Variety's Scores

For 10,026 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 45% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Man on Wire
Lowest review score: 0 Dirty Grandpa
Score distribution:
10026 movie reviews
  1. This is one vintage film that fully lives up to its classic status and should play with outstanding success to contemporary audiences of all ages.
    • 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.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Overlong at about 175 minutes (played without intermission), and occasionally confusing. While never so placid as to be boring, it is never so gripping as be superior screen drama.
    • 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)
  2. With Boyhood, Linklater has created an uncanny time capsule, inviting auds to relive their own upbringing through a series of artificial memories pressed like flowers between the pages of a family photo album.
  3. 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.
    • 100 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's a no-holds-barred account of the sadistic fourth estater played cunningly by Burt Lancaster.
    • 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)
    • 99 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    This start for Gregory as producer and Laughton as director is rich in promise but the completed product, bewitching at times, loses sustained drive via too many offbeat touches that have a misty effect.
  4. A socially conscious work of art as essential as it is insightful.
  5. Even as he beguiles us with mystery, Guadagnino recreates Elio’s life-changing summer with such intensity that we might as well be experiencing it first-hand. It’s a rare gift that earns him a place in the pantheon alongside such masters of sensuality as Pedro Amodóvar and François Ozon, while putting “Call Me by Your Name” on par with the best of their work.
    • 98 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Interesting movement holds through the entirety. Life in the native quarter, with its squalor and intrigues, is particularly well presented and photographed.
  6. There's plenty of blood -- both literal and figurative -- coursing through the veins of Pan's Labyrinth, a richly imagined and exquisitely violent fantasy from writer-director Guillermo del Toro.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Film is done in the grand manner of silent-day spectacles with sweep and breadth of action, swordplay and hand-to-hand battles between Norman and Saxon barons.
  9. 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.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Ran
    It’s a dazzlingly successful addition to [Kurosawa's] distinguished career.
  10. Though the film brims with memorable characters, the show ultimately belongs to Ejiofor, who upholds the character’s dignity throughout.
  11. 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.
  12. Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro is the rare movie that might be called a spiritual documentary.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Producer and screenwriter have added enough fictional flesh to provide director William Friedkin and his overall topnotch cast with plenty of material, and they make the most of it.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    George C. Scott as the fiery Pentagon general who seizes on the crisis as a means to argue for total annihilation of Russia offers a top performance, one of the best in the film. Odd as it may seem in this backdrop, he displays a fine comedy touch.
  13. 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.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    A wacky, offbeat piece of filming, charged with vitality, and inventiveness by director Dick Lester.
  14. 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.
    • 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.
  15. Even high expectations don’t quite prepare you for the startling impact of Carol, an exquisitely drawn, deeply felt love story that teases out every shadow and nuance of its characters’ inner lives with supreme intelligence, breathtaking poise and filmmaking craft of the most sophisticated yet accessible order.
  16. The very good news is that, in addition to stylistic innovation, the film sports a provocative and appealing story that's every bit the equal of this technical achievement.
  17. Continues Fincher's fascinating transition from genre filmmaker extraordinaire to indelible chronicler of our times.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's a dedicated effort with importance as a 'document.' (Review of original release)
  18. Far more ambitious than "The Hurt Locker," yet nowhere near so tripwire-tense, this procedure-driven, decade-spanning docudrama nevertheless rivets for most of its running time.
  19. Tense and narratively complex, formally dense and morally challenging.
  20. 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
  21. Above all, 45 Years is a drama of quiet restraint.
    • 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.
  22. 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.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A spectacularly entertaining piece of pop culture, Pulp Fiction is the "American Graffiti" of violent crime pictures.
    • Variety
  23. Leigh has made another highly personal study of art, commerce and the glacial progress of establishment tastes, built around a lead performance from longtime Leigh collaborator Timothy Spall that’s as majestic as one of Turner’s own swirling sunsets.
  24. Boal's script stirs a little of everything into the pot, which boils down into seven setpieces divided by brief intervals of camaraderie/conflict among the three protags.
  25. Walks a fine line between the rarefied and the immediately accessible as it explores new territory for animation, yet remains sufficiently crowd-pleasing.
