Stephen Holden

Select another critic »
For 2,178 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 2.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Stephen Holden's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
Lowest review score: 0 King's Ransom
Score distribution:
2178 movie reviews
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Because the cinematography of The Governess is so richly panoramic, the movie forces you to contemplate the emotional power exerted by film.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    A subtle, humorous, illuminating study of politics, power and social mobility.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    As this powerful, minutely documented film reveals, the tragedy wasn’t caused by the failure of the Peoples Temple to realize its goals. In many ways, it was succeeding as a self-sufficient community.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    A movie of extremes, and that goes for its aesthetics. As gory as the scenes of torture and self-mutilation may be, they are pitted against shimmering cinematography that lends the setting the ethereal beauty of an Asian landscape painting.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Makes a jolly absurdist stew out of its sources.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Very funny, extremely obscene movie spinoff from the popular animated Comedy Central series.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Lone Scherfig (“An Education”), the Danish filmmaker who directed the movie from a screenplay by Ms. Wade, has coaxed wonderfully nasty performances from a young cast.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Julie Gavras’s wonderful film, Blame It on Fidel, views its ideological conflicts through the eyes of a smart, willful child.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    A political movie that, partly through the powerful lead performance of its star, the relatively young Yves Montand, transcends its own politics.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    This movie, directed and produced by Dave Davidson and Amber Edwards, digs deeply enough into Mr. Giordano’s world to convey the drudgery and headaches of being a bandleader.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Calm, deliberate and devastating, Jessica Sanders's documentary After Innocence confirms many of the worst fears about weaknesses in the American criminal-justice system.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Mr. Garfield's performance makes Jack so endearing and vulnerable that as he takes his first wobbly steps, like a baby bird shoved from its nest, your instincts are protective.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    A very funny for-kids-of-all-ages delight that should catapult Mr. Black straight to the top of the A-list of Hollywood funnymen.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Don’t Think Twice, which has a warm heart, could have been a much nastier movie. Yet its disappointed show-business hopefuls dreading their expiration dates make no bones about their insecurities.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Insurrection is breezily paced, and Michael Piller's screenplay has enough good-natured humor to keep things from bogging down into sentimental pomposity.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    A powerful and disturbing reminder of how a civilization can suddenly crack under certain pressures.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Somewhere around its midpoint, Across the Universe captured my heart, and I realized that falling in love with a movie is like falling in love with another person. Imperfections, however glaring, become endearing quirks once you’ve tumbled.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Mr. Strathairn's complex, exquisitely nuanced portrayal of a man who goes over the line allows his character to be both hero and villain, sometimes at once.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Elling believes so fervently in humanity that it feels almost anachronistic, and it is too cute by half. But arriving at a particularly dark moment in history, it offers flickering reminders of the ties that bind us.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    A thorny masterpiece.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Brilliantly realized but bone-chillingly bleak.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    This 2 ½-hour film, which is described by Mr. Tiravanija as "not a documentary and not a narrative" but "more of a portraiture," rewards concentration once you adjust to its glacial pace and its radically minimalist aesthetic. It has no screenplay or story line.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Documents of a flourishing below-the-radar culture, often involving older musicians who won't be around much longer, they are archival records as well as entertainments.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    [A] quiet, devastating critique of the antiquated Indian legal system.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Their ordeal feels cruel, unnecessary and infuriatingly real.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    If Mr. Shicoff ultimately comes across as a short-tempered, egotistical prima donna, the upshot of all the fuss is worth it: his Viennese performance is transcendent.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Drugstore Cowboy, Gus Van Sant Jr.'s glum, absorbing film about a clan of heroin addicts who travel around the Pacific Northwest Looting pharmacies of their supplies the way Bonnie and Clyde cleaned out banks, gives Matt Dillon the role of his career.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Above all, this beautifully photographed documentary is a poetic meditation on refined sensory perception.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    What makes the pain of this film bearable is Daniel’s unquenchable decency, courage and perseverance.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    For all its disorganization and lack of an ending or even a sense of direction, Appropriate Behavior is alive. The screenplay is packed with smart remarks, clever and unpredictable turns of phrase that knock you off balance.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Mr. Brodsky's final screen performance in one of his richest roles finds overlapping layers of humor and pathos.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    For philistines mystified by the value attached to so many artworks that to an untrained eye look worthless, Mr. Cenedella comes across as a reassuring voice of sanity.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    I can't recall another thriller that has maintained this kind of velocity without going kablooey and losing its train of thought.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    In the words of Mr. Kramer: "The government didn't get us the drugs. No one else got us the drugs. We, Act Up, got those drugs out there. That is the proudest achievement that the gay population of this world can ever claim."
