The New Yorker's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 1,362 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 38% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 61% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1 point higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 Mystic River
Lowest review score: 0 The Da Vinci Code
Score distribution:
1,362 movie reviews
  1. The profuse pleasures of Boyhood spring not from amazement but from recognition — from saying, Yes, that’s true, and that feels right, or that’s how it was for me, too.
  2. For the first, and maybe the only, time this year, you are in the hands of a master.
  3. So smartly has del Toro thought his fable through, and so graceful is his grasp of visual rhyme, that to pick holes in it seems mean; yet Pan's Labyrinth is perhaps more dazzling than involving--I was too busy reading its runes and clues, as it were, to be swept away. It is, I suspect, a film to return to, like a country waiting to be explored: a maze of dead ends and new life.
  4. Mungiu’s pacing is so sure, however, in its switching from loose to taut, and the concentration of his leading lady so unwavering, that the movie, which won the Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, feels more like a thriller than a moody wallow.
  5. 12 Years a Slave is easily the greatest feature film ever made about American slavery.
  6. In Ratatouille, the level of moment-by-moment craftsmanship is a wonder.
  7. Gravity is not a film of ideas, like Kubrick's techno-mystical "2001," but it's an overwhelming physical experience -- a challenge to the senses that engages every kind of dread. [7 Oct. 2013, p.88]
    • The New Yorker
  8. Brilliantly entertaining and emotionally wrenching.
  9. The virtue of Zero Dark Thirty, however, is that it pays close attention to the way life does work; it combines ruthlessness and humanity in a manner that is paradoxical and disconcerting yet satisfying as art.
  10. The writer and director, Asghar Farhadi, has thus created the perfect antithesis of a crunching disaster flick, such as "2012," which was all boom and no ripple.
  11. Mr. Turner is a harsh, strange, but stirring movie, no more a conventional artist’s bio-pic than Robert Altman’s wonderful, little-seen film about van Gogh and his brother, “Vincent and Theo.”
  12. What follows is astounding: a thirty-minute fight, which, in its bitterness, complication, and psychological revelation, recalls episodes from Ingmar Bergman's "Scenes from a Marriage." [27 May 2013, p.86]
    • The New Yorker
  13. It may be the most sophisticated political satire ever made in Hollywood. (As quoted by Roger Ebert)
    • The New Yorker
  14. Spielberg wrote a poem. And all the best movies are poems. [25 Mar 2002, p. 86]
    • The New Yorker
  15. The architecture of Pulp Fiction may look skewed and strained, but the decoration is a lot of fun. [10 Oct 1994, p.95]
    • The New Yorker
  16. Burnett used many kinds of African-American music on the soundtrack, and the movie itself has the bedraggled eloquence of an old blues record. The amateur actors, who occasionally burst into fury, combined with the black-and-white cinematography, bring the poverty of Watts closer to us emotionally.
  17. A small classic of tension, bravery, and fear, which will be studied twenty years from now when people want to understand something of what happened to American soldiers in Iraq. If there are moviegoers who are exhausted by the current fashion for relentless fantasy violence, this is the convincingly blunt and forceful movie for them.
  18. Apparently, the movie has caused annoyance in some quarters because it criticizes the American way of life. This it does, and with suavity and supreme good humor. WALL-E is a classic, but it will never appeal to people who are happy with art only when it has as little bite as possible.
  19. In this role Giamatti gives his bravest, most generously humane performance yet. Women may be repelled, but men will know this man, because, at one time or another, many of us have been this man.
  20. Peter Jackson has not really made a movie of The Lord of the Rings; he has sprung clear of it to forge something new. He has drawn a deep breath, and taken the plunge. [5 January 2004, p. 89]
    • The New Yorker
  21. What makes Amour so strong and clear is that it allows Haneke to anatomize his own severity.
  22. Dershowitz's life-enhancing scenes are flatulent, and they're dishonest: the movie seems to be putting us down for enjoying the scandal satire it's dishing up. [19 Nov 1990]
    • The New Yorker
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Few American movies since the silent era have had anything approaching this picture's narrative boldness, visual audacity, and emotional directness. [20 Dec 1993, p.129]
    • The New Yorker
  23. If you love the Coens, or follow folk music, or hold fast to this period of history and that patch of New York, then the film can hardly help striking a chord.
