Metascore
90

Universal acclaim - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 19
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 19
  3. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: Joe McGovern
    Nov 24, 2014
    100
    The knowledge that Rembrandt recycled his own paintings doesn't minimize the scene in Frederick Wiseman's documentary where we see an X-ray of one of the Dutch master's portraits — and go, ''Wow!''
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Nov 21, 2014
    100
    Frederick Wiseman’s documentary National Gallery is for art lovers, movie lovers – basically for anybody. Ostensibly a film about London’s famous museum, it’s really about the experience of art in all its manifestations.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Nov 20, 2014
    100
    National Gallery isn’t just about a museum full of famous pictures. It’s about the nature of art, and art’s acolytes; about the mystery of what may lie beneath a particular painting’s visible surface; about the business of art at a time when money can be scarce and attention spans can be short.
  4. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Nov 7, 2014
    100
    Like the Maysles brothers, like Shirley Clarke, like D.A. Pennebaker at his heights, Wiseman has created a body of work that proves him a great filmmaker, period. His latest picture, National Gallery, is a typically lucid, graceful and unobtrusively multi-tiered work.
  5. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Nov 4, 2014
    100
    The popular view of art is that it belongs to the masses. Wiseman casts a more skeptical eye, questioning such egalitarianism with cold, hard historical context. Yet he simultaneously acknowledges that these works live on far beyond their original purpose, even if, as the film’s bold, brilliant climax suggests, they may eventually play to an audience of none.
  6. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Nov 4, 2014
    100
    Like most of Mr. Wiseman’s work, the movie is at once specific and general, fascinating in its pinpoint detail and transporting in its cosmic reach.
  7. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    May 26, 2014
    100
    It’s beautifully organised, and there’s no way you could possibly watch it without learning all kinds of stuff.
  8. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Nov 20, 2014
    90
    In a time when so many documentary filmmakers take on advocacy roles, National Gallery represents the heart of what Wiseman does best — step back and let the place and its people lead the story.
  9. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Nov 4, 2014
    90
    Like so much of his celebrated work, documentarian Frederick Wiseman's National Gallery is long, leisurely paced, wide-ranging, meticulously crafted, intellectually intricate, and touched with profundity.
  10. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    Nov 13, 2014
    88
    In a sense, there can be nothing ordinary about such an extraordinary place. Furthermore, Wiseman’s special gift as a filmmaker has been to show how searching attention reveals that there really is no such thing as ordinariness.
  11. Reviewed by: James Lattimer
    Nov 2, 2014
    88
    In the style of an ambling, yet entirely focused visitor, the film continually circles back to pictures, protagonists, and situations to furnish them with new meanings, alter their perception, or even directly challenge their previous presentation.
  12. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Nov 4, 2014
    83
    Unlike Wiseman’s greatest films, National Gallery never quite finds an overarching theme. There’s a fair amount of material regarding the art/commerce divide, but many scenes have no bearing whatsoever on that subject, and the film generally lacks urgency.
  13. Reviewed by: Oliver Lyttelton
    May 26, 2014
    83
    Wiseman's film is the most nourishing example of cinematic brain food you'll have all year.

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