The Guardian's Scores

For 871 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 40% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 57% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Zero Dark Thirty
Lowest review score: 20 Café de Flore
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 57 out of 871
871 movie reviews
  1. With his two early features, "Distant" (2002) and "Climates" (2006), Ceylan has showed himself a superb film-maker. This is his greatest so far.
  2. This is a jewel of American cinema.
  3. It's not exactly a documentary, more a lovingly-filmed homage, but some candid interview material allows scraps of Baker's story to emerge.
  4. An almost perfect 90-minute hit of confident and inspired comedic commentary.
  5. After all those false dawns, non-comebacks and semi-successful Euro jeux d'esprit, Allen has produced an outstanding movie, immensely satisfying and absorbing, and set squarely on American turf: that is, partly in San Francisco and partly in New York.
  6. An enormous pleasure. The performances are so fresh and natural – yet so subtle and delicately judged. The direction is superb in its control and the cinematography creates a gripping docu-realist vision.
  7. What an astonishing achievement; what a beautiful movie.
  8. This is an extraordinary record. But be warned. Once seen, these images cannot be unseen.
  9. Only God Forgives will, understandably, have people running for the exits, and running for the hills. It is very violent, but Winding Refn's bizarre infernal creation, an entire created world of fear, really is gripping. Every scene, every frame, is executed with pure formal brilliance.
  10. It is a brilliant, subversive account of class relations and the changing times.
  11. It is extremely pleasurable to watch, and shows every sign of having been extremely pleasurable to make.
  12. By any standards, this would be an outstanding film, but for a debut it is remarkable.
  13. Before Midnight is intimate and intelligent, and also undemanding in the best possible way,
  14. The themes may be contentious, but the handling is perfect. If there were ever a movie to cause the lame to walk and the blind to see, The Master may just be it.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The film is so singular, it's hard to place. At times, its elegiac visual quality evokes Terrence Malick, but Lowery's scripting is tighter and more accessible. His is truly a fresh voice, exhilarating to hear.
  15. It is a creamily sensuous, richly observed piece of work, handsomely detailed and furnished: the clothes, the hair, the automobiles, the train carriages, the record players, the lipstick and the cigarettes are all superbly presented. The combination of all this is intoxicating in itself.
  16. Mitchell brings off some sensational setpieces of fear and suspense. I can’t remember when I was last so royally freaked out in the cinema.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Telling a nearly three-hour story with an ending everyone knows, Bigelow and Boal have managed to craft one of the most intense and intellectually challenging films of the year.
  17. The film, with its transcendentally beautiful visuals...is a rich and rewarding experience. [1 Sept. 2011]
  18. It is a beautifully acted, exquisitely considered chamber drama of subtlety and nuance: spellbindingly tender and utterly involving
  19. Stark, visceral and unrelenting, 12 Years a Slave is not just a great film but a necessary one.
  20. This movie looks and feels superb, it is pure couture cinema. But there is also a excess of richness and bombast and for all its sleekness I felt that the spark of emotion was being hidden, and there is a kind of frustration in the operatic sadness.
  21. It is a masterpiece of black-comic bad taste and a positive carnival of transgression. The secret is the deadpan seriousness with which everything is treated.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Levinson has always been acutely interested in the minutiae of human behaviour, and it's this concern that makes The Bay the triumph that it is.
  22. The Look of Silence — like The Act of Killing — is arresting and important film-making.
  23. Brilliantly written, terrifically acted, superbly designed and shot; it's a sweet, sad, funny picture about the lost world of folk music which effortlessly immerses us in the period.
  24. Under the Skin is perhaps best viewed as an icy parable of love, sex and loneliness.
  25. This Is Not a Film is a compelling personal document, a quietly passionate statement of artistic intent, and an uncompromising testament to his belief in cinema.
  26. Amy
    It is an overwhelming story, and despite everyone knowing the ending, it is as gripping as a thriller: Kapadia has fashioned and shaped it with masterly flair.
  27. Citizenfour is a gripping record of how our rulers are addicted to gaining more and more power and control over us – if we let them.
  28. It is a gut-churning film: and a radical dive into history, grabbing the past in a way a conventional documentary would not.
  29. Utterly distinctive and all but unclassifiable, a musique concrète nightmare, a psycho-metaphysical implosion of anxiety, with strange-tasting traces of black comedy and movie-buff riffs. It is seriously weird and seriously good.
  30. Leviathan is acted and directed with unflinching ambition, moving with deliberative slowness and periodically accelerating at moments of high drama and suspense. It isn't afraid of massive symbolic moments and operatic gestures.
  31. Exhibition is challenging, sensual, brilliant film-making.
  32. What a glorious film this is, richly and immediately enjoyable, hitting its satisfying stride straight away. It's funny and visually immaculate; it combines domestic intimacy with an epic sweep and has a lyrical, mysterious quality that perfumes every scene, whether tragic or comic.