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Reel Paradise is a deliberately untidy, open-ended, thoroughly absorbing chronicle that lets the lives of its characters spill across the screen without editorializing.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    By treating the genre as a joke, this satire, whose title plays off George A. Romero's 1979 golden oldie, "Dawn of the Dead," yields ironic dramatic dividends.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    The author's fantastical world of wonders and the director's tender-hearted compassion mesh into what is easily the finest film realization of an Irving novel.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Does an impressive job of relating the complicated history of the war and of filling in the background.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    The role of Jimmy is one of Mr. Jackson's scarier characters, and this brilliant actor inhabits all four corners of his jittery, avaricious personality. When he and Sydney finally clash, the movie makes its darkest, cleverest turn into film-noir nightmare.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    If you love to hate the superrich, The Valet, a delectable comedy in which the great French actor Daniel Auteuil portrays a piggy billionaire industrialist facing his comeuppance, is a sinfully delicious bonbon.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Like a deathbed dream it leapfrogs through Arenas's life, reconstructing crucial moments as a succession of bright, feverish illuminations.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Stylistically brash, pulsing with life.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Its portrayal of impoverished, careworn people barking at one another and protecting their territory in a daily struggle is bracingly hardheaded.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    A witty, sociologically astute reflection on the attraction between opposites.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    For the most part, Paul Laverty's screenplay and the strong, naturalistic performances lend it a specificity that sets it apart.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Transcendently dumb but very funny comedy.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    The movie is truly a tree-hugger's delight (I confess to being one such hugger) that makes the most of its metaphors without straining toward supernatural schmaltz.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Ms. Benoit’s screenplay is unapologetically schematic in its depiction of a cross-section of Haitian exiles, but each story forcefully registers.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    The physical beauty of Li’l Quinquin tells me that beneath what could be interpreted as contemptuous misanthropy is a bedrock of stern compassion.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Eddie Miller (Robert Forster), the stolid protagonist of Diamond Men, a small, finely acted slice of American life, is the sort of character the movies normally shun like the plague for lack of glamour.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Junebug envelops us in texture of a world the movies rarely visit.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    A breezy, informal history of the Black Bear Ranch, a long-running California commune begun in the summer of 1968 and still in existence, offers the fascinating spectacle of observing people then and now.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Because federal indictments for conspiracy to murder have yet to be handed down, the documentary is necessarily discreet about naming names and detailing its evidence. A sequel would go a long way toward solving the documentary's many unanswered questions.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    No matter how serious it becomes, however, La Moustache never forsakes an underlying attitude of high-style playfulness that recalls Hitchcock's cat-and-mouse romantic thrillers.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    In a director's note Mr. Espinosa describes his fascination with "the idea of thief's honor" and with portraying criminals who, from their point of view, "are trying to do good through their own ethics." And this soul-searching quest lends Easy Money a depth rarely found in gangster films.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Love & Air Sex has a spontaneity and cheeky attitude... along with spirited naturalistic performances that infuse the standard rom-com formula with a zany vitality.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    This sentimental but riveting film has no qualms about playing on our emotions.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Sparked by the actors' powerful performances, Arnold's moral absolutism and Furtwängler's lofty aestheticism make for a dramatically compelling clash.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Without standing on a soapbox Stephanie Daley suggests a tragic gender gap between men who judge and women who feel.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    The rainbow connection is a smooth, unbroken arch.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Filmed in the unadorned Dogme style and acted with a ferocious intensity.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Almost forbiddingly austere.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    This attenuated two-and-a-half-hour reflection on marriage, adultery, parenthood and the casualties of sexual warfare unfolds like a brooding autobiographical epilogue to Mr. Bergman's much stormier 1973 masterpiece, "Scenes From a Marriage."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    A small gem of bleak, neorealist portraiture.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Until its final moments this almost great movie feels as if it's racing against itself in a neck-and-neck battle between its troubled heart and its egg-shaped head. The heart wins by a nose.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Shot in just two weeks with a hand-held digital camera, the movie often looks frayed around the edges. Yet it has a soulful heart and a clear grasp of its rarefied milieu (Manhattan upper-level moneyed academia).
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    As unrelenting an exploration of isolation and dissociation as Roman Polanski's "Repulsion."
