Variety's Scores

For 11,325 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 Beginners
Lowest review score: 0 Freddy Got Fingered
Score distribution:
11325 movie reviews
  1. Michael Dudok de Wit’s hypnotizing, entirely dialogue-free The Red Turtle is a fable so simple, so pure, it feels as if it has existed for hundreds of years, like a brilliant shard of sea glass rendered smooth and elegant through generations of retelling.
  2. There’s no denying that Hooper and screenwriter Lucinda Coxon have delivered a cinematic landmark, one whose classical style all but disguises how controversial its subject matter still remains.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    One of the most entertaining, best executed, original road pictures ever.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Sidney Lumet’s direction is outstanding.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The climactic sequences assault the senses and the intellect with pure cinematic terror.
  3. An out-and-out charmer. It's almost impossible to do justice in words either to the visual richness of the movie, which melanges traditional Japanese clothes and architecture with both Victorian and modern-day artifacts, or to the character-filled storyline, with human figures, harpies and grotesque creatures.
  4. Though the film brims with memorable characters, the show ultimately belongs to Ejiofor, who upholds the character’s dignity throughout.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Pitch-perfect, terrifically written.
  5. When the participants convulse and cry, the film’s empathetic connection is so direct and so strong, audiences may be driven to weep as well.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Julie Andrews’ first appearance on the screen is a signal triumph and she performs as easily as she sings, displaying a fresh type of beauty nicely adaptable to the color cameras. Van Dyke, as the happy-go-lucky jack-of-all-trades, scores heavily, the part permitting him to showcase his wide range of talents.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Brilliant cinema theatre.
  6. Vega’s tough, expressive, subtly anguished performance deserves so much more than political praise. It’s a multi-layered, emotionally polymorphous feat of acting, nurtured with pitch-perfect sensitivity by her director, who maintains complete candor on Marina’s condition without pushing her anywhere she wouldn’t herself go.
  7. Throughout, Payne gently infuses the film’s comic tone with strains of longing and regret, always careful to avoid the maudlin or cheaply sentimental.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Westworld is an excellent film, which combines solid entertainment, chilling topicality, and superbly intelligent serio-comic story values. Michael Crichton's original script is as superior as his direction.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Apocalypse Now was worth the wait. Alternately a brilliant and bizarre film, Francis Coppola’s four year ‘work in progress’ offers the definitive validation to the old saw, “war is hell.”
  8. Grounded by a performance of monumental soul from Gleeson as a tough-minded Irish priest marked for death by one of his parishioners, the film offers a mordantly funny survey of small-town iniquity that morphs, almost imperceptibly, into a deeply felt lament for a fallen world.
  9. This vibrant portrait feels like something of a revelation, which is remarkable, really, considering how many more films have tackled coming-of-age than the relatively niche experience of coming out.
  10. An act of cinephilic homage that transcends pastiche to become its own uniquely sensuous cinematic object, Strickland’s densely layered, slyly funny portrayal of the sadomasochistic affair between two lesbian entomologists tips its hats to such masters of costumed erotica as Jess Franco, Tinto Brass and Jean Rollin, without ever cheapening its strange but affecting love story.
  11. Honoring all that was memorable about its forebears while taking the story to new depths of catharsis, Before Midnight stands as a unique and uniquely satisfying entry in what has shaped up to be an outstanding screen trilogy
    • tbd Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Words can't do justice to the visual masterpiece Baraka.
  12. Rachel Boynton’s extraordinary Big Men should come tagged with a warning: The side effects of global capitalism may include dizziness, nausea and seething outrage.
  13. It’s a film that spills over with laughs (most of them good, a few of them shticky) and tears (all of them earned), supporting characters who are meant to slay us (and mostly do) with their irascible sharp tongues, and dizzyingly extended flights of physical comedy.
  14. A wonderfully acted, acutely observed psychological drama.
  15. For all the tyrannical disdain he's shown other filmmakers over the years, von Trier once again demonstrates a mastery of classical technique, extracting incredibly strong performances from his cast while serving up a sturdy blend of fly-on-the-wall naturalism and jaw-dropping visual effects.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Untouchables is a beautifully crafted portrait of Prohibition-era Chicago.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Evinces an artistic rigor and unsentimental intelligence unlike anything the world's most successful filmmaker has demonstrated before.
