- Film critics and audiences can have very different reactions to films.
- Many 2018 movies were adored by reviewers but not loved by normal viewers.
- These are some of the more divisive films of the year.
Some films are adored by critics but don’t get the same warm reception from regular viewers. What makes a great movie can vary greatly between professional film reviewers and the average moviegoer. No matter how many cinema hours you logged this year, you may have missed a few of these critically-acclaimed gems.
Here are the 15 most underrated movies of 2018 that film reviewers loved, based on comparing the critic and audience ratings reported on Rotten Tomatoes.
“The Old Man & The Gun” is a drama that critics loved more than audiences.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92% critics rating; 64% audience rating.
Synopsis: The true story of Forrest Tucker, a man who escaped San Quentin prison at the age of 70 and went on to orchestrate a series of dramatic heists that captured the public’s attention and baffled law enforcement.
What critics said: “Loose-limbed, rascally and Texan to its bones, ‘The Old Man & the Gun’ is a throwback to an era when making beautifully understated crime comedies was the peak of Hollywood’s ambition (before all the spandex took over).” –Time Out
Cinematic drama “Sweet Country” definitely satisfied reviewers.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95% critics rating; 66% audience rating.
Synopsis: An Aboriginal man from Australia’s Northern Territory is accused of murder and flees his home after killing a white war veteran in self-defence. When a gang is assembled to hunt down the killer, new details come to light about the circumstances of the crime.
What critics said: “Uncompromising, deliberate, and eerily beautiful, director Warwick Thornton’s rugged Australian Western puts a new spin on an old story.” –The Seattle Times
“Madeline’s Madeline” is an experimental drama that critics raved about.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87% critics rating; 54% audience rating.
Synopsis: When a young girl joins a prestigious physical theatre troupe, her troubled family life begins to bleed into her performance and causes tension with her mother.
What critics said: “One of the best films of the year, if also one of the hardest to initially get your head around.” –The Boston Globe
Animated comedy “Early Man” earned solid reviews but didn’t delight audiences.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82% critics rating; 49% audience rating.
Synopsis: A tribe of prehistoric hunters tries to win back their home territory from an expanding empire by challenging the newcomers to a game of soccer.
What critics said: “In a cinematic landscape that favours wisecracking motormouths and polished but increasingly generic CGI, ‘Early Man’s’ sweet-natured slapstick and endearingly ‘primitive’ look feel like a welcome counterbalance.” –The Daily Telegraph (Australia)
“Blockers” is a comedy that hit home for critics.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83% critics rating; 50% audience rating.
Synopsis: A group of parents accidentally find out about their daughters’ pact to lose their virginity on prom night. The parents carry out a secret operation to thwart their children’s plans.
What critics said: “A generational clash as old as time – the parents who think of themselves as progressive and cool, versus their mortified children who view them as anything but.” –The Atlantic
Techno-thriller “CAM” was a critical darling.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93% critics rating; 58% audience rating.
Synopsis: A woman who works as a camgirl for a porn website finds that she has been replaced on her show by an exact replica of herself. When her online identity and real-life relationships are threatened by a doppelganger, the woman tries to learn more about the mysterious copy.
What critics said: “If the first half of ‘Cam’ is pleasantly episodic and purringly tense, the latter half – in which Alice searches for her hacker – is clever, inventive, and wonderfully evocative.” –Slate
Dark comedy “Mum and Dad” impressed critics despite a poor reception from fans.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75% critics rating; 38% audience rating.
Synopsis: A mysterious condition causes suburban parents to violently turn against their own offspring. Two children try to avoid being murdered by their mother and father before their grandparents come to visit.
What critics said: “‘Mum and Dad’ is a hyper-violent and darkly funny film that says all the things about parenting that parents aren’t supposed to say.” –The Blogging Banshee
“Support the Girls” is a comedy that was almost universally loved by reviewers.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93% critics rating; 57% audience rating.
Synopsis: The kindly and protective manager of breast-centric sports bar juggles the concerns of employees and restaurant while struggling to keep her personal life on track.
What critics said: “What writer-director Andrew Bujalski has done here is create an oasis of sisterly love in a pit of toxic masculinity. The key word here is not ‘Girls’ – it’s ‘Support.’ These servers have bonded in the same way that soldiers do in trench warfare.” –Rolling Stone
Political documentary “The Final Year” earned critical praise.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84% critics rating; 48% audience rating.
Synopsis: The final months of the Obama administration are examined through unprecedented access to the inner workings of the White House and insider footage.
What critics said: “Demonstrating the human element that goes into doctrine, ‘The Final Year’ does something more impressive than capture history being made by elucidating how it is made, creating a time capsule that may be even more interesting decades on.” – Moveable Fest
Audiences were split on gory action film “Revenge,” but critics loved it.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92% critics rating; 55% audience rating.
Synopsis: When a romantic getaway with her boyfriend leads to a violent and horrifying act, a woman transforms from a victim into someone seeking revenge.
What critics said: “Inside its gorgeous, candy-coloured packaging – as confident a debut as we’ve seen in recent years – ‘Revenge’ has a warrior of a protagonist who is easy to root for, villains who are easy to hate, and satisfactory justice dispensed.” –F This Movie!
Critics liked the unsettling aesthetic of thriller “Hold the Dark.”
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69% critics rating; 31% audience rating.
Synopsis: A naturalist venues into the Alaskan wilderness to help a woman retrieve the body of her son, who has been killed by wolves. When the woman’s husband returns home from war and learns of the situation, things take a violent turn.
What critics said: “Suddenly, what seemed like a man-vs-nature survivalist tale morphs into something that’s part Arctic Noir and part violent art-horror.”-Rolling Stone
“Zama” is a historical drama that wowed reviewers but didn’t satisfy fans.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96% critics rating; 55% audience rating.
Synopsis: An officer of the Spanish Crown dislikes his posting in a quiet Argentinian town. He struggles to secure a transfer while dealing with a dangerous local bandit.
What critics said: “There’s absolutely nothing else like it in theatres this year, which I mean as both a hearty endorsement and a necessary forewarning.” – The Atlantic
Biographical drama “The Mercy” fell flat with audiences but was beloved by critics.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74% critics rating; 30% audience rating.
Synopsis: The true story of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst’s troubled attempt to win the 1968 Golden Globe Race by sailing around the world alone.
What critics said: “Here’s a man-vs.-nature sailing story with a significant difference. Rather than a rousing testament to the human spirit, James Marsh’s ‘The Mercy’ examines a failure to triumph, the kind of tragedy that rarely gets blown up into a movie.” – L.A. Weekly
Biopic “Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami” earned the respect of critics.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87% critics rating; 43% audience rating.
Synopsis: Pop culture icon Grace Jones is showcased in a documentary that reveals how Jones balances her public persona and career as an entertainer with her private life.
What critics said: “Perhaps Fiennes’s intent is to draw the viewer into the solipsistic intensity of what it is to be Grace Jones. It is a bracing experience, because she is hedonistic, exultant, funny, and fierce.” –The Boston Globe
“Let the Sunshine In” is a romantic French film that earned sparkling reviews.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86% critics rating; 26% audience rating.
Synopsis: A divorced Parisian painter is on a quest for love but must deal with a stream of unsatisfying suitors.
What critics said: “There’s a Hollywood version of this tale, but that’s not the one co-writer and director Claire Denis presents. ‘Let the Sunshine In’ works because it’s real, relatable and true to the heart.” –The Detroit News
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