  26. A beautifully observed, small-scale study of personal foibles, romantic uncertainty and two sides of the sadly predictable male animal.
  27. We Were Here concentrates on the impressive way a collective of disenfranchised individuals came together to support one another in this time of crisis. In that respect, the title has dual meanings, referring to both the film's "Shoah"-like survivors' testimony and the fact that the gay community was there for one another at a time that government and medicine were slow to respond.
  28. The film takes precisely as much time as it needs for its muddled, maddeningly human characters, played with extraordinary courage and invention by Peter Simonischek and Sandra Hüller, to find their way into each other, and so into themselves.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. Bravura narrative filmmaking on a hugely ambitious scale, Carlos is a spectacular achievement.
  32. A fascinatingly fractured glimpse into a disengaged mind and a biopic-in-reverse of its subject, quite unlike any documentary seen before.
  33. This visually lush but sometimes ponderously slowfilm is a poetic saga of love and loss.
  34. Considering Haneke's confrontational past, this poignantly acted, uncommonly tender two-hander makes a doubly powerful statement about man's capacity for dignity and sensitivity when confronted with the inevitable cruelty of nature.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The Servant is for the most part strong dramatic fare, though the atmosphere and tension is not fully sustained to the end.
  35. Brilliance of the action and effects are supplemented by a consistently superior and resourceful score by Tan Dun.
  36. Like so many films consumed with the minutiae of daily journalism, Spotlight is a magnificently nerdy process movie — a tour de force of filing-cabinet cinema, made with absolute assurance that we’ll be held by scene after scene of people talking, taking notes, following tips, hounding sources, poring over records, filling out spreadsheets, and having one door after another slammed in their faces.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Evinces an artistic rigor and unsentimental intelligence unlike anything the world's most successful filmmaker has demonstrated before.
  37. La La Land isn’t a masterpiece (and on some level it wants to be). Yet it’s an exciting ramble of a movie, ardent and full of feeling, passionate but also exquisitely — at times overly — controlled.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The performances are uniformly excellent. Mastroianni is perfect in the key role of the basically good and honest boy who succumbs to the sweet life. Ekberg is a revelation as the visiting star, while Furneaux almost runs off with the picture as the reporter's instinctive, possessive mistress. (Review of original release)
  38. This film from experienced Aussie documaker Jennifer Peedom packs an emotional punch to match its awe-inspiring imagery.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Those seeking the Bunuel touches of black humor, digs at Church and Establishment, irreverence and criticism, and an overall condemnation of Spanish mores and hypocrisy, will find a modicum of scenes here to titillate their palates. Yet Bunuel, despite occasional digs, has remained more or less respectful.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Loaded with pleasures, the greatest of which derive from the on location filming in Prague, the most 18th century of all European cities.
  39. Paley sustains a consistently funny, sometimes even self-deprecatory comic tone.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A dramatically moving and technically breathtaking American art film, one of the great cinematic achievements of the 1970s.
  40. A frank, intimate look at a phenomenal popular artist and his extraordinarily dysfunctional family, Crumb is an excellent countercultural documentary.
  41. Inside Llewyn Davis is a revelatory showcase for Isaac, who sings with an angelic voice and turns a potentially unlikable character into a consistently relatable, unmistakably human presence — a reminder that humility and genius rarely make for comfortable bedfellows.
  42. If it’s sometimes a rambling, indulgent experience, it’s also a beautiful one.
  43. Most compelling in its attempts to re-create the experience of paralysis onscreen, gorgeously lensed pic morphs into a dreamlike collage of memories and fantasies, distancing the viewer somewhat from Bauby's consciousness even as it seeks to take one deeper.
  44. 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.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    But the boxing sequences are possibly the best ever filmed, and the film captures the intensity of a boxer's life with considerable force.
  45. Claire Denis’ latest may appear whisper-thin on the surface, yet it’s marvelously profound, illuminating the love between a father and daughter but also highlighting the difficulty of relinquishing what most people spend a lifetime putting into place.
  46. What City of Ghosts does best is to humanize those who’ve suffered most from the conflict in Syria, educating us through both outrage and compassion.
