Wall Street Journal's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 2,305 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 42% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 56% 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 IMAX: Hubble 3D
Lowest review score: 0 Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Score distribution:
2,305 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. Brokeback Mountain aspires to an epic sweep and achieves it, though with singular intimacy and grace.
    • Wall Street Journal
  3. 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.
  4. Part 2 of The Deathly Hallows, is the best possible end for the series that began a decade ago.
  5. 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
  6. Never before, though, have statistics added up to such electrifying entertainment. After the mostly minor-league productions of recent months, this movie, which was directed by Bennett Miller, renews your belief in the power of movies.
  7. Right makes might in Takashi Miike's excellent-and exceedingly violent-remake of a 1966 Japanese classic by Eiichi Kudo.
  8. 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.
  9. By turns intriguing, boring, frustrating, amazing and stirring, this is a tour de force that, necessarily, lacks dramatic force, but one that creates a dream state of seemingly limitless dimensions.
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  10. Mr. Day-Lewis works famously, and phenomenally, from the inside out. The mystery at the core of his gorgeous performance, which is enhanced by Mr. Kushner's script, has to do with his masterly grasp of Lincoln's quicksilver spirit.
  11. 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.
  12. What's extraordinary is what happens at the intersection of Mr. Payne's impeccable direction and Mr. Nelson's brilliant script. The odyssey combines, quite effortlessly, prickly combat between father and son.
  13. Slumdog Millionaire is the film world's first globalized masterpiece.
  14. [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)]
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  15. It is thoughtful, unfashionable, measured, mostly honest, sometimes clumsy or remote, often exciting, occasionally moving and eventually surprising. It's correct.
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  16. 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.
  17. A thrillingly funny and casually profound film.
  18. Go underground with magic glasses on your nose and you won't regret it.
  19. What's so remarkable about their decadeslong campaign, though, is how desperation led to inspiration - to the inspired notion that they, as nonscientists, could still take their fate in their own hands.
  20. The kind of movie they don't make any more -- a seriously beautiful, deliberately paced drama that meanders for a while at the pace of a summer romance, then explodes with phenomenal force.
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  21. More than anything, Of Gods and Men is a drama of character, and warm humanity.
  22. Deliver Us From Evil has its flaws. Certain passages are diffuse, others are argumentative, and there's a discomfiting staginess to the climax... Yet the film's concern for the victims, and their families, is one of its strengths.
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  23. The results are nothing less than sensational.
  24. Mr. Frears is as good with the small touches as he is with the big ones – and that means they're great. [24 Jan 1991, p.A8(E)]
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  25. Beautiful (sometimes sublimely so), daring (sometimes outrageously so), seriously crazed and terrifically funny.
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  26. Paul Thomas Anderson's remarkable sixth feature addresses, by extension, the all-too-human process of eager seekers falling under the spell of charismatic authority figures, be they gurus, dictators or cult leaders. Or, in the case of this masterly production, a couple of spellbinding actors.
  27. The explosively combative young hero, Liam (a brilliant performance by Martin Compston), has only the illusion of a fighting chance. Yet Sweet Sixteen is powerful because of the searing honesty with which it strips Liam of his illusions.
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  28. This brilliant satire, styled as a murder mystery, is the best insider's view of Hollywood since "Sunset Boulevard." [15 Dec 1992, p.A16(E)]
    • Wall Street Journal
  29. The screenplay, by William Monahan, is simply sensational. Scenes play brilliantly. Feelings flow like molten lava. The dialogue overflows with edgy wit and acidulous arias of imprecation.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    If the plot of Ponyo is small as a minnow, its themes--the relationship between parent and child, between the young and the elderly, between friends, between man and nature--are large and fully realized.
  30. This tale of forbidden friendship between a bear and a mouse is so winning that audiences will cherish it as the classic it's sure to become.
  31. Song of the Sea was made primarily, though not exclusively, for young children. Its unhurried pace will serve as an antidote to, or even an inoculation against, the mad rush of most contemporary animation. This is a film made by the other crowd, people who care about helping children to care about the medium of film for the rest of their lives.
  32. What's so mesmerizing about this film is the sight, in an endless rush of color and images, of so much of his work in one place, including pieces we don't often see.
