Best-Reviewed Movies 2019: Limited Release

If you needed any more proof that the industry is a-changin’, look no further than the list of best-reviewed limited releases, which features four Netflix original films – The Irishman, Marriage Story, Dolemite Is My Name, and Knock Down the House – in the top 10. Despite the streaming giant’s best efforts, though, it was a certain South Korean film that rightfully dominated the conversation and earned near-unanimous praise from the critics: Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite. The genre-bending drama-comedy-thriller kicked things off by winning the coveted Palme d’Or at Cannes, where it premiered, and has only continued to rack up dozens of accolades throughout the year.

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


Parasite (2019)

Adjusted Score: 127908%
Critics Consensus: An urgent, brilliantly layered look at timely social themes, Parasite finds writer-director Bong Joon Ho in near-total command of his craft.
Synopsis: Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.... [More]
Directed By: Bong Joon-ho


The Irishman (2019)

Adjusted Score: 124312%
Critics Consensus: An epic gangster drama that earns its extended runtime, The Irishman finds Martin Scorsese revisiting familiar themes to poignant, funny, and profound effect.
Synopsis: In the 1950s, truck driver Frank Sheeran gets involved with Russell Bufalino and his Pennsylvania crime family. As Sheeran climbs... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese


Marriage Story (2019)

Adjusted Score: 119143%
Critics Consensus: Observing a splintering union with compassion and expansive grace, the powerfully acted Marriage Story ranks among writer-director Noah Baumbach's best works.
Synopsis: A stage director and his actor wife struggle through a grueling divorce that pushes them to their limits.... [More]
Directed By: Noah Baumbach


Pain and Glory (2019)

Adjusted Score: 114855%
Critics Consensus: Pain and Glory finds writer-director Pedro Almodóvar drawing on his own life to rewarding effect -- and honoring his craft as only a master filmmaker can.
Synopsis: An aging Spanish film director in the middle of a creative crisis revisits memorable events of his past.... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar


Apollo 11 (2019)

Adjusted Score: 109443%
Critics Consensus: Edifying and inspiring in equal measure, Apollo 11 uses artfully repurposed archival footage to send audiences soaring back to a pivotal time in American history.
Synopsis: Never-before-seen footage and audio recordings take you straight into the heart of NASA's most celebrated mission as astronauts Neil Armstrong,... [More]
Directed By: Todd Douglas Miller

Adjusted Score: 108140%
Critics Consensus: An impressive technical achievement with a walloping emotional impact, They Shall Not Grow Old pays brilliant cinematic tribute to the sacrifice of a generation.
Synopsis: Using state-of-the-art technology and materials from the BBC and Imperial War Museum, filmmaker Peter Jackson allows the story of World... [More]
Starring: Peter Jackson
Directed By: Peter Jackson

Adjusted Score: 111487%
Critics Consensus: In dramatizing Rudy Ray Moore's stranger-than-fiction story, Eddie Murphy makes Dolemite Is My Name just as bold, brash, and ultimately hard to resist as its subject.
Synopsis: Performer Rudy Ray Moore develops an outrageous character named Dolemite, who becomes an underground sensation and star of a kung-fu,... [More]
Directed By: Craig Brewer


Amazing Grace (2018)

Adjusted Score: 108465%
Critics Consensus: Brilliantly capturing a remarkable performer near the peak of her prodigious power, Amazing Grace is a thrilling must-watch documentary for Aretha Franklin fans.
Synopsis: Singer Aretha Franklin performs gospel songs at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles in 1972.... [More]
Starring: Aretha Franklin
Directed By: Alan Elliott

Adjusted Score: 108258%
Critics Consensus: Ash Is Purest White finds writer-director Zhangke Jia revisiting familiar themes while continuing to observe modern Chinese society with an urgent, empathetic eye.
Synopsis: In an industrial city in China, a young dancer named Qiao falls in love with a mobster named Bin. When... [More]
Directed By: Jia Zhangke

Adjusted Score: 105082%
Critics Consensus: A galvanizing glimpse behind the scenes of a pivotal election, Knock Down the House should prove engrossing for viewers of all political persuasions.
Synopsis: A young bartender in the Bronx, a coal miner's daughter in West Virginia, a grieving mother in Nevada, and a... [More]
Directed By: Rachel Lears

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