  16. For a healthy stretch, The Salesman is even more low-key, minimal, and contained than the earlier Farhadi films. Yet the writer-director’s technique is just as assured as before. Every shot is in place, every line leading to an outcome that feels quietly up for grabs.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    War is hell, and Patton is one hell of a war picture, perhaps one of the most remarkable of its type ever made.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A keenly observed and immaculately crafted vision of the raw side of life. Pic has a distinctive pulse of its own with exceptional performances by Paul Newman and Tom Cruise.
    • Variety
  17. It’s a lyrical and rapturous film — a repressed passion play, funny, delicate and heartbreaking.
  18. The brilliantly edited tapestry of actions and reactions exposes a pattern of prejudice and fear capable of infinitely repeating itself.
  19. Boldly and magnificently strange, There Will Be Blood marks a significant departure in the work of Paul Thomas Anderson.
  20. Nichols’ impressively restrained yet limitlessly imaginative fourth feature takes its energy from an ensemble of characters who hold fast to their convictions, even though their beliefs remain shrouded in mystery for much of the journey.
  21. Ramsay has made more sensually rapturous films, but this may be her most formally exacting: No shot or cut here is idle or extraneous.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    That it features a brilliant performance by Daniel Day-Lewis and a fine supporting cast lifts it from mildly sentimental to excellent.
  22. A triumph on every creative level, from casting to execution.
  23. Handsomely produced and never less than hugely entertaining, Ascher's film is catnip for Kubrickians and critics both professional and otherwise.
  24. Rarely do you find such self-plunging material beyond the realm of documentary or far-fringe museum fare, and despite his background in that arena, Mills sheds all preciosity in service of genuinely revealing introspection.
  25. Sans dialogue or translation, each interaction effectively becomes a puzzle to be solved, and Slaboshpytskiy is brilliant at using ambiguity to heighten rather than dull the viewer’s perceptions. Even when the meaning of a particular exchange eludes us, a greater sense of narrative comprehension begins to take hold.
  26. Haneke demonstrates profound insight into the essence of human behavior when all humility is pared away, raw panic and despair are the order of the day, and man becomes more like wolf than man.
  27. In attempting to make his first film for all ages, Martin Scorsese has fashioned one for the ages. Simultaneously classical and modern, populist but also unapologetically personal, Hugo flagrantly defies the mind-numbing quality of most contempo kidpics.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Annie Get Your Gun is socko musical entertainment on film, just as it was on the Broadway stage. (Review of original release)
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    One of the best pictures of our lives.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A mesmerizing reconstruction and investigation of a senseless murder. It employs strikingly original formal devices to pull together diverse interviews.
  28. It’s a simple, even predictable story, yet textured so exquisitely and acted so forcefully as to feel almost revelatory.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    To Be or Not to Be, co-starring Carole Lombard and Jack Benny, under expert guidance of Ernst Lubitsch, is absorbing drama with farcical trimmings. It's an acting triumph for Lombard, who delivers an effortless and highly effective performance that provides memorable finale to her brilliant screen career.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Substance is here in spades, along with the twisted, brilliantly controlled style on which filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen made a name.
  29. The Dardennes once again find a richness of human experience that dwarfs most movies made on an epic canvas.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A blazing, cinematic comic book, full of virtuoso moviemaking, terrific momentum, solid performances and a compelling story.
  30. di Florio emerges with a serenely powerful, handcrafted film that navigates into a place Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once called "the tangled discords of our nation."
  31. Not just one of the great racing movies of all time, but a virtuoso feat of filmmaking in its own right, elevated by two of the year’s most compelling performances.
  32. Far from abandoning his trademark humor, however, the writer-director skillfully enlists it in the service of an emotional story, charting the heroine's journey from loss and torment to rediscovered strength and hope. Propelled by stellar performances and a script that resonates with intelligence, subtlety and surprises, this is by far Almodovar's best film in years.