  24. Schnabel’s movie, based on the calm and exquisite little book that Bauby wrote in the hospital, is a gloriously unlocked experience, with some of the freest and most creative uses of the camera and some of the most daring, cruel, and heartbreaking emotional explorations that have appeared in recent movies.
  25. I would be surprised if this brilliant and touching film didn't become required viewing for teachers all over the United States. Everyone else should see it as well--it's a wonderful movie.
  26. An enthralling and powerfully eccentric American epic.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The easy-to-follow screenplay, about the rivalry between two toys -- cowboy Woody and spaceman Buzz Lightyear -- should excite young children; teen-agers and parents can enjoy the brilliantly executed action sequences.
  27. Moreau's nocturnal wanderings are made unbearably poignant by an exquisite Miles Davis jazz score that became famous in its own right.
  28. Consistently beautiful and often exciting -- despite some dead passages here and there, it's surely the best big-budget fantasy movie in years. [24 & 31 Dec 2001, p. 126]
    • The New Yorker
  29. Such is the hazard of the cartoon: as a form, it thrives on elongation and excess, yet, within its vortices and crannies, who knows what moldy prejudice can breed? [1 December 2003, p. 118]
    • The New Yorker
  30. How could Frears and his cast rise above the sins of the miniseries? One answer is the force of that cast...The other thing that rescues and refines The Queen is one of the basic bonuses of moviegoing, more familiar of late from documentaries like "Touching the Void" and "Capturing the Friedmans": you come out arguing.
  31. Seldom has our modern taste for the confessional mode been so smartly explored. [20 May 2013, p. 123]
    • The New Yorker
  32. Ari Folman, the director of Waltz with Bashir, has made a movie so unusual that it overflows any box in which you try to contain it. Call it an adult psycho-documentary combat cartoon and you're halfway there.
  33. This is cinema, more rhetorical, spectacular, and stirring than cable-TV drama: again and again, DuVernay’s camera (Bradford Young did the cinematography) tracks behind characters as they march, or gentles toward them as they approach, receiving them with a friendly hand.
  34. Beyond question a return to the dark, simmering days of their best work, in “Blood Simple” and “Miller’s Crossing.”
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Has the sure grip and the unstoppable momentum of a dream – which are qualities, too of great fairly tales and the most memorable pop songs. [16 Nov 1992, p.127]
    • The New Yorker
  35. Jacques Audiard’s film, which lasts two and a half hours, maintains an unflagging urgency, stalling only when the double-dealing grows too dense.
  36. In its lived-in, completely non-ideological way, Winter's Bone is one of the great feminist works in film.
  37. For the viewer, the miracle of Bloody Sunday is that firm moral judgment can exist side by side with a wild and bitter exhilaration in the sheer physicality of violence. [7 Oct 2002, p. 108]
    • The New Yorker
  38. Her
    Sad, kooky, and daunting in equal measure, Her is the right film at the right time.
  39. There's a basic flaw in Malick's method: he has perceived the movie--he's done our work instead of his. In place of people and action, with metaphor rising out of the story, he gives us a surface that is all conscious metaphor. Badlands is so preconceived that there's nothing left to respond to. [18 March 1974, p.135]
  40. Finding Nemo is, as it happens, the most dangerously sugared of the Pixar productions to date--how could any father-finding-son saga be otherwise?--but the threat is now one of oversophistication. [9 June 2003, p. 108]
    • The New Yorker
  41. The movie is also about a man without fear. It is often funny and stirring, but as you are watching you know what the game will lead to; dictatorships are not known for their sense of humor. [5 March 2012, p. 86]
    • The New Yorker
  42. The movie is an O. Henry-like conceit--the slenderness of the initial premise is part of the charm--but the anecdote becomes almost momentous as it goes on.
  43. Imagine my relief when Bob, Helen, and the kids, for all the nicety of their emotions, turned out to be--if I can risk a word that may be taboo in Pixar land--cartoons. Long may it stay that way.
  44. That is the quiet triumph of American Splendor: behind the playfulness, it cleaves to an oddly old-fashioned belief that a life, even a life as mangy as Mr. Pekar’s, gains in depth and darkness when it is crosshatched with the imaginary. The nerd needs no revenge. [18 & 25 August 2003, p. 150]
    • The New Yorker
  45. Altman achieves his dream of a truly organic form, in which everyone is connected to everyone else, and life circulates around a central group of ideas and emotions in bristling orbits. [14 Jan 2002, p. 92]
    • The New Yorker
  46. Ida
    This compact masterpiece has the curt definition and the finality of a reckoning—a reckoning in which anger and mourning blend together.
