Vanity Fair's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 327 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 52% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 47% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 3.4 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 Minari
Lowest review score: 10 Music
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 22 out of 327
327 movie reviews
  1. As it unspools, Minari becomes a study in sober compassion. Chung has worked through the conflicts of his upbringing—his father’s stubbornness, the family’s rural isolation—and arrived at the grace of understanding, and all the forgiveness, regret, and affection that comes with that.
  2. There’s a sort of bell curve of tolerance; the film begins loud and over-egged, gradually settles into a sad and gnarly bildungsroman, and then burns itself out with an operatic finale. It’s an exhausting experience, which I realize may be the point.
  3. Pike has been nominated for a Golden Globe for the performance, but don’t let that turn you off. She is, once again, a stealthy marvel in this movie, cruel and clever. The rest of the film might not meet the heights of its star, but it is still a sleek and compelling standout in an erratic season, anchored by one of the great performances of the year (so far, anyway).
  4. Ziegler has been handed a cursed, impossible task, forced to act so far outside of herself—with seemingly little of the right guidance coming from the grownups in the room—that Music becomes something ghastly. It often feels like a movie made decades ago, one of those smarmily well-intentioned Hollywood exercises in issue-peddling that demands the gratitude of an entire community of people.
  5. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things knows its limits. It’s careful about when to be twee, when to strive for profundity, and when to hold back. The film has an agreeably modest scale, despite its lofty considerations of physics and the makeup of existence.
  6. It’s easy to mistake Strawberry Mansion for a simple parable about advertising and the federal government. But ultimately, it’s a strange film about art and its conditions.
  7. Judas and the Black Messiah is missing that deeper personal aspect, some sense of the emotional force yoking O’Neal and Hampton together, dragging them toward ruin. The film is resonant regardless. Still, there’s such an opportunity presented here—to see these two sterling actors really working in harmony—that goes frustratingly unseized. As is, Judas and the Black Messiah is richer and more engaging than a standard biopic, but is not quite the Shakespearean tragedy of double allegiances and backstabbing that it could have been.
  8. Writer/director Sian Heder, with her exceptional cast, remains in full control of the tone even as the story follows every predictable beat. You’ve seen versions of this story before, sure—but this one’s worthy of another spin.
  9. The film doesn’t actually show character growth so much as it tells you it’s happening.
  10. Supernova, despite a title that suggests a bright and glorious burst of energy, is a ponderous movie, a story about the end of life so determined to be taken gravely that it doesn’t let anything actually live. It’s abstractly tragic, about a vague idea of something rather than anything or anyone specific. Dementia is scary and sad. That’s about as particular as Supernova gets.
  11. The Little Things is somehow both lazy and overly adorned, a lugubrious movie that spends all its indulgence on the easiest, most obvious of tropes.
  12. King clearly has the chops, and hopefully, with future films, she’ll be more adventurous. Still, as it stands, One Night in Miami is fitting fare for our present conditions. By placing some of the 20th century’s boldest Black male figures in one shining frame, simply talking, we are asked to consider Black lives as both public and private creations. It’s a great theme, which the film falls just short of embodying.
  13. Locked Down is a grating yank into a nasty headspace, a pompous sort of fury. There is no empathy for the common cause of quarantine in the film, only spittle and outrage and corny existential angst.
  14. The ending of the film stuck with me for days, pushing me into a kind of melancholy existential funk that proved distressingly hard to shake.
  15. The film’s inarguable high point is its a bravura opening sequence, which relies on Kirby to bring everything to the surface— a (seemingly) single-take, 23-minute childbirth scene, which ends in devastation. It’s a bold statement of purpose for a film that doesn’t quite know where to go from there, but for Kirby it’s merely the beginning of yet another career-defining performance, and probably only the second of many.
  16. Despite some distraction and not quite enough music, Soul manages to tap into deep emotion as its characters explore the limits of mortality and what it means to be passionate about life.
  17. The pleasure of Let Them All Talk is in how it expands on the premise of an older lady hang movie, burrowing into darker corners and pausing to consider the ambient hum of life tumbling along. It’s a fun movie. It may also be profound.
  18. In its best stretches—the first hour of the film, let’s say—WW84 sweetly revels in its old-school trappings, its hokey mystery, its goofy villain, its resourceful hero. The film is light on its feet, colorful and playful in a way not seen elsewhere in the DC Universe.
  19. It won't disappoint viewers who want to see Hanks play a nerdy cowboy, or who want to revel in wide shots of American west. But for a film with so many thorny contradictions encased within it, News of the World has surprisingly few hooks.
  20. Lovers Rock is a love letter to the joy of being alive, and young, and at least momentarily, free.
  21. The Prom is a shellacked lump of Hollywood product, all canned fabulousness—including Corden’s noxious mugging—and none of the difficult, awe-inspiring technicality that makes musical performance truly snap and sing with theater’s scrappy magic.
  22. There are enough surprising one-liners and asides to make this romantic comedy actually funny, rather than something to mildly chuckle at on the way to the kissing.
  23. Mangrove is not a lecture, or a polemic. There’s a gracefulness to McQueen’s technique that gives the film a poetic lilt; even when the worst things are happening, or the biggest speeches are being made in court, McQueen manages to avoid the starchy stuff of so many political and legal dramas.
  24. Freaky is a pure pleasure, an absurd thriller that cuts through descending autumn gloom with a surprisingly bespoke prop knife.
  25. Hillbilly Elegy is both witless cosplay and a failure to interrogate any of the book’s controversial insinuations. I can’t imagine the film will satisfy those who agree with Vance or those who want to tangle with him—let alone those just looking for an engrossing family saga.
  26. His House is a grim and poetic lament about a boggling global tragedy.
  27. Mank taps into a vein of feeling that reaches farther than mere family tribute. The film also serves as a political cri de coeur, one that inspires as much as it dismays. In making a film that’s sort of about the making of another film, Fincher has many metatextual layers to work with, which he does with trademark precision and unexpected gentility.
  28. Let Him Go is a swift entertainment, claustrophobic and anxious in its depiction of an impossible, frustrating situation, and satisfying in its gnarly climax.
  29. Lister-Jones has a lot of good ideas that are given short shrift in this film. The potency of their implications is sapped by, among other things, the film’s seemingly hyper-conscious worry that it might put a foot wrong, especially within such a limited run time. Which may actually be The Craft: Legacy’s most modern dimension: it probably should have been a Netflix series.
  30. In a moment where no one in power seems to have quite enough shame, perhaps only the truly shameless among us can find a way to thoroughly embarrass them.

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