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    In its cold-eyed assessment of the English aristocracy Easy Virtue has none of the lurking Anglophilia found in Merchant-Ivory movies.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    12
    With its thunderous drama and larger-than-life characters, which lend it a brawling energy, 12 is never dull.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Yes, the documentary is undeniably uplifting. But …
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Creepily riveting.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    A wholesome self-help fable about the unlocking of shame and its magical transformation into pleasure and personal liberation.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    The film's sobriety and carefully balanced arguments make it an exemplary piece of reporting, although its emotional heat rarely rises to a boil.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Like a Bela Tarr film it leads you to consider the breadth of eternity, the limits of human consciousness and the possibility of reincarnation.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    The remarkable if overlong Korean film Oasis strips away much of the sentimentality and goody-two-shoes attitudes that the movies traditionally display toward disabled people.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Mr. Di Gregorio wrote the screenplay with Valerio Attanasio, and this movie is a richer variation of his small, exquisite 2010 film, "Mid-August Lunch."
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    As Mark Li Ping-bing's beautiful cinematography observes the change of season, the movie becomes a broader meditation on rebirth, and how, in the language of T. S. Eliot, April, the month that stirs such hopes for the future, is also "the cruellest month" for awakening such keen desire.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    One of the thrills of the movie is watching the improvisatory trial-and-error process as the dancers explore psychological themes, contorting their graceful, amazingly limber bodies into visual representations of relationships and emotional states.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Frantz takes pains to show both sides’ lingering hostility after a devastating and (the movie implies) senseless war.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    At times The Hedgehog suggests a Gallic "Harold and Maude," with an intellectual gloss as it celebrates the life force passed from an older generation to a younger. But its concept of vitality isn't the popular cliché of kicking up your heels, breathing deeply and gorging on ice cream. It is an aesthete's ideal of pursuing moments of ecstatic perfection in art and companionship.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    The movie offers an encouraging vision of old age in which the depression commonly associated with decrepitude is held at bay by music making, camaraderie and a sense of humor.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Explores interlocking themes of sexuality, immigration and power dynamics with a cleareyed sensitivity and refuses to demonize even its shadiest characters.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Mr. Bana's Chopper is so scarily convincing that he makes you feel the eruptive force of each mood swing and the way his character's paranoia, egomania and conscience- stricken apologies are part of a volatile emotional cycle.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Visually Megamind is immaculately sleek and gracefully enhanced by 3-D. The score by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe is refreshingly subtle for an action comedy.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    In its quiet, literate way, the film is almost as subversive as its central character.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Seduced and Abandoned may be the year’s most entertaining put-on.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Transfixing in the way that well-told life-and-death adventure tales inevitably are. It is the film’s more mundane elements -- an awkward, under-nourished love story and half-baked politics -- that are problematic.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    A soulful cinematic tone poem.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    [A] wonderful, lighter-than-air movie.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    With a merciless acuity this nihilistic comedy ridicules collective grief and the news media's cynical marketing of inspirational uplift after a death.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Morris, instead of evoking the solemnity that surrounds most films that touch on the Holocaust, has directed Mr. Death as the blackest of comedies.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    The movie's unhurried rhythm eventually works a quiet spell, and after a while you find yourself settling back, adjusting to the film's bucolic metabolism and appreciating its eye and ear for detail.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Dark Days illustrates even the worst nightmare can have descending levels of horror.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Highly entertaining, erotic science-fiction thriller that takes Mr. Crowe into Steven Spielberg territory.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    A gripping and important documentary.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Despite its moments of pathos and its expressions of homesickness, A Room and a Half, is an uplifting comedy. Like Fellini’s screen reminiscences, it is suffused with a hearty appreciation of the world’s absurdity, along with a hungry appreciation of its beauty.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Ms. Khoury, often filmed in close-up, gives a deeply sensitive, unsentimental performance, and the feelings that crowd on her face (sometimes more than one at a time) run the gamut from despair to ambivalence to hysterical frustration to tenderness and joy.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    If the situation has all the ingredients of a shrill, tearful melodrama, the filmmaker, working from a taut screenplay by Avner Bernheimer that doesn't waste a word or a gesture, keeps the emotional lid firmly in place.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    In withholding biographical information about the characters, the movie supplies just enough material to prompt you to fill in the blanks.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Stirringly romantic...a gripping period thriller that clicks along without resorting to hyped-up shock effects or gimmicky suspense.

Top Trailers