Washington Post's Scores

For 6,843 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: 58
Highest review score: 100 Chicken Run
Lowest review score: 0 Undiscovered
Score distribution:
6,843 movie reviews
  1. A small, self-contained gem of incisive writing, superb acting and rich, expressive visuals.
  2. It takes the rock movie into regions it has never been before.
  3. Although fictionalized, it feels depressingly real. It's a 90-minute newsreel with a broken heart.
  4. Frances McDormand enjoys the comedic role of her career.
  5. The movie's intense watchability can be traced directly to superb performances by Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley.
  6. Small, quiet movie that imperceptibly takes its viewers by their throats and doesn't let go
  7. It's an exhilarating, funny, very sweet movie.
  8. Yet much of the movie's validity stems from time and place recreated with such authenticity that you can sense the wet chill in the morning air and the new wax pungent on the old gym floor. [27 Feb 1987, Weekend, p.n29]
  9. The best advice to filmgoers who appreciate smart, mature, humanist movies is, simply, Go.
  10. Makes for fascinating cinema.
  11. Unabashed, streamlined entertainment, and you won't hate yourself in the morning for liking it.
  12. Sean Penn sings a powerful and poetic hymn to America with Into the Wild, his sweeping, sensitive and deeply affecting adaptation of Jon Krakauer's best-selling book.
  13. I don't pretend to understand a darned thing about Jean-Luc Godard's In Praise of Love...But it's undeniably powerful and, if you're up for the experience, exhilarating.
  14. Exploding on the screen in a riot of movement, music and color.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    This is one fan's valentine to the music he loves. It just happens that the fan is a terrific filmmaker and the music loves him back -- and we get to see it and hear it all. What a treat.
  15. Tells a tale of fortitude that comes not from muscle but from the ineffable, bungee-like sinew that is the human spirit.
  16. Paris is a funny, sad, romantic and deeply felt love letter to a great city. If you can't book a trip now, it's the next best thing.
  17. 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.
  18. It's sad, funny, shocking and completely unlike any movie in a dozen years.
  19. A brilliantly amusing couple of hours.
  20. The trick of this movie is that it's so changeable: You think you've got it nailed and it slithers away to become some other new, fabulous thing.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Mysteries still surround many aspects of bird migration. This film unravels exactly none of them. Rather, in some of the most remarkable footage you'll ever see, the film lets you look over the shoulders of migrating birds.
  21. 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.
  22. Fabulous mental escape. It's fun and playful, rather than dark and foreboding. And there doesn't seem to be an original cyber-bone in the movie's body. But it's put together in a fabulous package.
  23. Anyhow, either as history at its most inspiring or moviemaking at its most exciting, The Tunnel is a trip.
  24. For my generation, Revenge of the Sith is a brilliant consummation to a promise made a long time ago, far, far away, in a galaxy called 1977.
  25. Observed mostly from Remy's rat's-eye view, Gusteau's kitchen is a memorable world-in-miniature with its vivid old-fashioned stoves, bright, brassy pots and general air of frenzied industry; never did sliced red onions or simmering soup look so fresh and real.
  26. So full of creativity, so subversive, so alive.
  27. May be too much suspense for some, but it's vividly powerful.
  28. It's a new new thing, classic myth from both literature and the movies, commingled, set to great folk music, and untrammeled by any sense of predictability, urgency, realism or believability but hypnotic, graceful and seductive.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Mississippi Burning speeds down the complicated, painful path of civil rights in search of a good thriller. Surprisingly, it finds it
  29. As a good fairy tale should, The Princess Bride teaches but never preaches. It's a lively, fun-loving, but nevertheless epic look at the nature of true love.
  30. Martin Scorsese brings honor back to the remake. He shines up this reprise of the original with original brilliance
  31. Made with uncommon skill and assurance, the film never succumbs to rank sentimentality, but it manages to get at the nuances of human relationships.
  32. The nail-biting quality of Shackleton's true story outdoes any dramatic fiction on the market.
  33. Nolte is not only made for the role, he's also rehearsed it in real life.
  34. It is in fact a traditional mystery more reminiscent of Agatha Christie than the reigning film noir aesthetic of 1947. But it's fabulously entertaining.
