Devika Girish

Devika Girish
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
I am an Indian freelance film critic based in Los Angeles. I contribute regularly to Film Comment Magazine and have also written for publications such as the (erstwhile) Village Voice, Reverse Shot, MUBI? Notebook, Fandor, Vague Visages, Kinoscope, SVLLYWOOD, and Film Companion. Additionally, I edit the online arts-and-culture magazine Ampersand. I grew up in Nagpur, in central India, and moved to the U.S. to study film. My criticism is deeply influenced by my transatlantic experiences? I like to explore issues of politics, identity, and postcoloniality through my film writing. I am an alum of the 2017 NYFF Critics Academy and one of 8 critics selected for the Berlinale Talents program at the upcoming Berlin International Film Festival. I have also forayed into audio criticism? last December, my audio story? Demystifying Bollywood? won the L.A. Press Club? National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award for soft news feature--radio.

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
92% You Will Die at Twenty (2021) Alala deepens this simple, fable-like premise into a lyrical confrontation with the certitudes of faith and the life-giving powers of doubt. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 21, 2021
67% Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy (2021) A narrower focus might have allowed the film to better tease out such knotty material. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 13, 2021
78% Shadow in the Cloud (2021) [T]he implausibility of it all is a perk: There's never a moment in this rollicking film when you can tell what's coming next. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 31, 2020
97% The Dissident (2020) All of this material is so chilling and effective on its own that the movie's emphatic music and computer-generated graphics... can feel like overkill. But these flourishes serve the film's ultimate objective... - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 25, 2020
98% Farewell Amor (2020) Even as "Farewell Amor" treads familiar paths, its tripartite structure allows for uncommon nuance. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2020
93% Another Round (Druk) (2020) Vinterberg's delicate, grounded direction and the actors' wonderfully loose performances insist upon authenticity, creating a tonal mishmash that's endearingly absurd. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 3, 2020
100% Overseas (2019) Occasional staged soliloquies jar with the film's delicate vérité approach, but Yoon's eye for composition remains precise throughout. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2020
100% Coded Bias (2020) For a documentary about automated technology, "Coded Bias" keeps its focus firmly on people: their failings, their vulnerabilities and their powers for good. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 11, 2020
91% The Endless Trench (La trinchera infinita) (2019) It's fertile thematic ground, but as in most survival movies, showy feats of filmmaking take precedence over insight or revelation. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2020
97% The Donut King (2020) A cheery portrait of immigrant entrepreneurship that lacks political punch. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2020
86% The Calming (Ping Jing) (2020) This dialectic of movement through stillness -- of the work of rest -- is at the heart of The Calming, which captures its heroine in drift between projects, cities, apartments, relationships. - Reverse Shot EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2020
85% Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) Unlike the curiosity that seemed to motivate Cohen in the previous film, here the goal appears to be to goad people to confirm what we already know. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2020
61% Nocturne (2020) Contrivances are par for the course in this genre, but "Nocturne" lacks the stylistic flair to make them fun. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2020
87% The Social Dilemma (2020) "The Social Dilemma" is remarkably effective in sounding the alarm about the incursion of data mining and manipulative technology into our social lives and beyond. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2020
No Score Yet The Golden Girl (Fata de aur) (2020) Deftly, the film shifts focus from Raducan's disqualification to the entrenched injustices of Olympic sports, with their outsized pressures and brittle illusions of meritocracy. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 2, 2020
100% Mr. SOUL! (2020) Broad in scope and rapidly paced, the film can feel as if it's bursting at the seams. But it acutely conveys the radical joy that "Soul!" inspired, barely contained in the movie's running time. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 27, 2020
90% Desert One (2020) There's not much here that hasn't already been covered - with perhaps greater vividness - in investigative articles. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 20, 2020
No Score Yet Born in Evin (2019) Zaree makes an eloquent and arresting protagonist, though her documentary is a bit too tidy for its own good. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 9, 2020
82% Phoenix, Oregon (2020) It's all a bit uneventful, but it works as an endearing portrait of average life: sometimes up, sometimes down, but moving steadily along. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 1, 2020
99% On the Record (2020) The film communicates... complex ideas with quiet, forceful emotional clarity. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 28, 2020
95% Lucky Grandma (2020) "Lucky Grandma" puts an older Asian woman center stage without infantilizing her or rendering her pitiful. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 21, 2020
83% A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps (2020) "A Towering Task" unfolds like a dull, chronological slide show of archival images, basic graphics and seemingly infinite talking heads. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 21, 2020
90% Alice (2019) "Alice" (rightfully) regards the choices of its heroine with respect and empathy. But its picture of sex work as an easy out, devoid of any real danger, feels like a simplistic fantasy. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 14, 2020
65% Clementine (2019) An erotic thriller that runs low on both erotics and thrills. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 7, 2020
