Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,252 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 41% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 57% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 2.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Mother
Lowest review score: 0 Henry Fool
Score distribution:
2,252 movie reviews
  1. The silents, as this film suggests, achieved aesthetic marvels before sound came along to set things back for a while.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    What's most memorable, most striking about Superbad is the canny evocation of male friendship in all its richness and complexity.
  2. Ms. Berg's film, which she wrote with Billy McMillin, tells the story with unprecedented clarity. She has a dramatist's eye for what was irretrievably lost-the innocent lives of the children, plus 18 years of three other innocent lives.
  3. A film that asks its audience to invest serious thought, and in return, bestows serious pleasure.
    • Wall Street Journal
  4. This is a woman's work in the best sense -- empathetic, inferentially erotic and delicately intuitive, as well as fiercely intelligent.
    • Wall Street Journal
  5. It is marvelously funny - a screwball comedy with more layers than a pearl - and visually sumptuous.
  6. Whatever thematic clarity the added footage may confer is prosaic or didactic and intrusive; this stuff hit the cutting-room floor the first time around for good reason.
    • Wall Street Journal
  7. A dazzlingly smart and entertaining animated feature by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, looks like a black-and-white graphic novel come to life.
  8. Daring in concept, occasionally daffy in execution and ultimately unforgettable, Mr. Malick's film offers a heartfelt answer to the question of where we humans belong - with each other, on this planet, bound by love.
  9. We need 007, even after half a century of his ups and downs in various incarnations, to remind us how deeply pleasurable an action thriller can be. The latest addition to the Bond canon goes beyond thrilling into chilling and enthralling, plus a kind of stirring that has nothing to do with martinis.
  10. Footnote does function as a character study, an exceptionally rich one.
  11. Star Trek goes back to the legend's roots with a boldness that brings a fatigued franchise back to life.
  12. Who doesn't need what this movie has to give?
    • Wall Street Journal
  13. This wonderfully strange and exquisite little feature was created, especially for young children, to celebrate the book through another kind of illumination that's been falling into disuse--hand-drawn animation.
  14. Philippe Claudel gives his heroine unusual depth, which Kristin Scott Thomas reveals with unusual passion.
  15. A stunning drama that's distinguished by a magnificent performance; the most powerful scenes are those that play, as recollection or confession, on Lena Endre's lovely face.
    • Wall Street Journal
  16. This film is extraordinary on several counts: its knowledge of an arcane trade (Mr. Cohen ran his family's diamond business after his father died); its fondness for telling good life stories; and, above all, its superb starring performance.
    • Wall Street Journal
  17. The dialogue in "Broadcast News" is so quick and clever I wanted to see the movie again the minute it ended because I knew I couldn't have possibly caught it all. I caught most of it though, and certainly enough to know that this is one terrific movie. [15 Dec 1987, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  18. With its sumptuous settings, urgent romance and intellectual substance, A Royal Affair is a mind-opener crossed with a bodice-ripper.
  19. No
    Like "Argo" or "Zero Dark Thirty," the film dramatizes a fertile subject — in this instance, the language of advertising in modern politics.
  20. I’ve long been a fan of IMAX nature documentaries, but Humpback Whales, directed by Greg MacGillivray, is something special.
  21. Proves to be a remarkably lean and incisive film about the fateful power of sexuality.
    • Wall Street Journal
  22. The greatest fascination is watching these three people when they're planted firmly inside the frame, talking at cross-purposes while trying to perceive one another in the reflected light of their needs and risky assumptions.
  23. Liam Neeson has never had a richer character to play on screen -- including his landmark role in "Schindler's List" -- and has never displayed such formidable energy and virtuosity.
    • Wall Street Journal
  24. Yet it's not just the visuals that make the movie what it is, a thrilling, if also punishing, tale of heroic endurance. The Impossible, based on a true story, derives most of its impressive power from two remarkable performances: Naomi Watts as Maria, and Tom Holland as Lucas.
