Variety's Scores

For 10,957 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 2.4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 61
Highest review score: 100 Foxtrot
Lowest review score: 0 Rollerball
Score distribution:
10957 movie reviews
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Grease has got it, from the outstanding animated titles of John Wilson all the way through the rousing finale as John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John ride off into teenage happiness.
  1. The elusive, quicksilver nature of young love is often reduced to crude simplicities by the movies, but director Sebastien Lifshitz and writing partner Stephane Bouquet have observed it with a superb balance of aesthetics and insight in Come Undone.
  2. In Reuveny’s subtle hands, any uplift to emerge from this extraordinary tale is earned, not gratuitously extracted.
  3. In another director’s hands, the residents might be labeled “eccentric” and condescendingly depicted for laughs, but Ewan McNicol and Anna Sandilands approach this touch-and-go community with curiosity and humanism, capturing what feels like a deciding moment in a series of struggles so far off the grid, they would otherwise escape our notice entirely.
  4. Structurally, White Material unfolds like a novel, undoubtedly partly due to the work of Denis' co-scripter, author Marie N'Diaye. That said, it's still very much a Denis film, not just in the complexity of the characters and their motivations -- Huppert shoulders the narrative effortlessly, her strength and direction unwavering -- but in the framework and editing.
  5. Markedly grander in scale, although never at the expense of its richly human (and half-human) characters, “Into Darkness” may not boldly go where no “Trek” adventure has gone before, but getting there is such a well-crafted, immensely pleasurable ride that it would be positively Vulcan to nitpick.
  6. A Thanksgiving family reunion comedy that sparkles with acerbic wit, original characters and genuine heart.
  7. [A] concise, clearly told and deeply effective documentary.
  8. Superbly crafted documentary is strong enough to make believers out of non-metalheads, and inside enough to get the devil's-horns salute from the most diehard followers.
  9. A mostly superb bit of modern horror from the writer-director-editor previously responsible for the Frankenstein story "No Telling" and the urban vampire pic "Habit."
  10. It’s a familiar tale, but one told by Perry with immense filmmaking verve and novelistic flourish, and acted by an exceptional ensemble cast.
  11. Molly’s Game delivers one of the screen’s great female parts — a dense, dynamic, compulsively entertaining affair, whose central role makes stunning use of Chastain’s stratospheric talent.
  12. The pic weaves fascinating details of tribal life into a universally accessible and emotionally affecting romantic drama.
  13. Conventionally constructed but remarkable for the honest, intimate rapport it achieves with highly vulnerable human subjects.
  14. Exquisitely made love story.
  15. To call Lake Bell a magnetic, intelligent, blithely screwball leading lady in the Carole Lombard tradition might be selling her short. With In a World… , a rollicking laffer about the cutthroat voiceover biz in Los Angeles, she proves herself a comedy screenwriter to be reckoned with.
  16. Feminist without the arrogance of 20-20 hindsight, vividly precise in its depiction of 18th-century pre-revolutionary France (the filmmakers were allowed to shoot inside Versailles), alive with exuberantly thesped personages and awash in the joy and power of music, the picture is a stunner.
  17. This boardroom tuner charmingly mines humor, romance and no shortage of eccentric lyrics from the world of spreadsheets and stock portfolios, but its real achievement is a formal and conceptual one, conjuring a tongue-in-cheek vision of modern capitalism in splendidly Brechtian terms (and in widescreen 3D, to boot).
  18. This two-ton prestige pic won’t win the hearts of highbrow critics or those averse to door-slamming, plate-smashing, top-of-the-lungs histrionics, but as a faithful filmed record of Letts’ play, one could have scarcely hoped for better.
  19. Nearly every detail sources directly back to Kaui Hart Hemmings' sensitively crafted novel, and yet, Payne's triumph is in striking the right tone -- and knowing what to leave unsaid.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Mercilessly satiric yet good-natured, this enormously entertaining slam dunk quite possibly is the most resonant Hollywood saga since the days of "Sunset Blvd." and "The Bad and the Beautiful."
