Washington Post's Scores

For 8,617 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 4.1 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Inside Llewyn Davis
Lowest review score: 0 Hell Ride
Score distribution:
8617 movie reviews
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. The narrative is lean, the supporting performances are solid, and, perhaps most crucially, the emotional tone of the piece is spot-on.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    The Decline . . . of Western Civilization is a bracing primer to just about anything one might want to know about the hard-core punk scene. At the same time, it's remarkably evenhanded, making no judgment on the musical or social standards of the movement. Director Penelope Spheeris neither champions, patronizes nor condescends to the participants' stylized fury. The result is a film that will appeal equally to the furious and the curious, assuming that both enter the arena with an open mind. [10 Nov 1981, p.D2]
    • Washington Post
  5. Up
    The result is a soaring, touching, funny and altogether buoyant movie that lives up to its title in spirit and in form.
  6. The Piano is dark, sublime music, and after it's over, you won't be able to get it out of your head.
  7. 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.
  8. A mesmerizing cinematic journey that is often as arduous and spare as the lives of its hard-bitten protagonists.
  9. The Class is not just the best film released thus far this year. It may be the most gripping.
  10. Raiders of the Lost Ark is sensational. This awesomely entertaining adventure spectacle, directed by Steven Spielberg from an idea hatched by executive producer George Lucas, succeeds in fusing the most playful and exciting elements of Spielberg's "Jaws" and Lucas' "Star Wars" in a fresh format. It is a transcendent blend of heroic exploits, cliffhangers and chases distilled with nostalgia and wit from the pulp thrillers, comic books and Republic serials of the World War II era. [12 June 1981, p.E1]
    • Washington Post
  11. Ruthless People is a divine comedy, thanks in large part to bombastic Bette Midler, who's no longer down and out in Beverly Hills but chained to a bedstead in Santa Monica. She's an explosive bundle of kvetch and kitsch, the spark in this madcap kidnap caper. Practiced parodists Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker of Airplane direct, but this is no parody. It's a comedy of errors that makes no mistakes. Sophisticated, silly, sexy, it has assorted storylines as solidly linked as cartoon sausages and a pace that's lickety-split. Dale Launer debuts with this terrific screenplay, which builds and builds a reckless, raunchy crescendo of laughs. [27 June 1986, p.29]
    • Washington Post
  12. 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.
  13. The best heist flick since "The Usual Suspects," a perfect 10 of a movie.
  14. When viewers are ultimately released from The Hurt Locker's exhilarating vice grip, they'll find themselves shaken, energized and, more than likely, eager to see it again.
  15. In this vibrant, lyrical, graphic, sobering and finally soaring testament to aesthetic and political expression, Noujaim consistently provides light where once there was heat.
  16. 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.
  17. It's a comic book at heart, albeit a thoroughly, grandly romantic one in the end.
  18. It's a soaring achievement, without ever leaving the ground.
  19. Not since the heyday of Frank Capra, perhaps, has there been a movie that so seamlessly combines screwball comedy with get-out-your-handkerchiefs heart. Peggy Sue Got Married isn't about solving life's problems, it's about accepting them, in a world where love doesn't conquer all, but conquers enough. And in the hands of director Francis Coppola, that message makes what could have been merely a delightful lark about time travel into something much more.
  20. A smart, alert, supremely entertaining movie.
  21. Hitch's masterpiece.
  22. Leigh has fashioned a limber style of political commentary that is part documentary, part cartoon and wholly novel in the movies.
  23. Like the eloquent, darkly funny dialogue, the film's characters, setting and cadences draw us into its world, with all its terrors and tenderness. What emerges is a masterpiece of Southern storytelling that draws a sharp line between good and evil.
  24. The real star in La La Land is the movie itself, which pulses and glows like a living thing in its own right, as if the MGM musicals of the “Singin’ in the Rain” era had a love child with the more abstract confections of Jacques Demy, creating a new kind of knowing, self-aware genre that rewards the audience with all the indulgences they crave...while commenting on them from the sidelines.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Warren Beatty's Reds is an extraordinary picture. Three hours and 19 minutes long, it is occasionally rambling and repetitious, but nearly always intelligent and engrossing.
  25. One of the most startling, grittily brilliant films in recent years.
  26. Qualifies as the most painful, poetic and improbably beautiful film of the year.
  27. 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.