  33. There is something exacting and audacious in it, something superbly controlled in its composition and technique. The clarity of her film-making diction is a marvel – even, or perhaps especially, when the nature of the story itself remains murkily unrevealed.
  34. Django Unchained also has the pure, almost meaningless excitement which I found sorely lacking in Tarantino's previous film, Inglourious Basterds, with its misfiring spaghetti-Nazi trope and boring plot. I can only say Django delivers, wholesale, that particular narcotic and delirious pleasure that Tarantino still knows how to confect in the cinema, something to do with the manipulation of surfaces. It's as unwholesome, deplorable and delicious as a forbidden cigarette.
  35. An unmissable, transcendentally beautiful classic. [28 Aug. 1998]
  36. The icy message may be that love is not a consolation as we face death. Rather the reverse. Love will give your death meaning, but make it no less unbearable.
  37. This is an unrepentantly cynical take on the hope-and-change promised to the US in 2008; this year's election race makes it look even bleaker, an icily confident black comedy of continued disillusion.
  38. The Double isn't an original idea. It wasn't even in Dostoyevsky's time. But it's a great story. And Ayoade has produced a brilliant copy.
  39. A tense dramatic situation and a subtly magnificent central performance from Marion Cotillard add up to an outstanding new movie from the Dardenne brothers.
  40. What a bold, beguiling and utterly unclassifiable director Andersson is. He thinks life is a comedy and feels it’s a tragedy, and is able to wrestle these conflicting impulses into a gorgeous, deadpan deadlock.
  41. It is a gripping film: horrible, scary and desperately sad.
  42. Not since Grey Gardens has a film invited us into such a strange, barely-functioning home and allowed us to gawk without reservation. This is a nosy movie, but it is altogether fascinating.
  43. Weird and wonderful, rich and strange – barking mad, in fact. It is wayward, kaleidoscopic, black comic and bizarre; there is in it a batsqueak of genius, dishevelment and derangement; it is captivating and compelling.
  44. Polley tackles painful issues with candour and tact. She has a gripping tale to tell. It's a film that raises questions about the ownership of memory and ownership of narrative.
  45. This documentary by Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin argues that Pussy Riot suffered an old-fashioned Soviet show trial, and what emerges is the effrontery and hypocrisy of Putin's attempt to associate these three young women with the Bolsheviks' suppression of religion.
  46. What Rush has to offer is a great human drama, two dangerously talented men pushing each other to risky victory and a superb script, delivered with some mastery by Hemsworth and Brühl.
  47. Julian Roman Pölsler's bewitching debut manages to be at once a creepy sci-fi parable, a feminist Robinson Crusoe and a clear-eyed ode to the wonders of nature experienced in solitude. Walden pond with added wall.
  48. Danish director Tobias Lindholm spins an exacting drama out of a crisis on this deft, verite-style account of Somali piracy in the Indian ocean. Full credit to A Hijacking for resisting the siren-call of Hollywood histrionics in favour of the nuts-and-bolts.
  49. Devotees of Dumont's earlier films – particularly his 1999 film "Humanity" – will instantly recognise the style, the locale, the narrative, the bizarre quasi-realism, in which events take place in a world infinitesimally different from the one we inhabit. As ever, the visionary, radioactive glow is compelling.
  50. But Whedon's key coup is in simply directing a very good version of the play. He's got a keen ear for comedy, a no-nonsense approach to ditching the gags that don't work, a deft hand for slapstick and an eagerness to use it.
  51. That adjective in the title is accurate. Extravagantly deranged, ear-splittingly cacophonous, and entirely over the top, George Miller has revived his Mad Max punk-western franchise as a bizarre convoy chase action-thriller in the post-apocalyptic desert.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Just as 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes surpassed expectations, so this sequel delivers on its promise and leaves us wanting more – which we'll almost certainly get.
  52. The genius of Alpha Papa, then, is in remaining faithful to Partridge's small-screen soul while also managing the demands of a big-screen Alan.
  53. It's an athletic, loose-limbed piece of movie-making, not perfect, but bursting with energy and adrenaline.
  54. Abderrahmane Sissako's passionate and visually beautiful film Timbuktu is a cry from the heart.
  55. Like José Luis Guerín's brilliant 2007 curio "In the City of Sylvia," this is one of those rare films that may change the way you view the world.
  56. Writer-director team Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (It’s Kind of A Funny Story, Half Nelson) must be applauded for refusing to let their shaggy dog tale line up with any predictable storyline.
  57. The Invisible Woman shies from propaganda just as Nelly shies from impropriety. Fiennes has done the right and proper thing here. He has, at 50, made a mature movie, prudent in the best possible sense.
  58. He lived until recently in bohemian chaos in one of the "artist apartments" in Carnegie Hall, and cares nothing for money or vanity. That's real class.
