Variety's Scores

For 10,627 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 44% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Above and Below
Lowest review score: 0 Showgirls
Score distribution:
10627 movie reviews
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Ben-Hur is a majestic achievement, representing a superb blending of the motion picture arts by master craftsmen.
  1. The film pulls no punches, takes no prisoners and flies in the face of feel-good pictures.
  2. There is gargantuan excess here, to be sure — and no shortage of madness — but there is also an astonishing level of discipline.
  3. An altogether smashing sequel to 2011′s better-than-expected “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” this vivid, violent extension of humanoid ape Caesar’s troubled quest for independence bests its predecessor in nearly every technical and conceptual department.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    One of the wildest fabrications any author has ever tried to palm off on a gullible public. But the fascinating thing is that, from uncertain premise to shattering conclusion, one does not question plausibility of the events being rooted in their own cinematic reality.
  4. A magnificent tapestry of sounds and images, this documentary interweaves multiple leitmotifs that flow through the film like familiar old friends, surging to the forefront only to be reabsorbed and casually encountered farther on.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Black Stallion is a perfect gem.
  5. An astute, intelligent family picture, the film is a potent reminder that you can have your heart in the right place and still produce a gripping, satisfying entertainment.
  6. At nearly two hours, the film might strike some as overlong, and yet the edit finds so many masterful connections en route to its exhilarating climax that it’s easy to fall under the pic’s hypnotic spell.
  7. Righteous, captivating and entirely successful as single-issue-focused documentaries go, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s film draws on startling video footage and testimonies from former orca trainers, building an authoritative argument on behalf of this majestic species.
  8. In the hands of a master, indignation and tragedy can be rendered with clarity yet subtlety, setting hysteria aside for deeper, more richly shaded tones. Abderrahmane Sissako is just such a master.
  9. An exhilarating slalom through the wormholes of Christopher Nolan’s vast imagination that is at once a science-geek fever dream and a formidable consideration of what makes us human.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Emerges as a sumptuously produced period piece that is also a rich tapestry of childhood memoirs and moods, fear and fancy, employing all the manners and means of the best of cinematic theatrical from high and low comedy to darkest tragedy with detours into the gothic, the ghostly and the gruesome. (Review of Original Release)
  10. Rourke creates a galvanizing, humorous, deeply moving portrait that instantly takes its place among the great, iconic screen performances. An elemental story simply and brilliantly told, Darren Aronofsky's fourth feature is a winner from every possible angle.
  11. As certain to get auds singing as the man himself, Pete Seeger: The Power of Song is a terrific, multilayered portrait of a singer whose legacy extends beyond music and into every major social action movement since the 1940s. Always enjoyable, this docu proves that a few rare people actually deserve the hagiography treatment.
  12. Paolo Sorrentino, with Youth, delivers his most tender film to date, an emotionally rich contemplation of life’s wisdom gained, lost and remembered — with cynicism harping from the sidelines, but as a wearied chord rather than a major motif.
  13. Working about as far as possible from the commercial mainstream of the movie business, Costa has again made a singular docu-fiction hybrid that defies classification as readily as it reimagines the possibilities of cinema for the post-spectacle, post-theatrical era.
  14. A gloriously cinematic documentay of epic, poetic sadness.
  15. So tastefully mounted and brilliantly acted that it wears down even the corset-phobic’s innate resistance to such things.
  16. Knowingly incendiary but remarkably cool-headed, and built around yet another of Isabelle Huppert’s staggering psychological dissections, Paul Verhoeven’s long-awaited return to notional genre filmmaking pulls off a breathtaking bait-and-switch: Audiences arriving for a lurid slab of arthouse exploitation will be taken off-guard by the complex, compassionate, often corrosively funny examination of unconventional desires that awaits them.
  17. Tweel masterfully assembles roughly four years of footage, much of it shot by Gleason himself, and the result is painfully raw at times but undeniably rewarding.
  18. A stunning work, revisiting controversial events with journalistic objectivity and a meticulous eye for detail.
  19. Make no mistake: Endless Poetry is still very much a Jodorowsky film, dotted with his trademark phantasmagorical conceits, which are like candified bursts of comic-book magic realism. Yet more than any previous Jodorowsky opus, it’s also a work of disciplined and touching emotional resonance.