    • Variety
  20. George Lucas has reached deep into the trove of his self-generated mythological world to produce a grand entertainment that offers a satisfying balance among the series' epic, narrative, technological and emotional qualities.
  21. Robert Greene's extraordinary collaboration with actress Brandy Burre is a playful, provocative examination of self-performance.
  22. The unresolvable tension between logic and feeling animates Eugene Green’s La Sapienza, an exquisite rumination on life, love and art that tickles the heart and mind in equal measure.
  23. Told with a blend of visual mastery and emotional intimacy, ambitious venture sustains a special melding of romance and pragmatism that should engage discerning audiences.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Absence of Malice is the flipside of All The President's Men, a splendidly disturbing look at the power of sloppy reporting to inflict harm on the innocent.
  24. Scorsese's heartfelt love letter to Italian movies up to 1961.
  25. A lovely slice of everything and nothing.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Abel Ferrara's uncompromising Bad Lieutenant is a harrowing journey observing a corrupt NY cop sink into the depths, with an extraordinary and uninhibited performance by Harvey Keitel in the title role.
  26. Technically superb and witty in an old-fashioned, veddy British way that will delight many adults but will sail over the heads of young audiences.
  27. Wonderfully acted and slickly mad. Acutely written with an eye to the motivations and ambiguities involved on both sides in such a relationship.
  28. A superbly wrought yarn set in the milieu of first-generation Russian mobsters in London that is simultaneously tough-minded and compassionate about the human condition, Eastern Promises instantly takes its place among David Cronenberg's very best films.
  29. Both fascinating as a glimpse at the not so distant past, and provocative as an account of what arguably was an early step in the decline of political discourse on television.
  30. Tickling Giants is a terrific movie that leaves you cherishing (a little more) the freedom we have, and holding in contempt (a little more) those who would compromise it. Mostly, the movie makes you understand how every society — and ours more than ever — needs people like Bassem Youssef to demonstrate that laughter will always be one of the essential ways to keep power in check.
  31. Smart, droll and dazzling to look at and listen to, writer-director Tony Gilroy's effervescent, intricately plotted puzzler proves in every way superior to his 2007 success "Michael Clayton."
  32. A triumph of indie casting of unknowns, Good Housekeeping is knee-deep in delicious thesping.
  33. The film proves a rousing, and ravishing, call-to-engineering-arms for future generations.
  34. If “Compton” is undeniably of the moment, it’s also timeless in its depiction of how artists and writers transform the world around them into angry, profane, vibrant and singular personal expression.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    [William Wyler] times the chuckles with a never-flagging pace, puts heart into the laughs, endows the footage with some boff bits of business and points up some tender, poignant scenes in using the smart script and the cast to the utmost advantage.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Joltingly violent, wickedly funny and rivetingly erotic, David Lynch's Wild at Heart [based on the novel by Barry Gifford] is a rollercoaster ride to redemption through an American gothic heart of darkness.
  35. Jaw-dropping, sumptuous visuals, a lush George Fenton score, state-of-the-art technology and some of the oddest creatures ever seen without recourse to artificial stimulants.
  36. Anita Rocha da Silveira’s arresting debut feature captures the queasy mix of desire and fear among kids who are sexually inexperienced, yet can think of little else. Pop kitsch, social satire, dreamy narrative unreliability and retro giallo-thriller vibes further flavor a movie at once bold and cryptic.
  37. A stunning feature -- another hypnotic meditation on popular demagogy and mental manipulation.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Bonello replies to the news with a magnetic and purely cinematic gesture.
  38. The poignant and candid Boys Don't Cry can be seen as a "Rebel Without a Cause" for these culturally diverse and complex times, with the two misfit girls enacting a version of the James Dean/Natalie Wood romance with utmost conviction.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A skilled, careful adaptation of a much-admired story, A River Runs Through It is a convincing trip back in time to a virtually vanished American West, as well as a nicely observed family study.
  39. Bold, inventive, sustained adrenaline rush of a movie.
  40. The dialogue — natural, vibrant and totally embedded in the moment, never sententious or showoff-y — is delivered with consummate believability by an excellent cast.
