Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,194 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 2.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Lowest review score: 0 Repo Men
Score distribution:
2,194 movie reviews
  1. On rare occasions a movie seems to channel the flow of real life. Boyhood is one of those occasions. In its ambition, which is matched by its execution, Richard Linklater's endearing epic is not only rare but unique.
  2. The result of the intricate interplay is a fairy tale for adults that is violent, sometimes shocking, yet utterly engrossing. And eerily instructive; it deepens our emotional understanding of fascism, and of rigid ideology's dire consequences.
    • Wall Street Journal
  3. Elegantly crafted, brilliantly acted film.
  4. Movie audiences have never been presented with anything quite like the intertwined beauty and savagery of 12 Years a Slave.
  5. The characters are irresistible -- why would anyone want to resist a hero who so gallantly transcends his rattiness? -- the animation is astonishing and the film, a fantasy version of a foodie rhapsody, sustains a level of joyous invention that hasn't been seen in family entertainment since "The Incredibles."
  6. In one form or another, motion pictures have been with us since the middle of the 19th century, but there's never been one like Gravity. What's new in Alfonso Cuarón's 3-D space adventure is the nature of the motion. It's as if the movie medium had been set free to dance in a bedazzling zero-gravity dream sequence.
  7. This account of Facebook's founder, and of the website's explosive growth, quickly lifts you to a state of exhilaration, and pretty much keeps you there for two hours.
  8. Judged solely as a film, a partially fictionalized account of the decade-long search for bin Laden, it's superbly crafted and relentlessly dramatic. More than that, though, Zero Dark Thirty is a shock to the system, one that's bound to incite discussion of profoundly troubling issues.
  9. The members of the cast represent ensemble, naturalistic acting at its finest.
  10. When we peruse this movie, we see a superb evocation of Turner’s latter years, during the first half of the 19th century, and a performance that’s symphonic in the sweep of its eccentricities, vivid in the spectrum of its passions.
  11. It is plainly, though not simply, a masterpiece from an acknowledged master of contemporary animation, and a wonderfully welcoming work of art that's as funny and entertaining as it is brilliant, beautiful and deep.
    • Wall Street Journal
  12. The most imaginative movie to come along in ages. [18 Oct 1994, p.A14(W)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  13. 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
  14. A first-rate action thriller, a vivid evocation of urban warfare in Iraq, a penetrating study of heroism and a showcase for austere technique, terse writing and a trio of brilliant performances. Most of all, though, it’s an instant classic that demonstrates, in a brutally hot and dusty laboratory setting, how the drug of war hooks its victims and why they can’t kick the habit.
  15. The first half hour of WALL-E is essentially wordless, and left me speechless. This magnificent animated feature from Pixar starts on such a high plane of aspiration, and achievement, that you wonder whether the wonder can be sustained. But yes, it can.
  16. Sideways makes you glad about America, about movies, about life.
    • Wall Street Journal
  17. The invisible wizard Peter Jackson makes use of every scene to show us the meaning of magnificence. Never has a filmmaker aimed higher, or achieved more.
    • Wall Street Journal
  18. One of the high points of last month's Telluride Film Festival was, as I wrote at the time, spending 5½ hours in a darkened theater-with one short break around the four-hour mark-to watch Olivier Assayas's shocking and edifying epic.
  19. Michael Haneke's French-language Amour, a perfect film about intertwined lives, proceeds at its own pace, and breathes so deeply that it takes your own breath away.
  20. What's fun about this movie is the sight of Mr. Irons's Claus stalking the mansion like a tall, skinny ghost smiling at the perverseness of it all. [18 Oct 1990, p.A14(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  21. A movie that falls outside the ordinary, or even the extraordinary. There is enormous passion and artistic integrity throughout this film. [11 Jan 1994, p.A10(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  22. Crumb pulls us in with rich detail, and with what it says, or suggests, about art, drugs, psychology and the subconscious.... Like last year's "Hoop Dreams," this documentary does justice to a great subject. [08 Jun 1995]
    • Wall Street Journal
  23. The film's centerpiece is Mr. Isaac's phenomenal performance. He's an actor, first and foremost, who is also a musician.
