Variety's Scores

For 8,238 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 Lone Star
Lowest review score: 0 Persecuted
Score distribution:
8,238 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
    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
    • 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)
  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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
    • 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Continues Fincher's fascinating transition from genre filmmaker extraordinaire to indelible chronicler of our times.
  12. 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.
  13. Tense and narratively complex, formally dense and morally challenging.
  14. The Dardennes once again find a richness of human experience that dwarfs most movies made on an epic canvas.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Paley sustains a consistently funny, sometimes even self-deprecatory comic tone.
  20. A beautifully observed, small-scale study of personal foibles, romantic uncertainty and two sides of the sadly predictable male animal.
  21. 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.
  22. Bravura narrative filmmaking on a hugely ambitious scale, Carlos is a spectacular achievement.
  23. A fascinatingly fractured glimpse into a disengaged mind and a biopic-in-reverse of its subject, quite unlike any documentary seen before.
  24. 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.
  25. 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)
  26. 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.
    • 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.
  27. A frank, intimate look at a phenomenal popular artist and his extraordinarily dysfunctional family, Crumb is an excellent countercultural documentary.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. Boldly and magnificently strange, There Will Be Blood marks a significant departure in the work of Paul Thomas Anderson.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. A stunning feature -- another hypnotic meditation on popular demagogy and mental manipulation.
  36. 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.
  37. As in “Water Lilies” and “Tomboy” before this, Sciamma pushes past superficial anthropological study to deliver a vital, nonjudgmental character study.
  38. This richly textured parable feels every inch the work of a master.
  39. The first-ever screenplay written in the Inuit language, Inuktitut -- and the first time's a charm.
    • 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.
  40. 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.
  41. It’s a familiar tale, but one told by Perry with immense filmmaking verve and novelistic flourish, and acted by an exceptional ensemble cast.
  42. 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
    • 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. Raw but utterly enveloping.
  49. An irresistible treat with enough narrative twists and memorable characters for a half-dozen films.
  50. A weightier, more nuanced and fulsome experience than the film the world has known up to now.
  51. A stunning work, revisiting controversial events with journalistic objectivity and a meticulous eye for detail.
  52. Scorsese's heartfelt love letter to Italian movies up to 1961.
  53. What the film lacks in context it gains in visceral eyewitness value.
  54. 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.
  55. Taped in stark black-and-white and clocking in 15 minutes shy of six hours, invigorating pic is big, passionate and brimming with compelling human details and broad sociopolitical idealism.
  56. Standing at his balcony, filming the revelry with his iPhone, he seems to be saying that directing is more defiant an act than lighting a firecracker or two. Truth be told, Panahi's poignant "Film" is infinitely more explosive.
  57. This beautifully crafted and lively romp around the 1880s stage world should enjoy its longest life as a vid classic.
  58. Devilishly inventive and so far out there it's almost off the scale.
  59. As deliriously smart escapist fare, The Incredibles is practically nonpareil.
  60. 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.
    • 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.
  61. 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.
  62. Taking advantage of a splendid cast, a sharply focused script and the fresh English setting, "Gosford Park" emerges as one of the most satisfying of Robert Altman's numerous ensemble pictures.
  63. The result is a tense, documentary-style drama that methodically builds a sense of dread despite the preordained outcome.
  64. A gemlike picture crafted with rare and immaculate precision.
  65. There's a kind of rawness on the screen that most movies never approach.
  66. It’s a rich, glorious mess, and its underlying craftsmanship is apparent in the characters’ beautifully delineated relationships, each with its own jangly rhythm and distinct feel.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Nicholson plays the character with personal flair, as penetrating as Antonioni's handling of the film. (Review of Original Release)
  67. This autobiographical tour de force is completely accessible and art of a very high order.
  68. At nearly six hours, pic's extreme length lets Giordana and screenwriters Sandro Petraglia and Stefano Rulli build up a novelistic rhythm, pulling the audience so deeply and forcefully into their story that it becomes like a enveloping dream; when it's over, parting with the characters is truly sweet and sorrowful.
  69. Lee takes a conventional, talking-heads-and-archival-clips approach to the material, but rewardingly establishes an intimate connection with his subjects by devoting considerable time to the personalities and families of the four victims.
    • 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.
  70. One of the most wildly entertaining docs of recent years.
  71. 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.
  72. Utterly engrossing dual-character study, unfolding with a serene disregard for indie quirkiness, Goodbye Solo radiates authenticity.
  73. The Piano confirms Campion as a major talent, an uncompromising filmmaker with a very personal and specific vision.
  74. If films about coping with memory loss and/or reverse-order storytelling now constitute a mini-genre, then Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is arguably the best of the lot.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    In every respect it is outstanding.
  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.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    An outstanding rock documentary.
  76. Dramatically spellbinding and intellectually stimulating, picture abstractly manipulates multiple layers of representation to shattering effect.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Chillingly hilarious.

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