Washington Post's Scores

For 8,199 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 46% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 52% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 4 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Fresh
Lowest review score: 0 Broken Arrow
Score distribution:
8199 movie reviews
  1. The Black Stallion is one of the few movies that justifies the word "sublime." It casts an immediate pictorial spell of wonder and discovery and sustains it until a fadeout that leaves you in a euphoric mood, lingering over images whose beauty and emotional intensity you want to prolong and savor. [9 Dec 1979, p.G1]
    • Washington Post
  2. Tequila Sunrise succeeds in both its larger strokes and its smaller ones-as both a romance and a thriller. It has a sense of comedy audacious enough to stage a bust that is delayed by a seduction and the sophistication to know that, for some people, to be called "slick" is the cruelest of insults. Tequila Sunrise has a deep-down glamor that borrows not from movies, but from life. It's knowing, but the last thing you'd call it is slick. [2 Dec 1988, p.b1]
    • Washington Post
  3. A brilliant piece of filmic writing, one that bursts with fierce urgency, not just for the long-unresolved history it seeks to confront, but also in its attempt to understand what is happening here, right now.
  4. A beautiful story, told in measured cadences by a master of old-timey narrative compression and expression.
  5. Isn't just a fabulous seagoing spectacle. It's one for the ages.
  6. As disturbing and densely beautiful as its opening image, a lofty forest that dwarfs the gangsters as they laugh over their kill.
  7. A sci-fi-fueled indictment of man's inhumanity to man -- and the non-human -- District 9 is all horribly familiar, and transfixing.
  8. Manchurian, with its fatalistic, dreamlike quality, comprises two of [Frankenheimer's] finest hours. [Re-release]
  9. Monsieur Lazhar resembles a clear, clean glass of water: transparent, utterly devoid of gratuitous flavorings or frou-frou, and all the more bracing and essential for it.
  10. Oropelled by memorable performances by mostly unknown actors. The most famous of the ensemble, Hanna Schygulla, delivers a by turns serene and shattering performance as a mother struggling with loss, conscience and the first glimmers of unexpected connection. She's only one essential and unforgettable part of a flawless whole.
  11. As a film that dares to honor small moments and the life they add up to, Boyhood isn’t just a masterpiece. It’s a miracle.
  12. The genius is in the writing and in keeping all gambits created by the individual writers in sync, so the piece has a tonal consistency and a narrative flow. A lost art in Hollywood? It's really one of the best movies of the year.
  13. Rarely has love at any age been depicted so honestly on screen. For such a fully realized portrait to be created by a 28-year-old first-time director is even more remarkable.
  14. It is a triumph for director Ron Howard, underwater photographer Jordan Klein, the writers and even the guy who made Hannah's latex tail (Robert Short). And it's surely the stairway to superstardom for costar John Candy and the lovely leading nyad. Splash, a departure for struggling Disney Studio, is as irresistible as the siren's song. [09 Mar 1984, p.23]
    • Washington Post
  15. Detroit is an audacious, nervy work of art, but it also commemorates history, memorializes the dead and invites reflection on the part of the living. In scale, scope and the space it offers for a long-awaited moral reckoning, it’s nothing less than monumental.
  16. Eastwood's elegantly directed Mystic River, a deeply textured drama in which the sins (or perceived sins) of the past weigh heavily on the present.
  17. It's an astonishing movie, with a real-life feel.
  18. Hoop Dreams is the most powerful movie about sports ever made.
  19. It manages the trick of being both an unironic sci-fi action-adventure flick and a zippy parody of one. It’s exciting, funny, self-aware, beautiful to watch and even, for a flickering instant or two, almost touching.
  20. It may not sound like it, but calling this barely 70-minute Swiss stop-motion film “heavy” — as in substantial and almost swollen with feeling — is a true compliment.
  21. An extraordinary film ... that's impossible to dismiss or leave unmoved.
  22. It’s possible to watch Carol simply for its velvety beauty, but chances are that, by that stunning final moment, filmgoers will realize with a start that they care far more about the problems of these two people than they might have realized.
  23. Goodbye Solo is visually simple and stunning, especially the haunting nightscapes of Solo's perambulations. But more important, Goodbye Solo is driven by deep feeling and sensitivity. Don't miss it.
  24. As viscerally compelling as smash-mouth filmmaking gets.
  25. Joe
    Nicolas Cage delivers what may his best, most nuanced performance yet in the gritty, hypnotic and deeply moving Joe.
  26. In spirit, and sheer joie de vivre, it's everything the movie business should aspire to. Win Win exemplifies movies the way they oughtta be.
  27. Both grimly naturalistic and infused with classical values at their most thoughtfully composed, Land of Mine is epic but deeply intimate; elegant but tough.
  28. Van Dormael has crafted a saga that, even at two-plus hours, is endlessly, enormously watchable.
  29. If you don't fall in love with it, you've probably never fallen in love with a movie, and never will.
  30. A shattering vérité portrait of the disintegration of Iraqi society in the period immediately following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from that country, this urgent, of-the-moment film doesn’t explain the ensuing chaos as much as plunge viewers into it firsthand, offering a terrifying, ultimately moving portrait of the effects of war, both physical and psychic.
