Venice International Film Festival 2019 Scorecard

Aaaaand here comes awards season 2019, as Venice stages the 76th iteration of its film fest, mere days before the Toronto International Film Festival, as a presage of the industry campaigning mayhem in the coming weeks and months. This year’s Venice Film Festival boasts a number of big ticket premieres, including the so-serious Joker, James Gray’s Ad Astra, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, and opener The Truth, from Hirokazu Kore-eda. Will these and the rest of this year’s selections have the same cultural impact as previous Venice premiere highlights of this decade, like Roma, The Shape of Water, Black Swan, or Arrival? Maybe Joker…if the fickle arthouse crowd shows up at the box office.

Epilogue: Joining the likes of Alfonso Cuarón, Andrei Tarkovsky, Agnès Varda, Guillermo Del Toro…Todd Phillips! His Joker nabs the Golden Lion, an incredible win for a provocative genre film. With that, see every movie at Venice this year that got a Tomatometer! Alex Vo


Marriage Story (2019)

Adjusted Score: 116564%
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

Adjusted Score: 98904%
Critics Consensus: About Endlessness sees writer-director Roy Andersson surveying the human condition with equal parts striking clarity, tenderness, and deadpan existential wit.
Synopsis: ABOUT ENDLESSNESS is a reflection on human life in all its beauty and cruelty, its splendor and banality. We wander,... [More]
Directed By: Roy Andersson


Babyteeth (2019)

Adjusted Score: 101636%
Critics Consensus: Powerfully acted and sensitively directed, Babyteeth offers audiences a coming-of-age story that's messier -- and more rewarding -- than most.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Shannon Murphy


Citizen K (2019)

Adjusted Score: 97343%
Critics Consensus: Citizen K sees documentarian Alex Gibney training his sights on post-Soviet Russia, with engrossing -- and unsettling -- results.
Synopsis: Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a wealthy man in Russia, rocketed to prosperity in the 1990s and became an unlikely martyr for the... [More]
Directed By: Alex Gibney


Madre (2019)

Adjusted Score: 92392%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Ten years after her son disappeared on a beach in France, Elena meets a teen that reminds her of him.... [More]
Directed By: Rodrigo Sorogoyen


Ema (2019)

Adjusted Score: 94246%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully filmed and powerfully acted, Ema puts a thoroughly distinctive spin on its story of emotional trauma and self-discovery.
Synopsis: After a shocking incident upends her family life and marriage to a tempestuous choreographer, Ema, a reggaeton dancer, sets out... [More]
Directed By: Pablo Larraín

Adjusted Score: 96568%
Critics Consensus: A message movie admirable for its subtlety as well as its execution, The Perfect Candidate faces oppression and powerfully advocates for change.
Synopsis: When Maryam, a hardworking young doctor in a small-town clinic, is prevented from flying to Dubai for a conference without... [More]
Directed By: Haifaa Al-Mansour


The Truth (2019)

Adjusted Score: 95360%
Critics Consensus: The Truth may not stand with Hirokazu Kore-eda's best work, but it finds the writer-director revisiting familiar themes with a typically sensitive touch.
Synopsis: A stormy reunion occurs between an actress and her daughter after the actress publishes her memoirs.... [More]
Directed By: Hirokazu Koreeda


Joker (2019)

Adjusted Score: 101428%
Critics Consensus: Joker gives its infamous central character a chillingly plausible origin story that serves as a brilliant showcase for its star -- and a dark evolution for comics-inspired cinema.
Synopsis: Forever alone in a crowd, failed comedian Arthur Fleck seeks connection as he walks the streets of Gotham City. Arthur... [More]
Directed By: Todd Phillips


Ad Astra (2019)

Adjusted Score: 104118%
Critics Consensus: Ad Astra takes a visually thrilling journey through the vast reaches of space while charting an ambitious course for the heart of the bond between parent and child.
Synopsis: Thirty years ago, Clifford McBride led a voyage into deep space, but the ship and crew were never heard from... [More]
Directed By: James Gray


The Painted Bird (2019)

Adjusted Score: 86128%
Critics Consensus: Brutally uncompromising in its portrayal of Nazi Germany, The Painted Bird is a difficult watch that justifies its stark horror with searing impact.
Synopsis: A young Jewish boy in Eastern Europe seeks refuge during World War II.... [More]
Directed By: Václav Marhoul


The King (2019)

Adjusted Score: 78190%
Critics Consensus: While The King is sometimes less than the sum of its impressive parts, strong source material and gripping performances make this a period drama worth hailing.
Synopsis: Young Henry V encounters deceit, war and treachery after becoming king of England in the 15th century.... [More]
Directed By: David Michôd


Martin Eden (2019)

Adjusted Score: 92184%
Critics Consensus: Martin Eden uses one man's quest for fulfillment as fuel for an ambitious -- and often rewarding -- look at a complex array of social and personal themes.
Synopsis: After Martin Eden meets Elena, he tries to achieve a place among the literary elite through self-education.... [More]
Directed By: Pietro Marcello


Seberg (2019)

Adjusted Score: 41856%
Critics Consensus: Seberg's frustratingly superficial treatment of a fascinating true story does a disservice to its subject -- and Kristen Stewart's performance in the central role.
Synopsis: In the late 1960s, French new wave actress and "Breathless" star Jean Seberg becomes the target of the FBI due... [More]
Directed By: Benedict Andrews

Adjusted Score: 76894%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: On January 5, 1895, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish soldier, is degraded for spying for Germany and is sentenced... [More]
Directed By: Roman Polanski


Saturday Fiction (2019)

Adjusted Score: 48170%
Critics Consensus: Gong Li's typically outstanding performance notwithstanding, Saturday Fiction is too awkwardly assembled to recommend.
Synopsis: 1941. Since the Japanese occupation, China has become a wartime intelligence battlefield for the Allies and the Axis Powers. Iconic... [More]
Directed By: Ye Lou


Pelican Blood (2019)

Adjusted Score: 74058%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A mother adopts a traumatized 5-year-old girl and works to curb her violent behavior.... [More]
Directed By: Katrin Gebbe


The Laundromat (2019)

Adjusted Score: 49861%
Critics Consensus: The Laundromat misuses its incredible cast by taking a disappointingly blunt and unfocused approach to dramatizing the real-life events that inspired it.
Synopsis: When her idyllic vacation takes an unthinkable turn, Ellen Martin begins investigating a fake insurance policy.... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh


Wasp Network (2019)

Adjusted Score: 43513%
Critics Consensus: Wasp Network's talented cast makes this spy drama hard to ignore, even if the mystery at the heart of its storyline is too tangled for its own good.
Synopsis: A band of Cuban defectors infiltrates anti-Castro terrorist groups in Miami in the early 1990s.... [More]
Directed By: Olivier Assayas


Guest of Honour (2019)

Adjusted Score: 44619%
Critics Consensus: David Thewlis' performance aside, Guest of Honour serves as a frustratingly limited return to form for writer-director Atom Egoyan.
Synopsis: A father confronts his 20-year-old daughter, who is in prison for a sexual assault. Their relationship will become more complicated... [More]
Directed By: Atom Egoyan

Adjusted Score: 58348%
Critics Consensus: Admirable in theory but disappointing in execution, Waiting for the Barbarians struggles to turn strong performances and worthy themes into affecting drama.
Synopsis: A local magistrate reevaluates his loyalty to his nation while holed up at a remote outpost.... [More]
Directed By: Ciro Guerra