  33. There's no trace of calculation, only artistic ambitions and hopes that have come to fruition in the year's finest film thus far.
  34. 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.
  35. Astonishing visually and problematic dramatically.
    • Wall Street Journal
  36. This is hardly a film to recommend as entertainment. As an act of remembrance, though, it is singular and, in its way, soaring.
  37. Mr. Akin's film is so full of life that it leaves you breathless.
  38. I can't begin to count the ways in which The Savages pleased me, but the very best of them is the way Tamara Jenkins's comedy stays tough while sneakily turning tender.
  39. Never before, not even in the claustrophobic submarine epic "Das Boot," has a physical point of view so completely dictated a philosophical point of view.
  40. A marvelous story.
    • Wall Street Journal
  41. This faux-documentary is droll, aerosol-thin and ultrameta.
  42. Excites us with words not spoken, passions not played out. A mood story more than a love story, it's all about sustaining a state of exquisite melancholy in the face of desire.
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  43. The delicately subversive Mr. Panahi makes his subjects perfectly clear -- the stupidity of authority, and the hypocrisy of discrimination. Offside is surprisingly entertaining, and edifying to boot.
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  44. Judd Apatow's high-density, high-intensity comedy of bad (and good) manners is a cause for celebration -- the laugh lines are smart, and they come faster than you can process them.
  45. A cry of anguish for the youngest victims of every war.
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  46. This beautiful -- and beautifully controlled -- film is also an object lesson in how to hypnotize an audience.
    • Wall Street Journal
  47. This tale of an English schoolgirl's hard-won wisdom is thrilling --for the radiance of Carey Mulligan's Jenny, who's wonderfully smart and perilously tender; for the grace of Lone Scherfig's direction, and the brilliance of Nick Hornby's screenplay.
  48. This version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy turns on the presence of Mr. Oldman, and he is an actor of great experience and accomplishment who has finally found a film that fully deserves him.
  49. This ambitious, entertaining movie, which showed at film festivals earlier this year, has been hailed in some quarters as a masterpiece worthy of Arthur Miller's Willy Loman or Sinclair Lewis's George Babbitt. Yet its social comments are stained by condescension, and its uplift is sustained by sentimentality that Mr. Nicholson's prickly Everyman can't conceal.
    • Wall Street Journal
  50. The film is clearly not for everyone; sometimes it wasn’t for me. But it’s steadfastly nonjudgmental and wonderfully tender toward two searchers for new versions of old-fashioned love.
  51. In one sense, Neil Young: Heart of Gold is just a simple concert film -- no cutaways during the music for interviews, no cameras swooping and soaring on giant booms. But simplicity in this case also means no barrier between us and the people on stage, as they sing some of the most soul-stirring pop songs I've seen performed in a very long time.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This extraordinary flight from the humdrum is not to be missed.
    • Wall Street Journal
  52. A dazzling piece of filmmaking, and much of the dazzle - as well as the anguished darkness - comes from Adam Stone's cinematography, which expresses the swirling state of Curtis's mind with richly varied flavors of light.
  53. 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.
  54. A singular achievement -- romantic, sensuous, intelligent and finally shattering in its sweep and thematic complexity.
  55. This movie will stir your heart and open your mind. It's a group portrait of practicing patriots.
  56. 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.
  57. Kelly Reichardt's marvelous, minimalist epic, amounts to a master class in the power of observation.
  58. At the age of 27 Mr. Coogler seems to have it all, and have it firmly in place a clearsighted take on his subject (no airbrushing of flaws or foibles here, just confident brush strokes by a mature artist); a spare, spontaneous style that can go beyond naturalism into a state of poetic grace, and a gift for getting, or allowing, superb actors to give flawless performances.
  59. It's astonishing, and moving.
    • Wall Street Journal
  60. A magnificent documentary.
  61. A stunning drama about the desperate state of women in Iran.
    • Wall Street Journal
  62. Before and after plot mechanics, a drama of family tension and warmth.
  63. Density of detail and intensity of experience are the twin distinctions of A Christmas Tale, a long, improbably funny and very beautiful film.
  64. 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.
