The New York Times' Scores

For 10,186 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 49% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 47% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Beau Travail
Lowest review score: 0 Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2
Score distribution:
10,186 movie reviews
  1. It's movie making of the high, smooth, commercial order that Hollywood prides itself on but achieves with singular infrequency.
  2. 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.
  3. Ms. Bell, who plays Carol with a perfect blend of diffidence, goofiness and charm, has written and directed an insightful comedy that is much more complex and ambitious than it sometimes seems.
  4. By the time the movie is over, you feel as if the people in it were friends you know well enough to tire of, and to miss terribly when they go away.
  5. In most movies, something happens; in Archipelago, many things happen, quietly yet meaningfully.
  6. This film, which was never released in America and will now be making its way across the country in limited release, has been immaculately restored and features new subtitles. You can get lost in the blackness of its heart and its shadows. You might never come back.
  7. It rediscovers the aching, desiring humanity in a genre -- and a period-- too often subjected to easy parody or ironic appropriation. In a word, it's divine.
  8. Succeeds in finding something larger than one man's misery. It turns dark truthfulness into the cinematic sentiment most worth celebrating this season.
  9. Inside Job, a sleek, briskly paced film whose title suggests a heist movie, is the story of a crime without punishment, of an outrage that has so far largely escaped legal sanction and societal stigma.
  10. Everything depends on the subtlety of the direction and the charisma of the performances. Augustine is intellectually satisfying partly because it communicates its ideas at the level of feeling, through the uncanny power of Soko’s face and body.
  11. 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.
  12. So effective does it close the distance between you and Mr. Bernstein that afterward you may find yourself scanning the streets, hoping to catch sight of him, as if for an old friend.
  13. Ms. Denis has an extraordinary gift for finding the perfect image that expresses her ideas, the cinematic equivalent of what Flaubert called le mot juste.
    • The New York Times
  14. A sublimely nimble evisceration of that cult of celebrity known as the British royal family.
  15. The result is an American masterpiece, independent to the bone.
  16. What makes it so instructively entertaining is the pivotal character of Claus von Bulow, played by Jeremy Irons within an inch of his professional life. It's a fine, devastating performance, affected, mannerly, edgy, though seemingly ever in complete control. [17 Oct 1990]
    • The New York Times
  17. The filmmakers record the flash of youth’s headlong energies, its bumps and bruises, and its melancholies and brilliant chaos.
  18. 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.
  19. With its swift, jaunty rhythms and sharp, off-kilter jokes, Frances Ha is frequently delightful. Ms. Gerwig and Mr. Baumbach are nonetheless defiant partisans in the revolt against the tyranny of likability in popular culture.
  20. A masterpiece about life, death and everything in between.
  21. One may legitimately debate the validity of Malick's vision, but not, I think, his immense talent. Badlands is a most important and exciting film.
  22. The best movie of its kind since the French director Guillaume Canet's hit from 2006, "Tell No One."
  23. Mr. Lee means for Malcolm X to be an epic, and it is in its concerns and its physical scope. In Denzel Washington it also has a fine actor who does for Malcolm X what Ben Kingsley did for “Gandhi.” [18 November 1992]
    • The New York Times
  24. Harvey Milk was an intriguing, inspiring figure. Milk is a marvel.
  25. Astonishing... One of the freshest American films of the decade. [4 Aug 1989]
    • The New York Times
  26. One of the most spectacular entertainments in years.
  27. That it is more -- a small masterpiece, perfect in design and execution -- almost goes without saying, but the film’s profundity and its charm go hand in hand.
  28. The camerawork in Birdman is an astonishment, and an argument that everything flows together, which in this movie means the cinematography, the story, the people, even time and space.
  29. That the film manages to be understated, calm and intelligent in spite of its wrenching subject matter is perhaps its most impressive accomplishment. In avoiding sensationalism, it feels very close to the truth.
  30. You may not agree with every observation in Michael Singh’s documentary Valentino’s Ghost. But this engrossing examination of American perceptions of Arabs and the Arab world gets you thinking.
  31. Extraordinary labor of love.
  32. As fascinating as it is freakish. It confirms Mr. Lynch's stature as an innovator, a superb technician, and someone best not encountered in a dak alley. [19 September 1986]
    • The New York Times
  33. A devilishly entertaining crime story with a heroine who must be seen to be believed, is as satisfying an ensemble piece as “Red Rock West.” [26 October 1994, p. C13]
    • The New York Times
  34. 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.
  35. Bathed in the flamingo colors and Caribbean rhythms of its location, this deeply personal debut from the writer and director Mariette Monpierre develops with a lingering attention to sensation and sound.
  36. An irresistible black comedy and a wicked delight. [27 Sept 1995]
    • The New York Times
  37. Mr. Heinzerling is an artist too. The window he has opened onto the lives of his subjects is a powerful and beautiful visual artifact in its own right.
