The New York Times' Scores

For 10,043 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 3.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 The Queen
Lowest review score: 0 Hush
Score distribution:
10,043 movie reviews
  1. Winter Sleepers has many such breathtaking moments in which sounds and images synergize with an explosive precision.
  2. Neither sensationalistic nor sentimental, Ms. Berg’s film is clear-sighted, tough-minded and devastating, a portrait of individual criminality and institutional indifference, a study in the betrayal of trust and the irresponsibility of authority.
  3. As the war in Afghanistan returns to the front pages and the national debate, we owe the men in Restrepo, at the very least, 90 minutes or so of our attention. If nothing else, this film, in showing how much they care about one another, demands the same of us.
  4. A refreshing movie that's so good natured, so confident of its ability to provoke not queasy awe or numb exhaustion but pure delight.
  5. More than in any of his previous films, Mr. Swanberg and his cast have refined a seemingly effortless style of semi-improvised storytelling so natural that it barely seems scripted. Life just happens.
  6. The Namesake, adapted from Jhumpa Lahiri’s popular novel, conveys a palpable sense of people as living, breathing creatures who are far more complex than their words might indicate.
  7. Family dynamics examined through the prism of art: The Woodmans, C. Scott Willis's compelling documentary study of an artistic clan whose comfortable life was shattered by the suicide of its youngest member, asks profound questions to which there really are no answers.
  8. Not for the faint of heart, though it has no scenes of overt violence, and barely a tear is shed. It is also strangely thrilling, not only because of the quiet assurance of Mr. Kore-eda's direction, but also because of his alert, humane sense of sympathy.
  9. This fabulously inventive debut feature, written and directed by the British comedian Joe Cornish, never flags.
  10. Conceived in the shadow of American pop rather than in its bright light, this tense, effective iteration of Bob Kane's original comic book owes its power and pleasures to a director who takes his material seriously and to a star who shoulders that seriousness with ease.
  11. You may find yourself resisting this sentimental pageant of early-20th-century rural English life, replete with verdant fields, muddy tweeds and damp turnips, but my strong advice is to surrender.
  12. Broken Embraces leaves the viewer in a contradictory state, a mixture of devastation and euphoria, amusement and dismay that deserves its own clinical designation. Call it Almodóvaria, a syndrome from which some of us are more than happy to suffer.
  13. No other performer (Jack Nicholson) in an Antonioni film, except Jeanne Moreau in "La Notte," has so gracefully submitted to Mr. Antonioni and survived intact. (Review of Original Release)
  14. A rich, thought-provoking film.
  15. The film is a requiem for the living as well as for the dead.
  16. It would be comforting to imagine that The Optimists, Goran Paskaljevic's viciously funny gloss of Voltaire's "Candide," was a site-specific satire of this Serbian director's homeland in the post-Milosevic era.
  17. The images are as delightful, unexpected and playfully uninhibited as Ms. Varda, perhaps the only filmmaker who has both won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and strolled around an art exhibition while costumed as a potato (not at the same time).
  18. Mr. Assayas’s method is observant and immersive. His camera moves among young bodies like an invisible friend, and his somewhat messy narrative is propelled by fidelity to feeling rather than by the machinery of plot.
  19. The world of My Joy is grim, though the experience of watching it and piecing together its fragmented story strands is anything but. It's suspenseful, mysterious, at times bitterly funny, consistently moving and filled with images of a Russia haunted both by ghosts and the living dead.
  20. In juxtaposing two extraordinary personal histories, it ponders in a refreshingly original way unanswerable questions about memory, imagination, history and that elusive thing we call truth.
  21. The script's bare bones are familiar, yet the film also has fine acting, steady momentum, a sharp eye and a very warm heart.
  22. Examining a more generalized discontent through the lens of one woman’s pain, the writer and director, Paul Harrill, concentrates instead on the ordinary details that constitute a life and the way small choices nudge us toward larger ones.
  23. One of the reasons that Hereafter works as well as it does - it has the power to haunt the skeptical, to mystify the credulous and to fascinate everyone in between.
  24. At once highly naturalistic and dreamily abstract, playing out its mythic themes through vibrantly detailed characterizations (and remarkable performances by the entire cast). The Return announces the arrival of a major new talent.
