Best-Reviewed Directorial Debuts 2019

The fourth entry in a legendary, beloved, industry-catalyzing animated franchise doesn’t seem like the time to hand over the reins to a feature-debuting director. But Pixar has always been open to promoting its artists up to the big seat, and it worked wonders again with Josh Cooley, who give Woody, Buzz, and friends a rousing send-off. Meanwhile, Olivia Wilde leads the runners-up for 2019’s most auspicious directing debuts.

The order of the rank below reflects the Adjusted Score as of December 31, 2019. Scores might change over time.


Toy Story 4 (2019)

Adjusted Score: 116.844%
Critics Consensus: Heartwarming, funny, and beautifully animated, Toy Story 4 manages the unlikely feat of extending -- and perhaps concluding -- a practically perfect animated saga.
Synopsis: Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is... [More]
Directed By: Josh Cooley


Booksmart (2019)

Adjusted Score: 111.921%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, funny, and fresh, Booksmart does the seemingly impossible by adding a smart new spin to the coming-of-age comedy.
Synopsis: The story follows Dever and Feldstein's characters, two academic superstars and best friends who, on the eve of their high... [More]
Directed By: Olivia Wilde

Adjusted Score: 104.878%
Critics Consensus: A feelgood adventure brought to life by outstanding performances, The Peanut Butter Falcon finds rich modern resonance in classic American fiction.
Synopsis: A modern Mark Twain style adventure story, THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON tells the story of Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a young... [More]


Honeyland (2019)

Adjusted Score: 104.625%
Critics Consensus: Honeyland uses life in a remote village to offer an eye-opening perspective on experiences that should resonate even for audiences halfway around the world.
Synopsis: Nestled in an isolated mountain region deep within the Balkans, Hatidze Muratova lives with her ailing mother in a village... [More]

Adjusted Score: 101.261%
Critics Consensus: The Chambermaid uses one woman's experiences to take audiences inside a life -- and a culture -- that's as bracingly unique as it is hauntingly relatable.
Synopsis: Eve, a young chambermaid at a luxurious Mexico City hotel, confronts the monotony of long workdays with quiet examinations of... [More]
Directed By: Lila Avilés

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