Washington Post's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 6,407 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 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 58
Highest review score: 100 The Remains of the Day
Lowest review score: 0 Whatever Works
Score distribution:
6,407 movie reviews
  1. Van Sant's sensibility is wholly original, wholly fresh. "My Own Private Idaho" adds a new ingredient: a kind of boho sweetness. I loved it.
  2. With the exception of the opening scene -- whose purpose is chiefly comic -- the movie is one, extended climax. Even with flashbacks and other time jumps, it never lets up. You have to go back to Henri-Georges Clouzot's 1952 "The Wages of Fear" to recall suspense this relentless.
  3. Genuine, amusing and, best of all, humanly scaled and humanely oriented.
  4. It's an astonishing movie, with a real-life feel.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Is "The Last Waltz" the greatest rock movie of all time? It makes its case persuasively in a restoration overseen by director Martin Scorsese and producer Robbie Robertson that's been released to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the concert it made famous.
  5. An extraordinarily riveting drama.
  6. The best heist flick since "The Usual Suspects," a perfect 10 of a movie.
  7. The list of great moments is virtually endless.
  8. A brilliant film--vivid, haunting, intelligent and in good taste, wonderfully acted, wonderfully written and directed.
  9. It's a celebration of young American women, finding them smarter, tougher, shrewder, more rigorous, more persistent and more honest than any movie in many a moon.
  10. With elegant, clockwork construction, Smith has transplanted his novel of greed, betrayal and getting what you deserve to the screen, where it is told by director Sam Raimi with a spareness befitting the whiteness of its snowed-in setting.
  11. More like a waking nightmare than a docudrama. A true story of murder and justice evidently miscarried, wrapped in the fictional haze of a surrealistic whodunit, it will leave you in a trance for days. [2 Sept 1988]
  12. More than just one of the best movies so far this year, it is a revolution in young-adult entertainment.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Hackman anchors the movie with a performance of remarkable control. You see his hurt in his glances at his shoes, his little phony chuckle; you can feel him carrying his secret -- it's a rage held together with rubber bands. This is the Hackman of "The Conversation," not "The French Connection." [27 Feb 1987, Style, p.c1]
  13. There's no doubt about the film's sheer power and taut originality.
  14. A humanistic gem of a movie, with unforgettable performances from Linney and Ruffalo.
  15. Hopkins and Thompson's downright marvelous duet is supported by a host of deft players, and the detailed re-creation of this small universe is in all ways remarkable.
  16. Superbly conceived anti-biopic.
  17. The Piano is dark, sublime music, and after it's over, you won't be able to get it out of your head.
  18. Not since the 1972 'Cabaret' has there been a movie musical this stirring, intelligent and exciting.
  19. Simple, yet quietly astonishing film.
  20. Has to be one of the must-see films for any student of Hollywood fame and infamy.
  21. Dramatically, this is something of a waking dream.
  22. Seems less like a fictional story than a tour through Freud's forgotten files.
  23. A wonderful, piercing and hilarious examination of high school politics and how bitter and ruinous it can become.
  24. Gripping, whole and nourishing. Certainly of the fantasy film series currently in American theaters -– I include "Harry Potter and the Secret Toity" and "Star Trek: Halitosis" -– The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is the best, and not by just a little.
  25. It doesn't matter how many times you see these images. They're always exciting.
  26. Instead of "Masterpiece Theatre"-style fawning, [Scorsese] fills this movie with visual flow, masterful cinematography and assured direction. There's an alert, thinking presence behind the camera.
  27. An instant slapstick classic from Disney and Steven Spielberg. Already, it's a hare's breadth away from legend. [22 June 1988]
  28. A magnificent melodrama that draws both tears and laughter from the everyday give-and-take of seemingly ordinary souls.
  29. A movie for aesthetically hungry moviegoers: wildly amusing, sometimes sardonic and always touching. There's so much here, and all of it delightful.
  30. A beautiful story, told in measured cadences by a master of old-timey narrative compression and expression.
  31. A sophisticatedly sappy masterpiece that bucked the prevailing Hollywood vision of aliens as nasty invaders and recast them as friendly collectibles for children.
  32. The visual comedy is brilliant.
  33. A sequel that eclipses the original. The toys are back with even more hilarious vengeance. The story's twice as inventive as its predecessor.
  34. As quintessential a story of American ambition as Welles' own "Citizen Kane."
  35. 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.
  36. For those who enjoy cinematic visits to other, darker worlds, this blood's for you. Watching Ringers is not unlike watching a critical operation -- unnerving but also enthralling. [23 Sept 1988]
  37. There are so many good things to say about this film it's hard to find a statement that really nails it. Perhaps we can leave at this: Y Tu Mama Tambien is originality writ large.
  38. What gives About Schmidt its ultimate boost, what pushes it into the stirring heavens is Nicholson, who produces the most understated -– and one of the most powerful –- performances of his career.
  39. Hilarious…The joy of Beetlejuice is its completely bizarre -- but perfectly realized -- view of the world, a la Gary Larson's "The Far Side," or "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." [1 Apr 1988]
  40. Fabulously kinetic.
  41. The film's not only funny and weird, it's oddly poignant. I miss Hedwig already.
  42. That rare romantic comedy that dares to choose messiness over closure, prickly independence over fetishized coupledom, and honesty over typical Hollywood endings.