  20. A prodigious achievement that conveys the fabric of modern American life, aspirations and incidentally, sports, in close-up and at length, Hoop Dreams is a documentary slam dunk.
  21. Porumboiu is one of the few helmers working today who so completely understands both the power of language and the power of visuals.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Several exhilarating milestones are achieved in Rosemary's Baby, an excellent film version of Ira Levin's diabolical chiller novel. Writer-director Roman Polanski has triumphed in his first US-made pic. The film holds attention without explicit violence or gore.
  22. The opening of Sicario unfolds at such an anxiety-inducing pitch that it seems impossible for Villeneuve to sustain it, let alone build on it, but somehow he manages to do just that. He’s a master of the kind of creeping tension that coils around the audience like a snake suffocating its prey.
  23. Girl Asleep is an exuberant example of imaginative filmmaking that takes its cues from imagination and talent — with nary a focus group in sight.
  24. Stunningly made and incisively acted by a large and terrific cast, Michael Mann's ambitious study of the relativity of good and evil stands apart from other films of its type by virtue of its extraordinarily rich characterizations and its thoughtful, deeply melancholy take on modern life.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Repulsion is a classy, truly horrific psychological drama in which Polish director Roman Polanski draws out a remarkable performance from young French thesp, Catherine Deneuve. (Review of Original Release)
  25. An enormously entertaining slice of biographical drama, The Aviator flies like one of Howard Hughes' record-setting speed airplanes.
  26. The pic is a superbly crafted collage whose soundtrack is as complexly textured as the curation and editing of visual elements.
  27. DuVernay’s razor-sharp portrait of the Civil Rights movement — and Dr. King himself — at a critical crossroads is as politically astute as it is psychologically acute, giving us a human-scale King whose indomitable public face belies currents of weariness and self-doubt.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It happens to be a first-class film of potent importance to the art of motion pictures...a triumph for Orson Welles.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Italy's top bestseller of recent literary history, Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa's The Leopard comes to the screen in a magnificent film, munificently outfitted and splendidly acted by a large cast dominated by Burt Lancaster. (Review of Original Release)
  28. Result is pure-grade art cinema destined primarily for the delectation of Malick partisans and adventurous arthouse-goers.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A richly textured and thoroughly engrossing drama that ranks with indie filmmaker John SaylesJohn Sayles' finest work.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A mesmerizing thriller that will grip audiences from first scene to last.
  29. It's a thrilling, at times brilliant piece of staging that never forgets the emotional pull of either the tragic personal tale or the ramifications of history.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Conflict between police sleuthing and political expediency is the essence of Bullitt, an extremely well-made crime melodrama [from Robert L. Pike's novel Mute Witness] filmed in Frisco. Steve McQueen delivers a very strong performance as a detective seeking a man whom Robert Vaughn, ambitious politico, would exploit for selfish motives. Good scripting and excellent direction by Peter Yates maintain deliberately low-key but mounting suspense.
  30. Not merely a story of interspecies hierarchy, then, White God also puts forward a simple but elegant metaphor for racial and class oppression, as the outcast (or even outcaste) masses, sidelined in favor of the elite few, band together to assert their collective strength.
  31. A rock-ribbed sense of committed, personal cinema and a core belief in people being able to pull themselves out of misery supports Ballast, an extraordinary debut by editor-writer-director Lance Hammer.
  32. A brilliant portrait of adventure, activism, obsession and potential madness that ranks among helmer Werner Herzog's strongest work.
  33. Up
    A captivating odd-couple adventure that becomes funnier and more exciting as it flies along.
  34. Part dreamy millennial picaresque, part distorted tapestry of Americana and part exquisitely illustrated iTunes musical, “Honey” daringly commits only to the loosest of narratives across its luxurious 162-minute running time. Yet it’s constantly, engrossingly active, spinning and sparking and exploding in cycles like a Fourth of July Catherine wheel.
  35. Structured more like a requiem than a polemic, the doc ebbs and flows in accordance with the cycles of mourning as it speaks with parents of the murdered children, as well as the teachers, priests, doctors and neighbors afflicted with survivor’s guilt, elegantly and devastatingly capturing the tenor of a small town that will carry these scars for at least a generation.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Ran
    It’s a dazzlingly successful addition to [Kurosawa's] distinguished career.
