Total Film's Scores

  • Movies
For 588 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 58% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 38% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Rush
Lowest review score: 20 Playing for Keeps
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 16 out of 588
588 movie reviews
  1. Extraordinary in form, ‘ordinary’ in content, Boyhood is ambitious, intimate and unforgettable. It might just be the apex of Linklater’s life’s work.
  2. Visceral, vital and anchored by its earnest performances, this is a potent portrait of a shameful historical truth.
  3. A stunning space saga that takes off for new technical frontiers without leaving its humanity behind.
  4. Breathlessly tense, thrillingly orchestrated and intellectually complex, this damn fine piece of rigorous, meticulous filmmaking enhances Kathryn Bigelow's status as one of her generation's most accomplished directors.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A more-than-worthy, expectations-exceeding chapter in one of modern cinema’s finest love stories. As honest, convincing, funny, intimate and natural as its predecessors.
  5. A compassionate, masterful work that deservedly won Haneke a second Palme d'Or after "The White Ribbon's" 2009 victory. Best to avoid on a first date, though.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Losey creates an atmosphere of deepening claustrophobic menace shot through with episodes of savage black humour.
  6. Largely lensed in the window between sunset and nightfall, it’s a magic-hour masterpiece. [26 Aug. 2011]
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Coen brothers on top sardonic form with a winning tale of an incorrigible loser. Hits the right note on every level, from period vibe to performance (human and feline).
  7. Amazing stories. Heart- tweaking, brain-teasing and hugely enjoyable, Polley’s tangled memoir confirms her as an unflinching anatomist of secrets and lies.
  8. Her
    For all its techno-focus, a very human love story about our need for connection. Strange, witty, honest and curiously comforting.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Refracted through Holly’s naive, emotionally flat narration and Malick’s poetic visual style, this familiar tale is transformed into something strange and oddly beautiful. [29 Aug. 2008]
  9. The H2O theme fits in with the main feature, its tale of a clownfish searching for his son constituting Pixar’s most effective amalgam of comedy, artistry and emotional pull.
  10. Drawing on revealing clips from Panahi's previous films, TINAF reveals not only the realities of artistic censorship, but its firework-laden finale shows how cinema thrives on spontaneity.
  11. With the entire cast on their A-game, depths are found in characters that could’ve easily been caricatures.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Fearless, relatable and beautiful, this is one of the year’s best. Holding you so close for so long, you won’t want to break free.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Wes Anderson’s eighth feature has a heft beneath its icing, heart behind its artifice. Check in, and you won’t want to leave.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Panh’s commentary – spoken in French by Randal Douc – searingly sets the context.
  12. Backed by a sparing Philip Glass score, Elena eloquently shows how, in modern Russia, even family relationships are at the mercy of business.
  13. With no 3D, no friends and no hope, Redford and Chandor show how survivalist instincts can stoke thrilling, thoughtful cinema. If Gravity grabbed you, hop aboard and hold tight.
  14. Good enough to survive evoking "Bicycle Thieves" and "The 400 Blows," this small story contains universal truths, told with irresistible force.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Steeped in the bitter political divisions of the Civil War, Spielberg's thrilling film about hardwon freedoms is immersed in its own time, but speaks eloquently to ours.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A pitch-perfect performance from Dern graces Alexander Payne’s latest roadmovie – another bittersweet meditation on the sad, comic futility of life.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This blistering, Oscar-nominated documentary tells how its members refused to let patients become pariahs.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Not only has director Christian Petzold assembled a fascinating hill of beans, but there's a moonlit scene that almost alone justifies his Silver Bear win at Berlin.
  15. Splashes of overstatement aside, the ambition intoxicates.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Combining laughs and thrills with plenty of verve, Ben Affleck continues his smart directorial career with a stylish, gripping hostage drama.
  16. With potent performers and poetic visuals, Anderson has made the boldest American picture of the year. Its strangeness can be hard to process, but this is a shattering study of the impossibility of recovering the past.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Despite its hard-scrabble setting, eco-gloominess and dystopian story, this dark fairytale is engagingly vivid and life-affirming. An ambitious love letter to a Louisiana way of life that's being literally washed away.
  17. As their early fights give way to growing respect, it’s a beautifully calibrated relationship, with small moments gradually building into something much bigger. A gem.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Plays like an elegy for the demise of the cool, thick with the small-hours allure of addiction and infatuation but smart enough to see clearly.
  18. A surreal head-scratcher that'd make Luis Buñuel smile, it may not be perfectly formed, but there's no denying its fierce originality.
  19. Fleet, funny, impeccably orchestrated: whimsical Wes returns on top of his game. Non-fans might call it over-familiar comfort cinema but with the craft so loving and new elements so well-integrated, his singular pitch remains a thing to cherish.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Anders Danielsen Lie gives a compelling, deep-etched lead turn, and you'll find yourself drawn in as he searches for a reason to continue living.
