Washington Post's Scores

For 7,096 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 47% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 51% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Dangerous Liaisons
Lowest review score: 0 Splice
Score distribution:
7096 movie reviews
  1. Cronenberg's deeper purpose is to pull audiences into an affecting, powerful story about right and wrong.
  2. Combines the derring-do of classic adventure tales with far more serious issues of moral agency. And it serves as a haunting reminder to seek joy and beauty, even in the depths of despair.
  3. Experimenter’s most striking quality is the way it encourages us to think deeply, from the first frame to the last, even if it’s just to consider what on Earth an elephant is doing on screen.
  4. Gets viewers inside these tense, emotional and occasionally terrifying events with immediacy and, given the confusion of the time, remarkable clarity.
  5. A sobering reflection on our culture's attitude toward violence.
  6. Lynch's new movie, Mulholland Drive, is a trip and a half: It's like playing Twister and Scrabble simultaneously while high on LSD. Oh, and it's dark out.
  7. There's an extra dimension here, not present in the other comedies. Not only is the material amusing, it's charmingly engaging.
  8. It's more than a detailed account of one man's petty vindictiveness in a bygone era. It's about how our hatred can consume us so deeply that we lose sight of everything.
  9. Not only gives us a superb new cast of believable characters, it transcends its own genre. Only superficially a teen comedy, the movie redounds with postmodern -- but emotionally genuine -- gravitas.
  10. Writer-director Derek Cianfrance, who with Blue Valentine makes an astonishing debut.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    A movie to cheer you up and on and help you feel that spring will, in fact, arrive before we are all too desiccated to enjoy it.
  11. Suffers from what might be called colonitis. It comprises too many equal parts, and they tangle each other up. Everything is important, which comes to mean that nothing is important.
  12. Not nearly as accomplished narratively as it is visually.
  13. Admittedly, Top Five suffers from its share of too-convenient contrivances and clunky passages... But Top Five is also buoyantly self- sustaining, thanks in part to Rock and Dawson’s easy, convincingly seductive chemistry and some genuinely hilarious surprises.
  14. Locke is so distilled, such a pure example of cinematic storytelling, that it almost feels abstract.
  15. Bridge of Spies expands from being a smart, engrossing procedural to a carefully observed character study of Donovan, a particularly intriguing, heretofore overlooked American figure.
  16. As with other Aardman productions, the greatest delights derive from relishing the details of the clay figures and intricate sets, crafted by the studio’s master model builders.
  17. A lean and hungry thing. With the sparest of storytelling, the French filmmaker ("35 Shots of Rum") devours her audience, swallowing us up in a yarn that is as enigmatic as it is engrossing.
  18. The best advice to filmgoers who appreciate smart, mature, humanist movies is, simply, Go.
  19. Foxcatcher exerts a mesmerizing pull, not only because it affords the chance to witness three fine actors working at the height of their powers, but also because it so steadfastly resists the urge to clutter up empty space with the filigree of gratuitous imagery and chatter.
  20. A movie that dares you to slow down and enjoy the subtleties of life.
  21. No one can deny the powerful reality that weaves its way through Bamako.
  22. You know you're in the hands of a superbly gifted filmmaker when he can pull off a talking dog.
  23. That rare, genuinely transporting movie that creates an alternate universe, invites the audience in and lets them sink ever deeper into its particular, sublime reverie.
  24. It's uncompromisingly steamy, in a way that seems designed to make people who are uncomfortable with a physical relationship between two men even more uncomfortable.
  25. In many ways Fish Tank joins "An Education" and "Precious" as an acute, empathic portrait of a girl growing up, but more than those films Arnold leaves viewers with a feeling of unsettled ambiguity.
  26. The Little Shop of Horrors is a thoroughly original adaptation, if that's possible. With its toe-tapping cadences, its class cast and its king-sized cabbage, it's destined to become a classic of camp comedy. It's vege-magic.
  27. Every scene of calm, potentially, is trip-wired for an explosion. But for all its chilling tension and horrific imagery, Sicario is also a beautiful movie.
  28. No
    No isn’t nearly as definitive or declarative as its title: It leaves viewers wondering whether they should cheer, shrug or shake their heads.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This is a bittersweet story, no question. But to the son's great credit, what emerges from his patient investigation is a remarkably rich, even sympathetic, portrait of the father.
  29. Hot Fuzz deploys the same mix of genre conventions, slapstick and old-school British humor that made "Shaun of the Dead" such a dumb-but-good romp.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Like a dark-comedy sequel to the masterful German film "The Lives of Others," Corneliu Porumboiu's Police, Adjective gives viewers a penetrating glimpse of surveillance culture, in this case as it plays out in post-communist Romania.
  30. Breathes its own refreshing, occasionally demented, life into that time period, albeit in a pulpy, stylized cinematic language more akin to vampire-hunter cartoonishness than "Lincoln's" more classical reserve.