  38. Barbara is a film about the old Germany from one of the best directors working in the new: Christian Petzold. For more than a decade Mr. Petzold has been making his mark on the international cinema scene with smart, tense films that resemble psychological thrillers, but are distinguished by their strange story turns, moral thorns, visual beauty and filmmaking intelligence.
  39. In our wistful estimation, the most delightful comedy-romance in years.
  40. Hollywood's latest big-budget, high-concept, mass-market reworking of material not entirely fresh, has more endings than Beethoven's Fifth, but it's also packed with surprises, not the least being that it's a smashing work. It's vulgar, violent, funny and sometimes breathtakingly beautiful.
  41. A triumph of modesty and of seriousness that also happens to be one of the finest American films of the year.
  42. One of the most insightful and wrenching portraits of the joys and tribulations of being a classical musician ever filmed.
  43. The entire film is played at such high pitch it may well exhaust audiences that don't come prepared. And, at the heart of the film, there is the mystery of Jake himself, but that is what separates Raging Bull from all other fight movies, in fact, from most movies about anything. Raging Bull is an achievement.
  44. The film’s strange mixture of primitive and poetic images becomes etched into memory. Weaving observation and a shared dream state, this is an intuitive and intricate exploration into the feeling of sound.
  45. It is a movie about the lure and folly of greatness that comes as close as anything I've seen recently to being a great movie. There will be skeptics, but the cult is already forming. Count me in.
  46. The rare sports movie that deals with -- indeed positively relishes -- humiliation and disappointment.
  47. The rare documentary that combines a wildly charismatic subject with an elegant structure...not-to-be-missed.
  48. Superior entertainment, the most elegantly pleasurable movie of its kind to come around in a very long time.
  49. Stories We Tell has a number of transparent virtues, including its humor and formal design, although its most admirable quality is the deep sense of personal ethics that frames Ms. Polley’s filmmaking choices.
  50. Before Midnight is a wonderful paradox: a movie passionately committed to the ideal of imperfection that is itself very close to perfect.
  51. One of the most purely enjoyable films ever made.
  52. The Grifters moves with swift unsentimental resolve toward a last act as bleak as any in recent American screen literature. In a less skillful work, it would be a downer. The Grifters is so good that one leaves the theater on a spellbound high. [5 Dec 1990]
    • The New York Times
  53. Every shot — everything you see, and everything you don’t — imparts a disturbing and thrilling sense of discovery.
  54. Black Swan is visceral and real even while it's one delirious, phantasmagoric freakout.
  55. Brilliant, bizarre, dazzling and utterly demented, The Last Circus views Franco-era Spain through the crazed eyes of two clowns doing battle for the love of one magnificent woman.
  56. The film is above all a consummate work of art, one that transcends the historically fraught context of its making, and its pleasures are unapologetically aesthetic. It reveals, excites, disturbs, provokes, but the window it opens is to human consciousness itself.
  57. But the film Schindler's List, directed with fury and immediacy by a profoundly surprising Steven Spielberg, presents the subject as if discovering it anew. [15 Dec 1993]
    • The New York Times
  58. Looks grand without being overdressed, it is full of feeling without being sentimental. Here’s a film for adults. It’s also about time to recognize that Mr. Ivory is one of our finest directors. [5 November 1993, p. C1]
    • The New York Times
  59. A few scenes serve as hinges joining this movie to "Flags of Our Fathers." While Letters From Iwo Jima seems to me the more accomplished of the two films -- by which I mean that it strikes me as close to perfect -- the two enrich each other, and together achieve an extraordinary completeness.
  60. Morally cunning and with a tone as black as pitch, Pieta, the 18th film from the South Korean director Kim Ki-duk, is a deeply unnerving revenge movie in which redemption is dangled like a cat toy before a cougar.
  61. Astonishingly well acted film, so much so that it seems unfair to single out any of the performances. Mr. Lawrence's camera sense is as sure and unobtrusive as his feel for acting. The movie just seems to happen, to grow out of the ground like a thorny plant, revealing the intricate intelligence of its design only in hindsight.
  62. This movie is rigorously and intensely lifelike, which is to say that it’s also a strange and moving work of art.
  63. 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.
  64. Belongs to a school of Central European surrealism that marries nightmarish horror with formal beauty.
  65. One of those rare films in which the moral stakes are as insistent and thought through as the aesthetic choices.
  66. It's surely the best depiction of teenage eccentricity since "Rushmore," and its incisive satire of the boredom and conformity that rule our thrill-seeking, individualistic land, and also its question-mark ending, reminded me of "The Graduate."
  67. A lean and mean horror comedy classic.
  68. Cinema, even in the service of journalism, is always more than reporting, and focusing on what Ms. Poitras’s film is about risks ignoring what it is. It’s a tense and frightening thriller that blends the brisk globe-trotting of the “Bourne” movies with the spooky, atmospheric effects of a Japanese horror film. And it is also a primal political fable for the digital age, a real-time tableau of the confrontation between the individual and the state.