  24. The movie has done what those who've cherished the book might have thought impossible -- intensified its singular beauty by roving as free and fearlessly as Bauby's mind did.
  25. The Class is clearly a microcosm of contemporary France, beset by social and economic tensions. More than that, though, it's a saga of education's struggles in many parts of the modern world. If only the film were pure fiction.
  26. Daniel Day-Lewis's portrayal is not just the performance of the year -- there will be injustice if he doesn't win an Oscar -- but a creation of awesome proportions.
  27. Against all odds in an era of machine-made spectaculars, Mr. Jackson and his collaborators have created a film epic that lives and breathes.
    • Wall Street Journal
  28. The third film of the trilogy turns out to be gorgeously joyous and deeply felt.
  29. A single seeing isn't enough to take in the eccentric marvels of The Triplets of Belleville, an animated feature by Sylvain Chomet that creates a visual language all its own.
    • Wall Street Journal
  30. Marvelously smart, funny and entertaining film.
    • Wall Street Journal
  31. An absolute stunner, a feature-length animated documentary, from Israel, in which the force of moving drawings amplifies eerily powerful accounts of war, shaky remembrance and rock-solid repression.
  32. If watching movie violence is cathartic, then this film amounts to heavy therapy. It's much more than that, however. This is the best film the Coen brothers have done since their glory days of "Fargo" and "The Big Lebowski," maybe the best they've done, period.
  33. The Israeli journalist Dror Moreh has hit a documentarian's trifecta with The Gatekeepers. It's an exemplary piece of enterprise journalism, a vivid history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a polemic that's all the more remarkable for the shared experience of the polemicists.
  34. This unpredictable and hilarious paranoid fantasy is a contemporary, urban "Wizard of Oz," peopled by punk artists and Yuppie vigilantes instead of wicked witches and Munchkins. [5 Sep 1985, p.1]
    • Wall Street Journal
  35. Persistently upends expectations without insult, as it pulls you into a netherworld filled with yearning, whimsy, and danger. [15 Dec 1992, p.A16(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  36. Uncompromising in its style, story and characterizations.
  37. Spectacular for its humanity, austere beauty and heart-stopping urgency.
  38. 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
  39. A harrowing lesson in unintended -- and intended -- consequences.
    • Wall Street Journal
  40. At its best, Ava DuVernay’s biographical film honors Dr. King’s legacy by dramatizing the racist brutality that spurred him and his colleagues to action. The director and her screenwriter, Paul Webb, are less successful — sometimes much less so — at breathing life into the private moments that define King as an inspirational figure with human flaws, and a political as well as spiritual force.
  41. Her
    Mr. Jonze approaches perfection in the department of deadpan humor. In other hands, his premise could have been a clever gimmick and little more. But he draws us into Theodore's world, then develops it brilliantly, by playing everything scrupulously straight.
  42. An undersea treasure all the same, and a prodigy of visual energy.
    • Wall Street Journal
  43. Against all odds, an unquenchable artist has made yet another piece of powerful art.
  44. It's "My Dinner With Andre" for the relationship generation.
    • Wall Street Journal
  45. A work of huge, if unobtrusive, ambition -- a vision of modern life, appropriate for sophisticated adults as well as for kids, that is both satirical and, of all things, inspirational. It's a great film about the possibility of greatness.
    • Wall Street Journal
  46. Pirandello didn't have a patch on its complexities. Here's a popular entertainment with an eclectic soundtrack raising penetrating questions of identity in astonishing sequences that interweave live action with comic-book art.
  47. A wickedly astute and beautiful comedy of manners-cum-murder mystery, it's too dense, and occasionally confusing, to grasp fully the first time around. How lucky, then, that it's also too much fun to see just once.
    • Wall Street Journal
  48. Ida
    Pawel Pawlikowski's Ida, a compact masterpiece set in Poland in the early 1960s, gets to the heart of its matter with startling swiftness.
  49. Quite remarkably, though, its clear-eyed view of an unprecedented American tragedy leaves us with emotions that audiences of those earlier days would readily recognize -- love of country, bottomless grief, an appreciation of life's preciousness and fragility. A film that can do this and also teach is to be cherished. And seen. It's time.