  20. The best sci-fi movie since "Moon." The best time-travel yarn since "12 Monkeys." And one of the best films of 2012. You'll immediately want to see it again.
  21. Anchored by a truly sensational performance from Gleeson, this unexpected blend of passion play, detective story, rural comedy and serious inquiry into faith is destined for classic status.
  22. If not wholly convincing as an ‘issues’ movie, this memoir is a triumph as an actors’ showcase; with McConaughey and Leto giving the performances of their careers.
  23. Blurring documentary/fiction boundaries, writer/director Jem Cohen’s film is deceptively simple.
  24. Like a more obvious underwater twist on Herzog’s "Grizzly Man," Blackfish presents a persuasive, passionate argument: wild nature’s right to freedom demands respect, cock and all.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The result is a shrewd look at classroom etiquette and an achingly sad study of grief-stricken solitude, built on ace performances by Fellag and the kids-especially 11-year-old scene stealer Sophie Nélisse.
  25. Squeezing every drop of tension from wet-ink recent history, Phillips only falters when making its protagonists mouthpieces in a broader geopolitical debate. Otherwise, it’s full steam ahead to the Oscars.
  26. Sticking tightly to its heroine’s everyday routines and rituals, this deft blend of humour and pathos fully earns its defiantly upbeat dance-floor denouement.
  27. Carried aloft by the remarkable performances of her two young leads, Clio Barnard’s poignant, unflinching slice of hard-knock-life grips tight and lingers long. Britain’s definitely got talent.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The simple approach teases fascinating parallels between art and marriage: essential to both, it seems, are a thick skin and an optimism verging on madness.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With film labs closing down and new formats springing up all the time, this is a timely stock-take of 21st Century cinema.
  28. The lead character’s called Grace, but don’t be put off: Cretton’s tough-love snapshot of shattered youth is achingly moving rather than manipulative or mawkish.
  29. Charming, poignant and often very funny, Baumbach and Gerwig’s latest collaboration is a joyous portrait of an unformed personality that should strike chords of recognition in all who watch it.
  30. It’s actually a ruthlessly plausible thriller, stripped clean of music and melodrama, and all the more engrossing for it.
  31. Every second is earned in Macdonald's long, generous and rigorously detailed Bob doc. You might wish for more live material but what's here is stirring, probing and moving.
  32. Kaurismäki adeptly weaves rockabilly musical interludes, a stylised colourscheme and droll performances into a warm-hearted salute to both classical French cinema and working-class solidarity.
  33. In long, static takes, Hogg calmly exposes the gulf between polite facades and repressed resentments.
  34. Ridiculously funny and meticulously detailed, The LEGO Movie is far better than a toy tie-in movie has any right to be. Despite a couple of dips, you’ll be grinning throughout.
  35. Closer in metaphysical spirit to Kiarostami than to Leone, it lingers thanks to beautifully lit widescreen images of lived-in faces and barren, beautiful landscapes.
  36. Sun, sex, psychosis, skinny-dipping: it sounds like genre tat, but Guiraudie’s dark, droll study of a risky attraction upends expectations. It plays by stealth, but its sly grip is sure.
  37. Al-Mansour carefully dodges easy uplift, but her message of hope to future generations of Saudi women is clear.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Its shuffling pace and basic animation all add to the heartbreak as the protagonists slowly unravel, even as they fight to keep a grip.
  38. The results – achieved through small cameras clipped to nets, masts and the crew – will hook some and induce seasickness in others.
  39. No
    “We have to find a product that’s appealing to people!” says Garcia Bernal at one point. And that’s just what Larraín’s created with this Latin spin on "Mad Men."
  40. The strong supporting gallery - including Gillian Anderson and Martin Compston - feels underused, but Meier and her ace DoP Agnès Godard make shrewd use of the dramatic alpine locations.
  41. Tarantino's three-hour feast of Southern-fried trash cinema might be too much – and too bloody – for certain constitutions, but the rewards are plentiful. Be sure to hunt it down.
  42. The Daniel Craig era comes of age with a ballsy Bond that takes brave chances and bold risks. Guess what? Turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks.
  43. Full of ear-pleasing lines and obscure R&B tunes, it’s colourful, casual and full of flavour. An unexpected treat.
  44. Carruth’s furiously elusive second film skirts the line between nonsense and near-masterpiece, like Terrence Malick filleting "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind."
  45. The armageddon-through-beer-goggles approach brings the chuckles, but The World’s End stands up as a great example of the genre it ribs. Nostalgic, bittersweet and very, very funny.
  46. The finale, as Ai's Twitter tirades lead to a serious human-rights breach, will make your blood boil.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Russell follows "The Fighter" with a softer, soapier family dysfunction drama, lightly comic enough to make for palatable Friday-night viewing. As its nutty lovebirds, Cooper and Lawrence save Playbook from the director's surprisingly mundane impulses.
