Stephanie Zacharek

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For 2,019 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 53% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 45% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 0.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Stephanie Zacharek's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 64
Highest review score: 100 Stories We Tell
Lowest review score: 0 Crush
Score distribution:
2019 movie reviews
    • 34 Metascore
    • 30 Stephanie Zacharek
    Sometimes a dumb action comedy can work perfectly well as a one-off, particularly if its writers and director can pull off the illusion that they didn’t have to work hard to earn our laughs. But The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is all work and no payday. Even in the service of airheaded entertainment, no one should feel compelled to take a bullet for it. It’s OK to let a franchise die.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Stephanie Zacharek
    Though Skater Girl may give the illusion of telling one seemingly simple story, Makijany—who cowrote the script with her sister, Vinati Makijany—is really weaving many stories into one.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    This is an imperfect film that still captures an elusive and incandescent vibe, as alluring as a strand of lights strung up for an impromptu concrete picnic.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Stephanie Zacharek
    Anthony—whose previous documentary, Rat Film, traced the history of Baltimore via the city’s relationship to its rodent residents—has fashioned a thoughtful, if sometimes frustrating, meditation on the acts of “seeing” and “interpreting,” particularly as they apply to law enforcement and the criminal-justice system.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Stephanie Zacharek
    Petzold loves his romantic bargains, his meditations on longing, obsession and deceit, and he unfurls all of that seductive cloth of gold in Undine.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Stephanie Zacharek
    For all the ways in which Plan B is sometimes thunderously obvious, there’s still a lot going on beneath the surface.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Stephanie Zacharek
    A Quiet Place Part II is effective, all right—Krasinski holds all the keys to turning us into nervous wrecks by the end. But just because you hold the keys doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to use them all. And a horror movie that gives us space to breathe is also more likely to hit us where we live.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Stephanie Zacharek
    Snyder’s new zombie entree The Army of the Dead is too scattershot, perhaps too derivative and definitely too long. But it’s definitely a movie, as well as a perfectly acceptable turn-your-brain-off entertainment.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 70 Stephanie Zacharek
    The picture is enjoyable not so much for its twisty plot—which, even if you haven’t already read the book, is essentially pretty guessable—as for its artful dedication to its own highly theatrical, drapes-drawn somberness.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    Watching Street Gang is a largely joyous experience, but there’s also something heartbreaking about it.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Adapted from a novel by Walter Dean Myers, Monster is the story of not just one kid but many kids. It’s harrowing in its believability alone. If only it were a better movie.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    Limbo, tender and searching, shows what can happen to people when they’re between points A and B, a nowheresville that can change the shape of a life forever. It’s also about the meaning of musicianship, of how songs and sound can define who we are and where we come from.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    And yet, in these stressful times, a little mindless action isn’t wholly unwelcome, and Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse—directed by Stefano Sollima, who not long ago gave us Sicario: Day of the Soldado—is moderately un-terrible, a diversion that hits every beat predictably, with a mighty grunt.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    It’s meditative, mournful and gently funny, and celebratory, too, but in a muted way. If you don’t know what kind of movie you’re in the mood for, this may be the one. It’s a tonic for listless times.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Stephanie Zacharek
    Stowaway pulls plenty of pages from the generic space-movie handbook, but it still builds a mood of dread and contemplative ennui, finding its resolution in a final, somber shot.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Courier is almost two films in one: the second half is much darker and more intense than the first, but the shift is so delicately abrupt that at first you barely register it. That’s part of the movie’s edgily engaging artistry; what begins as a shadowy spy adventure ends in a place of mournful resignation.
    • 34 Metascore
    • 60 Stephanie Zacharek
    Thunder Force drags until roughly its last third, and then something remarkable happens: its gonzo spirit kicks in. From that point on, Thunder Force feels crazily, joltingly alive, as if it were realizing, a little too late, that it ought to have been a different movie altogether.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Man Who Sold His Skin, from Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania, hits some ominous and sinister notes as it tangles with serious political and social issues, among them the plight of refugees, the nature of art and exploitation, and various facets of self-loathing. But it ends on a surprisingly airy note, and that makes all the difference.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Stephanie Zacharek
    Concrete Cowboy—directed by Ricky Staub and adapted from a novel by Greg Neri, inspired by Philadelphia’s real-life Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club—is your classic story about an irritable young man redeemed by an animal, and the embrace of a community. But it’s satisfying even so, largely because watching Elba is such a pleasure.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Stephanie Zacharek
    You know you’re really only here for the monsters, squaring off and staring one another down, first at sea and later in the streets of Hong Kong. Director Adam Wingard (Blair Witch, The Guest) makes the most of these moments, fleeting as they are: The Hong Kong fight scenes are particularly gratifying, a melee of orchestrated swiping and tail-swishing that jolt the movie out of its doldrums.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 70 Stephanie Zacharek
    Six Minutes to Midnight is a tribute to those real-life girls who, as guests from a land that would soon become a vicious enemy, represent a strange little intersection of English and German history—the human element behind symbols clashing on a badge.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Stephanie Zacharek
    The Father is a horror movie with not a single supernatural element: All of its terrors are implied, drawn from the tricks the human mind plays on itself, even more so in old age.
    • 95 Metascore
    • 90 Stephanie Zacharek
    One problem with social-issues documentaries is that you almost always know where they stand, and where they’re headed, from the start. But Collective is as tense and as taut as a great fictional drama.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    If Another Round had been presented as a farce, a trifle, it might, paradoxically enough, carry more weight. Good comedies have a way of cutting deep, maybe because they relax us just enough so that we let down our guard. But Another Round is both too serious and not serious enough.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Stephanie Zacharek
    It’s not as self-absorbed as you might expect. It’s more about the nature of memory itself, the kind of movie Chris Marker might have made if, instead of an experimental filmmaker and mixed-media artist, he’d been a former Hollywood child star.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 40 Stephanie Zacharek
    Cherry feels like a movie made by a teenager, a bright kid who doesn’t leave his room much but still has plenty of thoughts about, you know, experiences and stuff.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Stephanie Zacharek
    There’s plenty of spectacle in Coming 2 America, and a few laughs. But its chief value may lie in reminding us how good its 1988 predecessor really is.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Stephanie Zacharek
    The movie is an act of loony generosity we shouldn’t refuse. This is ludicrous entertainment for frazzled times.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Stephanie Zacharek
    Moxie kicks off as a shout-out to riot grrrl spirit, only to give us an ending written in the cursive script of an inspirational mug. The walk from being a ‘zine maker to a scrapbooker is apparently a short one.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 70 Stephanie Zacharek
    The United States vs. Billie Holiday may be at times unfocused, but it’s never boring. And as always, Daniels rounds up the finest performers and gives them great characters to dig into.

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