    • 92 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.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The ending is happy, but the general effect of the film is disturbing, so compelling is De Sica's description of a man's solitude.
  47. 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.
  48. Boldly and magnificently strange, There Will Be Blood marks a significant departure in the work of Paul Thomas Anderson.
  49. Looks to please the book's legions of fans with its imaginatively scrupulous rendering of the tome's characters and worlds on the screen, as well as the uninitiated with its uninterrupted flow of incident and spectacle.
  50. The novelty of helmer Gardner’s approach to 9/11, her insider’s look at the almost unimaginable difficulties faced by Cantor Fitzgerald in the weeks following the attack, and the abundance of coverage spanning 10 years of inhouse interactions more than compensate for the docu’s occasional unevenness.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Steven Spielberg's film climaxes in final 35 minutes with an almost ethereal confrontation with life forms from another world; the first 100 minutes, however, are somewhat redundant in exposition and irritating in tone.
  51. It’s fitting that Kasper Collin’s excellent documentary I Called Him Morgan, a sleek, sorrowful elegy for the prodigiously gifted, tragically slain bop trumpeter Lee Morgan, is as much a visual and textural triumph as it is a gripping feat of reportage.
  52. This is the director’s most accessible and naturalistic film, using everyday characters to test how well modern-day Russia is maintaining the social contract with its citizens.
  53. The Ornithologist is deliciously subversive and genuinely funny.
  54. A stunning feature -- another hypnotic meditation on popular demagogy and mental manipulation.
  55. This tertiary adventure delivers welcome yet nonessential fun, landing well after its creators have grown up and succeeded toying with more sophisticated stories.
  56. Imamura's square-framed, black-and-white imagery, in all its various stylistic incarnations, proves as compelling through the docu's myriad detours as in any of his better-known psychological thrillers.
  57. So involving is the raw content of The Look of Silence that some might view its formal elegance as mere luxury, yet the film reveals Oppenheimer to be a documentary stylist of evolving grace and sophistication.
  58. A gripping dramatic reconstruction, a tribute to the heroes and the fallen, and inevitably an expression of nostalgia for the days when a mass shooting still had the power to shock, Keith Maitland’s film weaves rotoscopic animation, archival footage and present-day interviews into a uniquely cinematic memorial.
  59. This richly textured parable feels every inch the work of a master.
  60. The thoughts may not be profound, but they are profoundly true to life,and the writer-director’s approach to young people’s concerns is remarkably universal and timeless.
  61. The first-ever screenplay written in the Inuit language, Inuktitut -- and the first time's a charm.
  62. Almost completely dialogue-free but graced with terrific sound design and a swell score.
  63. Tradition and informality collide -- and mutually benefit -- in the deliciously written and expertly played The Queen.
    • 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)
  64. 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.
  65. The alternately playful and elegiac Stories We Tell is wholly of a piece with her fiction work, and just as rewarding.
  66. There are some unsatisfactory elements–slow spots occur during the middle stretch, the mild anti-establishment stance is getting to be a bit cliche and one never knows whether E.T.’s mortal illness is physical or psychological in nature, or both. But, as with “Close Encounters,” the truly lovely and moving ending more than makes up for everything. Chalk up another smash for Spielberg.
  67. Even at its conclusion, Holmer’s film refuses to provide easy answers regarding its meaning, instead using poised formal techniques to impart that which is not spoken — and, in the process, portends impressive things to come from its confident, capable director.
  68. A film of quiet but profound outrage, laughing on the surface, but howling in anger just beneath.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Combines a forceful statement on race relations with solid entertainment values.
  69. It's these surreal touches, deployed with tactical restraint, that make the picture extraordinary and convey the febrile atmosphere of warfare, where by fear, horror -- and later guilt -- distort and distend perception and memory.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Unquestionably a finely observed, deeply felt work, though with some nagging problems in pacing and structure.
    • 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.
  70. A scorching blast of tense genre filmmaking shot through with rich veins of melancholy, down-home philosophy and dark, dark humor, No Country for Old Men reps a superior match of source material and filmmaking talent.

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