The Atlantic's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 307 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 48% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 50% 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 Ad Astra
Lowest review score: 0 Transformers: The Last Knight
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 30 out of 307
307 movie reviews
  1. Nomadland is a work of exploration, and not just across the sprawling American West. Fern is exorcising her darkest demons, which spring from the systemic neglect that has been visited on so many Americans in recent years. The odyssey makes Zhao’s film a transfixing mix of reckoning and catharsis.
  2. Minari is a tale that will feel familiar to many, but Chung grounds it in brilliant specificity.
  3. With Judas and the Black Messiah, King has made a thriller that speaks to history without feeling didactic, that keeps the audience in suspense even though the ending was written decades ago.
  4. The clever script, written by Glass herself, is designed to keep the viewer guessing until the very last minute, and it’s the foundation of the first great horror movie of the year.
  5. Even the most mundane moments in The Little Things aren’t enough to stifle Washington’s star power. Almost nothing is.
  6. While Locked Down is an undoubtedly fascinating pop-culture curio, it’s also sloppy and cringe-inducing, and feels like it was made in a hurry.
  7. Howard’s film is nothing more than a sensational snapshot, one that feels even less authentic than many of the think pieces that followed the release of Vance’s book in 2016. To Hollywood, J. D. is just another cookie-cutter hero, one who’s defeated the haziest of villains—adversity itself.
  8. The Nest is one of the best films of the year: Though it’s set in the past, it’s about the feeling of one’s own home turning against you when the world outside feels all the more hostile—a theme that resonates far beyond its time period.
  9. It’s a refreshingly silly and airy adventure focused on the emotions of one character, Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot), and a charming end to a tiring year of cinema.
  10. Freaky knows it’s a farce and winks at the silliest of slasher tropes, but that satirical edge doesn’t keep it from being one of the most purely enjoyable horror works I’ve seen in a long time.
  11. Fincher didn’t set out to make a movie about today’s politics; he’s telling a universal story about trying to change an industry (and a world) in which every system seems freighted with inertia. Mankiewicz isn’t quite a radical, nor is he especially principled. Still, in trying to make sense of his experiences with Hearst through a Hollywood narrative, he transforms a familiar tale about shattered idealism into a revolutionary work of art.
  12. The movie’s best moments are the fully scripted ones between Borat and Tutar, who have a genuinely sweet bond forged mostly through crude humor. Cohen seems to understand that the film’s shock value is automatically lower because of how deadened audiences have grown to political satire, so he relies more heavily on sitcom jokes to compensate and largely succeeds.
  13. This film is the slightest story Coppola has ever produced; it only brushes up against deeper insights during its brief running time. But the movie offers such a rush of unintentional catharsis and pure diversion that its flaws are easy to forgive.
  14. Chicago 7 is a particularly shiny rendering of history, but Sorkin wisely places the focus on America’s failings, even as he celebrates the people striving to fix them.
  15. The film is not gritty, unvarnished, or hard to watch; it’s an easygoing, charming work, buoyed by Blank’s excellent lead performance and suffused with snappy jokes and sparkling supporting turns.
  16. 76 Days is unvarnished and raw, a first draft of a history that’s still being written.
  17. The film deploys its extreme imagery for a reason, interrogating notions of selfhood and agency through a plot where nefarious agents can tap directly into someone’s brain.
  18. For all its eerie focus on the end of our lives, that’s what Johnson’s movie is about: celebrating the people we love.
  19. It loads up on visceral scares and disturbing imagery in service of a shallow film that feels like a gory theme-park ride showcasing the horrors of slavery.
  20. Mulan delivers a straightforwardly heroic narrative of a capable woman battling her way to respect. It just doesn’t have much else to add.
  21. I’m Thinking of Ending Things is long (two hours and 14 minutes) and often frustrating, but it’s also incredibly satisfying on rewatch, which makes its Netflix release a boon. There’s a weird thrill to getting lost inside this movie, only so you can study every odd detail from new angles, over and over again.
  22. It’s breathtaking to watch the director work on such a grand scale, but the humans within his film do sometimes get lost. For all Nolan’s metaphysical mastery, there’s an undeniable coldness to his twilight world.
  23. Boys State is both inspiring and occasionally terrifying, and that befits its gaze into America’s political present and future.
  24. It’s Rich’s understanding of the connection between Herschel and Ben, not their time-dilated differences, that won me over.
  25. In Palm Springs, the journey the central characters go on isn’t just about trying to escape the loop—it’s about understanding that no matter how tedious life might seem, there are always ways to find joy in living it.
  26. This is a comedy that knows how to make fun and have fun.
  27. Apatow’s greatest skill is at dissecting relationships, and that should’ve made up most of The King of Staten Island’s running time. Yes, the film is a tale of a young man facing his demons, but it works best as the story of a ruptured family finally learning how to put things back together.
  28. If the necessities of the moment mean that Da 5 Bloods won’t get the big theatrical run it deserves, its bold immediacy still hits hard on a smaller screen. Hollywood has made many stirring tales of war heroism, of honor gained and lives lost, and even of the failures of the countries that sent men into battle. But there are shockingly few stories like this one.
  29. Decker’s filmmaking is often dreamlike, but her storytelling has a cruel bite of reality to it—just as Jackson’s writing did decades before.
  30. The aesthetic is Twilight Zone, and the plot could be right out of The X-Files. But despite its small-screen influences and tiny budget, The Vast of Night is shockingly cinematic, overflowing with the kind of inventiveness you rarely see from a first-time filmmaker.

Top Trailers