  36. Talky in the best sense, the film exhilarates with its lively, authentic classroom banter while its emotional undercurrents build steadily but almost imperceptibly over a swift 129 minutes. One of the most substantive and purely entertaining movies in competition at Cannes this year.
  37. One of Wiseman’s best, a summation of sorts of a career’s worth of principled filmmaking from a director in his ninth decade.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Last Detail is a salty, bawdy, hilarious and very touching story about two career sailors escorting to a naval prison a dumb boot sentenced for petty thievery. Jack Nicholson is outstanding at the head of a superb cast.
  38. Intelligently written, brilliantly cast and thesped story of a German mail order bride in a Norwegian-American community in Minnesota just after WWI never hits a wrong note.
  39. Brief Encounters reps a must-see for art lovers.
  40. French actress-turned-helmer Maiwenn is concerned first and foremost with her characters, who rank among the most vividly realized of any to have graced the screen in recent memory.
  41. This is what audiences want from a Nolan movie, of course, as a master of the fantastic leaves his mark on historical events for the first time.
  42. In every sense, I Am Love is a stunning achievement.
  43. This spirited and often very funny lark accomplishes something that most films in the bygone Hollywood studio era used to do but is remarkably rare in today's world of niche markets: It offers entertainment equally to viewers from 4 to 104.
  44. A kind of classic of American sports history.
  45. Ever-eclectic director Jon Favreau, who briefly pops up onscreen as a Stark minion, maintains a brisk but not frantic pace, and, in concert with lenser Matthew Libatique, production designer J. Michael Riva and the first-rate visual effects team, has made an unusually elegant looking film for the genre.
  46. The director’s long-overdue follow-up to “Children of Men” is at once a nervy experiment in blockbuster minimalism and a film of robust movie-movie thrills, restoring a sense of wonder, terror and possibility to the bigscreen.
  47. Putting the "intelligence" in MI6, Skyfall reps a smart, savvy and incredibly satisfying addition to the 007 oeuvre, one that places Judi Dench's M at the center of the action.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A dramatically moving and technically breathtaking American art film, one of the great cinematic achievements of the 1970s.
  48. The concert film has never looked or sounded classier than Jonathan Demme's superbly crafted Neil Young: Heart of Gold.
  49. Originally conceived as one film, the two-parter that has finally emerged can now be seen as a truly epic work.
  50. Kuosmanen’s unassuming yet immaculate command of tone and form here would impress at any stage of his career, but it’s entirely remarkable in a first feature.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is an outstanding Stanley Kramer production, superior in almost every imaginable way, which examines its subject matter with perception, depth, insight, humor and feeling.
  51. Few Iranian films have tried to realistically depict both the urban middle and lower classes, and fewer still with the complexity of story telling and depth of characterization in Asghar Farhadi’s impressive third feature, Fireworks Wednesday.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Possesses a stylistic boldness and verisimilitude that is virtually matchless.
  52. As deliriously smart escapist fare, The Incredibles is practically nonpareil.
  53. Fearsomely visceral and impeccably performed, it’s a brisk, bracing update, even as it remains exquisitely in period.
  54. Anomalisa’s existence is a minor miracle on multiple levels, from the Kickstarter campaign that funded it (the credits give “special thanks” to 1,070 names) to the oh-so-delicate way the film creeps up on you, transitioning from a low-key dark night of the soul into something warm, human and surprisingly tender.
  55. Reveals Soderbergh in peak form, as he endows Leonard’s postmodern yarn with a meticulously detailed mise en scene that helps each member of his terrific ensemble soar.
  56. Isn't only an outstanding documentary -- it's also a powerful personal drama.
  57. Anthropology and entertainment are marvelously married in Rolf de Heer's Ten Canoes. The first feature in an Australian Aboriginal language feels authentic to the core as it tells a cautionary tale set 1,000 years ago.
  58. Her
    What begins like an arrested adolescent dream soon blossoms into Jonze’s richest and most emotionally mature work to date, burrowing deep into the give and take of relationships, the dawning of middle-aged ennui, and that eternal dilemma shared by both man and machine: the struggle to know one’s own true self.
