Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jul 14, 2011
    100
    It is a spellbinding enigma, and one of the damnedest films Morris has ever made.
  2. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Jul 13, 2011
    100
    At 88 minutes, Tabloid is short and sweet (it's pure movie candy), but by the end we've forged an emotional connection to Joyce McKinney at the deep core of her unapologetic fearless/nutty valor. And that's what really makes a great tabloid story: It's a vortex that's also a mirror.
  3. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jul 14, 2011
    91
    McKinney may well be a madwoman, but Morris connects so deeply to her obsessions that the film's tone never seems exploitative or mocking.
  4. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 11, 2011
    90
    For much of the movie Morris simply lets the loquacious McKinney talk, and she never, ever stops. And she never disappoints.
  5. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jul 15, 2011
    90
    This story about Joyce McKinney, a one-time beauty queen who found herself not once but twice at the center of outrageous, tabloid-friendly news stories, is another of Morris' alternately hilarious and disturbing inquiries into the slippery nature of truth.
  6. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jul 21, 2011
    88
    There's nothing mean-spirited, or judgmental, about the way Morris goes about his business - he must have been kicking himself with glee as one bizarre strand of the story unravels to reveal the next.
  7. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Jul 14, 2011
    88
    McKinney, a woman whose spellbinding and baffling presence - nay, performance - in Tabloid more than lives up to her recent off-screen antics.
  8. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jul 14, 2011
    88
    One of Morris' swiftest works, yet also one of his saddest, Tabloid reveals among other things what happens when one person's definition of ordinary healthy romance is undone by another's.
  9. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Jul 12, 2011
    83
    The result is not a major work, but still a wildly funny portrait that succeeds at inducing the incredulity Morris always seeks out.
  10. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Jul 14, 2011
    80
    Tabloid is the perfect movie for that night when you can't decide whether to see something low- or highbrow. It's seamlessly and satisfyingly both.
  11. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Jul 14, 2011
    80
    The sheer heterogeneity of human experience is one of his (Morris) enduring preoccupations, and he has found, once again, an impossible and perfect embodiment of just how curious our species can be.
  12. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Jul 14, 2011
    80
    Morris's trademark device of superimposing giant type over his talking heads - Willing! Manacled Mormon! - often made me wonder if Morris were exposing the world of tabloid journalism or participating in it.
  13. 80
    Gripping, offensive and bewildering, Tabloid is a mean-spirited masterpiece.
  14. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Sep 14, 2011
    75
    "It was a perfect tabloid story," the Brit Peter Tory, who covered it, remembers. "Kinky sex, religion, kidnapping, a beauty queen."
  15. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Aug 5, 2011
    75
    There are three sides to most love stories: his, hers and the truth. But on London's Fleet Street, the three sides are his, hers and the tabloids'.
  16. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jul 20, 2011
    75
    The humor - and there's enough of it that Tabloid could be categorized as a comedy - is unforced, arising as it does out of these truth-is-stranger-than-fiction circumstances.
  17. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jul 14, 2011
    75
    Morris is a storyteller of the highest order, and within seconds, he draws us into his subject, doling out details, making us wonder what will happen next and dropping bombs for maximum impact.
  18. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jul 14, 2011
    75
    It's a guaranteed good time at the movies.
  19. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Jul 11, 2011
    75
    A slick, entertaining offering, playing at times like a tarted up "E! True Hollywood Story."
  20. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Jul 18, 2011
    70
    The joke buried in Tabloid is that this sexual obsessive is very likely not a sexual person at all.
  21. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Jul 16, 2011
    70
    It's an amusing enough story, all right, and it adequately fills up Tabloid's 88 minutes - but a minute longer would have been too much.
  22. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Jul 15, 2011
    70
    Tabloid spins a heck of a yarn, while implicitly warning viewers not to be so entertained that they believe every gamy detail.
  23. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jul 14, 2011
    70
    Errol Morris's documentary was made, and scheduled for release, long before the News of the World story broke. The smart part is that the film dissects those excesses deftly with a quasitabloid style of its own.
