the religious impulse.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Paxton's Dad may be the most terrifying father to appear in a horror film since Jack Nicholson went crazily homicidal in "The Shining."
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Even through improbable moments and abrupt changes of pace and tone, Ms. Dench and Mr. Coogan hold the movie together.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    By showing how fiercely dedicated idealists are making a difference, it is a call to arms.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    In the manner of a Satyajit Ray film, The Pool avoids melodrama, the better to capture the texture of Venkatesh's vagabond life.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The movie takes no political positions. With an icy detachment, it peers through the fog of war and examines the slippery military intelligence on both sides to portray a world steeped in secrecy, deception and paranoia.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Like most of Mr. Davies’s films, Sunset Song makes you see the world through his sorrowful eyes. He is a die-hard romantic, whose acute sensitivity to the passage of time conveys a bittersweet awareness of the fragility of beauty, which, for him, is synonymous with melancholy.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    A brave film simply for daring to portray a nightmare lurking in the minds of middle-aged workers, people who might fear a film that addresses their insecurities this bluntly.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    There isn't a dishonest moment in Fairhaven, Tom O'Brien's piercing, wistful portrait of three longtime buddies in their mid-30s who reunite around a funeral in a southeastern Massachusetts fishing community.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Infuriating and depressing but rivetingly watchable.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The clammy chill that pervades The Hunter, the fourth feature film by the Iranian director Rafi Pitts, seeps under your skin as you wait for its grim, taciturn protagonist to detonate.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    What appears on the screen has a starkness that is almost indelible.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Bachelorette is more tartly written, better acted and less forgiving than male-centric equivalents like the "Hangover" movies.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    A preternatural self-confidence and buoyancy infuse every syllable out of Ms. Channing's mouth in this entertaining film.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Fowler may be the richest character of Mr. Caine's screen career. Slipping into his skin with an effortless grace, this great English actor gives a performance of astonishing understatement whose tone wavers delicately between irony and sadness.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    So verbally dexterous and visually innovative that you can't absorb it unless you have all your wits about you. And even then, you may want to see it again to enjoy its subtle humor and warm humanity.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The film sustains an air of overarching mystery in which the viewer, like the title character, is in the position of a sheltered child plunked into an alien environment and required to fend for herself without a map or compass.

Top Trailers