  43. From the performances by Rea, Davidson and Whitaker, to Jordan's endlessly original script, to Anne Dudley's melancholy score, and Lyle Lovett's closing rendition of "Stand by Your Man," The Crying Game enthralls and amazes us. It deserves to be called great.
  44. It's brilliantly acted. But best of all, it's brilliantly made.
  45. A gigantic achievement, an endowment of riches.
  46. A delectably naughty experience. This sort of wit and immediacy is extraordinarily rare in a period film.
  47. A guaranteed pleasure for anyone who ever loved pop music, owned a record collection or suffered in love
  48. If you don't fall in love with it, you've probably never fallen in love with a movie, and never will.
  49. The movie fixes you in its gravitational pull. It's an enveloping, walk-in vision... As rich and satisfying a movie as you're likely to see all year.
  50. A tour de force so haunting that other films can't exorcise the memory of its radiant cast, exquisite craftsmanship or complex system of metaphors. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a movie.
  51. It's a great pleasure that -- we get to ponder one of the most involving psychological mysteries in recent memory.
  52. An extraordinary film ... that's impossible to dismiss or leave unmoved.
  53. One of the smartest, most inventive movies in memory, it manages to be as endearing as it is provocative.
  54. A great American picture, full of incredible images and lasting moments.
  55. Jarecki has created a tour de force of narrative ambiguity, and in doing so has made one of the most honest reality shows ever.
  56. The film, which begins with a single, gorgeously sustained eight-minute camera move, is blissfully out of touch with contemporary trends in moviemaking...surprising, both in style and narrative.
  57. The narrative is lean, the supporting performances are solid, and, perhaps most crucially, the emotional tone of the piece is spot-on.
  58. Brilliant and brutal, funny and exhilarating, jaw-droppingly cruel and disarmingly sweet...To watch this movie (whose 2 1/2 hours speed by unnoticed) is to experience a near-assault of creativity.
  59. With its spectacular scenery, stupefying effects and epic scope, is a dream come true.
  60. One of the most startling, grittily brilliant films in recent years.
  61. Something to treasure: a thriller whose style, structure and rhythms are so integrated with the story, you cannot separate them.
  62. Grand enough in scale to carry its many Biblical and mythological references, Blade Runner never feels heavy or pretentious -- only more and more engrossing with each viewing. It helps, too, that it works as pure entertainment.
  63. 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.
  64. A movie that appeals to the eye, mind, heart and funny bone; that's a pretty good quadruple for any movie.
  65. Searing, heartbreaking, so intense it turns your body into a single tube of clenched muscle, this is simply the greatest war movie ever made, and one of the great American movies.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    What the bright minds of Walt Disney have produced here is a must-see movie. Must-see, must-talk-about, must-plan-to-see-again.
  66. Through this miasma of pain and suffering, love may not flicker more strongly than a dim lamp. But it's the only beacon to consider. Can Barry find his? Thanks to Anderson's assured picture, a symphony of cinematic textures, that disarmingly simple question becomes incredibly compelling.
  67. May not be the first movie to examine the creative process. But it's the most playfully brilliant.
  68. With its deft intercutting of place and time, the film creates a powerful sense of mysticism and fate.
  69. Doesn't need the passage of time to become a classic. It's one already.
  70. The great joy of watching a Pixar production is how it rewards not only younger viewers but their older companions as well.
  71. One of the best performances -- and movies -- of the year so far.
  72. Hypnotically absorbing film.
  73. An exuberant, raucous and thoroughly endearing comedy
  74. 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.
  75. Delivered with such high panache and brio, it's mesmerizing.
  76. The results are as riveting as any action movie ever made.
  77. Isn't just a fabulous seagoing spectacle. It's one for the ages.
  78. An extraordinary and brilliant (and almost wordless) film that takes us above ground and below it, up in the air and deep below water, to follow its conundrum of a story.
  79. This movie is not only a thrilling experience, it closes the book on a truly satisfying trilogy.
  80. 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.
  81. It is sheer brilliance and testament to the vitality of an old master.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The aerial dogfight Dykstra and Stears have helped Lucas perfect as his climactic piece de resistance looks more exciting than its antecedents in live-action war movies. It’s the most gorgeous stylized combat sequence since the underwater battle at the end of "Thunderball," a project that won an Oscar for Stears.
  82. You emerge from this experience rather like a returning U-boat crewman -- drained, blinking in the light, but oddly triumphant. [Director's cut]
  83. Misanthropic, cruel, hostile, corrupt, blasphemous and basically pretty evil. I loved it.
  84. If you want to sample the sheer bouquet of great acting, you could get drunk on this movie.
  85. It's a comic book at heart, albeit a thoroughly, grandly romantic one in the end.
  86. This is an absolutely brilliant film but in a quiet way.
  87. 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.
  88. 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.
  89. Manchurian, with its fatalistic, dreamlike quality, comprises two of [Frankenheimer's] finest hours. [Re-release]
  90. An exhilarating, often mind-blowing history of surfing.
  91. A story that rips fleshy holes through your heart.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Most of Festival Express resonates with the power and passion, even the innocence, of the era.
  92. Watching this masterwork allows you to return to the filmmaking sensibility of the 1960s, when epics looked like epics.
  93. Few movies have evoked the happiness of a good, strong family as genuinely as this one. And this affecting atmosphere makes the eventual outcome resonate with great power.
  94. Wickedly funny and devilishly subversive. It is satire at its most fearless.
  95. Moolaade, in short, is a movie to rock the soul.

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