  47. Greengrass’s movie is tightly wrapped, minutely drawn, and, no matter how frightening, superbly precise.
  48. To begin your career with a masterpiece is so remarkable a feat that one can only hope Jarecki finds another subject as rich as this family, which was obsessed with itself but needed a filmmaker to begin to see itself at all. [2 June 2003, p. 102]
    • The New Yorker
  49. “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Nebraska” are the current standards of what a serious Hollywood movie looks like. American Hustle offers so many easy pleasures that people may not think of it as a work of art, but it is. In the world that Russell has created, if you don’t come to play you’re not fully alive. An art devoted to appetite has as much right to screen immortality as the most austere formal invention.
  50. There is no denying the boldness of Persepolis, both in design and in moral complaint, but there must surely be moments, in Marjane’s life as in ours, that cry out for cross-hatching and the grown-up grayness of doubt.
  51. The project gave me pause. Although Oppenheimer has called it “a documentary of the imagination,” whatever that means, would a measure of investigation have spoiled it? We hear that Congo personally exterminated a thousand people. Does that figure stand up, and does it not matter more than his dawning remorse? There is no disputing that we are right at the heart of darkness, but around it is a larger body of evidence, which awaits another explorer.
  52. Not much happens, but Coppola is so gentle and witty an observer that the movie casts a spell. [15 September 2003, p. 100]
    • The New Yorker
  53. The Best of Youth takes its chance--almost unheard of, these days--to bloom and unfurl like a novel.
  54. If there is any justice, this year's Academy Award for best foreign-language film will go to The Lives of Others, a movie about a world in which there is no justice.
  55. You feel wiped and blinded by such ravishment, yet a voice within you asks: Come on, guys, can't you just stop for the holidays?
  56. The film may have dated as a cautionary left-wing tale, yet it has stayed fresh as a study in the minutiae of power. [1 Oct. 2012, p.85]
    • The New Yorker
  57. It is equipped, like an F-15 Eagle, to engage multiple targets at once.
  58. Birdman, right now, is on the money. In Riggan and the rest of the cast, writhing with the dread of being a nobody but appalled by what it takes to be a somebody, we see not just the acting bug but also the New York bug, the love bug, and, if we’re honest, the life bug, diagnosed as what they are: a seventy-year itch.
  59. Though the facts in No End in Sight are well known, the movie is still a classic.
  60. He [Bahrani] encloses his two characters in a motel room, but he doesn't make them buddies, as a Hollywood movie would. They are characterized in great detail as separate beings.
  61. The Artist is not just about black-and-white silent pictures. It is a black-and-white silent picture. And it's French.
  62. The story worms further into the guts of Victorian experience than most historical dramas, because it aims at the most neglected aspect of that age, and the most alarmingly modern: its surrealism. [29 Nov 1993, p.148]
    • The New Yorker
  63. Is it a great movie? I don't think so. But it's a triumphant piece of filmmaking -- journalism presented with the brio of drama. [24 Sept 1990]
    • The New Yorker
  64. There aren't many performers who can deliver the fullness of heart that such a plot demands, but Winslet is one of them. [22 March 2004, p. 102]
    • The New Yorker
  65. The project lacks the variety of sensuous pleasures that a great movie has to provide.
  66. Barnard's film, as if nervous of being felled by the straightforward, sinewy thump of Dunbar's writing, ducks and weaves in a series of sly approaches. [2 May 2011, p. 89]
    • The New Yorker
  67. There is plenty to inflame in this picture and nothing to corrupt. [18 Mar 2002. p.152]
    • The New Yorker
  68. Small-scaled and limited, Capote is nevertheless the most intelligent, detailed, and absorbing film ever made about a writer's working method and character--in this case, a mixed quiver of strength, guile, malice, and mendacity.
  69. The Grand Budapest Hotel is no more than mildly funny. It produces murmuring titters rather than laughter -- the sound of viewers affirming their own acumen in so reliably getting the joke. [10 March 2014, p.78]
    • The New Yorker
  70. The most consuming and most exhausting of its kind since “The Dreamlife of Angels,” fifteen years ago. From the moment when Adèle first catches sight of Emma, on a busy crosswalk, the movie restores your faith in the power of the coup de foudre and yet redoubles your fear of its effect; love, like lightning, can both illuminate and scorch. The problems of two little people, it turns out, do indeed amount to a hill of beans. Some hill. Some beans.