  24. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Jul 14, 2011
    70
    Plays like a vacation at a seedy seaside resort. The issue at hand - whether McKinney engaged in criminal behavior with Anderson - is of little moment; what's important is the personality of the lady in question.
  25. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    Jul 12, 2011
    70
    Absurd as it sounds, Joyce's conviction is not only convincing but contagious. So, too, is her elastic sense of reality - a 90-minute immersion in her world is enough to make you question your own.
  26. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Jul 11, 2011
    70
    Errol Morris' Tabloid is bonkers in all the best possible ways -- a welcome return to perverse portraiture after a lengthy sojourn in the realm of more serious-minded subjects.
  27. 70
    Tabloid is candy for voyeurs. We laugh like mad at a nut whose only mistake was being born in the last century, too early to have made real money.
  28. Reviewed by: Stephen Farber
    Jul 10, 2011
    70
    Morris clearly invested so much time and energy in McKinney's story because he saw her as emblematic of our crazed times. Others might wonder whether the sad saga deserves quite this much attention, but there's no denying the film's morbid fascination.
  29. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Aug 4, 2011
    67
    Lots of people have crazy stuff happen to them once or twice. Some people are magnets for crazy stuff. And then there's Joyce McKinney, who is like a factory where magnets for crazy stuff are made and warehoused.
  30. Reviewed by: Patrick Peters
    Nov 7, 2011
    60
    A compelling story told with Morris's usually flair. Still, hard not to think of it as a disappointment by the director's exalted standards and a missed opportunity to explore society's dysfunctional relationship with its media.
  31. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Jul 15, 2011
    60
    It's all compelling, in the way reading trashy gossip usually is. But without any new perspectives, what's the point?
  32. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Jul 12, 2011
    60
    Unlike a great Morris film such as "Gates of Heaven" or "Mr. Death," where the quirks of character feel connected to a larger, profoundly insightful vision of humanity, Tabloid never gets beyond its idiosyncratic surface.
  33. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Aug 4, 2011
    50
    Morris has found a real character in McKinney, but to what end, I couldn't say.
  34. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Jul 15, 2011
    50
    The documentary Tabloid shows that an oddball lead character and a smirky style do not necessarily add up to a complete movie.
User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 3
  2. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. Dec 23, 2012
    5
    A sophomoric effort that squandered a decent story line and resulted in a movie that is at times painful to sit through. It felt as though IA sophomoric effort that squandered a decent story line and resulted in a movie that is at times painful to sit through. It felt as though I was sitting through something produced in a college film class. Full Review »
  2. Jul 31, 2011
    1
    We did not like it. It may have been well done and well rated but it was not for us. My wife fell asleep and I could not stop checking myWe did not like it. It may have been well done and well rated but it was not for us. My wife fell asleep and I could not stop checking my watch. After about 30 minutes, I woke her up and asked her if she was enjoying the movie. She was not. We left. Full Review »
  3. Jul 24, 2011
    8
    I'm not sure all the little comics and clips of old movies and moving cars and airplanes were necessary, but Joyce and her story and theI'm not sure all the little comics and clips of old movies and moving cars and airplanes were necessary, but Joyce and her story and the "supporting characters" are all a hoot (and perfect fodder for an Errol Morris movie); and Morris's tongue-in-cheek admiration of her strikes pretty much the right balance. (See the You Tube video of the interaction between the two [and the Booger clone] at DOC NYC for a continuation of that "interaction.") The phrase "truth is stranger than fiction" comes up in a lot of reviews and is perfectly appropriate here, as is the title "Tabloid," which is obviously very timely and ties all the incredible parts/episodes of the movie together. Ironically, the same week that I saw the movie, I also watched Piers Morgan's interview of Nancy Grace on CNN; and I couldn't help seeing the similarity between the two in terms of the fine line between truth and shameless self-promotion/self-delusion(though Joyce was a lot more entertaining). Do you think Joyce will get her own TV show on Bravo? Full Review »