  41. Looking, not touching, is the act of choice for a sexually wary gay man in From Afar, and his hands-off approach is shared by the expert storytelling in Venezuelan helmer Lorenzo Vigas’ pristinely poised but deeply felt debut feature.
  42. A dazzling delight.
  43. Artistically on a plane with or near the vet filmmaker's best work, this period drama about a woman slowly discovering her metier is an artisanal creation par excellence.
  44. Paddington 2 is another near-pawfect family entertainment, honoring the cozy, can-do spirit of Bond’s stories while bringing them smoothly into a bustling, diverse 21st-century London — with space for some light anti-Brexit subtext to boot.
  45. An enthralling, gorgeously mounted depiction of the complicated relationship between the post-Enlightenment writer and philosopher Friedrich Schiller and the sisters Charlotte von Lengefeld (who would become his wife) and Caroline von Beulwitz (his eventual biographer).
  46. With beauty, brains and dignity to burn, Hafsat Abiola inherits her mother’s mantle and offers riveting insight into the contradictions of a dynasty of reformist aristocracy.
  47. Massively inventive and spiked with perversely wicked humor.
  48. Departing from two decades' worth of domestic and personal dramas and returning to his roots as Japan's maestro of mayhem, Kinji Fukasaku has delivered a brutal punch to the collective solar plexus with one of his most outrageous and timely films.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The Natural is an impeccably made, but quite strange, fable about success and failure in America. Redford is perfectly cast as the wary, guarded Hobbs.
    • Variety
  49. Pacing is on the button, and the film moves inexorably, without any flat moments, toward the suspenseful, if morally indefensible, finale.
  50. Without any fuss, Lipitz has made a film deeply rooted in intergenerational relationships between women.
  51. A faithful, powerful and superbly acted adaptation of Andre Dubus III's international bestseller.
  52. By getting Tyson to open up as he has, Toback has succeeded in illuminating one of the most polarizing, complex and -- the film almost forces one to admit -- misunderstood figures of our time.
  53. The film beguiles with its bravura but it’s a deliberately punishing journey, made by a male Cassandra impelled to point out his nation’s destruction yet sadly aware that it’s too late to change the tide of history.
  54. If Johnny Depp’s mesmerizing performance — a bracing return to form for the star after a series of critical and commercial misfires — is the chief selling point of Black Mass, there is much else to recommend this sober, sprawling, deeply engrossing evocation of Bulger’s South Boston fiefdom and his complex relationship with the FBI agent John Connolly, played with equally impressive skill by Joel Edgerton.
  55. Sad, tender, wise and beautiful film... It's a profound tribute to lives lived on the fringes of society -- to the introspective loners who are the most observant chroniclers of our times.
  56. Exhaustively informative and powerfully emotional.
  57. Film gathers together only those who knew, loved and made music with "the quiet Beatle."
  58. An impressively crafted drama laced with darkly comic humor.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Poignant, thoughtful and utterly absorbing, Susanne Bier's Dogme film Open Hearts is a gem.
  59. A dynamic and immersive piece of you-are-there verite.
  60. The director has managed the difficult feat of making a nonlinear film that contains a handful of almost unbearably suspenseful sequences, each one undercut by bizarre black humor.
  61. A "GoodFellas" with heart, A Bronx Tale represents a wonderfully vivid snapshot of a colorful place and time, as well as a very satisfying directorial debut by Robert De Niro. Overflowing with behavioral riches and the flavor of a deep-dyed New York Italian neighborhood, the film also trades intelligently in pertinent moral and social issues that raise it above the level of nostalgia or the mere memoir.
  62. Gripping, intimate genre triumph.
  63. Like hard-edged "Masterpiece Theater."
  64. The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a visionary tour de force, morphing from a childlike gambol into a sophisticated allegory on the folly of materialism and the evanescence of beauty.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Crass, broad, irreverent, wacky fun - and absolutely hilarious from beginning to end.
  65. Amy Berg's clear, captivating, indignant film carves out its own significant place in criminal-justice cinema, makes new and startling revelations into the triple-murder mystery, and is visually spectacular to boot.