  31. It’s a haunting story of love between two misfits who shouldn’t be together. In its doomed yet somehow hopeful spirit, it’s closer to the noir sensibility of “Let the Right One In” than the pop-horror of “Twilight.”
  32. It lacks Altman's wisdom, but its sense of humor is corrosive, if dispiriting, and its willingness to show the human animal at his most disgusting has a kind of anti-grandeur to it.
  33. A candid, colorful and deeply meaningful sociocultural time capsule, one that captured the black community at the height of its political energy and optimism.
  34. With its deft intercutting of place and time, the film creates a powerful sense of mysticism and fate.
  35. Upon leaving The Big Short, audiences are likely to feel less enlightened than bludgeoned with a blunt instrument, albeit one wrapped in layers of eye-catching silks and spangles: You may be too old to cry, but it hurts too much to laugh.
  36. 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.
  37. Closed Curtain is at times slow and constantly puzzling. It doesn’t carry the impact of some of Panahi’s more conventional films. It’s not his best movie, but the fact that he’s making a movie at all is remarkable.
  38. A celebration -- of love, commitment and devotion until the bitter end. Gay and straight viewers alike are sure to be inspired by this lyrical testament to a corollary of Tolstoy's famous dictum: Every unhappy family might be unhappy in its own way, but every genuinely happy family is a triumph.
  39. As good as Rourke is, and as willingly as he throws himself on the figurative hand grenade, his performance constantly begs the question of whether the story would be worth telling without him. Marisa Tomei, as Cassidy the pole dancer, delivers a courageous performance, one nearly as ego-battering as Rourke's.
  40. From the first smoky notes of a theme song sung by Adele, it's clear that Skyfall will be both classic and of-the-moment.
  41. This is a fully realized movie, whose intelligence -- despite its grim findings -- dwarfs any Hollywood production.
  42. The story holds a potential for sap that is mostly unfulfilled thanks to Beresford's stately approach, the stars' better judgment and the protagonists' sharp wits. Admirably, Driving Miss Daisy takes the road less traveled.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    An electrifying documentary.
  43. It’s a masterful example of genre filmmaking’s ability to transcend its limitations, leaving a viewer not just frightened, but also changed.
  44. Probably the most engaging Potter film of the series thus far.
  45. The film suggests that it doesn't really matter whether Harris ever gets back in uniform. He's forever carrying around a piece of unexploded ordnance in his head.
  46. Wiseman’s voracious curiosity and evenhanded approach to his subject ensures that viewers will have a wide range of responses to the material he has collected.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    When Hairspray is twisting and shouting and swiveling its hips, you can even dare to believe a great society is waiting in the wings.
  47. I love the unsettling details.
  48. An enchanting Italian serio-comedy about the most unlikely of cinematic subjects-the origins, structure and reach of poetry.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    The Blair Witch Project is terrifying. It's also an exuberant prank of genius.
  49. Writer-director David O. Russell's exhilarating follow-up to "Spanking the Monkey," is even wilder, giddier and more unpredictable than that irreverent debut.
  50. Jackson's big monkey picture show is certainly the best popular entertainment of the year. The film is a wondrous blend of then and now: It honors its mythic predecessor of 1933 while using sophisticated movie technology to seamlessly manipulate the fantastic.
  51. 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.
  52. For all its savagery and hopelessness, Starred Up manages to be sympathetic, not only because of O’Connell’s galvanizing turn, but also Asser and director David Mackenzie’s unwavering commitment to portraying his character with as much compassion as brutal honesty.
  53. Sheer pleasure to watch, full of rich visuals and felicitous comic turns.
  54. One heck of a tale of deliciously unladylike payback.
  55. Unfolds with a marvelously understated humanism.
  56. The movie, a lyrical blend of documentary and fiction filmmaking techniques, offers a bold example of the rewards of crossing boundaries -- stylistic, cultural, temporal and even commercial.
  57. This movie’s pleasures are less about its villains and more about the interplay between Pegg and Frost.
  58. A sci-fi-fueled indictment of man's inhumanity to man -- and the non-human -- District 9 is all horribly familiar, and transfixing.
  59. A movie with the visual expanse of a John Ford western and the ensemble grandeur and long takes of a Robert Altman picture. The movie is definitely Chinese in content, but it exudes American style and spirit.
  60. It's best appreciated by assuming something of a dream state ourselves and enjoying the giddy flow.
  61. The only artwork by Ai that Klayman's film dwells on at any length -- aside from the iconic "bird's nest" stadium he helped design for the Beijing Olympics, and then denounced as tasteless -- is "Sunflower Seeds." Created for a 2010 exhibition at London's Tate Modern, the installation featured 100 million hand-painted ceramic sunflower seeds spread out on the floor.