    • Wall Street Journal
  50. In the entertainment culture that surrounds us, words like "harrowing," "anguishing," "unfathomable" or "horrifying" don't sell movie tickets. Capturing the Friedmans is all of these things and more.
    • Wall Street Journal
  51. High-energy comedy comes naturally to the filmmaker. He exults in free association, emotional riffs, in the craziness that underlies ostensibly rational behavior. The crosscurrents have crosscurrents in his films, but the current that carries everything along here is announced by the first strains of music from the screen: Duke Ellington's "Jeep's Blues," with one of the most exuberant passages in all of jazz. David O. Russell does buoyancy better than anyone.
  52. A dazzlingly smart and entertaining animated feature by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, looks like a black-and-white graphic novel come to life.
  53. This feature-length documentary, currently entering national release, may be one of the most horrifying films you'll ever see, and one of the most edifying.
  54. Giddily funny in a singularly American idiom, and shot, by Lance Acord, with an eagle eye for cultural absurdities, Ms. Coppola's film is also a meditation on love and longing, shot through with a sensibility that's all the more surprising for being so unfashionably tender.
    • Wall Street Journal
  55. Rather than dwell on the darkness and squalor, von Donnersmarck has fashioned a genuinely thrilling tale, leavened with sly humor, that works ingenious variations on the theme of cat and mouse, speaks to current concerns about personal privacy and illuminates the timeless conflict between totalitarianism and art.
    • Wall Street Journal
  56. An astonishing combination of spectacle, suspense, martial-arts flash, sublime silliness, anti-gravity action and passionate intensity -- before and after everything else, it's a grand love story.
    • Wall Street Journal
  57. James Marsh's documentary raises the bar for the genre to skyscraper height.
  58. Not since the halcyon days of Archie Bunker and "All in the Family" has so sharp a wit punctured so many balloons.
    • Wall Street Journal
  59. This pitch-dark comedy, which was directed, con brio, by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, sizzles as the camera circles, stalks and swoops. Emmanuel Lubezki’s friction-free cinematography constitutes a virtuoso turn in its own right in a production that’s strewn with superb performances, some of them loud and bold, others subtle and restrained.
  60. National Gallery isn’t just about a museum full of famous pictures. It’s about the nature of art, and art’s acolytes; about the mystery of what may lie beneath a particular painting’s visible surface; about the business of art at a time when money can be scarce and attention spans can be short.
  61. Silence makes the film interesting by enticing us to concentrate in ways we're not used to, while artistry carries the day. The Artist may have started as a daring stunt, but it elevates itself to an endearing - and probably enduring - delight.
  62. With its breathtaking visual style and careful attention to sound and movement, the movie provokes contemplation about the ways people communicate – through words, through music, through sex, and, most significantly, through touch. [14 Dec 1993, p.A14(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  63. One of those rare collaborations that artists dream of, and that film lovers crave.
    • Wall Street Journal
  64. The view taken by Clint Eastwood, directing from Iris Yamashita's exemplary screenplay, is elegiac, but -- and this is remarkable, given the nature of the production and the sweep of his ambition -- not at all didactic. He lets the film speak for itself, and so it does -- of humanity as well as primitive rage and horror on both sides of the battle.
    • Wall Street Journal
  65. Once proves to be as smart and funny as it is sweet; it swirls with ambiguity and conflict beneath a simple surface. In all of 88 minutes, Mr. Carney's singular fable follows its guy and girl through a week of musical and emotional growth that could suffice for a lifetime.
  66. There are not a lot of moments in documentary cinema that equal Citizenfour. Ms. Poitras was already at work on a film about government surveillance when Mr. Snowden presented himself, and she’s something of a lightning rod, too, one with little evident sympathy for Obama administration data mining.
  67. Smart, surpassingly odd, extremely funny and mysteriously endearing at the same time.
    • Wall Street Journal
  68. Give yourself away to this movie and you'll be glad you did.
    • Wall Street Journal
  69. What Mr. Hoffman has done here borders on the miraculous.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. Overlord feels like a small but vivid tragedy inside an epic container.
