Total Film's Scores

  • Movies
For 590 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 2.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Days of Heaven
Lowest review score: 20 Movie 43
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 16 out of 590
590 movie reviews
  1. A smart, stirring spectacle that faces down impossible expectations to pull off a hugely satisfying end to business.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
    • 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
    • 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.
  7. Charming, spectacular, technically audacious… in short, everything you expect from a Peter Jackson movie. A feeling of familiarity does take hold in places, but this is an epically entertaining first course.
    • 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]
  8. Largely lensed in the window between sunset and nightfall, it’s a magic-hour masterpiece. [26 Aug. 2011]
  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.
    • 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.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Losey creates an atmosphere of deepening claustrophobic menace shot through with episodes of savage black humour.
  10. Utterly gripping. Aided by two punchy lead turns, an Oscar-worthy script and stunning in-car footage, Howard’s race film delivers top-gear drama. A piston- and heart-pumping triumph.
  11. 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.
  12. A stunning space saga that takes off for new technical frontiers without leaving its humanity behind.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A 25th anniversary restoration of Giuseppe Tornatore’s ode to moving pictures and puppy love.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A touch too long, yet never slack, at three hours, TWOWS benefits from independent funding, Scorsese’s brass balls and an A-grade cast’s turbulent improvisations to emerge as an epic, boldly broad screwball comedy about the state of America, then and now.
    • 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).
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Philosophically complex, spiritual but anti-religious, harrowing yet hopeful.
  15. 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.
  16. Extraordinary in form, ‘ordinary’ in content, Boyhood is ambitious, intimate and unforgettable. It might just be the apex of Linklater’s life’s work.
  17. What's remarkable is the lack of cheese. Tacky effects, corny dialogue and creaky performances are all shown the door. We repeat: not the new "Twilight".
  18. Good enough to survive evoking "Bicycle Thieves" and "The 400 Blows," this small story contains universal truths, told with irresistible force.
  19. 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.
  20. A documentary that'll make more than just fashionistas smile.
  21. The film never hides its uncomfortable truths in the shadows.
  22. Herzog's tapestry testifies to life's light from death's darkness. Its honest humanity and sideways-on character bare his illuminating imprint.
  23. 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.
  24. Tiny Furniture announces Dunham as a talent to watch.
  25. 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Nasheed may be a small fish in a big geopolitical pond, but his enterprise and optimism are a welcome complement to eco doc doom and gloom.
  26. Leaner, meaner, and far superior to 2010's Clash cock-up. From top-grade 3D to a multitude of monsters and a welcome influx of acting talent, this is pure popcorn pleasure.
  27. A touching tribute interweaves with tough storytelling.
  28. This is a chilling portrayal of a deeply unsympathetic protagonist.
  29. A super-entertaining, super-slick love/hate letter to horror with a final 20 minutes that's stunningly bonkers.
  30. A nice blend of Scandinavian sophistication and Hollywood slickness, Headhunters is an entertaining Nordic noir achievement – and sure to be tagged as this year's "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo."
  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. 2012 is the year of the Muppet, and we don't mean Ashton Kutcher. After Jason Segel's fur-filled revival, rejoice in a documentary to make you laugh and, yes, cry.
  33. Big, brash and very funny, Joss Whedon's Avengers Assemble is equal to the sum of its parts – and for once, that's no faint praise. Suit up.
  34. 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.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As Jonathan Pryce reads passages and academic voices take turns to chew over Sebald's visionary opus, B&W footage of country roadsides and wind-blasted coastlines turns rural Suffolk into something truly otherworldly.
  35. 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.
    • 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.
  36. Flawlessly designed, with the beautiful 3D cinematography contrasting the clean white futurism of Prometheus' interiors with the black corporeal surfaces of the alien catacombs.

