The Venice Film Festival 2021 Movie Scorecard
2021’s awards and festival season began with the Venice Film Festival, this year celebrating its 78th year with Bong Joon-ho presiding as jury president. Highlights going into the fest included sci-fi epic Dune, slasher sequel Halloween Kills, and new films from the varied likes of Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), Pedro Almodóvar (Parallel Mothers), Edgar Wright (Last Night in Soho), and Ana Lily Amirpour (Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon).
With the festival now wrapped, many of those highly anticipated titles proved their worth – with Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers currently the best-reviewed film of the festival, sitting pretty with a 100% Tomatometer, and earning Penelope Cruz the festival’s prize for Best Actress. (Cruz also features in another film with 100% so far: Official Competition.)
Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut, The Lost Daughter, also scored big with critics, and earned her the Best Screenplay Prize. Accepting the award, she thanked Campion as an inspiration, and Campion herself would win Best Director for The Power of the Dog. The festival’s top prize, the Golden Lion, went to Happening, an abortion drama from director Audrey Diwan.
The last splashy premiere of the festival was for Ridley Scott’s star-powered medieval epic, The Last Duel. While the movie went home empty-handed, critics are mostly positive on the lavish production starring Jodie Comer, Ben Affleck, Adam Driver, and Matt Damon, and it will be one to keep an eye on as awards season moves forward.
Below, we’ve gathered up every title at the fest that got a Tomatometer score for our Venice 2021 Film Festival Scorecard. —Alex Vo
Adjusted Score: 104546%
Critics Consensus: A strikingly assured debut for writer-director Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter unites a brilliant cast in service of a daringly ambitious story.
Alone on a seaside vacation, Leda becomes consumed with a young mother and daughter as she watches them on the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 106154%
Critics Consensus: A brilliant forum for Penélope Cruz's talent, Parallel Mothers reaffirms the familiar pleasures of Almodóvar's filmmaking while proving he's still capable of growth.
Two women, Janis and Ana, coincide in a hospital room where they are going to give birth. Both are single... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102313%
Critics Consensus: Its premise may resonate most with hardcore film fans, but Official Competition's tight focus and sharp humor have a universal appeal.
Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas star as two egomaniacs commissioned by a millionaire to make a movie together in this... [More]
Adjusted Score: 106031%
Critics Consensus: A tough but rewarding watch, Happening puts a personal face on an impossibly difficult choice and its heart-rending aftermath.
France, 1963. Anne is a bright young student with a promising future ahead of her. But when she falls pregnant,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99439%
Critics Consensus: A hard-hitting drama that feels disconcertingly real, 7 Prisoners blends sharp storytelling with a searing social conscience.
18-year-old Mateus (Christian Malheiros) hopes to provide a better life for his working-class family in the countryside. Accepting a new... [More]
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Clémence, the fearless mayor of a town near Paris, is completing the final term of her political career. With her... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92721%
Critics Consensus: Masaaki Yuasa fans will come to Inu-Oh expecting a visual feast -- and this musical animated extravaganza won't leave them disappointed.
From visionary director Masaaki Yuasa, hailed by IndieWire as "one of the most creatively unbridled minds in all of modern... [More]
Adjusted Score: 110622%
Critics Consensus: Brought to life by a stellar ensemble led by Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog reaffirms writer-director Jane Campion as one of her generation's finest filmmakers.
Severe, pale-eyed, handsome, Phil Burbank is brutally beguiling. All of Phil's romance, power and fragility is trapped in the past... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99426%
Critics Consensus: Spencer can frustrate with its idiosyncratic depiction of its subject's life, but Kristen Stewart's finely modulated performance anchors the film's flights of fancy.
The marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce... [More]
Adjusted Score: 106741%
Critics Consensus: Dune occasionally struggles with its unwieldy source material, but those issues are largely overshadowed by the scope and ambition of this visually thrilling adaptation.
Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89336%
Critics Consensus: A rewardingly unsettling watch, The Box handles its sensitive themes with intelligence and empathy.
Teenager Hatzín travels from Mexico City to collect the remains of his father, found in a communal grave in Northern... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89329%
Critics Consensus: Centered on a mother's struggle to provide care for her son, The Other Tom highlights the difficulty of meeting a child's mental health needs.
Elena is a single mother who relies on Social Services. Her son Tom has behavioral issues and is stigmatized at... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97051%
Critics Consensus: Led by Oscar Isaac's gripping performance, The Card Counter adds another weighty chapter to Paul Schrader's long inquiry into man's moral responsibility.
Redemption is the long game in Paul Schrader's THE CARD COUNTER. Told with Schrader's trademark cinematic intensity, the revenge thriller... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95053%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
In 2014, Ukrainian surgeon Serhiy enlists to fight Russian military forces in the Donbass region, where he is captured by... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83252%
Critics Consensus: Elevated by its stars' magnetic chemistry, True Things mines complex, character-driven drama from an ill-advised romance.
Bored by the daily tedium of her office job, Kate (Ruth Wilson) is sleepwalking through life when a chance sexual... [More]
Adjusted Score: 81545%
Critics Consensus: Sundown's emotionally muted wavelength may be difficult for some viewers to tune into, but it's enlivened by Tim Roth's strong central performance.
Neil and Alice Bennett (Tim Roth, Charlotte Gainsbourg) are the core of a wealthy family on vacation in Mexico with... [More]
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: Il Buco is a visual marvel that reaffirms the old adage about a picture being worth a thousand words.
During the economic boom of the 1960s, Europe’s highest building is being built in Italy’s prosperous North. At the other... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90539%
Critics Consensus: Hallelujah doesn't presume to be a comprehensive view of Leonard Cohen's career, but it effectively conveys his artistry through an admiring retrospective on one of his most iconic works.
Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song is a definitive exploration of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen as seen through the prism... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92071%
Critics Consensus: Although it struggles to maintain its thrilling early momentum, Last Night in Soho shows flashes of Edgar Wright at his most stylish and ambitious.
In acclaimed director Edgar Wright's psychological thriller, Eloise, an aspiring fashion designer, is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89764%
Critics Consensus: Although The Hand of God isn't Sorrentino's best work, this beautifully filmed coming-of-age story sings in a beguiling, albeit minor, key.
From Academy Award-winning writer and director Paolo Sorrentino (Il Divo, The Great Beauty, The Young Pope) comes the story of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 76155%
Critics Consensus: Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon finds writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour spinning a stylishly lurid -- if somewhat narratively undercooked -- fantasy yarn.
When a struggling single-mother (Kate Hudson) befriends a mysterious mental institute escapee with supernatural powers (Jun Jong Seo), she sees... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90862%
Critics Consensus: With an outstanding cast and a thoughtful story that makes the most of its limited setting, Costa Brava, Lebanon reaffirms that the personal is the political.
The free-spirited Badri family escapes the toxic pollution and social unrest of Beirut by seeking refuge in a utopic mountain... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98308%
Critics Consensus: The Last Duel's critique of systemic misogyny isn't as effective as it might have been, but it remains a well-acted and thought-provoking drama infused with epic grandeur.
The Last Duel is a cinematic and thought-provoking drama set in the midst of the Hundred Years War that explores... [More]
Adjusted Score: 50540%
Critics Consensus: Halloween Kills should satisfy fans in search of brute slasher thrills, but in terms of advancing the franchise, it's a bit less than the sum of its bloody parts.
Minutes after Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) left masked monster... [More]
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