Joe Morgenstern

Joe Morgenstern
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
97% Marriage Story (2019) I'd say expect a lot from the movie and you won't be disappointed. It's a life-affirming, profoundly affecting classic. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2019
93% Honey Boy (2019) The film is not a product of vanity, though, or of self-helping self-absorption that shuts others out. It is a powerful, tough-minded entertainment that welcomes us in and tells us a story we haven't seen before. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 7, 2019
64% Love Actually (2003) That could have been a fascinating theme, but Mr. Curtis's film has no attitude about it other than blind approval. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2019
96% The Irishman (2019) Feels genuinely new and deeply satisfying -- for its subtlety, wit and resonance; for its serenely confident technique, meaning no truck with fancy tricks; for the sumptuous quality of the production; and for the epic scope of the story. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2019
71% Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) The plot makes no sense -- time travel as multiverse Dada. Worse still, it renders meaningless the struggles that gave the first two films of the franchise an epic dimension. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2019
100% Fantastic Fungi (2019) Fantastic Fungi is never uninteresting, and often startling in the natural beauty it reveals. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
95% By the Grace of God (Grâce à Dieu) (2019) What's old heightens the impact of what's new and remarkably timely in François Ozon's powerful By the Grace of God. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
88% Synonyms (Synonymes) (2019) One word for Nadav Lapid's Synonyms, a movie with a hero obsessed with words, is "astonishing." - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2019
92% The Lighthouse (2019) The Lighthouse is, among many other things, very funny in its pitch-dark fashion, and atmospheric in a way that's rarely seen, or felt, on the screen. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2019
40% Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) The big-horned heroine is played once again by Angelina Jolie in this dull sequel to the not-so-sparkling 2014 original. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2019
79% Jojo Rabbit (2019) The film doesn't lack for audacity, or ultimate purpose -- it's against hate and in favor of love. But the adaptation isn't funny enough to sustain the style, which owes an overt debt to Mel Brooks and amounts to Springtime for Hitler Youth. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2019
26% Gemini Man (2019) The frame rate doesn't speed up the pace -- the film bogs down woefully between action sequences -- and the shake rate wasn't sufficient to keep my body from going slack while my mind meandered through the story's incoherence. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
99% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) Imagine a high-wire act where the acrobat suddenly leaps to a higher wire, then to another that's higher still. It's the best way I can think of to describe the giddy thrill of watching Parasite, a masterpiece of serial surprises. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
97% Dolemite Is My Name (2019) Mr. Murphy, surrounded by superb actors and abetted by a sensational score, turns everything he touches into comedy. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
97% Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria) (2019) Mixes darkness with light, melancholia with drollery, nostalgia with renewal, and regret for lost love with ineffable tenderness. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
69% Joker (2019) If you're feeling insufficiently anxious in your life, "Joker" could be just the ticket. If not, look elsewhere to be entertained. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
82% Abominable (2019) This Chinese-American co-production is so distinctive pictorially, and so manifestly good-hearted, that it's easy to forgive if not quite forget the ragged quality of its storyline. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
No Score Yet Those Who Remained (Akik maradtak) (2019) This is not another riff on Lolita. Rather, it's a coming-of-age story about the coming of unlikely, unbidden hope. As such, the film explores one boundary -- the erotic zone that beckons to both of them -- and illustrates another. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
83% Judy (2019) The movie, directed by Rupert Goold, is a conventional but perfectly serviceable showcase for its star, who sets the whole thing on fire every time she launches into a Garland classic in her own voice. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
92% Ford v Ferrari (2019) Thrilling, and greatly affecting... The running time is 152 minutes, and it is running time -- not a moment seems slow. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
No Score Yet The Human Factor (2019) It's a deeply wise examination of statesmanship and leadership, or their egregious absence; a celebration of compromise as the indispensable element of diplomacy; and a stirring argument for the power of humanity. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
91% The Two Popes (2019) This scintillating drama, written by Anthony McCarten, achieves a maximum of theatrical delight and intellectual substance with two glorious performances. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
100% Vision Portraits (2019) An eye-opener. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 22, 2019
97% Tigers Are Not Afraid (Vuelven) (2019) The fantasy grows overlush from time to time, but Ms. López has created an original work of art in genre disguise. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 22, 2019
89% Aquarela (2019) No one there, or anywhere else in the film, ever utters the words "global warming," yet the message could not be clearer-we are all of us living on thin ice. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2019