  28. The movie version of Jaws is one of the most exciting and satisfying thrillers ever made.
  29. Ambitious, affecting, unwieldy and haunting, it's an eccentric, densely atmospheric, morally hyper-aware masterpiece that refuses to follow the strictures of conventional cinematic structure, instead leading the audience on a circuitous journey down the myriad rabbit holes that comprise modern-day Manhattan.
  30. There is a quality of enchantment to When Marnie Was There that can’t be faked, and that the studio behind this animated feature is justifiably famous for.
  31. A thinking person's horror movie, about real horror and horrifying echoes: The parallels between the Holocaust and the massacres are pronounced.
  32. Its mixture of wisdom and whimsy -- exemplified by the movie's unnamed and occasionally cheeky narrator -- makes this Australian movie feel as timeless as it is timely. And instead of feeling dutifully cultural as we immerse ourselves in this story, we're genuinely intrigued, touched and even amused.
  33. It's easily the best and brightest family-friendly movie of the year.
  34. Aladdin is a magic carpet ride, a flight aboard a supersonic little Persian steered by all the wishes that ever were. Disney quite simply has outdone itself with this marvelous adaptation of the ancient fairy tale.
  35. Ran
    The drama itself packs a powerful -- and timeless -- gut punch.
  36. This is the rare American film really about something, and almost all the performances are riveting.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. The title may be a mouthful but Like Water for Chocolate is a feast for the soul. Hauntingly and exquisitely prepared, this Mexican adult fairy tale is garnished with mystery and wonder.
  41. A pitch-perfect movie that threads a microscopically tiny needle between high comedy and devastating drama.
  42. Feisty, funny, fizzy and deeply wise, Enough Said sparkles within and without, just like the rare gem that it is.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  43. 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.
  44. "Kubo" is both extraordinarily original and extraordinarily complex.
  45. 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.
  46. Not since the 1972 'Cabaret' has there been a movie musical this stirring, intelligent and exciting.
  47. This is a big movie, about big emotions and ideas, which Rees evokes and explores through an extraordinarily rich tapestry of atmosphere, physical setting, visual detail and sensitive, subtle performances.
  48. Awash in heart-rending emotions and gorgeous images, this is a movie to lose yourself in.
  49. With grace, discretion and supreme tact, Nicks sweeps viewers to a climactic montage that wordlessly honors the best ways we care for one another. The Waiting Room bears poetic witness to an overlooked fact: America's health care system may be broken, but its people are anything but.
  50. Seems less like a fictional story than a tour through Freud's forgotten files.
  51. 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.
  52. Intense, unflinching, bold in its simplicity and radical in its use of image, sound and staging, 12 Years a Slave in many ways is the defining epic so many have longed for to examine — if not cauterize — America’s primal wound.
  53. Enchants on every level: story, voice work, drawing and music.
  54. 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.
  55. While Wright's self-conscious theatricality and dollhouse aesthetic conjure comparisons to Baz Luhrmann and Wes Anderson, he outstrips both those filmmakers in moral seriousness and maturity.
  56. Magnificently acted, expertly crafted and unerringly sure of every treacherous step it takes, Leviathan is an indictment, but also an elegy, a film set among the monumental ruins of a culture, whether they’re the skeletal remains of boats, a whale’s bleached bones, a demolished building or a trail of lives that are either ruined or hopelessly resigned.
  57. This movie is not only a thrilling experience, it closes the book on a truly satisfying trilogy.
  58. Vincent & Theo is more than art appreciation, it is a treasure in its own right, unframed and arcing in the projector's light.
  59. That rare cinematic experience-a movie so close to pure perfection that it seems a shame to spoil it by even reading a review beforehand.
  60. The film serves not only as a mesmerizing escape into another world, but also a compelling, compassionate deep dive into human frailty and self-deception.
  61. The list of great moments is virtually endless.
  62. Handsomely filmed, intelligently written, accented with just a dash of outright hokum, Darkest Hour ends a year already laden with terrific films about the same subject — including the winsome comedy-drama “Their Finest” and Christopher Nolan’s boldly visual interpretive history “Dunkirk” — and ties it up with a big, crowd-pleasing bow.
  63. Weird and wonderful, zigging where it should zag and zagging where it should zig, this wildly imaginative flight of fancy strikes an admirably poised balance between whimsy, screwball comedy, social satire and generous meditation on the foibles and highest aspirations of human nature.