46% Arkansas (2020) Less a mob thriller than a ruminative drama about a life built around orders and betrayals, the movie takes an unusual perspective on a familiar genre but is weighed down by its dull, uneven pace. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 7, 2020
78% Until the Birds Return (En attendant les Hirondelles) (2017) As its characters traverse the country's crisscrossing motorways, "Until the Birds Return" locates the singular moments that form the nodes of a shared national history. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2020
67% Extraction (2020) The fight scenes are plastic and glossy. Hargrave mistakes gore for cool and technical prowess for choreography, deploying overlong one-take shots that look like "Call of Duty" outtakes. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 24, 2020
70% Abe (2020) A surprisingly joyless production, lacking the stylistic and emotional flair to deliver even on the cheesy, feel-good promise of the setup. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 16, 2020
87% Sea Fever (2020) The film... seems unsure about its own shape, switching indecisively between creature feature, epidemic thriller and environmental drama without articulating any meaty ideas. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 9, 2020
28% Clover (2020) It's chock-full of gore and expletive-laden banter, but lacks the key ingredients to make it worthy of its influences: original ideas and a strong script. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 2, 2020
86% Inside the Rain (2020) "Inside the Rain" switches erratically between comedy and drama while juggling many half-realized plot threads. But the movie's strange, inconsistent rhythm ultimately works as a reflection of Ben's manic and depressive states. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2020
75% Jinpa (Zhuang si le yi zhi yang) (2020) Stylistic flourishes don't communicate much beyond a generic art-house sensibility. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2020
99% Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020) The most powerful moment in [Never Rarely Sometimes Always] is not one of confrontation but of self-realization. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2020
94% Come As You Are (2020) The candor with which Erik Linthorst's script regards the characters' sexual desires - coupled with the winning performances of the actors - leavens any sentimentalism. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2020
92% The Assistant (2020) Although affecting and even revelatory at points, The Assistant is ultimately a drama of resignation. The choice it dramatizes is a familiar one: we can all relate to the impulse to pick one's livelihood and career over challenging the rich and powerful. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2020
45% Quezon's Game (2020) This political back-and-forth is... cheapened by the broad, near-hagiographic strokes with which Rosen paints his leading characters, who spend most of the run-time speechifying between stagy puffs of cigars. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2020
90% Tremors (Temblores) (2019) The film's "temblores" - Spanish for "tremors" - are emblematic of the script's preference for allusion over depth. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 28, 2019
58% Crown Vic (2019) A verbose, hackneyed thriller about a night in the lives of a veteran patrol officer and his trainee. - New York Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2019
3/5 92% Monos (2019) It is in these moments, when Monos inspires questions instead of simply withholding answers, that the film feels genuinely provocative. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
80% Late Night (2019) It's all a bit ludicrous, but that seems to be the very point. Late Night is a warm, winsome Hollywood comedy that proceeds along familiar lines and culminates with easily won happy endings. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 5, 2019
No Score Yet Reason (2018) His film is partly an archive and partly an argument-both of which are essential in a country where history and free speech are under increasing attack. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2019
97% Border (Gräns) (2018) Border is less invested in glib symbolism or political commentary than in the specific, felt experience of being adrift between social boundaries and categories. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 30, 2018
88% A Whale of a Tale (2018) Together, these voices paint a complex picture of the clash between globalism and a fast-disappearing localism. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2018
88% Madeline's Madeline (2018) Decker captures the emotional caprices of her characters with thrilling immediacy, allowing her sociopolitical commentary to trickle in through background details. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2018
95% Who We Are Now (2018) While Nicholson's onscreen, it's impossible to pay heed to anything but her. She scorches the film with her barely bottled ferocity and vulnerability. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2018
96% Zama (2018) Even as Martel steeps the film deep within Zama's perspective, she observes his tortuous male pathos with the critical distance of a female gaze. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2018
3.5/5 72% Gemini (2018) Although rife with wry nods to familiar tropes and meta-commentary on the making of mysteries, Gemini is not so much an ironic perversion of the genre as a woozy, Instagram-y evocation. - MUBI EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 6, 2018
88% The Workshop (L'atelier) (2018) A thoughtful reflection on the sociopolitical narratives (and myths) of contemporary, crisis-ridden France. - Village Voice EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2018
86% The Insult (L'insulte) (2018) For all its bluntness, The Insult confronts us with the true complexity of the Middle Eastern conflict and the ways in which war obliterates the ideas of victimhood and responsibility, rendering the justice system farcically inadequate. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 3, 2018
92% The Other Side of Hope (Toivon tuolla puolen) (2017) Kaurismäki's unworldly drollery ... feels like it's from another time-until it's ruptured by the shocking contemporaneity of the global refugee crisis against which the movie is set. - Film Comment Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 3, 2017