  31. Propelled by an ingenious script by Aaron Sorkin, given vibrance and buoyancy by director Danny Boyle, Steve Jobs is a galvanizing viewing experience.
  32. Seymour: An Introduction gives viewers a soaring, sublime and enduringly meaningful glimpse of a man who is undoubtedly the real thing.
  33. A riotous, rapturous explosion of sound and color, Black Orpheus is less about Orpheus's doomed love for Eurydice than about Camus's love for cinema at its most gestural and kinetic.
  34. A humanistic gem of a movie, with unforgettable performances from Linney and Ruffalo.
  35. This soulful, unabashedly lyrical film is best enjoyed by sinking into it like a sweet, sad dream. When you wake up, a mythical place and time will have disappeared forever. But you’ll know that attention — briefly, beautifully — has been paid.
  36. Sure, the animation work is great, but it's the actors and their subtle, complex vocal performances that make us care about these fairy-tale characters. Shrek 2 is all about fantasy, but its characters are rousingly, affectingly real -- not to mention real, real funny.
  37. In addition to being a study in great acting, this is a study in great directing.
  38. After Life is really a celebration of before-death: It's a complete rarity, for movies in general, for Washington in specific--pure sweetness of spirt. [8 Sept 1999, p.C9]
    • Washington Post
  39. May not be the first movie to examine the creative process. But it's the most playfully brilliant.
  40. There are several reasons to see Selma — for its virtuosity and scale, scope and sheer beauty. But then there are its lessons, which have to do with history, but also today: Selma invites viewers to heed its story, meditate on its implications and allow those images once again to change our hearts and minds.
  41. Many thematic ingredients come together in Farhadi’s rich stew of a story: jealousy, resentment, betrayal, forgiveness, healing. The filmmaker stirs them, with the touch of a master, into a dish that both stimulates and nourishes.
  42. 2012 takes the disaster movie -- once content simply to threaten the Earth with a comet, or blow up the White House -- to its natural conclusion, the literal end of the world.
  43. Morgen plunges viewers completely into the anarchic, exhilarating, finally ambiguous world of 1968 America; his final stroke of genius is his choice of music, which includes a breathtaking use of Eminem's "Mosh."
  44. Through it all, Spall is equally enigmatic and transfixing: With his guttural croaks and barks, his Turner is often difficult to understand, but, thanks to Spall’s amazing physical performance and Leigh’s sensitive, information-laden direction, he’s never incomprehensible.
  45. The new film is more expansive, more beautiful, funnier, nuttier and — this is the most difficult trick for any comic-book movie to pull off — more touching than the first film.
  46. Museum Hours is every bit as masterfully conceived and executed as the art works that serve as the film’s lively cast of supporting characters.
  47. Its themes of passion, heartbreak and the inexorable passage of time are eternal.
  48. A terrific piece of filmmaking. It's taut, believable as it unspools. It's charismatic, with a slow buildup of tension in near-real time that finally explodes into a blast of violence.
  49. There's not a false note here, and the entire supporting cast -- is uniformly excellent.
  50. Superbly shot and accompanied by an alternately angular and lyrical score by Mica Levi, Jackie would have been an exceptionally smart, intriguing movie as an astutely conceived, well-crafted meditation on political mythmaking. In Larraín and Portman’s hands, it becomes something deeper and more emotionally potent.
  51. Amour is a must-see film that not everyone must see, at least right now.
  52. McQueen has taken the raw materials of filmmaking and committed an act of great art.
  53. The bravura gestures work gorgeously in Birdman, as does the humor, which playfully balances the film’s most mystical, contemplative ideas with a steady stream of inside jokes and well-calibrated shifts in tone and dynamics.
  54. An extraordinarily riveting drama.
  55. Hypnotically absorbing film.
  56. A movie that appeals to the eye, mind, heart and funny bone; that's a pretty good quadruple for any movie.
  57. It's funny, it's heartbreaking, it's scary, it's exhilarating. It's got love stuff and lots of laughs and cool gunfights. It's really long and it feels like it's over in 15 minutes. It does something so few movies do these days: It satisfies.
  58. Watching this masterwork allows you to return to the filmmaking sensibility of the 1960s, when epics looked like epics.
  59. Paltrow and Fiennes are so good and the script, referencing not only "Romeo and Juliet" but "Twelfth Night," is so consistently intelligent that seduction is inevitable.
  60. In the hands of director Julie Dash and photographer Arthur Jafa, this nonlinear film becomes visual poetry, a wedding of imagery and rhythm that connects oral tradition with the music video. It is an astonishing, vivid portrait not only of a time and place, but of an era's spirit.
  61. Even at its most daft and infectiously ditzy, Mistress America is a sharp, aware and surpassingly kind portrait of the agony and ecstasy of becoming yourself.
  62. The most eloquent and exacting vision of the war to date... Inspired with technique rather than overblown with it, Kubrick, the filmmaker's filmmaker, lays one on you.
