Washington Post's Scores

For 8,003 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 3.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Manchester by the Sea
Lowest review score: 0 The Mod Squad
Score distribution:
8003 movie reviews
  1. With its deft intercutting of place and time, the film creates a powerful sense of mysticism and fate.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Critic Score
    While the main themes of Moana are identity and self-discovery — familiar territory, to be sure — the film manages to enliven such well-traveled latitudes with a breeze as fresh as the islands.
  5. 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.
  6. The movie’s thesis is that the 1960s’ political clashes and cultural revelations were essentially linked, and equally liberating.
  7. 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.
  8. I love the unsettling details.
  9. 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.
  10. This is a fully realized movie, whose intelligence -- despite its grim findings -- dwarfs any Hollywood production.
  11. 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
    • 60 Critic Score
    The total effect is fast and attractive and occasionally amusing. Like a good hot dog, that's something of an achievement in a field where unpalatable junk is the rule.
  12. Although news reports presented police use of rubber bullets and tear gas as justifiable responses to increasingly volatile crowds, Whose Streets? offers a useful alternative view, with citizen journalists capturing what look like unprovoked attacks on demonstrators by law enforcement officers woefully unprepared or unwilling to de-escalate sensitive situations and engage.
  13. Even when it dispenses with realism altogether, Hunt for the Wilderpeople conveys important truths about the will and sheer endurance it takes to make a family.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    An electrifying documentary.
  14. Probably the most engaging Potter film of the series thus far.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Writer-director David O. Russell's exhilarating follow-up to "Spanking the Monkey," is even wilder, giddier and more unpredictable than that irreverent debut.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. It’s a masterful example of genre filmmaking’s ability to transcend its limitations, leaving a viewer not just frightened, but also changed.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Sheer pleasure to watch, full of rich visuals and felicitous comic turns.
  25. By focusing on the details of his characters’ lives, Weinstein finds common ground on both sides of the religious divide.
  26. That A War both delivers the results one might wish for and denies a sense of closure is not a failing but its chief virtue.
  27. One heck of a tale of deliciously unladylike payback.
  28. Unfolds with a marvelously understated humanism.
  29. 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.
  30. This movie’s pleasures are less about its villains and more about the interplay between Pegg and Frost.
  31. 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.
  32. A sci-fi-fueled indictment of man's inhumanity to man -- and the non-human -- District 9 is all horribly familiar, and transfixing.
  33. 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.
  34. It's best appreciated by assuming something of a dream state ourselves and enjoying the giddy flow.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. If the movie’s universal themes don’t impress, its specific details do.
  39. 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.
  40. Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim's scathing, moving critique of American public education, makes you actually want to do something after you dry your eyes.
  41. 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.
  42. A compelling, compact story about a country that was left to destroy itself while one man presided futilely over the carnage.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. Moormann deserves credit, not only for choosing a wonderful and deserving subject for a film, but for doing him proud.
  46. 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.
  47. Manages to be one of the genuinely fresh discoveries of the summer, a little gem that deserves to become a big sleeper hit.
  48. This mesmerizingly beautiful drama ponders themes of duty, patience, isolation and compassion.
  49. What this intelligent, balanced, devastating movie puts before us is nothing less than a contest between good and evil.
  50. See Food, Inc. after dinner, but see it.
  51. The first section of Three Times is fabulous; the second is fascinating if remote; and the third a jangly, modernist mess.
  52. 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.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. To its credit, Trophy neither shames its subjects nor offers an easy solution. Rather, it takes a reasoned and thought-provoking view — from many angles — of a problem for which there is, as Trophy argues, no quick or simple fix.
    • 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.
  56. 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.
  57. As the quiet, compact vessel for roiling fears and ambivalence, Al-Hwietat’s Theeb winds up being a strikingly memorable character, whose deceptively simple tale possesses both haunting power and a whiff of prescient pessimism.
  58. It knocks you off your feet and leaves you shaken.
  59. Quite simply, a beautiful film, in both form and content.
  60. A heartbreaker, plain and simple.
  61. It's a deliciously dishy comedy, but like sushi an acquired taste.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. Gleason portrays great strength and great suffering in equal measure, lending vivid credence to tired platitudes about what it means to live life to the fullest.
  65. Turns out to be cracking good entertainment, as well as a fresh start for the perdurable 21-picture franchise.
  66. 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.
  67. 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.
  68. It’s difficult to make a visually dynamic movie about people listening. But that’s precisely what Pohlad has done with both sensitivity and audaciousness, on the one hand attuning his protagonist to the music of the spheres, and on the other bearing witness to his deepest isolation and sadness.
  69. By looking closely, clinically and ultimately compassionately at one eccentric practitioner of a dying way of life...Peter and the Farm nevertheless manages to harvest not just understanding of one peculiar, broken little man, but a broader wisdom about the cycle of seasons that we all must endure on this planet.
  70. True Grit has sweep and scope and entertainment value to burn, but it's Mattie who invests even the grandest aesthetic elements with meaning.
  71. An elegant romantic thriller adapted from a novel of the same name, is a terrific film.
  72. He treats jocks like humans, not stars or superheroes, and in the end has managed something unique for documentaries these days: It's as entertaining as it is fair.
  73. The vignettes are linked as much by theme as story, yet they're carefully structured and delicately balanced.
  74. Iris serves as a spirited, often dazzling primer in how to fight the dying of the light and feel fabulous while doing it.
  75. What starts out as an invigorating odyssey winds up becoming an enervating series of postures.
  76. While Last Men in Aleppo could stand a trim here and there, it mostly uses its length to good and heart-rending effect, delivering a lingering, close-up — and ultimately tragic — look at the misery and joy taking place, side by side, under the eyes of the world.
  77. It's precisely Henry's coldblooded affectlessness that is meant to shock and disturb us. But "Henry" leaves us feeling more numbed than moved. Half art film, half schlock-horror cheapie, "Henry" isn't quite sure what it wants to be.
  78. Big Night, a scrumptious tale of great food and grand passions, belongs on the menu with such mouth-watering movie fare as "Babette's Feast" and "Like Water for Chocolate."
  79. Could hardly be more suspenseful if it were scripted.
  80. Searing dramatization of a story of remarkable courage, stamina and spirit.
  81. It's hard not to feel a certain affection for a tale that is so unapologetic about just that: affection.
  82. Even those who don’t buy in completely to Mundruczo’s parable will be impressed by his canine crowd scenes, staged with ambition, skill and genuinely original vision.
  83. Profoundly affecting.
  84. One of the best performances -- and movies -- of the year so far.
  85. Majewski's film is a captivating exercise that will interest fans of art, not to mention arthouse cinema. But the movie's lasting impression is about more than novelty. It's a portrait of suffering and subjugation that urges viewers to stop what they're doing and take notice of the world around them.
  86. The movie made almost no sense whatever to me. I literally could not follow it, even as I was dazzled by it.
  87. 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.
  88. An exhilarating, often mind-blowing history of surfing.
  89. The make-believe world of Boy and the World is confusing, scary and gorgeous. But then again, so is the real one.
  90. As Finders Keepers gets weirder, it also gets better and deeper. Somehow, Carberry and Tweel have managed to fashion an inspirational tale out of what one local newscaster calls a “freak show.”
  91. Director Pascale Ferran makes this a sort of opera of two bodies, as the characters discover not only each other but themselves. And the French filmmaker cannily turns their corporeal discoveries into a moral mission, two desperately lonely souls crying for spiritual freedom in a world of moral constriction.

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