  25. An almost unbearably powerful documentary.
  26. Benda Bilili! is brutally real, a document of willpower that shows not only the magic of transcendence - which may be fleeting - but also the transformation of aspiring to it, every struggling step of the way.
  27. Valley of Saints finds a poignant humanity in this chaste romance, which awakens in Gulzar a wondrous sense of possibility, along with a new awareness of the world’s complexity.
  28. Like the convictions of some born into religious families, his (Carlos) Marxism seems more a matter of habit than faith. What seems to turn him on is power, which, the movie suggests, he nurtured alongside his luxe tastes.
  29. In spite of its limited perspective on Vietnam, its churning, term-paperish exploration of Conrad and the near incoherence of its ending, (it) is a great movie. It grows richer and stranger with each viewing, and the restoration of scenes left in the cutting room two decades ago has only added to its sublimity.
  30. The impalement is a nice touch. The death by wood chipper, pretty sweet. But the best bit of comedy in the ridiculously gory Tucker and Dale vs. Evil eviscerates the field of psychology with no bloodshed at all.
  31. Even while embracing the breathless beats of the crime thriller, Graceland holds tight to its concern for exploited children.
  32. The lovely clarity of this story, which seems to have been drawn from the literature of an earlier age, is well served by the artful subtlety of the telling. Mr. Majidi prefers imagery to exposition, and his shots are as dense with meaning, and as readily accessible, as Dutch paintings.
  33. What makes the performance(s) even better is that Mr. Irons invests these bizarre, potentially freakish characters with so much intelligence and so much real feeling. [23 Sept 1988, p.C10]
    • The New York Times
  34. An astute and surprisingly gripping drama not only about the ethics of magazine writing, but also, more generally, about the subtle political and psychological dynamics of modern office culture.
  35. Epic in scope but intimate in theme, The Warlordsheaves with spectacular battles and the relentless sway of self-interest over conscience.
  36. There hasn't been a film in years to use creative energy as efficiently as Monsters, Inc.
  37. Enough drama, humor and unfiltered nail-biting suspense to put all the thrill-mongering screenwriters in Hollywood to shame.
  38. Naturalistic and mysterious, Nana is terrifyingly dependent on its diminutive star. Insisting on neither written lines nor predetermined actions (the film's short script was used primarily to obtain financing), Ms. Massadian, who worked with the child for almost two years, has coaxed a performance of remarkable lucidity.
  39. The Big Chill represents the best of mainstream American film making. It's a reminder that the same people who turn out our megabuck fantasies are often capable of working even more effectively on the small, intimate scale of The Big Chill.
  40. Persepolis, austere as it may look, is full of warmth and surprise, alive with humor and a fierce independence of spirit.
  41. The movie revels in multiple film stocks (with hairs or threads often on the camera lens) and self-conscious “Last Movie” flourishes (long intervals between credits, “scene missing” title cards, a version of “Me and Bobby McGee”) while maintaining its blithe humor.
  42. It is only fitting that a movie concerned with the power and beauty of drawing -- the almost sacred magic of color and line -- should be so gorgeously and intricately drawn.
  43. Not one for climactic endings or predictable histrionics, the director, David Barker (who wrote the script with Ms. Meierhans and Mr. Godere), sticks to the stylistic template of his debut feature, "Afraid of Everything," which was filmed in 1999. Preferring the tease over the tell, his films coax us into looking beneath the surface. What we find is mostly up to us.
  44. Such an accomplished piece of filmmaking that it interweaves enough characters and themes to fill three movies.
  45. A gorgeous riot of future-shock ideas and brightly animated imagery, the doors of perception never close.
  46. With a fine vengeance along with flashes of great, unexpected tenderness, Mr. Solondz lethally evokes every petty humiliation that his seventh-grade heroine can't wait to forget.
  47. The elegantly structured documentary weaves extensive footage of Mr. Bachardy rummaging through their house and reminiscing with readings from Isherwood's diaries by Michael York, old interviews with Isherwood, home movies of their travels and glamorous social life, and commentary by friends, including Leslie Caron and the British filmmaker John Boorman.