  62. To watch Bad Education is to revel, along with Almodovar, in the power of cinema to take us on journeys of breathtaking mystery and dimension and beauty.
  63. Thankfully, this fractured fairy tale of mental illness, family drama, ragged romance and die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fandom has landed in the superbly capable hands of David O. Russell.
  64. If the movie’s universal themes don’t impress, its specific details do.
  65. Elaine Stritch’s strength, along with the film’s, comes from her honesty. She is herself, even when — maybe especially when — she knows she’s being watched.
  66. Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim's scathing, moving critique of American public education, makes you actually want to do something after you dry your eyes.
  67. The Force Awakens strikes all the right chords, emotional and narrative, to feel both familiar and exhilaratingly new. Filled with incident, movement and speed, dusted with light layers of tarnished “used future” grime, it captures the kinetic energy that made the first film, from 1977, such a revelation to filmgoers who marveled at Lucas’s mashup of B movies, Saturday-morning serials, Japanese historical epics and mythic heft.
  68. It's as much fun to anticipate what he's (Herzog) going to say as it is to appreciate the snowy landscapes, belching volcanoes and mustachioed seals before his lens. And what could have been a conventional travelogue becomes a sort of ruminative odyssey of the mind.
  69. A compelling, compact story about a country that was left to destroy itself while one man presided futilely over the carnage.
  70. What’s being marketed as a sober, straightforward sci-fi drama (the words “Bring him home” superimposed on an unsmiling Matt Damon inside a space helmet) is instead a smart, exhilarating, often disarmingly funny return to classic adventures of yore.
  71. The Last Temptation of Christ, Martin Scorsese's provocative, punishing, weirdly brilliant adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis' novel, has a feverish intensity. And undeniably, there's a prodigious greatness on display here. But just as undeniably, it is failed work.
  72. Moormann deserves credit, not only for choosing a wonderful and deserving subject for a film, but for doing him proud.
  73. For all its virtues, Wendy and Lucy seems like the most overrated of art movies. Yes, it's obscure and distancing and makes you pay attention. Williams's performance is nuanced, moving and well worth any awards she gets. But Wendy is also anonymous.
  74. Manages to be one of the genuinely fresh discoveries of the summer, a little gem that deserves to become a big sleeper hit.
  75. What this intelligent, balanced, devastating movie puts before us is nothing less than a contest between good and evil.
  76. See Food, Inc. after dinner, but see it.
  77. The first section of Three Times is fabulous; the second is fascinating if remote; and the third a jangly, modernist mess.
  78. A marvelously moody meditation, beautiful to look at and beautiful to ponder as the camera slowly pans from one scene to the next, framing life as still life.
  79. There's another satisfying benefit to Everlasting Moments. It's gloriously absent of the hyper-speed anxiety that passes for storytelling on our multiplex screens.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    Upon leaving the theater, a girl of about 6 turned to her grandmother and said dreamily, "That.Was.The.Best.Movie.Ever." And that sums up why this little movie is so very big.
  80. As von Trier's ultimate wish-fulfillment fantasy, Melancholia is a broodingly downbeat self-portrait but also the inspiring work of an artist of seemingly boundless imaginative power.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    You leave the theater feeling moved by a mother's courage, sickened by the crime and a little frustrated, wondering if this unquiet moment in our history will ever rest easy.
  81. The Queen of Versailles turns out to be a portrait -- appalling, absorbing and improbably affecting -- of how, even within a system seemingly designed to ensure that the rich get richer, sometimes the rich get poorer.
  82. Quite simply, a beautiful film, in both form and content.
  83. A heartbreaker, plain and simple.
  84. It's a deliciously dishy comedy, but like sushi an acquired taste.
  85. Remarkable.
  86. When you think you've figured out Bielinsky's great game, that's when you're in the most trouble: He's the con, and you're just the mark.
  87. With its awkward reenactments and other stylistic clunkers, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry doesn’t break much formal ground. But it serves as a moving reminder of how crucial citizen action is in fomenting social change.
  88. Turns out to be cracking good entertainment, as well as a fresh start for the perdurable 21-picture franchise.
  89. There are films as lovely, but none lovelier.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It would be difficult to identify a single frame in Saraband that is not a distinguished composition in itself; Bergman has the eye of a latter-day Vermeer.
  90. The beauty of Nine Lives is that its occasionally overlapping stories feel entirely unforced; Garcia's is a filmmaking style of rare lyricism, compassion and discretion.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 70 Critic Score
    The story is riddled with absurd coincidences and improbabilities. It doesn't have an original bone in its body. And no one's going to leave this film thinking De Niro should stay behind the camera. But none of these problems stops the movie from being enjoyable. If Bronx Tale feels too familiar, it's at least the familiarity of good Italian movies.

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