The New York Times' Scores

For 11,563 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 48% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 48% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 There Will Be Blood
Lowest review score: 0 The Singing Forest
Score distribution:
11563 movie reviews
  1. The rare documentary that combines a wildly charismatic subject with an elegant structure...not-to-be-missed.
  2. Superior entertainment, the most elegantly pleasurable movie of its kind to come around in a very long time.
  3. 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.
  4. Before Midnight is a wonderful paradox: a movie passionately committed to the ideal of imperfection that is itself very close to perfect.
  5. One of the most purely enjoyable films ever made.
  6. 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
  7. Every shot — everything you see, and everything you don’t — imparts a disturbing and thrilling sense of discovery.
  8. Black Swan is visceral and real even while it's one delirious, phantasmagoric freakout.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. Mr. Kaufman’s gift for quotidian horror remains startling; he’s a whiz at minor miseries.
  13. 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
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. This movie is rigorously and intensely lifelike, which is to say that it’s also a strange and moving work of art.
  18. 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.
  19. Belongs to a school of Central European surrealism that marries nightmarish horror with formal beauty.
  20. One of those rare films in which the moral stakes are as insistent and thought through as the aesthetic choices.
  21. 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."
  22. A lean and mean horror comedy classic.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. With exquisite patience and attention to detail, Asghar Farhadi, the writer and director, builds a solid and suspenseful plot out of ordinary incidents, and packs it with rich and resonant ideas.
  27. The film itself is invigorating - written, directed, and acted with enormous insight and comic elan. [27 Sept 1991]
    • The New York Times
  28. Its abrasive portrait of contemporary New York as a place of noise and nerve-rattling turmoil captures the mood of the city more accurately than any recent film I can think of. And the jagged camera work exacerbates the film’s jarring sense of immediacy.
  29. Sneakily tweaking our fears of terrorism, 10 Cloverfield Lane, though no more than a kissing cousin to its namesake, is smartly chilling and finally spectacular.
  30. Steve Jobs is a rich and potent document of the times, an expression of both the awe that attends sophisticated new consumer goods and the unease that trails in the wake of their arrival.... Mostly, though, it is a formally audacious, intellectually energized entertainment, a powerful challenge to the lazy conventions of Hollywood storytelling and a feast for connoisseurs of contemporary screen acting.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. It reimagines the buddy film with such freshness and vigor that the genre seems positively new.
    • The New York Times
  35. It is outrageously funny without ever exaggerating for comic effect, and heartbreaking with only minimal melodramatic embellishment.
  36. 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.
  37. Both inspiring and upsetting, Democrats is, finally, a film that deserves to be called “necessary.”
  38. A blistering fictionalized tale straight out of China, A Touch of Sin is at once monumental and human scale.
  39. A remarkable piece of work. [30 June 1989]
    • The New York Times
  40. At once ardent and analytical, cerebral and swooning, Carol is a study in human magnetism, in the physics and optics of eros. With sparse dialogue and restrained drama, the film is a symphony of angles and glances, of colors and shadows.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. A swift and accessible entertainment, blunt in its power and exquisite in its effects.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. The film is slow, rigorously morose and often painful in its blunt reckoning of disappointment and failure. It is also extremely funny.
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. Red succeeds so stirringly that it also bestows some much-needed magic upon its predecessors, "Blue" and "White." The first film's chic emptiness and the second's relative drabness are suddenly made much rosier by the seductive glow of Red.
  52. 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.
  53. Not since "Love Story" has there been a movie that so shrewdly and predictably manipulated the emotions for such entertaining effect.
  54. Like "Inglourious Basterds," Django Unchained is crazily entertaining, brazenly irresponsible and also ethically serious in a way that is entirely consistent with its playfulness.
  55. 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
  56. Stupendously entertaining.
  57. Excellent quasidocumentary, which sends shivers down the spine. (Review of Original Release)
  58. A vibrantly vulgar comedy that never hangs around to admire its own cleverness.
  59. Clever, funny, wildly innovative film.
  60. Captain Phillips, a movie that insistently closes the distance between us and them, has a vital moral immediacy.
  61. In its time, this film represented the arrival of something new, and even now it can feel like a bulletin from the future.
  62. 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.
  63. Mystic River is the rare American movie that aspires to -- and achieves -- the full weight and darkness of tragedy.
  64. There are creatures fished out of formaldehyde, volumes flecked with rot, birds that have been hollowed out and stuffed, household tools battered beyond recognition. The effect of seeing all this is certainly haunting, but too beautiful to be morbid.
  65. Like Hitchcock, Mr. Wong is at once a voyeur and fetishist par excellence.
  66. Mr. Ledger magically and mysteriously disappears beneath the skin of his lean, sinewy character. It is a great screen performance, as good as the best of Marlon Brando and Sean Penn.