  69. 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.
  70. A masterpiece of indirection and pure visceral thrills, David Cronenberg's latest mindblower, A History of Violence, is the feel-good, feel-bad movie of the year.
  71. The film itself is invigorating - written, directed, and acted with enormous insight and comic elan. [27 Sept 1991]
    • The New York Times
  72. A splendid example of how to tackle the daunting duty of turning a beloved work of classic literature into a movie. Neither a radical updating nor a stiff exercise in middlebrow cultural respectability, Mr. Fukunaga's film tells its venerable tale with lively vigor and an astute sense of emotional detail.
  73. It is both sad and hopeful, but the film's sorrow and its optimism arise from its rarest and most thrilling quality, which is its deep and humane honesty.
  74. In Boyhood, Mr. Linklater’s masterpiece, he both captures moments in time and relinquishes them as he moves from year to year. He isn’t fighting time but embracing it in all its glorious and agonizingly fleeting beauty.
  75. It reimagines the buddy film with such freshness and vigor that the genre seems positively new.
    • The New York Times
  76. It is outrageously funny without ever exaggerating for comic effect, and heartbreaking with only minimal melodramatic embellishment.
  77. What Mr. Crowe has done is nonetheless remarkable. He has made a movie about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll that you would be happy to take your mother to see.
  78. A blistering fictionalized tale straight out of China, A Touch of Sin is at once monumental and human scale.
  79. A remarkable piece of work. [30 June 1989]
    • The New York Times
  80. The Oscars are swell, but once in a while a film comes along that is so courageous it deserves consideration for the Nobel Prize. An entire generation has been born and gone to college since the Beastie Boys defined that most basic of civil liberties: You've got to fight for your right to party.
  81. Like a good novel, Les Destinées is many things: a family chronicle, a series of psychological portraits, a sumptuous re-creation of the past. But the film is also a pointed tribute to the French tradition of quality and distinction, a tradition in which it clearly includes itself.
  82. A swift and accessible entertainment, blunt in its power and exquisite in its effects.
  83. Mr. Fan's documentary is informed by a melancholy humanism, and finds unexpected beauty in almost unbearably harsh circumstances. It tells the story of a family caught, and possibly crushed, between the past and the future - a story that, on its own, is moving, even heartbreaking. Multiplied by 130 million, it becomes a terrifying and sobering panorama of the present.
  84. To put the matter perhaps more abstractly than such a sensual film deserves, it is about the fate of untameable, irrational desire in a world that does not seem to have a place for it.
  85. Rango, which may take place entirely within its hero's head - that kind of ambiguity worked in "Inception" and "Black Swan," so why not here? - is about the appetite for myths and stories, whether or not they make sense. It is about the worlds we dream inside our fishbowls, helped by the weird reflections on the walls.
  86. The film is slow, rigorously morose and often painful in its blunt reckoning of disappointment and failure. It is also extremely funny.
  87. To say that Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York is one of the best films of the year or even one closest to my heart is such a pathetic response to its soaring ambition that I might as well pack it in right now.
  88. A nearly flawless piece of popular art, as well as one of the most persuasive portraits of an artist ever committed to film. It provides the kind of deep, transporting pleasure, at once simple and sophisticated, that movies at their best have always promised.
  89. This is not a biopic, it’s a Coen brothers movie, which is to say a brilliant magpie’s nest of surrealism, period detail and pop-culture scholarship. To put it another way, it’s a folk tale.
  90. The movie is too beautiful to be described as an ordeal, but it is sufficiently intense and unyielding that when it is over, you may feel, along with awe, a measure of relief. Which may sound like a reason to stay away, but is exactly the opposite.
  91. Not since "Love Story" has there been a movie that so shrewdly and predictably manipulated the emotions for such entertaining effect.
  92. Like "Inglourious Basterds," Django Unchained is crazily entertaining, brazenly irresponsible and also ethically serious in a way that is entirely consistent with its playfulness.
  93. An unqualified winner. Here is a fine dark comedy of flamboyant style and immense though seemingly effortless techniqe...It's an exhilarating original. [21 Aug 1991]
    • The New York Times
  94. Stupendously entertaining.
  95. Excellent quasidocumentary, which sends shivers down the spine. (Review of Original Release)
  96. A vibrantly vulgar comedy that never hangs around to admire its own cleverness.
  97. Clever, funny, wildly innovative film.
  98. Captain Phillips, a movie that insistently closes the distance between us and them, has a vital moral immediacy.
  99. In its time, this film represented the arrival of something new, and even now it can feel like a bulletin from the future.
  100. Mr. Loznitsa doesn’t lighten the mood with any familiar filmmaking tricks: there are, for instance, no musical cues to guide you over the troubling or ambiguous passages. Like the characters, you work through each surprising turn.

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