 It might not pack the unbearable menace or blazing horror of the saga's first two movies, but it utterly eclipses the last two. It's exciting, tense and fully impregnated for sequels.
  37. With echoes of the Dardennes and Lucrecia Martel, Corpo Celeste's acute sense of place, feel for adolescent confusion and miraculous resolution suggest that Rohrwacher is a talent to watch.
  38. Based on genuine cases, the film reveals its horrors in a matter-of-fact manner, taking care to show the characters grasping every chance for laughter - however inappropriate - amid the grimness.
  39. Showing a keen, compassionate eye for human observation, Özge reveals how each of his character's lives is as gridlocked as the cars on the bridge.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It isn't perfect but this reboot's wins outweigh its wobbles. The leads charm, the action crackles and the grooves are well-laid for part two. Untold story? Next time, then.
  40. Soderbergh lets his hair down with a frank, funny dramedy that bulges with humour, heart and smarts as McConaughey gives it everything he's got, in a potentially gong-grabbing turn.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Friedkin's unflinching trailer-park noir features ugly characters, game performances, degradation and the obscene abuse of a chicken drumstick. Highly recommended, then.
  41. 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Ted
    A fabulous first live-action effort, combining R-rated hilarity with skilled storytelling as it slips some real heart into the stuffing of a toy bear.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Like "Martha Marcy May Marlene," this lo-fi psychodrama reaps the benefits of a mesmerising female lead, only this time as cult leader not disciple. Marling continues to impress.
  42. A bleak yet strangely heartening film.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A vital, visceral antidote to Trump's slick PR machine.
  43. The finale, as Ai's Twitter tirades lead to a serious human-rights breach, will make your blood boil.
  44. Even if it lacks a stand-out turn it's still a grippingly authentic slice of life.
  45. Some strained metaphors and character tics aside, this proves both Polley's perceptive eye and Williams' ability to explore life-scuffed emotions. Wry, risqué and real.
  46. Heartfelt and inventive, this documentary from exiled director Ali Samadi Ahadi chronicles Iran's abortive Green Revolution during the summer of 2009.
  47. Populist fare from across the channel that will amply repay those ready to put the time in. The scenery, meanwhile, makes you want to run out and buy a timeshare.
  48. 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.
  49. Though self-referential to a fault, the deadpan humour, frayed logic and monochrome dazzle cast their own richly peculiar spell.
  50. The filmmakers stay back, observing, for a restrained, intimate and poignant result.
  51. Nods to "Hostel" and "Glengarry Glen Ross" make for a cine-literate affair further buffered by a smart cameo from erstwhile Brat Packer Andrew McCarthy.
  52. Burton's finest, freshest film in ages is a welcome homecoming. You'd call it patchwork pastiche, if it weren't so zapped with energy, feeling and imagination. It's alive!
  53. Smart, literate and romantic, it's this year's (500) Days Of Summer, but with a few more shadows. Like Calvin, you'll find it hard to resist Ms Sparks.
    • 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.
  54. A surreal head-scratcher that'd make Luis Buñuel smile, it may not be perfectly formed, but there's no denying its fierce originality.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Aided by committed, awards-ready performance, The Sessions transforms 'taboo' subject matter into a humorous, humane and uncomplicated pleasure.
  55. 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.
  56. Backed by a sparing Philip Glass score, Elena eloquently shows how, in modern Russia, even family relationships are at the mercy of business.
  57. Succeeding against the odds and adroitly blending its disparate elements, this is a fine entry into the Eurodirector-gawps-at-America subgenre.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Drawing affecting performances from a fledgling cast, Defurne's film is a poignant snapshot of square-peg adolescent desire, vibrantly set against a colourful backdrop.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The ensuing drama is typically Scandinavian in the best way possible – the setting's beautiful, the tensions slow-burning. Meanwhile, musical interludes courtesy of a barbershop quartet lend a playful undertone.
    • 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.
  58. Packing two terrific turns and an offbeat spirit, this coming-of-middle-age comedy is an unexpected treat.
  59. Stirring and striking, Hooper's epic musical won't be wanting for awards and plaudits. Danny Cohen's cinematography is stunning and Hathaway's Oscar is guaranteed.
  60. Vile's moving documentary can't go wrong with such an inspiring, funny and genuinely nice guy taking the spotlight he deserves.
  61. A superior thriller, with Cruise and McQuarrie slotting together like a bullet in a clip. Like Reacher on the firing range, the aim isn't always true – but the misses are fractional.
  62. Marshalling formidable technique and force of feeling, Bayona's tale of courage and empathy in the face of catastrophe fulfils his debut's promise, its harrowing conviction hammered home even harder by the spot-on casting.
  63. This blend of tongue-in-cheek exoticism and desire so strong it makes crocodiles melancholic amply rewards your patience.
    • 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.
  64. 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.
  65. 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.
    • 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.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Apatow's return creates a pleasantly sprawling, perceptive study of mid-life angst that never lacks for laughs. Promoting Rudd and Mann from Knocked Up's margins to centre stage proves to be a shrewd move.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    A Disney flick that feels like on-form Pixar, blending knowing humour and sophistication with a large helping of heart. You'll want another go.
    • 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.
  66. 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."
  67. Shot on 16mm for less than $50,000, Sam Raimi's visceral debut remains a benchmark of modern horror. Plot and acting are minimal - five stooges inadvertently awaken demonic forces - but then this isn't about intellect or intricacy: it's about intensity and intestines. [1 Oct 2001]
  68. This oblique and understated tale of lost innocence conveys both an individual’s experiences and a powerful sense of a ruined nation.
  69. Playful, patient and finally poignant, Schreier’s deceptively placid odd-couple winner runs the risk of looking minor. But it carefully exceeds expectation, helped in no small measure by Langella’s wily, wistful lead.
  70. “Ever since I discovered art,” laments one participant, “this cell has truly become a prison.”

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