  67. Mr. Bale, like some other stars who embrace playing ugly, feels as if he’d been liberated by all the pounds he’s packed on and by his character’s molting looks, an emancipation that’s most evident in his delicately intimate, moving moments with Ms. Adams and Ms. Lawrence.
  68. Considering that he’s a stick figure, Bill, the main character in It’s Such a Beautiful Day, sure does have a complex internal life. And this animated film by Don Hertzfeldt does an amazing job of making you feel it, in all its sadness, terror and transcendence.
  69. Creates a cinematic mosaic of American lives unprecedented in its range, balance, subtlety and even-handedness.
  70. The first 40 minutes or so of Wall-E -- in which barely any dialogue is spoken, and almost no human figures appear on screen -- is a cinematic poem of such wit and beauty that its darker implications may take a while to sink in.
  71. A truly majestic visual tone poem.
  72. The great accomplishment of Gloria, the Chilean writer-director Sebastián Lelio’s astute, unpretentious and thrillingly humane new film, is that it acknowledges both sides of its heroine’s temperament without judgment or sentimentality.
  73. It’s a pitiless, violent story that in its telling becomes a haunting and haunted intellectual and aesthetic achievement.
  74. Mr. Wright's Anna Karenina is different. It is risky and ambitious enough to count as an act of artistic hubris, and confident enough to triumph on its own slightly - wonderfully - crazy terms.
  75. Mr. Allen's most securely serious and funny film to date.
  76. This consistently gripping, visually intoxicating film stands as a landmark of contemporary Turkish cinema.
  77. And the ingenuity of “Sita” — is dazzling. Not busy, or overwhelming, or eye-popping. Just affecting, surprising and a lot of fun.
  78. To call The Descendants perfect would be a kind of insult, a betrayal of its commitment to, and celebration of, human imperfection. Its flaws are impossible to distinguish from its pleasures.
  79. For all its high-flying zaniness the movie has the sting of life, and its humor feels dredged up from the same dark, boggy place from which Samuel Beckett extracted his yuks.
  80. Though its principal figure, the novelist, playwright and essayist James Baldwin, is a man who has been dead for nearly 30 years, you would be hard-pressed to find a movie that speaks to the present moment with greater clarity and force, insisting on uncomfortable truths and drawing stark lessons from the shadows of history.
  81. I can't remember the last time the movies yielded up a love story so painful, so tender and so true.
  82. The movie is not really about deciding whether you’re gay or straight — those terms are never spoken. It’s about the chemistry of two people at a moment in time.
  83. You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet is a sly, elegant meditation on the relationship between reality and artifice. But it is a thought-experiment driven above all by emotion.
  84. The Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami's delicious brain tickler, Certified Copy, is an endless hall of mirrors whose reflections multiply as its story of a middle-aged couple driving through Tuscany carries them into a metaphysical labyrinth.
  85. For all of Mr. Cuarón’s formal wizardry and pictorial grandeur, he is a humanist at heart.
  86. What you see is the intensity of rock 'n' roll at a time when it still felt risky and thrilling.
  87. Mr. Cage digs deep to find his character's inner demons while also capturing the riotous energy of his outward charm. [27 October 1995, p. C3]
    • The New York Times
  88. Prevenge is a brilliantly conceived meditation on prepartum anxiety and extreme grief.
  89. Ahead of us lie many more documentaries similar in tone and spirit to this one. We can hope that at least a few of them are as intelligently and artfully made.
  90. Ms. Hui, a rare successful female director in the Hong Kong film industry, drew her story from real events, and the movie retains a tonic flavor of the everyday: its drama unfolds simply, without explosive moments but not without emotion. She and her two excellent leads keep the film buoyant.
  91. Something special.
  92. The movie expands in its frame, surpassing simple comprehension and continuing to grow in your mind — and perhaps to blow it — long after it’s over.
  93. A more concise and affecting summation of the Tibetan crisis would be hard to imagine.
  94. The film is careful to avoid explicit political statement, but its reticence makes its critique of the Iranian regime all the more devastating.
  95. The film's realism is a point of entry rather than the whole point of the exercise. Its setting is finally subordinate to the main character, as memorable and vivid a heroine as you are likely to see on screen this season.
  96. This dream of a movie is set in such a place; with its delicate shifts of tone, it could be a fairy tale by Faulkner
  97. Waves of melancholy wash over the story and keep the treacle at bay, as do the spasms of broad comedy, much of it nimbly executed by Mr. Baron Cohen.
  98. This movie is crowded and sprawling, and if it rambles sometimes, that's just fine. Like those big, boxy Caddies (and like Howlin’ Wolf, if he did say so himself), it's built for comfort, not for speed. It hums, it purrs and it roars.
  99. Galiana's quietly monumental performance is one for the ages.
  100. Nuances of faith, politics and sexual identity enrich what initially presents as a classic good son-bad son tale.

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