Variety's Scores

For 8,270 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 53% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 44% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.9 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Vera Drake
Lowest review score: 0 Persecuted
Score distribution:
8,270 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
  3. 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.
    • 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  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.
  9. Though the film brims with memorable characters, the show ultimately belongs to Ejiofor, who upholds the character’s dignity throughout.
    • 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.
  10. 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.
    • 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Continues Fincher's fascinating transition from genre filmmaker extraordinaire to indelible chronicler of our times.
  14. 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.
  15. Tense and narratively complex, formally dense and morally challenging.
  16. The Dardennes once again find a richness of human experience that dwarfs most movies made on an epic canvas.
  17. 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
    • 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Had the aura of an instant classic when it was released, and the good news is that it looks at least that good, if not better, on the eve of its 20th anniversary reissue.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A spectacularly entertaining piece of pop culture, Pulp Fiction is the "American Graffiti" of violent crime pictures.
    • Variety
  20. A triumph on every creative level, from casting to execution.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Paley sustains a consistently funny, sometimes even self-deprecatory comic tone.
  24. Walks a fine line between the rarefied and the immediately accessible as it explores new territory for animation, yet remains sufficiently crowd-pleasing.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    It's a dedicated effort with importance as a 'document.' (Review of original release)
  25. A beautifully observed, small-scale study of personal foibles, romantic uncertainty and two sides of the sadly predictable male animal.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. Bravura narrative filmmaking on a hugely ambitious scale, Carlos is a spectacular achievement.
  29. A fascinatingly fractured glimpse into a disengaged mind and a biopic-in-reverse of its subject, quite unlike any documentary seen before.
  30. 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.
  31. Brilliance of the action and effects are supplemented by a consistently superior and resourceful score by Tan Dun.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Evinces an artistic rigor and unsentimental intelligence unlike anything the world's most successful filmmaker has demonstrated before.
    • 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)
  32. Like the film itself, Porter’s handful of devoted, charismatic attorneys do a righteous job of reminding people that the accused are innocent until proven guilty, and that the criminal justice system seems otherwise disposed.
    • 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.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A dramatically moving and technically breathtaking American art film, one of the great cinematic achievements of the 1970s.
  33. A frank, intimate look at a phenomenal popular artist and his extraordinarily dysfunctional family, Crumb is an excellent countercultural documentary.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  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.
    • 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.
  37. 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.
    • 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.
  38. Boldly and magnificently strange, There Will Be Blood marks a significant departure in the work of Paul Thomas Anderson.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. A stunning feature -- another hypnotic meditation on popular demagogy and mental manipulation.
  43. This tertiary adventure delivers welcome yet nonessential fun, landing well after its creators have grown up and succeeded toying with more sophisticated stories.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. As in “Water Lilies” and “Tomboy” before this, Sciamma pushes past superficial anthropological study to deliver a vital, nonjudgmental character study.
  47. This richly textured parable feels every inch the work of a master.
  48. The first-ever screenplay written in the Inuit language, Inuktitut -- and the first time's a charm.
  49. It etches a sweet, sad and solemnly fatalistic love story between feeding times.
  50. 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.
    • 91 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.
  51. 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.
  52. It’s a familiar tale, but one told by Perry with immense filmmaking verve and novelistic flourish, and acted by an exceptional ensemble cast.
  53. Almost completely dialogue-free but graced with terrific sound design and a swell score.
  54. 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)
    • 91 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.
  55. The alternately playful and elegiac Stories We Tell is wholly of a piece with her fiction work, and just as rewarding.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Combines a forceful statement on race relations with solid entertainment values.
  56. 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.
  57. 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.
  58. While no film from the narrow perspective of Israeli intelligence could purport to offer a thorough view of the conflict, what makes The Gatekeepers ultimately so compelling is its pervasive sense of moral ambiguity.
    • 90 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.
  59. Plentiful screen time for three generations of femme jazzers, led by energetic and witty gals from the golden age of big band and swing who unlock a treasure trove of memories, make this a real crowdpleaser.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The cinema of paranoia and persecution reaches an apogee in After Hours, a nightmarish black comedy from Martin Scorsese. Anxiety-ridden picture would have been pretty funny if it didn't play like a confirmation of everyone's worst fears about contemporary urban life.
  60. An astonishingly good and daring film that richly develops several intertwined thematic lines, The Crying Game takes giant risks that are stunningly rewarded.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    A dazzlingly successful addition to his (Kurosawa's) distinguished career.
  61. 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.
  62. Raw but utterly enveloping.
  63. An irresistible treat with enough narrative twists and memorable characters for a half-dozen films.
  64. A weightier, more nuanced and fulsome experience than the film the world has known up to now.
  65. A stunning work, revisiting controversial events with journalistic objectivity and a meticulous eye for detail.
  66. Scorsese's heartfelt love letter to Italian movies up to 1961.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    A curious amalgam of the visually striking, the dramatically feeble and the offensively sadistic.
  67. What the film lacks in context it gains in visceral eyewitness value.
  68. 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.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Badlands is a unique American fairy tale...and it's an impressive debut.
    • Variety

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