  25. Movies as strong and provocative as this one are a special pleasure.
    • Wall Street Journal
  26. A delicately poetic, essentially plotless vision, unblinking but not unhopeful, of life in Watts, where little but the ghetto's name recognition had changed a decade after the riots.
    • Wall Street Journal
  27. A drama of uncommon moral complexity, unexpected humor, convincing transformations (for good and bad) and, best of all, vibrant, unpredictable energy. In a movie landscape littered with dead souls, here's a live one.
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. A moveable feast of delights.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A deeply moving story of resilience and redemption.
  29. Pieces of April would deserve your attention and respect even if all these colorful threads didn't come together into a luminous whole. But they do, beautifully and unaffectedly, because what's been on Mr. Hedges's mind is not just a comedy of alienation but a drama of acceptance and reconciliation.
    • Wall Street Journal
  30. The right word for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is wondersful -- as in full of wonders, great and small.
    • Wall Street Journal
  31. Marvelously smart, funny and entertaining film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  32. The film takes itself frivolously when that's appropriate--some of it is charmingly silly--and seriously when, as is often the case, all sorts of good surprises are unleashed.
  33. It's a tone poem, really, less concerned with conventional action than with exploring themes of love and commitment through understated performances, sumptuous images (Bradford Young did the cinematography), lovely music (Daniel Hart composed the score) and very few words, intoned elegiacally.
  34. Here's one vote for the most affecting, anguishing, revealing and prophetic scene of the movie year-and yes, it's all of those things at once in a powerful film that alternates between moments of earlier happiness and later pain.
  35. Frances Ha also marks the rare instance in which an actress has the perfect role at the perfect time. Ms. Gerwig's work here is fragile, delicate, subject to bruising; something that could wither under too much attention. Perhaps Ms. Gerwig is the greatest actress alive. And maybe Frances Ha is just the ghost orchid of independent cinema.
  36. Mr. Quaid has long been a reliably likable actor, but this time he pitches a perfect performance -- no frills, no tricks, not a single false note -- in a film that's true to its stirring subject, and to the sweetest traditions of the game.
    • Wall Street Journal
  37. Viggo Mortensen's performance is flat-out brilliant, and this relentlessly dramatic thriller represents a mid-life growth spurt for its director, David Cronenberg.
  38. Seduces us with its leisurely pace and felicitous details into believing that something miraculous is afoot in a mundane rural community.
    • Wall Street Journal
  39. A smart, funny and strangely touching film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  40. This exquisite film by the Swedish master Jan Troell is about seeing clearly, and fearlessly. It's also about subdued passion, the birth of an artist and a woman's struggle to live her own life.
  41. Terrifically funny and remarkably wise, a comedy that speaks volumes, without a polemical word, about the tension between rigid politics of any stripe and the imperatives of life and love.
    • Wall Street Journal
  42. Shrewdly conceived, confidently executed and outrageously entertaining.
    • Wall Street Journal
  43. Calmly, almost serenely, Mr. Van Sant and his superb cinematographer, Harris Savides, reveal a vision of contemporary American youth quite unlike any other.
    • Wall Street Journal
  44. Thrillers aren't always so thrilling, but Tell No One is -- and absorbing, sometimes perplexing and often stirring as well.
  45. Smart, surpassingly odd, extremely funny and mysteriously endearing at the same time.
    • Wall Street Journal
  46. This classic tale of a little guy taking on giants benefits from being essentially true, and from accomplished filmmaking, but most of all from the beautiful vitality of Mr. McConaughey's performance.
  47. A glorious feature-length documentary -- This film will leave an indentment, and a deep one, on anyone who loves great, joyous music and cares about the people who make it.
    • Wall Street Journal
  48. This portrait of a failing marriage is one of the summer's great discoveries, and a marvel of mercurial intimacy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  49. A movie of uns — unforced, unhurried, unpretentious. Though it's sometimes underdramatized, this story of adolescents on the brink of adulthood is refreshingly, and endearingly, unlike the overheated features that have come to define the genre.