  71. 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.
  72. The performances are nothing less than astonishing. It's easy to understand why the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival went to both actresses, though not easy for me to see why the movie itself was included in the unprecedented joint award.
  73. Vincent is played masterfully by Aurelien Recoing, who gives him a sort of as-if anomie; this haunted hero is so detached that he may not realize he has no real life to be detached from.
    • Wall Street Journal
  74. A feature film that's often astringent on the surface, yet deeply and memorably stirring.
  75. [Sordi] lifts buffoonery to the level of high art.
    • Wall Street Journal
  76. Inside Job has the added value, as well as the cold comfort, of being furiously interesting and hugely infuriating. It's a scathing examination of the global economic meltdown that began more than two years ago and continues to affect our lives.
  77. Casts a spell and then some -- a ringing testament to the power of motion pictures.
    • Wall Street Journal
  78. No screen portrait of a king has ever been more stirring-heartbreaking at first, then stirring. That's partly due to the screenplay, which contains two of the best-written roles in recent memory, and to Mr. Hooper's superb direction.
  79. Up
    I'm still left, though, with an unshakable sense of Up being rushed and sketchy, a collection of lovely storyboards that coalesced incompletely or not at all.
  80. Apart from a singer named You who plays Keiko, the members of the cast are non-professionals. You may find that hard to believe when you see this astonishing film, as I hope you will.
    • Wall Street Journal
  81. Astonishingly vivid. The illusion of reality is so nearly complete in this magnificent French-language film by the Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne that the screen becomes a perfectly transparent window on lives hanging in the balance.
    • Wall Street Journal
  82. It also happens to feature a pair of performances that eclipse all else around them.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Ms. Armstrong's Little Women, which has enough sugar to make your teeth sing, if not your heart. [29 Dec 1994]
    • Wall Street Journal
  83. These miniatures magnify their subjects, and ennoble them. The picture is anguishing to see, but it isn't missing anymore.
  84. The malignity can be oppressive -- this is a far cry from Fellini finding poignant uplift in the slums -- but the dramatic structure is complex, the details are instructive, and the sense of tragedy is momentous.
  85. It is, simply and stirringly, a kind of beau ideal of education, a vision of how the process can work at its best.
    • Wall Street Journal
  86. Mr. Ostlund positions his troubled characters in an environment of polished ash and Scandinavian spotlessness, under which there are dark mutterings — the constant creak of tow cables and un-oiled metal.
  87. Mr. Moodysson's film is little only in physical and financial scale. When measured by the pleasure it confers, We Are the Best! is a big deal that will be winning hearts — and even grownup minds — for a long time to come.
  88. The illusion is seamless and the pleasure is boundless.
    • Wall Street Journal
  89. It's a meditation on mortality, with remarkable resemblances to "Gravity," not to mention echoes of "The Old Man and the Sea." It's admirably crafted, with a wealth of detail that illustrates the sailor's resourcefulness.
  90. A remarkable -- and harrowing -- debut feature that makes you think there's hope after all for the future of independent films.
    • Wall Street Journal
  91. The film's power also lies in the honesty of its observation. Though Gyuri survives unfathomable horrors, he can't forget them and, in the end, doesn't want to. They're the only history he has.
    • Wall Street Journal
  92. Haunting, troubling documentary.
    • Wall Street Journal
  93. 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.
  94. Brokeback Mountain aspires to an epic sweep and achieves it, though with singular intimacy and grace.
    • Wall Street Journal
  95. Working on a scale that's minuscule by studio standards, the Dardenne brothers have made yet another movie that does what Hollywood used to do - keep us rapt, and leave us grateful.
  96. As a director, working with actors, she may have drawn on her own experience acting in features and TV; whatever her method, she has come up with a matched pair of terrific performances.
  97. Part 2 of The Deathly Hallows, is the best possible end for the series that began a decade ago.
  98. There are worlds within the startling world of Murderball.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Mr. Herzog's perspective is an invaluable balance to Mr. Treadwell's as the animal advocate approaches what seems like madness.
    • Wall Street Journal

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