  33. The fun that Schlesinger and his first-rate ensemble must have had while working on this production is infectious, for there isn't one dull -- or quiet -- moment in the film.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Balkan probably gives her best performance to date to create a woman tormented by instability, sexual drive and psycho demons -- disjointedly portrayed in the script.
  34. Remarkably funny and entirely convincing, film pulls off the rare accomplishment of being an in-drag comedy which also emerges with three-dimensional characters.
  35. Exhilarating, heartbreaking and righteous, Waiting for Superman is also a kind of high-minded thriller: Can the American education system be cured?
  36. In execution, Pixar’s 15th feature proves to be the greatest idea the toon studio has ever had: a stunningly original concept that will not only delight and entertain the company’s massive worldwide audience, but also promises to forever change the way people think about the way people think, delivering creative fireworks grounded by a wonderfully relatable family story.
  37. Trenchantly witty and acutely insightful.
  38. This educational eye-popper should prove an excellent draw for science lovers of all ages.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Bad News Bears is an extremely funny adult-child comedy film. Walter Matthau stars to perfection as a bumbling baseball coach in the sharp production about the foibles and follies of little-league athletics.
  39. Ratatouille is delicious. In this satisfying, souffle-light tale of a plucky French rodent with a passion for cooking, the master chefs at Pixar have blended all the right ingredients -- abundant verbal and visual wit, genius slapstick timing, a soupcon of Gallic sophistication -- to produce a warm and irresistible concoction that's sure to appeal to everyone's inner Julia Child.
  40. Rare proof that a gigantic production in contemporary Hollywood can possess a distinctive personality and its own approach to storytelling, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World proves as bracing as a stiff wind on the open sea.
  41. Continues Fincher's fascinating transition from genre filmmaker extraordinaire to indelible chronicler of our times.
  42. The film is a master class in comic timing, employing pacing and repetition with the skill of a practiced concert pianist.
  43. As always, Techine is excellent at exploring “tiny” personal flashes that assume larger meaning when placed against the broader historical context.
  44. Looks and sounds wonderful, and while more information about these giants of African-Latin music might have been welcome, the music's the thing.
  45. Wrenchingly acted, deftly manipulated and terrifyingly well made.
  46. Charles Ferguson's sophomore film Inside Job is the definitive screen investigation of the global economic crisis, providing hard evidence of flagrant amorality -- and of a new nonfiction master at work.
  47. The pleasure is doubled in Spider-Man 2. Crackerjack entertainment from start to finish, this rousing yarn about a reluctant superhero and his equally conflicted friends and enemies improves in every way on its predecessor and is arguably about as good a live-action picture as anyone's ever made using comicbook characters.
  48. Rarely has a book sprung so vividly to life, but also worked so enthrallingly in pure movie terms, as with Atonement, Brit helmer Joe Wright’s smart, dazzlingly upholstered adaptation of Ian McEwan’s celebrated 2001 novel.
  49. The persistence of grief and the hope of redemption are themes as timeless as dramaturgy itself, but rarely do they summon forth the kind of extraordinary swirl of love, anger, tenderness and brittle humor that is Manchester by the Sea.
  50. Enthralling...An ambitious, full-bodied crime epic of gratifying scope and moral complexity, this is seriously brainy pop entertainment that satisfies every expectation raised by its hit predecessor and then some.
  51. Tilling some of the same conspiracy turf he explored in "All the President's Men," Pakula has improved on Grisham's book by excising much of the detritus, crafting a taut, intelligent thriller that succeeds on almost every level.
  52. The film exquisitely balances character study with shrewd commentary on the precarious hierarchy of class distinctions, the turbulent persistence of sexual desire and the lingering privileges of Paraguay’s elite.
  53. Clint Eastwood has crafted a tense, hard-edged, superbly dramatic yarn that is also an exceedingly intelligent meditation on the West, its myths and its heroes.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An engrossing motion picture. Just offbeat enough in story, locale and star teaming of Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn to stimulate the imagination. It is a picture with an unassuming warmth and naturalness that can have a bright boxoffice chance
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Indemnity is rapidly moving and consistently well developed. It is a story replete with suspense, for which credit must go in a large measure to Billy Wilder’s direction.