  50. Beautiful moments abound. In Departures, the contemplation of death prepares the way for an appreciation of life.
  51. Almost everything about Cary Fukunaga's version of the Charlotte Brontë romance is understated yet transfixing, mainly-although far from exclusively-because of Mia Wasikowska's presence in the title role.
  52. What's most rewarding, though, is that Mr. Senna speaks extensively and eloquently for himself, and reveals himself to be an eminently human hero. He's thoughtful, even philosophical, about decisions that deprive him of seemingly well-earned victories.
  53. I can't pretend to understand the intricacies of the Buddhist belief system that informs the surreal story, or the fantasy system in which Boonmee, embodying Thailand, recalls his nation's history and shimmering myths. Yet no effort of understanding is needed to be moved by Boonmee's descent into a limestone cave shaped like a womb.
  54. This "Les Mis" does make you feel, intensely and sometimes thrillingly, by honoring the emotional core of its source material.
  55. The Grandmaster, may well be the definitive illustration of kung fu in all its arcane schools and intricate styles. There's never been anything like it — a seemingly endless flow of spectacular images in a story about Ip Man (Tony Leung), the legendary kung-fu master who trained Bruce Lee.
  56. What Mr. Hou has done is borrow power and some gentle intimations of a state of grace from one of the most enchanting images in movie history.
  57. This is a debut feature, though you'd never know it from the filmmaker's commandingly confident style, or from the heartbreaking beauty -- heartbreaking, then heartmending -- of Melissa Leo's performance as a poor single mother who's living her whole life on thin ice.
  58. Years after its initial release, Ornette: Made in America, part of Milestone's continuing "Project Shirley," still feels fresh - its moves always surprising, yet always somehow perfect.
  59. The links and resonances remain largely abstract -- to understand them isn't necessarily to be moved by them -- while the individual dramas of those three lives are often stirring, and the three starring performances are unforgettable.
    • Wall Street Journal
  60. A magnificent documentary that flies us along with migratory birds on their intercontinental travels, it's the polar opposite -- North Pole, South Pole and all latitudes in between -- of modern feature films that rely on special effects.
    • Wall Street Journal
  61. Short Term 12, a low-budget feature only 96 minutes long, is a big deal on a small scale: for what it reveals of Mr. Cretton as a filmmaker — especially as a storyteller, and a director of actors within tautly constructed scenes — and of Ms. Larson's abundant talent.
  62. Everything and everyone is observed sharply, succinctly and indelibly.
    • Wall Street Journal
  63. [Crowe] knows how to shape a scene and he's never cheap with characterization; adults are permitted to be as complex as their children; a rare event in pictures. [18 May 1989, p.A14(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  64. Where the film shines is in its vivid and affecting portrait of Tillman himself. Instead of the square-jawed hero memorialized by the army and lionized by the news media, we get to know a man of many gifts for many seasons.
  65. For a filmmaker who has made his reputation with such crime thrillers as "Little Odessa" and "The Yards," James Gray reveals an unexpected gift for the mysteries of romance.
  66. This remarkable piece of antiwar cinema honors its theme, and the movie medium.
  67. The movie's metaphorical dimensions rarely interfere with the concrete, quirky pleasures of its story. The Flower of My Secret is Mr. Almodovar's most entertaining work since his phenomenal "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown." [15 Mar 1996]
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. What it's about is also what it requires for proper appreciation -- the ability of the human mind to hold, and even cherish, diametrically opposite thoughts.
    • Wall Street Journal
  69. This isn't entertainment in any conventional sense, but it's a mesmerizing film all the same.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. While the film handles itself well in the ring, it's brilliant in the arena of a blue-collar family that brutalizes its younger son and best hope for worldly success in the name of sustaining him.
  71. Meticulously crafted and beautifully performed.
    • Wall Street Journal
  72. In what I think may be the filmmaker’s plan, all that stuff — that maddeningly cacophonous Stuff — is what we’re meant to cut through and get past in order to become as alert and alive as the star of Mr. Godard’s movie. In this interpretation, it’s the pooch who points the way toward perceiving beauty by learning to live in the vibrant, fragrant present.