  63. A story that rips fleshy holes through your heart.
  64. Something to treasure: a thriller whose style, structure and rhythms are so integrated with the story, you cannot separate them.
  65. Insanely brilliant.
  66. You know a filmmaker is in supreme command of her medium when what she creates feels less like a movie than a candid glimpse of ongoing lives that will continue to play out long after the lights have come on.
  67. Coppola brilliantly conjures the young queen's insular world, in which she was both isolated and claustrophobically scrutinized.
  68. A sequel that eclipses the original. The toys are back with even more hilarious vengeance. The story's twice as inventive as its predecessor.
  69. It’s a movie that, to put it in terms that the film’s screenwriters might appreciate, is Thor-ly needed.
  70. Vallée, working with a lean, lively script by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, neatly avoids excess, letting Woodroof’s terrific yarn stand on its own and getting out of the way of his extraordinary actors, who channel the story without condescension or manipulative cheats.
  71. To watch "Lives" is not just to enjoy a fabulously constructed timepiece; it's to appreciate a deft cautionary tale.
  72. This bracing movie...gets off to a spirited start and rarely lets up, sharing with viewers a little-known chapter of history as inspiring as it is intriguing.
  73. An almost sinfully enjoyable movie that both observes and obeys the languid rhythms of a torrid Italian summer.
  74. Won't break your heart -- it will make it soar.
  75. A small masterpiece of a documentary that takes us into the heart of a complex darkness.
  76. Taut, unsettling, haunting and powerful.
  77. It's the best sports documentary since "Hoop Dreams," a great piece of work."
  78. If you don’t like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, have your pulse checked... You'll forget yourself right through to the end when Porky Pig, dressed as a cop, says "M-move along, there's n-nothing more to s-see folks." [24 June 1988]
  79. Captain Phillips is such an impressive dramatic achievement that it comes as a shock when it gets even better, during a devastating final scene in which Hanks single-handedly dismantles Hollywood notions of macho heroism in one shattering, virtually wordless sequence.
  80. Merchant and Ivory have regathered many of the cast and crew from their earlier films to work on this reproduction to exquisite effect.
  81. Misanthropic, cruel, hostile, corrupt, blasphemous and basically pretty evil. I loved it.
  82. A great American picture, full of incredible images and lasting moments.
  83. Inherent Vice unfolds so organically, so gracefully and with such humanistic grace notes that even at its most preposterous, viewers will find themselves nodding along, sharing the buzz the filmmaker has so skillfully created.
  84. It’s a richly engrossing drama, so long as you understand that it’s aiming for the head, not the gut.
  85. With its spectacular scenery, stupefying effects and epic scope, is a dream come true.
  86. An exhilarating, often mind-blowing history of surfing.
  87. In some ways Soderbergh does a much better job than Tarantino. He handles the time shifts more adroitly, always keeping us on track; he goes easy on the violence, and when he does unleash it, it's short, fast and ugly.
  88. This cinematic Macbeth possesses a terrible beauty, evoking fear, sadness, awe and confusion. Presented with the aesthetic of a dark comic book, it’s also a mournful masterpiece, rendering Shakespeare’s spectacle with all the sorrow and majesty that it deserves.
  89. In providing audiences a chance to bear witness to unspeakable suffering as well as dazzling defiance and human dignity, Sissako has created a film that’s a privilege to watch.
  90. Captain Fantastic leaves viewers with the cheering, deeply affecting image of a dad whose superpowers lie in simply doing the best that he can.
  91. Rich Hill doesn’t just make you feel like you know these boys; it makes you care about them.
  92. You know you're in the hands of a superbly gifted filmmaker when he can pull off a talking dog.
  93. Thanks to Cuarón’s prodigious gifts, Gravity succeeds simultaneously as a simple classic shipwreck narrative (albeit at zero-gravity), and as an utterly breathtaking restoration of size and occasion to the movies themselves.
  94. Only someone with intimate knowledge of the Midwest’s singular cadences, social codes and confounding emotional stew (er, covered hot dish) of aggression and politesse could pull off something as masterful, meaningful and poetic as Nebraska.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    As played by the captivating Mariana Loyola, Lucy is a life force, cut from similar cloth as the perky schoolteacher of Mike Leigh's "Happy-Go-Lucky": unsinkable, unswervable and more than a little irreverent.
  95. The film's exploration of loss and the gulf of time and memory that separates us from our pasts is beautifully and subtly handled by Kore-eda. But it is his concern with the sometimes insurmountable distance that lies between knowing and not knowing why we do the things we do that is the filmmaker's true -- and most profound -- subject. [2 April 2004, p.T47]
    • Washington Post
  96. The narrative is lean, the supporting performances are solid, and, perhaps most crucially, the emotional tone of the piece is spot-on.
  97. Up
    The result is a soaring, touching, funny and altogether buoyant movie that lives up to its title in spirit and in form.
  98. The Piano is dark, sublime music, and after it's over, you won't be able to get it out of your head.
  99. The power of the film is cumulative, as the filmmaker spins a mesmerizing morality tale from the dross of daily life. In his skillful hands, the ordinary turns out to be anything but.

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