  71. This movie makes one grateful that a serious European art cinema still exists. [15 April 2002, p. 88]
    • The New Yorker
    • 88 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    It's a pretty shameless outlaw fantasy; the feminist justification that the script provides for the heroines' behavior doesn't make their actions any less preposterous.
  72. The movie, Polley's feature début, is a small-scale triumph that could herald a great career.
  73. Filmed in a hot and bleached black-and-white, it manages to swerve from culture-clashing farce to alarming suspense without losing control.
  74. Many documentaries are good at drawing attention to an outrage and stirring up our feelings. Ferguson's film certainly does this, but his exposition of complex information is also masterly. Indignation is often the most self-deluding of emotions; this movie has the rare gifts of lucid passion
  75. The virtues of Jackson's trilogy, thus far, have been pace and astonishment, which is almost the same thing. [6 January 2003, p. 90]
    • The New Yorker
  76. The barbs of wit, delivered throughout, are like the retractable daggers used in stage productions of "Macbeth" or "Julius Caesar": they gleam enticingly, they plunge home to the hilt, but they leave no trace of a wound.
  77. Up
    The movie is packed with lovely jokes, some of them funny in inexplicable ways.
  78. It's a pleasure to find a thriller fulfilling its duties with such gusto: the emotions ring solid, the script finds time to relax into backchat, and for once the stunts look like acts of desperation rather than shows of prowess.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The picture's real strength is its witty, vigorous evocation of the fifties media world.
  79. I certainly came out of Nobody Knows feeling numb; only later, reflecting on the fact that the movie was inspired by a true story, did it occur to me that the numbness could have been deliberate, and that what suffused this picture was a mist of anger.
  80. There is something willed and implausible at the heart of L’Enfant, beginning with the child himself--the first non-crying, non-hungry infant in human history, let alone in cinema.
  81. Thanks to Whiplash, Simmons will lend comfort to those actors who believe that, if they wait long enough, the right role — their role — will come along. Fletcher is such a part.
  82. The result demands a patient viewing, and maybe more than one; only after a second dose did I get the measure of Garrone's mastery, and realize how far he has surpassed, not merely honored, the author's courageous toil.
  83. A deeply satisfying aesthetic and pedagogic experience--though Americans may find themselves wondering how such terrific children can grow into such irritating adults.
    • The New Yorker
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A handsome and intelligent piece of work: a faithful, well-paced, and carefully crafted dramatization of a very good story.
  84. What Park has done is resurrect not just the spirit but, as it were, the bodily science of early comedy. Like Chuck Jones, and, further back, like Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, Park is unafraid of the formulaic--—of bops on the head, of the unattainable beloved, of gadgetry gone awry--because he sees what beauty there can be in minor, elaborate variations on a basic theme.
  85. Unimaginable as anything but a movie. It’s largely wordless, sombrely spectacular, vast and intimate at the same time, with a commitment to detailed physical reality that commands amazed attention for a tight hundred minutes.
  86. Marston would probably have made an interesting movie no matter how he had shot it, but the way he dramatized the material seems instinctively right: he goes detail by detail, emotion by emotion, eliding nothing, exaggerating nothing.
  87. I'm more than ready to welcome a new style and a new metaphysic, but I still respond with skepticism and exasperation to Weerasethakul's work, which is sensuous and ruminative but also flat, almost affectless. [28 March 2011, p. 116]
    • The New Yorker
  88. This slow and stoic movie, hailed as a gay Western, feels neither gay nor especially Western: it is a study of love under siege.
  89. The real reason to see The Kid with a Bike is that it offers something changelessly rare and difficult: a credible portrait of goodness. [19 March 2012, p.90]
    • The New Yorker
  90. No male director would have put so much as a toe inside this trouble zone, although Kent does borrow a helpful domestic hint from “Shaun of the Dead”: rather than vanquish our worst nightmare, why not tame it, lock it away, and hope?
  91. When the movie was over, a young boy sitting behind me said, "That was great!" He was satisfied, and rightly so.
  92. The movie is a daunting blend of head trip, cinéma vérité, music video, and auto-therapy.
  93. A brilliant documentary about an American saint and fool--a man who understands everything about nature except death.
  94. Statistics and their alleged true meaning are at the heart of Moneyball, but it's also one of the most soulful of baseball movies - it confronts the anguish of a tough game.

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