  73. A captivating entertainment for the holiday season and well beyond.
  74. A marvelous story.
    • Wall Street Journal
  75. Judged, though, as the action extravaganza it means to be, Rise of the Planet of the Apes wins high marks for originality, and takes top honors for spectacle.
  76. The Past plays out within narrower bounds than "A Separation," and often at lower velocity — a few moments feel almost Chekhovian. Yet the film is commanding in its own right, another exploration of a volatile situation — an estranged husband returning from Iran when his wife requests a divorce — in which flashes of insight or understanding lead to new mysteries.
  77. It's been a good while since I've seen a movie whose most powerful sequence was both unforeseen and entirely unpredictable as it played out.
  78. A magnificent concert film of Latino jazz.
    • Wall Street Journal
  79. A spectacular record of rehearsals for a show that wasn't to be.
  80. Never lacks for extravagance — the film looks as striking as it sounds — and some of the tales certainly seem outlandish. Yet they’re part of a truly remarkable origin story that the film and its subjects explore with uncommon thoughtfulness and depth of feeling.
  81. This is only the second feature for the director: the first was "True Adolescents." But Mr. Johnson's work with his actors is impeccable, and his style is freewheeling.
  82. This is a first-rate squealer. [07 Aug 1986]
    • Wall Street Journal
  83. This magnificent documentary, directed by David Sington and presented by Ron Howard, rises to the occasion by interspersing its interviews with NASA footage that evokes the grandeur of the whole Apollo adventure.
  84. Real life is not the movie's concern. Mr. Anderson's lovely confection — that's a pastry metaphor — keeps us smiling, and sometimes laughing out loud. Yet acid lurks in the cake's lowest layers.
  85. Mr. Hardy's Brooklyn accent is not only flawless — a Londoner by birth, he's a vocal chameleon who played a Welshman in "Locke" — but tinged, I do believe, with a blithe, spot-on tribute to a blue-collar guy from another borough, Ernest Borgnine's immortal Marty. Here's a far-from-minor performance by a major star in the making.
  86. Deeply affecting.
    • Wall Street Journal
  87. A thrillingly, thoroughly wonderful film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  88. This is hardly a film to recommend as entertainment. As an act of remembrance, though, it is singular and, in its way, soaring.
  89. Nair's movie, far from being paste, is a string of small, exquisite gems.
    • Wall Street Journal
  90. Blissfully funny, terrifically intelligent and tender when you least expect it to be.
    • Wall Street Journal
  91. I can't say enough about the way Enough Said keeps its scintillating sense of humor as it grows deeper and more affecting.
  92. One of the best of the genre. If it doesn't serve oysters, per se, this submarine wonder offers marvels in abundance.
  93. What makes the film enthralling is the wisdom and grace with which it addresses the twin subjects of grief and healing, and the quiet beauty of Mohamed Fellag's performance in the title role.
  94. The energy is genuine, and the level of invention is remarkable, sustained as it is by Mr. Baseman's genially garish art, Timothy Bjoerklund's direction from a script by Bill and Cherie Steinkellner, and Nathan Lane's madly passionate performance as the canine who was famously born on the wrong end of a leash.
    • Wall Street Journal
  95. Remarkably accomplished and self-confident. In dramatic terms The Attack borrows a page from Alfred Hitchcock's playbook — an innocent in a strange land, delving into dangerous matters he doesn't understand. In political terms, though, the script is unsparing and ultimately bleak. It doesn't justify terrorism, but it does dramatize the rage and despair that dominate life in the occupied territories.
    • Wall Street Journal
  96. Why, then, am I so pleased with Easy A? Because the movie, despite a few flaws, seems to have been made by higher intelligence, and because it catapults Emma Stone into a higher place reserved for American actors who can handle elevated language with casually dazzling aplomb.
  97. These miniatures magnify their subjects, and ennoble them. The picture is anguishing to see, but it isn't missing anymore.
  98. As a thriller, The Town has what it takes and then some.

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