  65. Bloated adaptation of P.D. James's thoughtful, compact novel.
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  66. Mr. Spielmann's film is full of surprises and, in its distinctive way, full of life.
  67. Beguiling and endearing.
  68. A magnificent concert film of Latino jazz.
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  69. It's one of the best surprises of the holiday season.
    • Wall Street Journal
  70. 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
  71. More than acting, though, Penn's performance is a marvelous act of empathy in a movie that, for all its surprisingly conventional style, measures up to its stirring subject.
  72. A deeply serious and seriously hilarious fable of the lunacy of war.
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  73. Yet dramatic energy is in short supply. The actors move about this elaborate movie museum in a modified dream state, as if living in the present while rooted in the past. But the strategy doesn't work. It's an imitation of lifelessness.
    • Wall Street Journal
  74. This autobiographical meditation is seductively funny, as well as deliciously strange, and hauntingly beautiful, as well as stream-of-consciousness cockeyed.
  75. If this death-obsessed drama is a classic, then give me potboiling life.
    • Wall Street Journal
  76. Much of Summer Hours, which was shot by the excellent Eric Gautier, feels like a Chekhov play and resonates like a Schubert quartet; it’s a work of singular loveliness.
  77. So what's left for the audience to hook into? Only pounding action, elegant style, steady-state suspense, marvelous acting and, despite that droll pooh-poohing every now and then, haunting explorations of youth, age and personal destiny. It's a lot to claim for a sci-fi thriller, but I was blown away by Rian Johnson's Looper.
  78. Needlessly long, visually drab and not just a foreign-language film, with English subtitles, but a film that's ostensibly foreign to our experience. That said, there are compelling reasons to see it.
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  79. This beguiling fable, with its darkly distinctive look, does DreamWorks proud.
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  80. A remarkable though sometimes frustrating film.
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  81. This ostensibly simple film evokes whole lives in 96 minutes, and does so with sparse dialogue.
  82. It's hard to say if Volver is a great film -- hard because every woman and girl in it is so damned endearing (the men are either impediments or bystanders to the real business of life) -- but safe to say it's right up there with Mr. Almodóvar's best.
    • Wall Street Journal
  83. The Square stands as a valuable document of a tormented time, an anatomy of a revolutionary movement doomed by a paucity of viable institutions, and by the movement's failure to advance a coherent agenda. (It's all the more heartbreaking when a speaker at one of the protests cries fervently, "We will fill the world with poetry.")
  84. Rarely has a contemporary movie taken in so much life and revealed it with such depth of feeling.
  85. This is not a drama of shadings, but of ever-increasing intensity.
  86. I thought "Topsy-Turvy" was perfection, a spirited evocation of the partnership of Gilbert and Sullivan, plus a blithely definitive depiction of the artistic process. Happy-Go-Lucky is perfection too, assuming you go along with its leisurely pace, which I did quite happily.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Mason and Odgers are charming young performers with cheeks that shade of pink generally found only in picture books or among English school children. That color goes perfectly here. There is an unabashed old-fashioned quality to the story-telling, not quaint, not fusty, but very much of another era -- and what a relief that is.
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  87. The comedian has had his ups and downs recently, but the film is pure up, a wonderfully genial and inclusive record -- not that the music is devoid of anger or social protest -- of a day-long, freestyle show.
    • Wall Street Journal
  88. Ever since the movie made a brief appearance late last year to qualify for Oscar consideration, Mr. Caine's performance has been hailed as the best of his career, and surely that's true.
    • Wall Street Journal
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    Rich in motion -- the very clothes of the characters seem under a choreographer's direction -- as well as imagery.
    • Wall Street Journal
  89. 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.
  90. A documentary of stunning immediacy and marvelous images.
    • Wall Street Journal
  91. The film makes its case graphically, to say the least, yet muddies its bloody waters with an excess of artifice and a dearth of facts.
  92. 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
  93. This one is both demanding and extremely rewarding, because it's really a meditation on violence.
  94. Crazy Heart is blessed with so many marvelous moments, lovely lines and vivid characters.
  95. For all its rich trappings, A Little Princess is impoverished at the core. [18 May 1995, p.A14]
    • Wall Street Journal

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