  35. A movie made by filmmaker working in sync with his times -- an exciting, disturbing, provocative film.
  36. Maybe Thomas Wolfe was right: You can't go home again
  37. Wins you over with its devastating simplicity.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A spectacular concert documentary that also gives some fascinating insights into the making of "The Black Album."
  38. Hilarious, touching and wonderfully dyspeptic.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    There are no surprises in Sleepless, and the audience is ahead of the characters every step of the way. But people seem to like it that way. And, hey, it works like a charm.
  39. Mafioso may have been made in another era, but it stands as a classy, even radical rebuke to the film school posers who keep recycling the same tired gangster tropes.
  40. Until its final stumble, this intelligence thriller, starring Val Kilmer, is charged with brilliance.
  41. Combines novelistic detail with cinematic sweep.
  42. The scenes unfold with such unhurried delicacy, and the characters are so intriguing, you can ignore the editorial bluntness and savor the smaller, sweeter details.
  43. So elegantly layered and emotionally restrained, it makes the horror at its center all the more disturbing.
  44. Jon Heder in the magnificent Napoleon Dynamite, is one of the most winning movie creations in years.
  45. Delightful, delicious, de-lovely.
  46. Exults in the hard-riding romanticism of classic Westerns, but it takes revisionist stock too. It dismounts at places usually left in the dust -- the oppressed lot of women, the loneliness of untended children, adult illiteracy and the horrible last moments of the dying.
  47. It's part sugar, part spice (cayenne, not nutmeg) and all-around brilliant.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Welcome back to the art of storytelling! Back to the Future is a whirling merry-go-round of a movie, in which everything is precisely machined but nothing seems quite safe. It's a wildly pleasurable sci-fi comedy, filled with enchantment and sweetness and zip as only a bona fide summer hit can be. [3 July 1985, p.D1]
    • Washington Post
  48. The cutting is so sinuous and breathtaking, the music (by Danny Elfman after too much coffee) so onrushing and the camera so penetrative of the depths and heights of midtown Manhattan at cloud level, that the illusion, despite its artificiality, works. You don't believe it but you "believe" it.
  49. A hip, hilarious new animated feature.
  50. What is so impressive about Welcome to Sarajevo is its cool restraint: Like the best of journalism, it never stoops to sensationalize or sermonize, but merely observes. It's about the facts rather than something called The Truth. [9Jan1998 Pg. D.01]
    • Washington Post
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Now, finally, we know what it was like to walk on the moon: unbelievably cool. Amazing. Fantastic. Scary.
  51. Gets viewers inside these tense, emotional and occasionally terrifying events with immediacy and, given the confusion of the time, remarkable clarity.
  52. Not just a fitting document of a life brilliantly lived but a vibrant, almost palpitating piece of cinema.
  53. A modern epic that fuses myth with hard-edged reality, it's a one-of-a-kind, thoroughly engaging experience.
  54. Brings kinetic, stylistic and even sexy dimension to the Bram Stoker legend.
  55. Richard Linklater's satirical take on high school life in the 1970s is not only funny and entertaining. It's practically a historic document of life during the smiley-face button era.
  56. In keeping with the Smith rules, the movie is irreverent, self-referential, twisted, cheap and tasteless. And, of course, I mean that as the highest compliment.
  57. Never has political correctness looked so sumptuously handsome as it does here, and in its perfect-pitch instinct for the cultural vibe, this sweeping movie is so immaculately dead-on that it nearly transcends criticism.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    A thoroughly engrossing documentary.
  58. A brainy, superbly acted buddy movie.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    It must weather some bummy mid-passage exposition, but the movie survives its flaws triumphantly, evolving into a uniquely transporting filmgoing spectacle. [14 Dec 1977, p.D1]
    • Washington Post
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    Still a marvel of verve and bone-dry wit, the movie has been treated kindly by time.
    • Washington Post
  59. Gosling's performance is a small miracle, not only because he's so completely open as a man who's essentially shut off, but because he changes and grows so imperceptibly before our eyes.
  60. The real story lies beneath the surface of this superbly acted, strangely moving film.
  61. Tremendous fun at times, especially in its vicious power plays and betrayals. But it has no redeeming value beyond entertainment.
  62. What emerges is quite extraordinary.
  63. What's truly surprising about Happy Feet is not its giddily brilliant entertainment, its intimate knowledge of the culture or its toe-tapping music. It's how commonplace these qualities have become in computer-animated movies… Happy Feet may be just one of the crowd, but what a great crowd it is.