  48. The Holy Girl may occasionally frustrate your desire for clarity and order, but in the end it will reward your patience, and you leave the theater in a state of quiet awe.
  49. Director Alfonso Cuarón works with a quicksilver fluidity, and the movie is fast, funny, unafraid of sexuality and finally devastating.
  50. This is historical filmmaking without the balm of right-thinking ideology, either liberal or conservative. Gangs of New York is nearly a great movie. I suspect that, over time, it will make up the distance.
  51. Deftly swings to a spartan, engrossing climax, and the final twists spell out what the murderers are made of and the setting responsible for creating them. It is a true piece of film magic.
  52. Starman provides him with a role that, played by anyone else, might seem preposterous. In Mr. Bridges' hands it becomes the occasion for a sweetly affecting characterization - a fine showcase for the actor's blend of grace, precision and seemingly offhanded charm.
  53. Among its many achievements, Todd Haynes’s I’m Not There hurls a Molotov cocktail through the facade of the Hollywood biopic factory.
  54. Falling Down is the most interesting, all-out commercial American film of the year to date, and one that will function much like a Rorschach test to expose the secrets of those who watch it.
  55. This sense of intimacy makes And Everything Is Going Fine both vibrant - what amazing company this man was! - and terribly sad.
  56. Isn't just a pleasurable rethink of your geek uncle's favorite science-fiction series. It's also a testament to television's power as mythmaker, as a source for some of the fundamental stories we tell about ourselves, who we are and where we came from.
  57. The film’s vision of a long-married couple keeping each other going with mutual love and support, and a shared resistance to outside interference, is more vital than a thousand movies populated by hot, squirming teenagers.
  58. Mr. Ozon gives the movie to Ms. Rampling, whose performance is like a perfectly executed piano etude, finding precise, impossibly subtle shadings of pleasure, confusion and distress.
  59. Warmhearted and defiantly unsentimental, Grandma, a Thousand Times gains lightness from Teta's tart observations.
  60. It represents something stranger and, to those of us with only a secondhand or thirdhand knowledge of that history, more disturbing: a survivor's conviction that there were aspects of the experience itself that can only be described as beautiful.
  61. This film has a conquering spirit. The dankness is replaced by an optimistic blast of sunlight at the end, a contrast to the earlier lighting dimmed with human misery. Mr. Frears blasts away the blight, though he doesn't have to work to restore Okwe's dignity. It shines through from the start.
  62. It's too smart to be maudlin.
  63. With solid bodywork, clever feints and tremendous heart, it scores at least a TKO, by which I mean both that it falls just short of overpowering greatness - I can't quite exclaim, "It's a knockout!" - and that the most impressive thing about it is technique.
  64. May not advance any grand new thesis about the South and its history, but it turns an old house into a rich and strange repository of local knowledge.
  65. Something unexpectedly profound emerges from the flimsiest of stories in Stranger Things, a drama so modest and trusting of its two leads that any directing flourishes might have shattered its spell.
  66. It’s a small movie, and in some ways a very sad one, but it has an undeniable and authentic vitality, an exuberance of spirit, that feels welcome and rare.
  67. A grave and beautiful work of art.
  68. Sustains a perfect balance of pathos, humor and a clear-headed realism. One tiny misstep, and it could have tumbled into an abyss of tears.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Has all the hallmarks of a career summation -- and early on it seems fated to collapse beneath the weight of its ambitions. Instead, it soars, thanks to Mr. Gerima’s bracingly direct storytelling.
  69. Mr. Russell's wonderfully mad odyssey of a movie, in which a man sets out to find his biological parents and winds up meeting more weirdos than Alice found down the rabbit hole.
  70. As the local boys (there are no girls) explore the natural world in summer, this gorgeously photographed movie bombards you with imagined scents of ripeness and decay.
  71. This is civilized human behavior captured with a clinical precision and accuracy.
  72. This human story is profound enough to stand on its own.
  73. Because this is also a document of an actress actually at work, much of the movie's pleasure comes from watching another brilliant performance take shape as Ms. Streep tries out different line readings, gestures and poses in her search for Mother Courage.
  74. '71
    Mr. Demange makes his feature directing debut with ’71, but he already knows how to move bodies through space and the complex choreography that he’s worked out in this movie is a thing of joy.
