For 596 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 28% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 70% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 1 point lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Pauline Kael's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 63
Highest review score: 100 The African Queen
Lowest review score: 10 Blame It on Rio
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 42 out of 596
596 movie reviews
    • 100 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    The Orson Welles film is generally considered the greatest American film of the sound period, and it may be more fun than any other great movie.
    • The New Yorker
    • 100 Metascore
    • 90 Pauline Kael
    Bergman is literally ravishing in what is probably her sexiest performance. Great trash, great fun.
    • The New Yorker
    • 99 Metascore
    • 90 Pauline Kael
    This exuberant satire of Hollywood in the late 20s, at the time of the transition from silents to talkies, is probably the most enjoyable of all American movie musicals.
    • The New Yorker
    • 99 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    D.W. Griffith's epic celebration of the potentialities of the film medium--perhaps the greatest movie ever made and the greatest folly in movie history.
    • The New Yorker
    • 99 Metascore
    • 90 Pauline Kael
    What it really has to do with is love of the film medium, and if Welles can't resist the candy of shadows and angels and baroque decor, he turns it into stronger fare than most directors' solemn meat and potatoes. It's terrific entertainment.
    • The New Yorker
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    One of the strongest of all American movies...The picture is emotionally memorable, though - it has a powerful cumulative effect; when it's over you know you've seen something.
    • The New Yorker
    • 98 Metascore
    • 80 Pauline Kael
    Lemmon is demoniacally funny - he really gives in to women's clothes, and begins to think of himself as a sexy girl. Monroe gives perhaps her most characteristic performance, which means that she's both charming and embarrassing.
    • The New Yorker
    • 98 Metascore
    • 90 Pauline Kael
    Though not as cleverly original as "Strangers on a Train", or as cleverly sexy as "Notorious", this is one of Hitchcock's most entertaining American thrillers.
    • The New Yorker
    • 98 Metascore
    • 90 Pauline Kael
    The introductory and closing scenes are tedious; the woman's whimpering is almost enough to drive one to the nearest exit. Yet the film transcends these discomforts; it has its own perfection.
    • The New Yorker
    • 98 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    Ersatz art of a very high grade, and one of the most enjoyable movies ever made.
    • The New Yorker
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    Elliptical, full of wit and radiance, this is the best movie ever made about what most of us think of as the Scott Fitzgerald period (though the film begins much earlier).
    • The New Yorker
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    It’s no accident that you feel a sense of loss for each killer of the Bunch: Peckinpah has made them seem heroically, mythically alive on the screen.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 80 Pauline Kael
    Orson Welles' portrait of the friend, Harry Lime, is a study of corruption - evil, witty, unreachable.
    • The New Yorker
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    Elia Kazan’s direction is often stagy, and the sets and the arrangement of actors are frequently too transparently “worked out,” but who cares when you’re looking at two of the greatest performances ever put on film and listening to some of the finest dialogue ever written by an American?
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    Close to perfection--one of the most beautifully acted and paced romantic comedies ever made in this country.
    • The New Yorker
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    It's genuinely funny, yet it's also scary, especially for young women: it plays on their paranoid vulnerabilities... Mia Farrow is enchanting in her fragility: she's just about perfect for her role.
    • The New Yorker
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    An almost perfect visual equivalent of the Dashiell Hammett thriller...It is (and this is rare in American films) a work of entertainment that is yet so skillfully constructed that after many years and many viewings it has the same brittle explosiveness - and even some of the same surprise - that it had in its first run.
    • The New Yorker
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    The funniest epic vision of America ever to reach the screen.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Pauline Kael
    Shiny and unfelt and smart-aleck-commercial as the movie is, it's almost irresistibly entertaining - one of the high spots of M-G-M professionalism.
    • The New Yorker
    • 96 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    This famous film, high on most lists of the greatest films of all time, seems all wrong - phony when it should ring true. Yet, because of the material, it is often moving in spite of the acting, the directing, and the pseudo-Biblical pore-people talk.
    • The New Yorker
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Pauline Kael
    This is the fanciest, most carefully assembled enigma yet put on screen...Using du Maurier as a base, Roeg comes closer to getting Borges on the screen than those who have tried it directly, but there's a distasteful clamminess about the picture. Roeg's style is in love with disintegration.
    • The New Yorker
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    This lushly romantic creation, directed by Marcel Carne and written by Jacques Prevert, is a one-of-a-kind film, a sumptuous epic about the relations between theatre and life.
    • The New Yorker
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets is a true original of our period, a triumph of personal filmmaking. It has its own hallucinatory look; the charac­ters live in the darkness of bars, with lighting and color just this side of lurid. It has its own unsettling, episodic rhythm and a high-charged emo­tional range that is dizzyingly sensual.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    A frivolous masterpiece. Like Bringing Up Baby, The Lady Eve is a mixture of visual and verbal slapstick, and of high artifice and pratfalls.
    • The New Yorker
    • 95 Metascore
    • 90 Pauline Kael
    A macabre comedy classic.
    • The New Yorker
    • 95 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    The film seems to go on for about 45 minutes after the story is finished. Audrey Hepburn is an affecting Eliza, though she is totally unconvincing as a guttersnipe, and is made to sing with that dreadfully impersonal Marni Nixon voice that has issued from so many other screen stars.
    • The New Yorker
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Pauline Kael
    This shrewd, smoothly tawdry thriller, directed by Billy Wilder, is one of the high points of nineteen-forties films. Barbara Stanwyck’s Phyllis Dietrichson—a platinum blonde who wears tight white sweaters, an anklet, and sleazy-kinky shoes—is perhaps the best acted and the most fixating of all the slutty, cold-blooded femmes fatales of the film-noir genre.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 60 Pauline Kael
    The reputation of this John Ford Western is undeservedly high: it's a heavy-spirited piece of nostalgia. John Wayne is in his flamboyant element, but James Stewart is too old for the role of an idealistic young Eastern lawyer who is robbed on the way West, goes to work in the town of Shinbone as a dishwasher, and learns about Western life.
    • The New Yorker
    • 94 Metascore
    • 50 Pauline Kael
    You can read a lot into it, but it isn't very enjoyable. The lines are often awkward and the line readings worse, and the film is often static, despite economic, quick editing.
    • The New Yorker
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Pauline Kael
    The fact that we experience Travis’s need for an explosion viscerally, and that the explosion itself has the quality of consummation, makes Taxi Driver one of the few truly modern horror films.

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