  54. A film of quiet but profound outrage, laughing on the surface, but howling in anger just beneath.
  55. Eye-poppingly intimate footage of various critters evolving from the fetal stage or eating, strolling, fighting and courting that can only be obtained via infinite patience with special equipment in exotic locations.
  56. The Usual Suspects is an ironic, bang-up thriller about the wages of crime. A terrific cast of exciting actors socks over this absorbingly complicated yarn that's been spun in a seductively slick fashion by director Bryan Singer.
  57. A War doesn’t seek to break new ground in the ongoing cinematic investigation of the Afghanistan conflict; rather, it scrutinizes the ground on which it stands with consummate sensitivity and detail.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    In every respect it is outstanding.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A magnificent film. George Lucas set out to make the biggest possible adventure fantasy out of his memories of serials and older action epics, and he succeeded brilliantly.
  58. Boasting a narrative of extraordinary complexity and density, stuffed with irony, humor and tales-within-tales, the imaginative animated memoir Rocks in My Pockets merges a mini-history of 20th-century Latvia with that of helmer Signe Baumane and her forebears.
  59. Pitch perfect and brilliantly acted, 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days is a stunning achievement, helmed with a purity and honesty that captures not just the illegal abortion story at its core but the constant, unremarked negotiations necessary for survival in the final days of the Soviet bloc.
  60. Red, the beautifully spun and splendidly acted tale of a young model’s decisive encounter with a retired judge, is another deft, deeply affecting variation on Krzysztof Kieslowski’s recurring theme that people are interconnected in ways they can barely fathom. If it’s true — as the helmer has announced — that this opus will be his last foray into film directing, Kieslowski retires at a formal and philosophical peak.
  61. Devilishly inventive and so far out there it's almost off the scale.
  62. Linklater indulges his characters’ antics with such wild, free-flowing affection that you might miss the thoughtful undertow of this delightful movie: Few filmmakers have so fully embraced the bittersweet joy of living in the moment — one that’s all the more glorious because it fades so soon.
  63. Enormously ambitious and masterfully made, Traffic represents docudrama-style storytelling at a very high level.
  64. Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro is the rare movie that might be called a spiritual documentary.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is one of the best examples of actionful and suspenseful melodramatic story telling in cinematic form. Unfolding a most intriguing and entertaining murder mystery, picture displays outstanding excellence in writing, direction, acting and editing--combining in overall as a prize package of entertainment for widest audience appeal.
  65. An exquisite ode to a working-class hero, Cinderella Man takes the almost impossibly perfect elements of the saga of underdog boxer James J. Braddock and fills it with emotional gravitas, wrenching danger and a panoramic sense of American life during the Great Depression.
  66. "Cloverfield" director Matt Reeves hasn't ruined the elegant Swedish vampire story by remaking it. If anything, he's made some improvements, including the addition of a tense action-horror sequence in the middle of the film.
  67. Here, within a thrilling tale that respects the intelligence of its audience, attentive parents will find the antidote to their fear that watching cartoons might rot your brain. If anything, April and the Extraordinary World seems bound to do the opposite, encouraging children to pursue their own passions and creativity.
  68. If the screenplay, by Dan Futterman (“Capote”) and E. Max Frye, is relatively spare in terms of dialogue, it’s satisfyingly rich and thorny in its conception of the tightly wound triangle at its center, while Miller’s direction evinces the same sustained intensity and consummate control of his material that defined his first two features.
  69. With plenty to appeal to boys and girls, old and young, Walt Disney Animation Studios has a high-scoring hit on its hands in this brilliantly conceived, gorgeously executed toon, earning bonus points for backing nostalgia with genuine emotion.
  70. In First Reformed, Paul Schrader courts respectability and leaves it in the dust, getting stoned on excess. But make no mistake: He’s still one hell of a filmmaker.
  71. A faithful adaptation that captures the haunting spirit and religious nature of the 1951 novel.
  72. A film of tenderness and humor married to the unlikeliest of subjects.
  73. Its modest surface belies the depths of a lovely seriocomedy that concisely lays bare all kinds of uncomfortable dynamics in seemingly casual, low-key fashion.

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