  66. Similar in its battlefield passages to last year's Danish-made "Armadillo," Dennis' film scores a layered perspective that follows Marine Sgt. Nathan Harris into combat and back home.
  67. Repulsive and sublimely beautiful, arguably celebratory and damning of its characters, it’s hideous and masterful all at once, “Salo” with sunburn.
  68. Had James Thurber worked in animation, the waggish result might look and sound a bit like It’s Such a Beautiful Day, indie cartoonist Don Hertzfeldt’s alternately poignant and absurdist triptych.
  69. Wohlatz’s sensitivity to language, the way it’s used and how the ability to express oneself literally changes the manner in which we deal with the world around us, is subtly yet rigorously demonstrated, not just with the words and tenses themselves but how they’re spoken.
  70. Does a superb job of condensing an overwhelming mass of documentation, archival imagery and artistic representation into a concise yet passionate history lesson whose relevance could not be timelier.
  71. Lensed with a complete absence of frills that perfectly suits its honest, unvarnished tone, The Overnighters presents an indelible snapshot of a despairing moment in American history, as men abandon homes, families and dreams to stake their claim in an ever-shrinking land of opportunity.
  72. Emerges as the best in the overall series since "The Empire Strikes Back."
  73. Downsizing is an ingenious comedy of scale, a touching tale of a man whose problems grow bigger as he gets smaller, and an earnest environmental parable.
  74. Cooper seems to make actors feel safe and willing to expose themselves in ways they ordinarily might not, and time and again he takes scenes to places of unexpected emotional power.
  75. Taken together, "Flags" and "Letters" represent a genuinely imposing achievement, one that looks at war unflinchingly -- that does not deny its necessity but above all laments the human loss it entails.
  76. Rush and Tucci create a captivating portrait of an artist who’s at once elated, haunted, and utterly possessed.
  77. It’s poised between reality and paranoid daydream, it’s about the dangerous ways that love can go wrong, and it does the thing that noir was invented to do: It sucks you in.
  78. Moverman balances the potential for staginess with his flowing cinematic bravura; he keeps surprising you, and he gives the drama a dash of poison elegance.
  79. If necessity is the mother of invention, then DreamWorks’ desire to extend the Dragon franchise has propelled the creative team in the most admirable of directions, resulting in what just may be the mother of all animated sequels.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Despite its p.c., humanistic overtones, the film manages to integrate the humor and action of a kid’s adventure tale and the message of a political allegory without beingheavy-handed.
  80. A period drama marbled with humor, bold gestures and bittersweet consequences.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Out of the elusive, but curiously intoxicating Truman Capote fiction, scenarist George Axelrod has developed a surprisingly moving film, touched up into a stunningly visual motion picture.
  81. Enormously satisfying, superbly crafted.
  82. Finally. After "The Phantom of the Opera," "Rent" and "The Producers" botched the transfer from stage to screen, Dreamgirls gets it right. Bill Condon's adaptation of the 1981 show about a Motown trio's climb to crossover stardom pulls off the fundamental double-act those three musical pics all missed: It stays true to the source material while standing on its own as a fully reimagined movie.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Jesús investigates the darkest side of adolescence, raising a number of moral questions without providing easy answers. The top-notch cast is the icing on the cake, with Goic stoically embodying Chile’s hopes and failures while young Durán mesmerizes with his stunning androgyny.
  83. Ingeniously conceived and impressively executed, Pleasantville is a provocative, complex and surprisingly anti-nostalgic parable.
  84. Has a sharper narrative focus and a livelier sense of forward movement than did the more episodic "Fellowship."
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    An Officer and a Gentleman deserves a 21-gun salute, maybe 42. Rarely does a film come along with so many finely-drawn characters to care about.
  85. Berg’s interviews with past members of the polygamy-practicing Mormon denomination make for damning testimony, but the lasting power of “Prey” is its grim insight into the mentality of the deceived, and its despairing recognition that spiritual and psychological bondage doesn’t end simply by putting a monster behind bars.

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