  75. A magnificent conjuring act, an eerie historical mirage.
  76. No movie can convey the truth of war to those of us who have not lived through it, but The Messenger, precisely by acknowledging just how hard it is to live with that truth, manages to bring it at least partway home.
  77. Much more than a perfectly realized vignette about seduction. It is the latest and most powerful dispatch yet from Ms. Breillat, France's most impassioned correspondent covering the war between the sexes.
  78. The director, Harold Guskin, and writer, Sandra Jennings, show admirable patience in letting the story unspool, and the actors reward them.
  79. I'm Glad My Mother Is Alive is anything but the clichéd fantasy of a blissful mother-child reunion. Although there are hints of joy once they reconnect, the wounds are too deep, and the characters too complex.
  80. Eschewing voice-over or any obvious trace of an on-screen or off-screen presence, she (Brown) lets her images, a little text and other people do the talking for her. Her quiet has its own force.
  81. Gathers riveting, rarely seen news clips from the era into a chronology that plays like a suspenseful police drama.
  82. While the plot may be predictable (and more than a little preposterous) in retrospect, Mr. Soderbergh handles it brilliantly, serving notice once again that he is a crackerjack genre technician.
  83. Though filming his hulking hero off and on for nine long years, he (Levy) has created a work that feels remarkably out of time, a snapshot of a man - and a relationship - running in circles.
  84. One reason the film version of Terrence McNally's play Love! Valour! Compassion! is so moving is that this complicated group portrait never loses its slippery emotional footing.
  85. The ending of Jacob's Ladder, when it finally arrives, is, like much of the film, both quaint and devastating.
  86. There is nothing quite like this movie, and I'm not altogether sure there is much more to it than its lovely peculiarity. But at a moment when so many films strive to be obvious and interchangeable as possible, it is gratifying to find one that is puzzling, subtle and handmade.
  87. Mr. Condon's great achievement is to turn Kinsey's complicated and controversial career into a grand intellectual drama.
  88. One of the funniest, and most telling, films of the year. The filmmakers call "Kid" a documentary, but the movie is one of the unusual kind that is firmly lodged inside the subject's perspective.
  89. Things worked out between Joe and Valerie, and for their real-life models, who are now the subjects of a terrifically entertaining movie. But that does not mean that justice was done, or that truth prevailed.
  90. Certainly one of the strangest and most interesting movies of the year, and I suspect that in years to come a number of other strange and interesting movies will show traces of its influence.
  91. At the end, when they have created a vibrant new theater program for their school, their sense of triumph is infectious. " 'Our Town' Is Ghetto!" one of them exults. Thornton Wilder, wherever he is, would understand and take it as a compliment.
  92. It is provocative simply in showing how trust is gained and kept, even after the swindled kids have understood their robbers’ motives.
  93. It Follows recycles familiar teenage horror tropes — a girl alone in a house, evil forces banging on a door — but its mood is dreamy. Seldom do you feel manipulated by exploitative formulas. The violence, when it comes, is sudden, and the camera doesn’t linger over the gore.
  94. “Shoah” remains a heroic reckoning with the limits of collective understanding, but The Last of the Unjust is something smaller, stranger and more paradoxical: the portrait of an individual whose actions still defy comprehension, and the self-portrait of an artist consumed by the past.
  95. Sophie, in both her incarnations, joins an impressive sisterhood of Miyazaki heroines, whose version of girl power presents a potent alternative to the mini-machismo that dominates American juvenile entertainment. Not that children are the only viewers likely to be haunted and beguiled by Howl's Moving Castle - all that is needed are open eyes and an open heart.
  96. A Grin Without a Cat is a work of extraordinary journalism, but it is also a work of deft and subtle poetry, visual (in the rhyming of gestures and shapes across images and sequences) as much as verbal.
  97. A film that begins as a family quest but evolves into a gripping study of know-don't-tell reticence and the umbilical tie of a lost homeland.
  98. With its casual deadpan attitude, Buzzard offers a nightmare portrait of arrested development and anomie for the age of inequality.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    And, riskiest of all, the film makers eschewed another grainy documentary go at the subject in favor of a movie drama of one of the most compelling true stories of the modern troubles.

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