  64. More than just one of the best movies so far this year, it is a revolution in young-adult entertainment.
  65. 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.
  66. The Social Network has understandably been compared to "Citizen Kane" in its depiction of a man who changes society through bending an emergent technology to his will.
  67. This is an example of a writer and director working in perfect harness, with Reed smoothly ratcheting up the story's suspense and Greene speculating on his cardinal theme of moral ambiguity. They don't make movies like The Fallen Idol anymore, all the more reason to see it now while you can.
  68. A gigantic achievement, an endowment of riches.
  69. The Princess and the Frog invite viewers to see the world as a lively, mixed-up, even confounding place, to recognize essential parts of ourselves in what we see, and to say: This is what we look like.
  70. For those willing to join Reggio in his extended meditation, Visitors offers a sublime, even spiritual experience, as well as a bracing reminder of cinema’s power to create a transformative occasion.
  71. 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.
  72. What becomes clear in the course of the movie is that Jarmusch has constructed his own version of a poem, with recurring images and themes that allow him to delve into the nature of commitment, artistic ambition and how inner life is shaped by the tidal pull of place and history.
  73. British director Peter Greenaway's The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, treats the ugliest content imaginable in the most beautiful way possible. Give or take another masterpiece coming down the pike, this intricately assembled, viscerally provocative tract on consumerism gone full and grisly circle, is without a doubt, the most accomplished, astounding film of the year.
  74. Her
    What’s surprising is that Jonze has taken what could easily have been a glib screwball comedy and infused it instead with wry, observant tenderness and deep feeling.
  75. Leigh hasn't the affect of a poet, but he's a poet nonetheless. This movie captures the smallish details in life that perhaps you've felt before, but have never before seen on screen. He has a genius for the commonplace. It is truly sweet stuff.
  76. 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.
  77. Simple, yet quietly astonishing film.
  78. Dunkirk isn’t comfortable to watch; it never relents or relaxes. At the same time, it’s impossible to look away from it.
  79. 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.
  80. Force Majeure leaves the audience squirming — in all the very best ways.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    His dazzlingly brilliant "Nightmare" -- directed by Henry Selick -- is more of a postmodern fractured fable, one he scribbled as a poem-script 10 years ago when he and Selick were working as Disney animators...This is a modern classic that enriches the Christmas tradition by turning it on its head and spinning it like a bob.
  81. A magnificent melodrama that draws both tears and laughter from the everyday give-and-take of seemingly ordinary souls.
  82. 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.
  83. The tale, from Brazilian writer-director Daniel Ribeiro, is told with such tenderness, such intelligence and such aching honesty that it takes on the weight of something far more significant than puppy love. Like its subject, first kisses and best friends, it’s hard to forget.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Oldroyd’s brilliance (and Pugh’s) is to probe this age-old archetype — the Gothic antiheroine, the adulteress — and find pathos and cruelty. It’s also to uncover the complex web of hierarchies — of race and class, as well as gender — that ensnare and empower her.
  84. It’s a masterful example of genre filmmaking’s ability to transcend its limitations, leaving a viewer not just frightened, but also changed.
  85. Platoon is a triumph for Oliver Stone, a film in which a visceral approach to violence, which has always set him apart, is balanced by classical symmetries and a kind of elegiac distance. This is not the Vietnam of op-ed writers, rabble-rousers or esthetic visionaries, not Vietnam-as-metaphor or Vietnam-the-way-it-should-have-been. It is a movie about Vietnam as it was, alive with authenticity, seen through the eyes of a master filmmaker who lost his innocence there.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Aided by co-screenwriter Anthony Frewin, Ellis takes his time in this slow-burning thriller, which often feels more like a character study.
  86. It's brilliantly acted. But best of all, it's brilliantly made.
  87. Delicious with foreboding, a masterly suspense thriller that toys with our anticipation like a well-fed cat.
  88. Thanks to Bauby's courageous and honest writing, and Schnabel's poetic interpretation, what could have been a portrait of impotence and suffering becomes a lively exploration of consciousness and a soaring ode to liberation.
  89. A film that fulfills the most rote demands of superhero spectacle, yet does so with style and subtexts that feel bracingly, joyfully groundbreaking.
  90. The great joy of watching a Pixar production is how it rewards not only younger viewers but their older companions as well.
  91. As haunting as it is haunted, The Missing Picture leaves viewers’ heads rattling with ghosts.
    • 95 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.

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