  47. It's perfectly possible to like the title character of Lauren Greenfield's documentary – Jackie Siegel – while detesting everything she represents: grotesque financial inequality, jaw-dropping ignorance and appalling bad taste.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Tarr risks self-parody with recurring scenes of the pair tucking into scalding potatoes, but if you've got the stomach for it this is an intoxicating vision of life at the end of its tether.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A 25th anniversary restoration of Giuseppe Tornatore’s ode to moving pictures and puppy love.
  48. An impressive study of guilt, responsibility and the bad things that happen to good people.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As The Palaces Burn ends up as gripping and unexpectedly moving as anything John Grisham’s ever scribbled.
  49. A timely, gut-wrenching but ultimately hopeful work.
  50. Strickland’s nuanced, atmospheric, ambiguous movie transcends genre.
  51. Some will find Camille too self-absorbed, yet writer/director Mia Hansen-Løve (Father Of My Children) conjures poignancy, grace and a feel for symbolic seasonal change that's positively Renoir-esque.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    With its slow tracking shots, complete disregard for edited narrative and endless baaing and whistling, it’ll either bore you to tears or hypnotise you with its weird Herzogian beauty.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A superbly detailed account of a notorious miscarriage of justice and how it was gradually unravelled. It's a tad overlong, but the passion, skill and revelations on display will captivate you.
  52. The plotting is elliptical and the sweep intoxicates, but the contrast between De Niro’s meditative Vito and Pacino’s soul-starved eyes brings piercing focus to Coppola’s resonating study of corrupting power.
  53. Arduous yet always absorbing, Cristian Mungiu’s first full-length feature since 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days is inspired by a real-life case of a tragically botched exorcism in rural Romania.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Aided by committed, awards-ready performance, The Sessions transforms 'taboo' subject matter into a humorous, humane and uncomplicated pleasure.
  54. Assured, adult filmmaking from a writer/director who knows her way around the ups and downs of relationships.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Not quite the intimate parable of the first movie nor a balls-to-the-wall battlefield extravaganza, Dawn is pitched somewhere in the middle, with much of its two hour-plus running time powered by the simmering, expertly sustained tension both between and within the two species.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A riot of saturated colour and delirious imagination, Ang Lee's adap radiates spirituality. But it's also a simple, thrilling and gently uplifting tale of a boy, a boat and a tiger. Take the plunge.
  55. Keep The Lights On feels lopsided in its focus on Erik, with Paul remaining a strangely remote object of the former's romantic devotion.
  56. The resulting pickle may seem alien to many, but Yaron’s navigation of Shira’s struggles make it tangible.
  57. The tale is better than the telling – and the soundtrack's better still – but music this monumental demands its moment. Now go and buy the album.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    The film strips away ideas of heroism mercilessly.
  58. A touching tribute interweaves with tough storytelling.
  59. The one-liners are in evidence but this is more abrasive than you might expect. Blends rigour and vigour to join "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" and "Midnight In Paris" as the best of late-period Woody.
  60. This blend of tongue-in-cheek exoticism and desire so strong it makes crocodiles melancholic amply rewards your patience.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A hugely powerful, moving study of a small village's stand against overwhelming state power. Despite all the suffering and injustice, the final message is one of optimism that feels neither facile nor tacked-on.
  61. You may not be sure what you've seen, but you've sure seen something. With neither a petticoat nor a wideboy in sight, this is one of the most original and exciting British movies in some time.
  62. A smart, stirring spectacle that faces down impossible expectations to pull off a hugely satisfying end to business.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A gutsy, first-rate, full-blooded ghost story, as elegant as it is eerie and brilliantly realised. Blending terror with tenderness, Guillermo Del Toro has crafted something both traditional and original: a sun-kissed gothic horror.
  63. A breezy but heartfelt Shakespear update that should put a smile on the faces of Whedon fans, Bard worshippers and anyone in the mood for a sharp, sassy romance.
  64. Against the odds this is a sometimes droll and surprisingly tender affair, and a fitting end to Seidl’s magnum opus.
  65. Maverick director James Toback (Fingers) and Alec Baldwin front this frequently hilarious insider doc.
  66. The restlessness of the camerawork may drive you to distraction, but director/co-writer Calin Peter Netzer’s film is held steady by Gheorghiu’s staunch performance.
  67. A cunning, suspenseful thriller that bears comparison to the Coen brothers’ Blood Simple, Blue Ruin is an impossible-to-ignore calling card from writer/director Jeremy Saulnier. Hollywood awaits.
  68. Creepier than "Catfish" and as cinematic as "Man On Wire," this is an unnerving story immaculately told and a strong contender for documentary of the year.
  69. You’re left marvelling at London’s capacity for renewal and reinvention.

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