  59. Robin Campillo’s drama is sweet and neat, as ambitious as it is gripping.
  60. The adults' behaviour is almost as confusing for us as it is for her. It's a neat trick that reminds us these weighty adult issues are both life-changing and, in the moment, somewhat insignificant to someone Maisie's age.
  61. Blunt’s performance has an edge of steel. She brings off a mix of confidence, bewilderment and vulnerability, which functions very well against the alpha male characters higher up the chain of command.
  62. For all its flaws - in fact, perhaps because of them - Le Week-End is a work borne from, and provoking, real feeling.
  63. There is release at the end of this fine film, but no euphoria; just a sense of having come through a period of evil, the memory of whose darkness will never entirely lift.
  64. The co-operation between Wenders and Salgado Jr works well, mixing the former's heavyweight presence as both interviewer and storyteller, and the latter's ability to harvest intimate, deep-buried subtleties that may otherwise not have seen the light of day. Together they have made a moving tribute to a peerless talent.
  65. Dreams of a Life is a painful film, a Christmas film with no feelgood message, but one which I think would in fact have interested Charles Dickens. Watching it is an almost claustrophobic experience, but a very powerful and moving one.
  66. It's a film to leave you reeling but cheered, too. It's about battling love, as well as illness. A universal story, extracted from a unique one.
  67. Joe
    Joe also stands as a reminder of what a terrific actor Cage can be when he is able to harness and channel his wilder impulses.
  68. The Lunchbox is perfectly handled and beautifully acted; a quiet storm of banked emotions.
  69. The Dictator isn't going to win awards and it isn't as hip as Borat. Big goofy outrageous laughs is what it has to offer.
  70. In the Fog is an intense, slow-burning and haunting drama.
  71. It's a gem: gentle, eccentric, possessed of a distinctive sort of innocence – and also charming and funny.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is the rare movie that realises that individuals are the sum of formative experiences some good, some bad, and some productive in their devastation.
  72. About Elly confirms Farhadi's shrewd judgment of pace, dramatic technique and formal control of an ensemble cast.
  73. The endlessly prolific Takashi Miike returns with this superbly acted revenger's tragedy.
  74. The film is quiet, understated and gentle, allowing the audience to take pleasure in teasing out its narrative subtleties, and presented with wonderful freshness and clarity.
  75. What The End of the Tour tries to sell, and sells well, is that Wallace’s big heart was just not made for these times.
  76. It is such a strange film in its way, stranger still if you are not accustomed to Weerasethakul’s work, and it needs a real investment of attention. But there is something sublime in it.
  77. Follow the film-maker. Let him lead you by the nose. Lanthimos knows exactly where he's going.
  78. Calin Peter Netzer's Child's Pose is a gripping new drama from Romania and another demonstration of how that country's new wave is developing a distinctive kind of real-time slice-of-life cinema with characterisation in extreme, pitiless closeup.
  79. White God works as an ambiguous satire of power relations generally: eventually the lower orders will rise up. The film has a flair and a bite which I have found lacking in Mundruczó's earlier films.
  80. Gloria is a sad, painful romantic story.
  81. Its main focus is the sparky, shifting relationship between its two protagonists and its trump card the startling chemistry between its two main stars.
  82. A gripping documentary.
  83. Beasts of the Southern Wild is a vividly poetic and maybe even therapeutic response to one of the most painful and mortifying episodes in modern American history, second only to 9/11.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Alternately rueful and whimsical documentary.
  84. Despite the presence of grandfatherly Michael Caine, Kingsman’s tone is about as far from the Christopher Nolan-style superhero film as you can get. Verisimilitude is frequently traded in for a rich laugh. The action scenes delight with shock humour.
  85. Mia Madre is a tremendously smart and enjoyable movie.
  86. An unexpected joy.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Saulnier’s ability to take a well-trodden road and fill it with grisly surprises is quite something.
  87. People are unlikely to charge out of the cinema with quite the same level of glee as they did in 2009; but this is certainly an astute, exhilarating concoction.
  88. The robust acting and sharp sense of the Bay Area milieu glides us nicely over the film's few soft patches.
  89. The soundtrack's ironic bent might dissuade older viewers (Simple Minds are venerated), but they'd be missing out on one of the best musical comedies since A Mighty Wind. The song's the same, but Pitch Perfect is a great cover version.
  90. The film is unafraid of emotion, unafraid of plunging into basic human ideas: the need for trust, and the search for love.
  91. Vallée, in collaboration with screenwriter Nick Hornby, gives the film its energy by pulling the narrative apart. They create a two-hour hallucinatory montage of the hike and Cheryl's back story that's wound together with the songs, phrases and poetry that she recited to herself as she walked.
  92. The casefile remains open, but this considered investigation matches the Panthers' bravura with an organisational flair of its own.
  93. We call our House of Commons proceedings Punch and Judy: but the climate-change deniers on Fox News are Punch on steroids. It's a chilling and depressing picture.

Top Trailers