82% Cold Case Hammarskjöld (2019) The trip is entertaining and even instructive-not about the facts of the case, which go from murky to opaque, but about the slip-slidingly elusive nature of truth. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2019
89% Blinded by the Light (2019) "Nobody wins unless everybody wins," Springsteen likes to say. This little movie is a big winner. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2019
95% The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) This lovely debut feature by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz trafficks in the pleasure of watching intriguing people working through outlandish problems in unlikely ways. Go in expecting the best and you'll come out smiling. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
99% One Child Nation (2019) Shocking as it may be, One Child Nation needs to be seen. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
44% The Art of Racing in the Rain (2019) A clumsy potboiler that is that is long on melodrama yet strangely short on racing sequences and interesting animal behavior. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
67% Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) The action is impressive and the stars are personally as well as gladiatorially appealing, but the filmmakers seem to have shot the treatment instead of the script, or never bothered with a script. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2019
91% Luce (2019) The narrative, framed as a psychological mystery, labors under more layers of significance than it can handle without falling into contrivance and argumentation. Still, the dramatic core is strong. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2019
94% Mike Wallace Is Here (2019) Mike Wallace Is Here doesn't answer tough questions about Wallace's career: Was it drama, good journalism or both? What was his legacy? But Avi Belkin's documentary offers fascinating insights into what made its subject tick. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2019
85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) As one might expect from Mr. Tarantino's previous films, his new one is violent as well as tender, plus terrifically funny. Yet this virtuoso piece of storytelling also offers intricate instruction on the pervasiveness of violence in popular culture. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2019
92% David Crosby: Remember My Name (2019) True to its subject, who has been true to his muse, David Crosby: Remember My Name is about music in a revelatory way. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
13% Taken 3 (2015) In David Crosby: Remember My Name, a fine documentary directed by A.J. Eaton, some excellent questions are posed from behind the camera by the producer, the veteran rock journalist and filmmaker Cameron Crowe. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2019
53% The Lion King (2019) The Lion King redux doesn't feel marvelous, let alone like a magical creation from the Magic Kingdom. The beauty of the landscapes fills the eye without stirring the soul. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 16, 2019
99% The Farewell (2019) The lovely paradox of The Farewell is that everyone in it tries to hide their feelings as long as they can, yet their story goes straight to your heart. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 11, 2019
84% The Art of Self-Defense (2019) The film as a whole feels audacious and original, a case study of violence begetting more of the same, and Mr. Eisenberg is ideally cast as the soul of fearfulness. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 11, 2019
96% Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (2019) It reminds us how long she had to wait for the recognition she so richly deserved, and what a distinctive, generous, funny, astute, self-doubting, unstoppable and formidable figure she was along the way. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 20, 2019
93% Wild Rose (2019) Ms. Buckley brings her own truth to this mostly synthetic confection, and it's a beautiful thing to behold. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 20, 2019
97% Toy Story 4 (2019) The new film isn't flawless, but it's hugely enjoyable and speaks, with bewitching buoyancy, to nothing less than the purpose of living and the mystery of life. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 20, 2019
45% The Way of the Gun (2000) The Way of the Gun is doomy trash, a blood-soaked saga of remorseless killers and natural-born blatherers. I'm sure I've seen worse movies, but nothing so steadfastly unpleasant comes to mind. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 17, 2019
23% Men in Black International (2019) No need to huff and puff about the idiocy of Men in Black: International... Still, the fourth episode in the series sets a low-water mark for warm-weather entertainment. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2019
89% The Raft (2019) A document, as well as a documentary, of genuine consequence. The news is surprising, and pretty darned good. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2019
93% The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) The Last Black Man in San Francisco glides from moment to meaningful moment with cumulative power and singular grace. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2019
70% The Anderson Tapes (1971) The spectacle is entertaining, up to a point, but even the digital wizardry wears thin, and Dark Phoenix turns into a standard-brand miasma of explosions, collisions and swirling force fields. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2019
60% The Fall of the American Empire (La chute de l'empire américain) (2019) The tacit thrust of Mr. Arcand's film is didactic, even polemic. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted May 31, 2019
97% Booksmart (2019) Nothing funnier, smarter, quicker or more joyous has graced the big screen in a long time. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
89% Rocketman (2019) Whatever the film's shortfall in psychodynamics, Rocketman invokes the spirit and specifics of music -- enormously aided by Mr. Egerton's performance -- to illuminate the hero's soul. - Wall Street Journal EDIT
Read More | Posted May 20, 2019