  64. The real importance of "Earnest" is the thrill of brilliant repartee. And as we laugh, an amazing thing happens: Oscar Wilde comes alive.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 90 Critic Score
    But the greater credit goes to writer/director Towne. In this adult adventure with a twist, he has mixed a good one. [2 Dec 1988, p.n41]
    • Washington Post
  65. The problem, as “Table” shows, isn’t that the next meal never comes. It’s that when it arrives, too often it is filled with empty calories.
  66. Known for comedy, Rogen and Silverman are the film's most delightful surprises, and their performances shine.
  67. Senna is what film critics might call a TMSI movie, as in: Trust me, see it.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    In the end, police descend on the block at the very moment their presence becomes irrelevant. They misinterpret everything; locals watch as they blame all the wrong people. Soon their flashing lights will drive away, and the block will go back to taking care of itself the best it can.
  68. By turns sweet, sad, funny and poignant, We Have a Pope is the story of a man who doesn't want to be God's representative on Earth.
  69. If you think "Rocky" and "Raging Bull" define the alpha and omega of boxing movies, think again. David O. Russell's The Fighter proves there's still punch in the genre, especially when a filmmaker tells a familiar story in a brand-new way.
  70. Equal parts playful, sophisticated and engrossing, The Adjustment Bureau is like the first songbird of spring, signaling that the winter of our collective brain-freeze is over and it's safe to go back to the multiplex.
  71. If the movie is any indication, Chevron would have the public believe there was no Amazon at all -- something people might be willing to believe, were Berlinger not sticking Crude in their faces.
  72. With long, quiet takes in which he simply observes Johansson wordlessly taking in the world around her, Glazer infuses the everyday modern world with a surpassing sense of strangeness and doom.
  73. The result is a panorama of emotion, in which one dancer exhibits pure joy and another severe aching. As Bausch notes early in the film, words alone cannot describe something, nor can dance. One medium has to pick up where the last has left off. The disembodied words seem to get to the heart of that idea.
  74. Telling an old story in a new way and infusing what might have been a dry political polemic with poetry, passion and unlikely warmth.
  75. He was many things, the documentary reveals, but self-serious was not among the late writer’s lengthy list of descriptors.
  76. It's as soothing and pure as the sweetest water from the deepest well.
  77. The warmth that courses through American Hustle makes it irresistible, with Russell’s affection for his characters and his sharp-eyed evocation of their recessionary times, honoring their struggle, however dishonest, rather than denigrating it.
  78. It’s surprisingly wise, funny and affecting, thanks in part to a sensitive script, and in part to a strong ensemble cast.
  79. In this story, everyone, man or woman, is a walled fortress of paranoia, secrecy, unsatisfied yearnings and anger-at-low-tide, all of which will rise and collapse over the course of what is a very funny film, and one that operates at the sea level of humanity. Quaint. Slightly peculiar.
  80. At the most fundamental level, the real Chet Baker is a kind of nowhere man. He's too insubstantial for Weber to levitate him into greatness. This fact is the source of the film's dramatic tension, and Weber, to his credit, seems to have realized it.
  81. Citizenfour isn’t just a useful primer in the civil liberties and consent issues his disclosures raised. It humanizes a man who almost immediately became controversialized as a naive, self-important desk jockey or, worse, a handmaiden to terrorists everywhere.
  82. Have you ever been trapped in the back seat of a car while the old married couple up front bickers and banters for hours? It's either sheer torture or, if the couple happens to be Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, wildly entertaining.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 Critic Score
    You don't have to be a horse nut to fall for Buck, one of those rare documentaries whose subject is so inherently fascinating that a fictional character could hardly compete.
  83. Life in a Day is, without exaggeration, a profound achievement.
  84. Thanks to Lewin's light but assured touch, The Sessions never wears its theological preoccupations heavily, instead allowing transcendence to creep up on the audience quietly.
  85. Simon and the Oaks is not merely the story of two boys from opposite sides of the tracks. It's also a larger meditation on life's hardships and what endures: love, art and civilization.
  86. A quietly brilliant study in cognitive dissonance, The Flat is a documentary look at Holocaust denial, but not the kind you might think.
  87. It's powerful, gut-wrenching stuff, and it doesn't need tarting up.

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