  59. As in “Water Lilies” and “Tomboy” before this, Sciamma pushes past superficial anthropological study to deliver a vital, nonjudgmental character study.
  60. Represents that filmmaking rarity -- a third part of a trilogy that is decisively the best of the lot. With epic conflict, staggering battles, striking landscapes and effects, and resolved character arcs all leading to a dramatic conclusion to more than nine hours of masterful storytelling.
  61. Hell or High Water is a thrillingly good movie — a crackerjack drama of crime, fear, and brotherly love set in a sun-roasted, deceptively sleepy West Texas that feels completely exotic for being so authentic.
  62. A wickedly funny protest against societal preference for nuclear coupledom that escalates, by its own sly logic, into a love story of profound tenderness and originality.
  63. It’s Quillévéré’s soaring visual and sonic acumen (with an assist from composer Alexandre Desplat, here in matchless form) that suffuses a potentially familiar hospital weeper with true grace.
  64. Eco-activist documentaries don't get much more compelling than The Cove, an impassioned piece of advocacy filmmaking that follows "Flipper" trainer-turned-marine crusader Richard O'Barry in his efforts to end dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan.
  65. An astonishingly good and daring film that richly develops several intertwined thematic lines, The Crying Game takes giant risks that are stunningly rewarded.
  66. The gleefully assured tale of a professional knife-thrower who finds a quirky new target... hits the bull's-eye.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A lovely film that ranks with the best of Disney’s animated classics, Beauty and the Beast is a tale freshly retold.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Oliver Stone again shows America to itself in a way it won't forget. His collaboration with Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic to depict Kovic's odyssey from teenage true believer to wheel-chair-bound soldier in a very different war results in a gripping, devastating and telling film about the Vietnam era.
  67. While a hopelessly awkward-looking Hill provides fish-out-of-water laughs, Pitt gives a genuinely soul-searching performance.
  68. These restlessly independent auteurs have passed the genre-foray test with flying neon colors, at no cost or compromise to their abrasively humane worldview.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Being a pessimist at heart, Kieslowski, who cowrote all 10 scripts, unfolds a variety of human weaknesses, shows how difficult it is to conform to one commandment, let alone 10, and considers human frailty with sympathy but little hope.
  69. A searingly visceral combat picture, Steven Spielberg’s third World War II drama is arguably second to none as a vivid, realistic and bloody portrait of armed conflict.
  70. A socially conscious work of art as essential as it is insightful.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Spielberg has deftly veiled proceedings in a sense of mystical wonder that makes it all the more easy for viewers to suspend disbelief and settle back for the fun.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    In a decade largely devoted to male buddy-buddy films, brutal rape fantasies, and impersonal special effects extravaganzas, Woody Allen has almost single-handedly kept alive the idea of heterosexual romance in American films. Annie Hall is a touching and hilarious love story that is Allen’s most three-dimensional film to date.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    He (Allen) makes nary a misstep from beginning to end in charting the amorous affiliations of three sisters and their men over a two-year period.
  71. As with Reichardt’s more streamlined miniatures, regional detail accounts for much of the film’s lingering resonance, as her characters are molded by (and, in some cases, rail against) the landscape they inhabit.
  72. Utterly unpretentious and deeply touching.
  73. Skillfully blending intimate human drama with sharp political observations, Deepak Rauniyar’s outstanding second feature sends a powerful message about the need for tolerance if Nepal is to overcome divisions that remain long after the Comprehensive Peace Accord of 2006
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Planet of the Apes is an amazing film. A political-sociological allegory, cast in the mold of futuristic science-fiction, it is an intriguing blend of chilling satire, a sometimes ludicrous juxtaposition of human and ape mores, optimism and pessimism.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An outstanding rock documentary.
  74. Bigelow, working from a script by her regular collaborator Mark Boal (it’s their first film since “Zero Dark Thirty”), has created a turbulent, live-wire panorama of race in America that feels like it’s all unfolding in the moment, and that’s its power. We’re not watching tidy, well-meaning lessons — we’re watching people driven, by an impossible situation, to act out who they really are.
  75. A powerfully intimate domestic drama, Ordinary People represents the height of craftsmanship across the board.
  76. A captivating 1930s-set caper whose innumerable surface pleasures might just seduce you into overlooking its sly intelligence and depth of feeling.

Top Trailers